Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Sorry For Your Troubles"

When Skip's father died, and we spent a lot of time at wakes and his funeral, I heard a lot of friends and family saying to Skip and her siblings, "sorry for your troubles," as part of their condolences. We picked up on that phrase and use it here at home as an acknowledgement of rough times.

Well, if there ever was a time to acknowledge the roughness, this is it. Skip's in a bad way. Her wound is getting worse and will require major changes in her life to get it to heal.

On Tuesday, Skip is going in for day surgery (late in the day) to have the wound cleaned up (debrided) in a more controlled environment than the clinic setting. The plastic surgeon should be able to get all the junk removed and set up the wound for healing. At that time, they'll reattach the wound vac.

She'll spend at least a few days in the hospital. Actual duration is still TBD, but I am hopeful that we can get the special bed that's been ordered delivered to our home ASAP so she can spend a short time in the hospital and then come right home to the bed. (I'll provide more details on the special mattress that promotes circulation when I get the official name of it and can look it up on the web.)

My experience with hospitals and their ability to handle the special needs of the handicapped is poor. Skip is staying at a different hospital than the one she's been in twice before. Here, I am trying my best to get her needs identified in advance in the hope that they'll be prepared.

The only other time Skip had day surgery, there was an expectation that I'd get her changed into a gown and set up on a gurney and NO ONE helped me! The surgeon's office contacted the patient advocate at the hospital where he's affiliated and I spoke with her yesterday. She is going to work with 1) surgical day care so they're prepared to provide me with assistance, 2) the in-hospital wound nurse so she can order a special mattress for Skip and 3) will prep the staff on the floor where Skip stays so they'll understand her special needs. She also reinforced that I should feel free to call her if any issues arise.

This is the lowest I've ever seen Skip. Her life has altered for the worse ... she's not out of bed for long each day. She is in constant pain. She's stressed out and that is causing her to be very weak, so often her arms and hands barely function. She anticipates that she'll be lying in bed for 6 months healing and this will have a permanently debilitating effect on her, so she'll slide downhill quickly as far as upper body strength and arm/hand functionality (I, too, worry about this). Yep, things are pretty grim in Skip's world view.

I was pretty damned cranky about things for a while, but just recently a switch clicked in my brain and I've emerged from the worst of that so I am now in a better place to provide emotional support to Skip. I hope I can keep the switch clicked. I've always been there for the physical care, but sometimes I'm just not available for the emotional care when I'm in my own dark and dismal place.

Think good thoughts about Skip and her wound on Tuesday. Wish her luck for successful surgery and her embarkation onto a healthy recovery. Oh, and wish me luck for the strength to be supportive and wonderful to Skip now in her time of greatest need.


upstater said...

Dear Cranky,
I am sorry for your troubles--yikes, you and Skip will be in my thoughts.

I keep seeing references to Skip's pain--maybe while she is in the hospital she can see a pain or palliative care specialist. My partner sees a palliative care specialist (outpatient) and has gotten good relief with her various types of pain. Just a thought.

Sending strength and good vibes--online.

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
Sad to hear Skip's wound is getting worse, hope the treatment on Tuesday will clear the dead tissue so healing can start.
I did not totally lie down, half sat up, just must not put pressure on wound.
I have a table over the bed that tilts with an raised edge to stop the laptop falling on to me, table tilts flat for meals.
Last autumn noticed my arms were very weak and I had virtually no muscles in my upper arm. I started to do 30 minutes of arm exercises every day and have built up muscle on my arms, especially upper arm.
I am noticing that my hands and arms benefit from my doing the exercises.
Richie doing leg exercises and massage in the morning is very good too, (good for blood circulation)
Eat alot of fish, its good for promoting healing.
Would have gone mad without my laptop, audio books and tv and dvd player and radio.
Will be thinking of you both and especially about Skip on Tuesday.
Big hugs.
Lots of love.

Lisa Emrich said...

I hope that Tuesday's procedure goes well. Sounds like it will be a very rough time while this wound helps. But as Herrad can attest, healing IS possible. I'll be thinking of both of you, and I too am sorry for your troubles.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cranky! I'm sending the most positive wishes I can muster. I do hope you can keep that switch clicked too. Good luck and take care of you both!

Cranky said...

Upstater - thanks for your good wishes and the suggestion re pain management. Makes good sense.

Herrad - I like the idea of the table that tilts. Skip has a table that rolls up to her wheelchair now but it doesn't tilt. We'll have to look into those. I've read of you and your exercises and have already mentioned to the nurse who manages her case that we'll need to see what we can do about having the PT set up an exercise program like yours.

Lisa - thanks so much.

Rain - thanks for your positive wishes.

awb said...

Hey Cranky, hope Skip makes out well on Tuesday, I will be thinking of you both. Ikea sells an inexpensive little laptop table, it's adjustable, and tilts, yeah, I know! I look around and wonder sometimes, how did I get here? Good luck,


Ana said...

I just visited Herrad's blog and she gave us your blog.
I am sending you good vibes and I hope Skip gets better.

Grammy said...

Good wishes for Skip's procedure to be successful on Tuesday with an easy recovery. And my hope that all of the details fall into place quickly.

Taxingwoman said...

Hi! Cranky
Hope all goes well. I understand your concerns about the hospital. Every time I have been there I was incapacitated and Oh! what an awful feeling to be dependent on others all the time.
Some care, others don't.

You at least are in a less cranky place, which is good, not that there is anything wrong with being cranky. I am at least a couple of times per day and I don't have nearly as much on my plate as you do.

Have Myelin? said...

I am sorry for Skip's troubles but I am especially sorry for yours. I know your heart feels heavy but we are more resilient than we think and as odd as that may sound sometimes that pisses me off.

zoomdoggies said...

Cranky - I'm sorry to hear that you guys are having such a tough time. Keep each other out of that dark and dismal place.

Cranky said...

Andy, Ana, Grammy, Carole, Sherry and Zoomster - thanks so much for your notes. They mean a lot to me and to Skip. She loves to have me read comments folks leave on posts.