Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tuesday November 3 - Scared to Have Faith

Dr. Feltmate came to visit – we had a good talk. She is going to arrange for a local urologist to visit you. Dr. Feltmate is a patient attentive listener. You expressed worries about the physio and pain. She consoles you.

She brought me a book to read that a classmate had written after his brain injury. ‘Locked In, Locked Out’ by Shawn Jennings MD . He is a pysician from new Brunswick who had a car accident and a major brain bleed. He writes about his experiences and recovery. He was unable to speak for nine months and yet he got better. This book looks like it’s a must-read … for both of us.

The MRSA precautions have been lifted – Yeah – we can really hold hands again. This will make it easier for the nurses too.

You ask me “Please come back tonight and stay with me until I fall asleep.” You are very scared of being alone. You had a very bad dream that is still causing some anxiety. You are quite frightened of being alone.

You feel sorry for your left side – sorry for ‘that guy’ - that ‘guy’ is you … sorry for you - you are still coming to terms with the scope of your lost – temporary or permanent.

Apparently, you can drink coke – it’s easier to swallow then water. This seems odd to me but there is much more conscious effort to swallow a carbonated drink then other drinks. Once you get a taste of un-thickened Coke – you say “Coke is heaven’.

At lunch yesterday, I popped over to the elections office and got a special ballet form for you, so you could vote from the hospital for the election on Monday. I went to the old Douglas Street School, which is serving as an election office and a flu assessment office. There were a lot of cars there. I almost didn’t go in – I don’t want to get sick – not now. I practically hold my breath and go in. I get the forms and I washed my hands several times. I did it - I got you a form to fill out for a special ballot. You must sign the application form. The authorities compare the signature on your driver’s license to the signature on the application. I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to match your normal signature – but you did – and you did it beautifully!

Marianne came to visit – You call her ‘Marianne the Angel’. You are in a positive mood. I ask Marianne, if she would stay with the children after they are in bed so I could spend and hour or so with you while you fall asleep. She says “Of course” She is an Angel … we have many Angels around us.

Kevin came to visit. You talked about your shared passion for running. We atlked about his farm and about the chickens. He offers to take back the birds. I am relieved to have this offer. I had hoped of this and I had talked to the children about this possibilty. They were OK with it provided that one condition is met. Quinn said, “I know that Penguin Face (rooster) will be eaten but I want him to help hens make eggs first … before he dies.” “Yeah” Tara adds “We want to get eggs from our chickens so that we can hatch them out again in the spring”. I suggest this possibility to Kevin.

Janice called to tell about her last minute visit to you last night. You had Janice and Edwin laughing the whole time - the monologues that you went on were very funny. Janice is still a big fan of you raw sense of humour.

Judy the social worker came to visit briefly – We setup a family meeting for Thurs. I’m not sure what we will discuss – but it’s good to know that that resource is here.

Kristin, physiotherapist and her student, Jacinda along with Ainsley, the occupational therapist, came to visit you. Kristin gets you to do a few things to see where you are in your recovery.

You expressed your worry about falling to Dr Feltmate and she even noted it on your file, so when Kristin came in she was prepped to reassure you that you would be safe with her. You say “I want to have faith to make the leap but I’m scared.”

I guess – it’s hard to have faith right now – You don’t really know yet how close you came to dying.

You ask, “When are you coming tomorrow?” I think you like Kristin and her approach. She couldn’t say when. She said she has a lot of patients to lot at and some or very keen to work. She mentioned one guy who was disappointed yesterday because he waited all day to see her. “I hate disappointing people – He is good – he likes to participate – That’s what I like.” You said, ”Did he have big accident?” “No.” Kristin says – there’s a pause “I did” you say – another pause “You did.” Kristin says in agreement. “But you have come a long way.” She reminds you.

Kristin doesn’t know it yet but I think she will be impressed with you commitment to get better over the next few weeks. Her goal is to get you sitting on the side of your bed and get you to find balance and work your core body muscles. Even the left muscles on the body’s core are affected by the stroke – Getting these muscles to engage first will help the muscles further from the body center to engage later. This is an important skill to have for rehab.

You really are starting to come to terms with the situation – I’m glad you can talk about your fears and feel OK to ask questions. I think that must be a key first step to recovery.

Before your physio session, you were referring to your left hand as “Handy’! After the session, the name changed to the ‘Entity’. To you - your left side seems like a quiet roommate who goes where you go but you are unable to acknowledge it. To you – it’s an acquaintance – not part of you. You are very polite to your left side.

Today, you peed twice in the urinal! Another step forward.

You have a new team in Truro. It seems like a pretty good team. Dr Feltmate, many great floor nurses (most of whom – you have tried to recruit for the Cabot Trail Relay next year), Ainsely the OT, Kristin and Jacinda, physiotherapists, Jane, social worker and even an urologist. He who actually came to meet you on the same day he was contacted about your condition. In addition to the great new team – your old team and hospital are now under visitor restrictions. The children would not have been able to visit you if you were still there.

At bedtime as I tuck Quinn into bed, he is sad. To cheer him up, I suggested “If Daddy passes his swallow test tomorrow, then on Friday we could have one of Daddy’s favorite foods.” Quinn happily guessed that it would be pizza – but then suddenly Quinn cries harder. “What’s the matter?” I ask. Quinn sobs “How can we celebrate and have fun when Daddy is in the hospital – that’s not right!” I explain that I thought that having pizza with Daddy would be a way to celebrate that Daddy is getting better. “Maybe we could have pizza and a movie night on Friday in daddy’s room.” He seems a little consoled.

Marianne comes over and the children are in bed. When I get there, I just missed meeting with your new urologist. He came to see you already! I visit you for about an hour and we talk and hold hands. It almost seems like a date to me. You tell me how great I’ve been – I’m only putting this in the journal once – so I can remind you that you said it at one time – although I expect you’ll probably say – that doesn’t prove anything – I was significantly brain damaged you know.

I’m starting to think that the move to Truro was well-timed move. It will be good for you physically and emotionally. It will be good for us too.

Welcome Home … for now.

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