Thursday, October 6, 2011

Almost Less of a Patient, More of a Person

Today was pick on me day, and Derek loved it.  Seeing me get picked on all day gave him such joy and pleasure.

Master Sgt Bell came in and told Derek how she knew I was upset.  I'm a little bumble bee flitting from one thing to the next and never sitting still.  The look on her face as she explained this was hysterical.
SSgt Anson Jones showed up and hassled me.  He is Derek's squad leader.  It doesn't help that he is bigger than me.  He made me call Ford Roadside Assistance and take care of my car today even though I did not want to leave the hospital at that time to go meet with the tow truck.  Sat down with me and would not stop staring at me and picking on me until I called them to get my car towed to a dealer for service.  And did he pick on me!  I matched him comment for comment, but he kept going.

But he got his.  He wanted out of there before the brass arrived but he got caught!

Gen Bill Wall paid a visit to the ward today and visited with Derek for a few minutes.  These visits do help with his state of mind.  Gen. Wall was very nice.

However, while SSgt Jones was in the room, Dr. Perdue came in.  Derek and Anson ganged up on me to Doc Perdue about me taking time for myself.  Doc Perdue wrote me a prescription!  It says, "Fix car.  Take care of self."  I won't fill that.  Not yet.

And Dr. West and Dr. Goodlett also picked on me today.

The nurse said they pick on me because I meet them toe-to-toe, line for line.

But I did try to fix my car.  I met Roadside Assistance and they jump started the car.  He said it was just a dead battery and if I let it run for half and hour it would be fine.  They are coming back tomorrow because when I turned it off, it would not start again.

Dr. Howard and Dr. Martin from plastics came to check the flap.  Dr. Martin said he missed us "this much" and help his arms open wide and gave me a big hug!  Then Dr. Howard gave hugs.  I do love Derek's primary docs.  They said the flap looks good.  Friday will be a dressing change in the OR, not the PACU like they would normally do because of his BP issues.

While there, Drs. Howard and Martin helped move Derek in the bed to make him comfortable.  Unfortunately, the bed was broken and they needed to get the bed company to send a new one.  The head was not inflating properly.

Over the last three days Derek's white count has been holding steady in the 11's.  Infectious disease is happy and planning on stopping all antibiotics on Monday.  Three days later they will culture his wounds, and if nothing grows, no more contact precautions!

Dr. West said Derek is becoming less of a patient and more of a person every day.  We celebrate his successes and try to downplay his setbacks.

Have I said I love Dr. Ronald Goodlett?  Yes, I think I have.  Derek was getting ProStat.  It's a protein syrup that was put into his G-tube, but this new tube is so thin that some of the nurses were using the J-tube.  When Dr. Bograd found out, he nixed that and said it had to be given orally.  Yuck!  It tastes nasty!  I told Dr. G to drink it first, and he refused.  He then told me if I make Derek drink a protein shake or drink every day, he will DC the ProStat.  I agreed.  He then told Derek if he throws up because of it, it is my fault!  Brat.

But we love him.  Derek's G tube was seriously clogged tonight.  They were going to have to insert a tube into his nose to relieve his gastric distress.  The nurse was working on the tube with this solution, and I was sent to get Coke.  A bratty nursing student accompanied me on the run, picking on me the entire way.
After the nurse couldn't get the tube cleared, Dr. G worked on it.  He got it!  He was very pleased with himself.

The LPN in the room with Derek for the night did not give me a lot of confidence.  I tried to talk to him about Derek's needs for the night and he just stared at me. Derek's needs with the flap are increased.  I tried telling this gentleman to watch him carefully so that he did not move it.  Last night he woke up and started pulling on his arm, trying to move it, because he was confused and momentarily forgot when he first woke up.  When I warned this man to watch for that, he just stared at me.  Not the response I needed.  Communication is very important to me.  I spoke to the charge nurse, but she had never worked with this man.  She saw my face and switched out the one-to-ones.  I felt so much better. 

I do not mean to be difficult.  I am simply advocating for Derek.  He cannot fight this battle himself right now.  He did his fighting.  He will fight again.  He is doing so much more for himself every day.  Hopefully soon I will be able to step back and let him take over completely.  That will be a wonderful day.  Until then, I have to be here to be his voice and his advocate.

Today Derek received a very special gift.  Sgt Chris Brown and his two sisters, Tracy Brown Lane and Dana Brown Ritter, Mike Ritter (Dana's husband), and their father, Chris Brown visited.  Sgt Brown brought a flag dedicated to Derek and signed by Derek's company, who are still in Afghanistan.  It was very moving and cheered him up a lot.  Because of the flap surgery, Derek is restricted in his movement and cannot sit up.  Krystina and I read the signatures to him and he smiled.  "Go go power rangers," "you are my hero," and so many other wonderful comments.  The guys really miss him, and Derek misses them.  The flag is hanging in Derek's room where he can see it.

All in all today was not a bad day. 

Derek and Krystina continue to grow and their relationship is just adorable.

Krystina gave Derek some soda, and Derek said to her, "woah! Little people, big world!  I'm trusting you on this. It's a big mission."  Then when the TV broke, he called out, "I need an adult!  Stat!  You don't count, Krystina.  You're too short."  When I told him she was the only one who knew how to fix it, he told her he would give her a pass that time.

They bust on each other, but they love each other.  I am blessed to see them cling to each other during this time.

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