Day 8 at the hospital and I’m beginning to think I will miss, just a little, the nice air conditioning in the room. There have been some small but encouraging improvements over the last few days which will hopefully result in mom being discharged, possibly on Sunday. I have to admit that the stay at the hospital has been longer than any of us expected, progress has been slower than what we imagined when mom was first admitted. Somehow it seemed more “minor” than the previous time she was admitted in May, when she stayed at the hospital 10 days. I would classify the last few days as “up and down” when it comes to pain, when it comes to doctor’s assessments of blood/x-ray results, and also when it comes to emotional or spiritual well-being – for all of us! Mom is on a tough journey and sometimes it gets overwhelming for each of us. These are the times when we must grip to our faith…and humour. I honestly don’t know how people handle these life challenges without faith, and I often pray for stronger faith for all of us. I am also very grateful for spontaneous little outbursts of laughter we manage to squeeze in. The best part is when mom has to shush us, through her own smiles. I love it when my stomach hurts from laughing.
One “up” which may seem so minor but has been a game-changer for those of us who are spending the night, is that we got an upgrade to the reclining wheelchair contraption we were sleeping in and we now have a pull-out armchair which is a bit more comfortable and a whole lot easier to get in and out of in the middle of the night! It may seem like a minor thing, but it deserves gratitude as it provides more comfort, a better stretch, and is less cumbersome in the room. So that’s a win!
Another win has been that they are trying mom off the IV over the last few days. The doctors and nurses are monitoring and testing various combinations of oral medications to create a plan for moving forward, which would allow mom and her small gang of protective service agents, err I mean her small gang of protective angels 🙂 to go home! I am sure it isn’t always easy for the nursing staff that one of us is there most of the time, however, we have noticed there have been occasions when our presence and us keeping an eye on the communication between shift changes has resulted in the nurse double checking their notes and come back with different medications, or an explanation of what has changed and why etc. I understand that some patients or family members may not be too interested in what they are given and why, however given the various side effects that mom has experienced thus far, we are all quite vigilant so that we can be better informed about what works and what doesn’t, what mom’s response is to each medication. As mom gets stronger and more confident on her feet, she is beginning to do more for herself again, and also able to scold us if we do something “wrong”, which shockingly is quite funny and awesome to see because we know that means she is feeling better! Mom is also now more confident to spend some time alone, which may be something she desires for short amounts of time, and we are trying to respond based on her wishes and needs. I know it must be difficult for mom that we are constantly on top of her every move and every food she eats or activity she does. I also know she understands that it is important to track these things, but I imagine it must get annoying at times when you just want to live your life and not have someone ask about or know every intimate detail of your day. With more strength, comes more confidence and more independence, so I am hopeful this is the trajectory we are on right now. It is absolutely humbling for me (and I imagine for all of us) that mom trusts us on such a level that we have the privilege of being so intimately involved in her health and well-being. Thank you mom.
I am finding myself grateful for many of the nurses we’ve met during this stay, despite some frustration about a few incidents of miscommunication. These human beings are oftentimes over-worked and understaffed, yet most of them come to you with a smile and genuine care. Some of the things that we appreciate:
- When a nurse comes with the medications and explains exactly what mom is being given, and even repeats in two or three times so we can write it down in our own log.
- When it’s time to be given a painful needle and the nurse takes their time to inject it slowly and massage mom’s shoulder which reduces the pain. The injection can sometimes take nearly a minute, which is a very long time for a nurse to be bent over, while massaging and speaking encouraging words. They don’t have to do this little extra thing – yet many of them do and we are grateful.
- When the night nurse doesn’t barge into the dark room and flip on the fluorescent lights. Many of the nurses come in so quietly and carry a little flashlight while others may turn on the bathroom light so they have just enough light to do what they need to do – it is appreciated!
- When a nurse makes mom smile or laugh – this is a magic touch that some nurses have and they are a breath of fresh air.
- When a nurse shares on a very personal level, her own life story or her own family’s struggles or experiences. There have been some meaningful and personal conversations that I have only heard about from mom and I am deeply touched by the human connection that some nurses make with their patients.
Regarding the last point, mom makes it her mission to tell the nurses who are wonderful that they are wonderful. She says that some people were created for their profession, and that clearly the nurse is doing what she or he was created to do. I can see the appreciation the nurses have when they hear these encouraging words, and I agree a 100% that it’s important to build people up and let them know when they make such a positive impact in your day or life. The other thing I noticed is that mom evangelizes, perhaps without even realizing it, through three simple words: God Bless You – these are the words many of the nurses have heard escape through mom’s lips when they give the injection in the least painful way possible. I’ve heard some nurses respond with “Thank you”, some with a nervous giggle, and some just with absolute, but kind silence and a smile – it is quite powerful to watch people receive (and hopefully absorb) these three little words, yes even at 4am 🙂
Lastly, I want to share that if any of you comment here or email me, I am happy to share with mom and I know she misses seeing you and talking with you while she isn’t able to do her regular activities. Once she is out of the hospital I will also show her how to access the blog to read it anytime herself too. Mom checks her emails at least every few days and even if she isn’t able to respond to you, I think she enjoys hearing from you. As always, your prayers, well wishes and words of encouragement are very much appreciated and we thank God for you and the power of your prayers, in our prayers too.