The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143863   Message #3325405
Posted By: Bat Goddess
19-Mar-12 - 06:48 PM
Thread Name: BS: Curmudgeon's Latest Adventure
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon's Latest Adventure
Today has been one of the most difficult, stressful and exhausting days I've ever had through all of Tom's medical adventures including his heart valve replacement surgery in 2004.

But I think things are okay...for now.

When I got there, Tom had two (count 'em, two) security guards keeping watch to make sure he didn't get physically belligerent. Cindi, his nurse (she is one fantastic lady!!!) had closed the glass doors to cut down some of the constant ICU background noise. He was perusing the copy of our living will/medical power of attorney, even though I know he couldn't actually read it. It was as if Tom had regressed to age 6. The only word he knew was "No!" and he used it often. He didn't trust anyone, and, I think, only grudgingly trusted me. I think I'm now the officially responsible party. It took a bit of explaining (and some Haldol) to get him to understand that no one was trying to hurt him. ("She turned on me.") His doctor came in and the three of us had a good conversation. Tom said he would consent to his meds as long as he could read with a magnifying glass everything he was being given. (Actually, he ended up letting me confirm that the pills were what they are.) He responded best when I put the pills directly into his mouth and let him wash them down with water. He kept wanting to stand up and had to have it explained repeatedly that he had a broken ankle; he couldn't stand up. We finally were able to convince him he'd be more comfortable with both legs on the bed, and his right leg elevated. Eventually, he let Cindi make his bed more lounge chair-like and get him situated in it properly...and reconnect the heart monitor and his oxygen.

He hadn't been eating. Somehow he was put on the cardiac menu and he just didn't like that. Cindi pulled some strings, but he still didn't want to eat. Finally he said he'd like some mashed potatoes with "real butter", but when they came, he took one bite and said they didn't taste right. She also brought some chocolate Ensure, but he took one sip, announced "chemicals" and refused any more. (I tasted it and thought it tasted pretty good -- chocolate malt, actually.)

He dozed a lot, and that was a good thing. I had a pillow on the rail of the bed and rested my head on it; I was pretty tired -- I never got back to sleep after his 4:30 phone call. Cindi made up the pull out cot for me and I actually got an hour and a half nap. Tom got some good sleep, too, I think. He slept a lot this afternoon. I figured he was touch-deprived and made sure I had my hand reassuringly on his arm while I read and he dozed. I massaged his good leg, and then when he said his right leg was uncomfortable, massaged that above the cast until he asked me to stop.

By later in the afternoon he consented to his breathing treatment. He's also getting an antibiotic because he has a touch of pneumonia. Then he actually let the lab guy get enough blood. (I hope he left some inside Tom...)

I don't know if it was the Haldol or me, but he was a lot calmer when I left.

A solution would be to get him out of the ICU and into a room, probably on the cardiac floor where he can be best monitored. But there are no rooms available, so he's stuck in the ICU.

Had a nice talk with Cindi giving her a history of Tom's medical problems, the Press Room session, his leadership of the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, etc. Unfortunately she's not on tomorrow. I don't know which of us thanked the other more. I've been through a lot of medical stuff with Tom and I try to be as useful as I can. Today was pretty intense. I truly hope tomorrow (and tonight!) will be better.

I suppose I should pick up the phone and see if there are any messages. I just couldn't face that until I finished this update. Nap or not, I'm still pretty sleep-deprived. And, since I wasn't home all day, I still have things to do (and cats to pet).

I think it's a pretty good thing my DM is "punishing" me for calling out 3 times in a row by taking me off this week's schedule. I could NOT have worked today.