Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Two Months Alive Day and Using My Big Mouth

Today we celebrate TWO MONTHS ALIVE DAY!

This journey is exhausting, but it is well worth it to come out on top.  My best piece of advice for today is stay vigilant and DON'T STAY QUIET!  Today's entry has a couple of times where I had to open my mouth to get things done to protect Derek.  Again, I don't know how these kids who have no one or have someone who is afraid to assert him/herself gets by.  I have a big mouth and I am not afraid to use it.

I met a fabulous family today.  Jessica Allen, her husband, Chaz, and their two beautiful daughters came to visit.  Chaz is a wounded warrior who is in rehab now.  Jessica gave me such hope.  What a fighting spirit!  Getting Team Allen and Team McConnell together would cause some serious trouble!  Watch out, WRNMMCB!

Derek had his 29th surgery today.  It was a long one between PACU and surgery.  He went down to PACU at 05:30 and returned to his room at 13:00.  When he returned from PACU he desatted again.  He vitals dropped.  He couldn't breathe.  The nurse was on it immediately and suctioned him.  That helped.  Derek said to her, "Thank you for basically saving my life."

Derek later asked each doctor who came in if an order could be entered to deep suction him while he was still in PACU.  I will make sure I get to PACU from now on and check with him if it is needed.  I thought that he would be okay there.

Respiratory was called to check on him and give him a breathing treatment after the incident.  She was an idiot.  This is the one who asked Krystina to lift Derek by herself the other day.

His nurse was working on his lines, I was straightening up his tray, Krystina was reading, and Derek was drinking, so he had his PMV (Passy Miur Valve) in place.  He cannot drink without the valve for fear of aspiration.  The cup was sitting on his chest.  The RT did her thing and turned to leave.  As she did, she stopped and yelled at the nurse for the position of the oxygen tank.  When she left, I commented to the nurse that there is a right and wrong way to say something to someone, and that was definitely the wrong way.  The nurse said that with Derek having difficulty breathing, everyone's attention was on him and not on the tank.

Derek continued to drink, and then he tried to speak to us.  He banged the bed and we all turned.  This was over a period of not more than two minutes.  He waived his arms and I asked him what happened to his valve?  The RT had taken out his valve!!  Derek could have aspirated!  He was having difficulty breathing, and she saw that he was drinking, but she removed his valve and left the room!  She had no reason to take out that valve at that minute!  We all had our backs turned and never noticed what she did.  The nurse sent me out to tell the charge nurse immediately and told me she would write her up.

I complained to the charge nurse and LT McMahon was in the room within ten minutes.  Less than one week on the floor and I've met with LT McMahon, the assistant to the floor chief twice already and reported TWO respiratory therapists.  Respiratory is going to hate us.  Oh well.  They need to step it up and do their jobs properly!  Maybe it's time I went to Respiratory myself.  I want Eliana or Angela.
I made it known to LT McMahon that the nurse and I were not happy about what she did.  It was clear Derek was drinking and she should never have removed the valve, especially given what had just happened, without taking the drink away and without telling one of us!  LT McMahon told me that it would be handled, and he told me that the problem from last Saturday was dealt with. 

Oh, the bitch of Room 431 is on a roll.  Make it with taylor ham and we'll have lunch!

But surgery went well.  The big, bad butt wounds that have been giving him all the trouble are finally closed!  Woot!  They washed out the arm and replaced the antibiotic beads.  The flap is scheduled for Monday, barring any problems over the weekend.  White count is 10.5, so unless it spikes over the weekend....  pray not.  Derek is most concerned that they will mess up his tattoos when they take the portion for the transfer, but they have promised not to touch any of his precious tattoos. 

Dr. Dan came for a visit!  I had Dr. Randy and Dr. Dan together again!  Love those guys.  I wish I could keep them working with Derek until he is discharged.  We talked about Derek's pain med experience, since Randy is now on the pain service, and Dan told Randy that Derek is a "methadon't" patient.  And the Sec of Defense walked by while the four of us (Krystina too) were chatting in the hall.  No big deal.
Derek starting singing, "Let's Get Physical" and told Krystina to get his bands so they could do his OT!
They did a chest x-ray because of the desat issue, and it was negative for issues that might have caused that problem.  The pneumonia is moving in the right direction, but it is still prevalent.  Derek is alert and asking a lot of questions.  He is very with it.  He is aware of his surroundings, asking for people he wants to visit (now that he is off droplet and on the ward it is a lot easier to have visitors), making phone calls when he has enough breath to speak for longer periods of time, and generally taking a larger role in his care.  However, when it comes to making decisions and signing consents, he still wants no part of it.  He said I am his good luck charm, and he doesn't feel like he can make those decisions, yet.

An example of another problem that needed my big mouth was with dietary, two days in a row.  I called to order dinner.  Derek is on full liquids.  His stomach cannot handle solids.  Full liquids means milk shakes, puddings, yogurts, apple sauce, etc.  If he was on a clear liquid diet, it would be juices, broth, etc.  I ordered him a milk shake and pudding.  I was told he was on clear liquids and couldn't have it.  He argued with me!  I walked outside and got the nurse.  She pulled up the orders and called dietary herself.  They argued with her, but she prevailed.

Derek met with the VA rep yesterday.  He got some excellent information.  He is entitled to apply for his SSI benefits now.  He has been on my case to get right on it, because he wants Krystina and me to have that benefit, and he wants me to have help supporting my kids at home.  He knows I have been doing this on my own for years without help.  Derek is lying in a hospital bed fighting to get his life back and is worrying about his sublings having enough to eat, clothes to wear and their necessities met.  Derek is a good man.
Shhhhhh..... don't tell Dr. West!  I spelled my name wrong on one of the consents, and I got the date seriously wrong.  I said August 20th.  It's a good thing I'm not the patient!

Derek is truly inspirational.  I'm just along for the ride.  I've been forced into this as a product of a bad situation.  I was craving Chinese food, so Krystina and I ordered some tonight.  My "fortune" said:  "courage comes through suffering."  If that's the case, Krystina, Derek and I are truly a bunch of brave mamma jammers at this point, but especially Derek, because Derek has suffered greatly.  But we already knew he was a brave, wonderful man.

Remember:  "Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there."  I thank God for all of the great friends who have come forward to help us during this journey through hell and made the road a little easier.  For those who have made the road rockier, please stay out of the way.

"Whenever God Closes One Door He Always Opens Another, Even Though Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway."  We are in the hallway right now, but the door is getting closer. 

"Worry looks around, sorry looks back, faith looks up."  Don't feel sorry for Derek.  He doesn't feel sorry for himself.

When life gives you lemons, get some tequila and salt and I'll be right over!!!

Good night, sleep tight, Thank you for everything!

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