>I left off yesterday with the tube out, and the sedation drugs worn off. They were adamant that I not try to speak, and I couldn’t have anything to eat or drink for a while. I guess the tube was laying right against my vocal chords, and it does some stretching of the esophagus. Overall it wears out the throat to have that tube in there, and they said I’d probably have a very sore throat. Praise God, I didn’t really have a sore throat. I was being very good, and very quiet. My nurse, Shawna, came in and asked me if I knew who I was and I nodded, and where I was and I pointed at the white board that had the name of the hospital. She was actually looking for me to speak to her, so I got to say my name and “St. Anthony’s Hospital” then no more talking. But I got ICE CHIPS!
I hope ice chips are never so exciting to me again. It felt amazing, the cold ice in my hot, dry mouth. (The following is GROSS, be warned…but it’s also funny.) As I was moving my mask out of the way, getting one little piece of ice at a time, thanking God for the refreshing coolness in my mouth I realized my lips felt weird. I flicked it with my tongue, kind of bit it with my teeth, then grabbed my lip with my fingers and pulled it off. I tried really hard to not be grossed out, and Stacy was trying to figure out what was freaking me out, and I told him my lip fell off. He laughed. My mom laughed. Thankfully, my lip hadn’t fallen off, but this wax coating that they put on my lips to protect them. Whew…my lips were not falling off.
I still had some tubes and lots of wires and was stuck in that bed. They found blood in my urine and were concerned about that, so now a nephrologist was coming to see me. Tuesday was like a time warp, things went from “Whoa, it’s been 4 days?” to it seemed like every minute was dragging by. In talking to my Mom though, it was just the opposite for her. The four days of waiting, wondering, hoping I’d breath on my own again, had been dragging by, and now things were moving along fast.
Wednesday I was still just getting ice chips, and they sent speech in. She came in with apple sauce and graham crackers. I had to swallow and say “ahhh” after every swallow. We tried regular water, thickened juice, the applesauce, and the graham crackers. Chew, swallow, “ahhh” – and she felt me swallow with her fingers. I passed – they brought me a lunch menu and I ordered a sandwich. I got to finish the applesauce she’d brought in and I had real food on its way!
My sandwich arrived and let me tell you, that was the best three bites of food I’d ever had. My tummy was full very fast, and I was exhausted. Luckily they have this fascinating IV nutrition, and they kept me on that until Thursday morning. I got to order dinner on Wednesday night – I ordered fajitas, but got quesadillas, but they were alright. Eating was pretty exhausting and couldn’t eat very much.
Wednesday was a day of milestones! Tuesday they removed the ventilator tube and the stomach tube, then Wednesday I was eating on my own, they took me off the face mask to a nasal canula with oxy-mizer, and they moved me out of “the unit” – I went to a regular hospital room! Thursday morning I had finished the final bag of IV nutrition, so other than receiving one more dose of IV antibiotics my IV was just capped off in case they needed it to give me something. I actually had a fancy IV, a pick line. This line went in my right arm, all the way over to my heart, it was actually better than any IV I’d ever had, and they could draw blood from it, and put medicine in it – it was great. It cut down on all the needle sticks – and trust me I’d had plenty of them. My arms are very bruised and full of little holes, luckily they are all healing up fairly quickly.
Wednesday evening I got to see my kids! I was already thanking God for my life, then to see my kids again, sure did my heart good. It was also very hard. They weren’t with me for 10 minutes and I was exhausted, and I knew I had a long way to go. I can’t lift my oldest at all, and I can barely lift my youngest – I’d lost a lot of muscle mass and I am incredibly weak still.
Stacy brought the boys up again on Thursday for a couple of hours, then again on Friday.
They kept turning the oxygen down, and on Friday I got to walk to the cafeteria with Stacy, my mom and the boys. We got the boys some lunch, and hung out for a bit then went back up to my room. All that time, off the oxygen, and I was maintaining.
On Friday afternoon my mom came down to my apartment so she could shower and help get the house ready for me – and she did a great job. I haven’t had to worry about chores since I got home and that has been very helpful. Shortly after she left, Stacy took the boys back to Pop and Grandma’s, so I spent some time alone. I was an absolute wreck. I knew I was going to have a long road to full recovery, I was getting way too tired, way too easily, and Mom was leaving the next day. It was looking like I’d be going home, and I was thankful for the thought of being home in my bed, but the thought of Mom leaving was too much. I kept crying. I really wanted to pack up a suitcase and follow her with the boys.
Stacy came back and we watched TV, went down to the late night cafeteria, and just hung out. We stayed up kind of late, and I remember being super annoyed every time they woke me up for something. When I finally got up about 9am Saturday morning there was a note from Mom that she was on the road, we had been sleeping good and she didn’t want to wake us up. I cried. And cried. In fact, I cried randomly throughout the day yesterday. I wasn’t ready for her to go home yet, but I knew she needed to head that way – and it’s not exactly responsible to pack up two kids, two suitcases, and leave the state.
They let me come home yesterday, and Mom made it home safe and sound. All the prayers for safe travel were answered, the weather was not too bad, and she made really great time – took about 13 hours for her to get home. It was good to know that my Mom was going to get to sleep in her home in her bed the same night as I was getting to sleep in my home in my bed, but it’s Sunday and I’m still not ready for her to not be here.
Thankfully our heavenly Father offers us peace that transcends understanding, and every time I told Him my heart on the matter He gave me peace and comfort. I still miss my Momma, and I still want to find a solution to the miles between us, but I have peace from God, and I know He works all things together for those who believe in Him. I know God has a plan, He has a purpose, He has the desires of my heart held gently in His hand, and I will seek Him on the possibility of moving closer to my family.