After 50 days in ICU and almost losing my brave, wonderful boy, at 15:00, we finally escorted Derek down the hall, into the elevators and up to the 4th floor of Building 10 (SICU is 3rd floor of Building 9A). The 4th floor is the first step towards becoming an outpatient and rehabilitation.
One of our favorite nurses, Peter and two corpsman pushed the heavy bed, Krystina carried our two, overladen pocketbooks, and I pushed the heavy as sin mechanical wheelchair packed with Derek's things from Room 318 in ICU to our new home on 4-central.
It was a bittersweet moment. A few tears were shed....mostly mine. I was thrilled for Derek that he was well enough to take this next step, but I am nervous as sin that he is not ready. I trust the doctors that they would not have sent him on his way if he was not ready, but what if? We will also miss all of the wonderful nurses we have come to know so well.
They sent him along with a corpman who will be in the room with him 24/7 until he is more independent. At this point, he cannot even manage his own food tray. With only one working hand, his non-dominant hand, and the inability to sit up straight and freely move himself due to the x-fixes in his pelvis, he still needs help.
The good news is that there is no fungus or other infections growing in the arm at the present time. They have them under control. Therefore, either next Friday or the following Monday, Derek can finally receive the flap on his arm. At that time, we will be back in SICU for a few days, but then the x-fixes will be off of his arm and he will have a little more mobility. He will not have use of that hand; however, until they perform extensive surgery on it. To keep his fingers nimble and from clawing up, we have to move them almost every hour.
Infectious disease is also talking about setting end dates for some of Derek's antibiotics. The end is finally in sight. He is closer to the edge of the woods then ever before.
Derek came so close to leaving us. God must have a wonderful plan for him. He is a strong, wonderful boy who has overcome so much in his life. NO ONE can tell this boy what to feel, think, believe, etc. The doctors have been amazed at his ability to express himself, even while under the control of strong medications. He may not remember dates and whether he was nauseous yesterday, but he knows what he wants and how to get it. When asked about his medical condition, he tells the nurse to check with me, because I know better. On all other matters, he is in control. He has been for weeks.
The only problems today were our final bit of drama on the third floor. This doesn't only fit that situation, but life in general --- I do not understand why some people feel the need to insert themselves into other people's business. Unless you know the entire story, and unless you walk even half a block in the other person's shoes, don't comment and don't defend the other side. You just don't know. You don't know the history. You don't know the whole story. So please just keep out of it, especially if it is a situation like this one where we are already dealing with so much.
This matter involved a family member bad mouthing other families on the unit for bits of converastions that she overhead as if she knew the whole story.
The other problem was with RT - respiratory therapy. The RT showed up to do Derek's RT just when he was eating, each time. At breakfast, he was asked to return a half hour later. He didn't return. At lunch, I had not yet started to feed him, so we waited until after therapy. But at dinner (17:00), I had just started to feed him when she walked in. I made a comment that it was ridiculous that it was scheduled for the same time as the meals were scheduled. She started bitching at me that it wasn't her fault, that this was NOT ICU, and that I couldn't set my own schedule. Excuse me? I told her I wasn't trying to set my own schedule, I was simply expressing the opinion that it was tough to have the RT scheduled at the same time as the food trays because he needed the RT, but he also needed to eat, and I couldn't let the food go cold. Also, inasmuch as he had already started to eat, if she did it within the next half hour, he would vomit. She took a real attitude with me then, and I told her to back down the attitude, and how did she respond? She had the nerve to tell me to back down MY attitude!
Oh. hell. no. You DO NOT yell at a family member. I told her to leave the room, and she said no. The corpsman (Darin) stood up and asked her to leave. She said she would be back "when SHE IS GONE!!" I told her that would never happen because I rarely leave his bedside, and it would be a cold day in hell when she was allowed back in my son's room.
Darin immediately apologized to me for her behavior while Krystina and I burst out laughing. The nurse, and later the charge nurse, both came in an apologized. They promised me that someone else would be in to take care of the RT as soon as they were sure the food had settled.
She became defensive over my not liking the schedule that was not her fault. Am I not allowed to disapprove of the shedule? I am an attorney. I have clients on the phone, in court, and in my office screaming at me for things that judges do or for their ex-husbands or wives not complying with court orders and me not getting them too! I have to understand that they are stressed with the situation in which they find themselves, and that it is not ME they are yelling at, but they are just frustrated. If I got defensive and yelled back, I would lose all of my clients.
In this situation, I wasn't even saying anything to her. I was saying to Krystina that the scheduling of it stunk. No accounting for attitude.
Remember our noisy neighbors from last night? At 21:30, I knocked on the door and asked them to be quiet. They refused to open the door but told me they could hear us talking, too. That was impossible because at 20:30, Krystina was under the covers trying to fall asleep, and we said nothing more to each other until I came back from their room. They didn't settle down for a while. At 5-something this morning, the loud laughing and talking started again. I sat up, banged on the wall and screamed "shut the F up!" Yes, I was aggravated. I am sorry for the foul language, but I was done. Rude and inconsiderate. I called the office (there is no front desk) and complained. Don't know if anyone was in to talk to them today, but tonight they seem quiet.
So far the nurses on 4 seem nice. We will get to know them. I have just become attached to the SICU team. Suzanne is pictured above with Derek. She was Derek's nurse his first night in the SICU (CCU then). She came to say "good-bye" before Peter wheeled us out.
We will miss so many of the wonderful nursing staff -- Peter, too, and all of his teasing. This morning, he was showing a new corpsman the ropes and I walked in, sans mask. He started singing, "One of these kids is not the like the other. One of these kids is doing his own thing!" Took me a minute to pick up on it. He was picking on me for not wearing my mask.
Derek is still on droplet precaution. If we have a cold or something, we could transfer it to him, but mostly, it is to protect us. I've had doctors walk in and tell me they will take the chance. I was waiting for Suzanne to bring me one of the tying masks. I can breathe better with them!
And Derek is still on contact protection. Same reasoning, but we have to keep him free from infection from our clothing, and from us taking anything he might have outside the room on our clothing, so we wear these horrid, yellow gowns.
I will be very happy when those precautions are lifted.
Until then, we are thankful for all of the blessings that we have. Derek has come a long way.
P.S. I wish I could respond individually to the comments in the Guestbook. I do try to read them all. There just isn't enough time.
But @ Julie Terry - Aaron was in the room next to ours in SICU. Being from Ft. Drum, I felt a pull towards Kat and made sure I greeted her the night she arrived. Sweet lady.