Friday, March 18, 2011

A Long Week

With the ER Scare behind us, Rachael was blessed with several good days.  The storming of the ER night was greeted the next day with smiles and laughter.  The 16th was a busy day as Nancy, with the great help from the staff at Heartland, tried to find a cause for the emergency the night before.  In the end it was decided that it was a false alarm in reaction to the symptoms associated with a fistula.  These visual symptoms were brought on by other means.  Nancy and others at Heartland have verified that all is well.

Rachael continues to display 3 main manifestations of emotions: laughter, tears and frustration.  We have learned that simply turning her to a different position can alleviate the frustration and tears at times.  Upon other occasions, nothing seems to help.  Her feeding formula has changed as Nancy noticed that shortly after feedings, she became frustrated.  We met with the dietitian yesterday during a care meeting to discuss the options. Imodium and a new food formula were offered to help ease Rachael's stomach.  I stayed late tonight to see if the new formula would have a negative impact but she remained pretty much unchanged after the feeding.

Yesterday, prior to our Care meeting, a Physical Therapist from a rehab equipment company demonstrated a type of light neuro massage that helped Rachael to relax.  With a brain injury, contraction problems occur when an avalanche of signals coming from the brain tell the cells of the muscle to contract.  No signals are getting back to the brain to cause it to send another signal to relax.  With the technique that was demonstrated, we noticed immediate relaxation of the contracted right side.  Rachael leans strongly to the right, her arm and leg contract on that side.  It is not a permanent fix.  We learned tonight; as with so many elements of this season, it is not consistent.  Thursday was a big day for focus on rehab.  We hope to get a splint on her leg to help with lessening the impact of the contractions.  The Physical Therapist and others in the room commended Nancy on keeping Rachael flexed, stretching her out and working the muscles.  Rachael laughed and smiled all day.  Nancy had a blast.

Nancy.  She is amazing.  I have had several staff members tell me that my wife is just that, amazing.   She is an inspiration to these folks.  Many of them are an inspiration to her.  One nurse, Sunilda is a blessing to both Nancy and I.  She is a very thoughtful and Godly woman and the Lord has used her in our lives.

Today Nancy was visited by some moms from her class at Calvary Chapel School.  They were a huge blessing to Nancy on a not so good day with Rachael.  Rachael smiled briefly today and remained frustrated or distressed throughout the day and into the night.  It is hard to see her like that.  Nancy was looking at a long hard day when these moms showed up and literally brought her to tears when she described how they jumped in to help and touched her heart with the thoughtful gifts and encouraging words.  Later, we opened an envelope and we both were astonished at what they left.  We simply welled up with praises for the school, the moms and our Lord.  Thank you so very much for your generosity and thoughtful gifts.  Calvary Chapel School is not a School, it is a family!  I just called and Rachael has been having a very good nights sleep.

Nancy wanted me to share this:

The other day this elderly woman in a wheel chair was sitting alone in the family room at Heartland.  The room is a bit rustic by design, giving off a late afternoon sunset orange ambiance blended with a sepia tone that comes from lots of wood and tinted light.  There are round tables, a 'bar', popcorn machine, a couch, a flat screen TV and two internet computers.   It is a clinical attempt at eclecticism.  It is comfortable in contrast to the fluorescent bright, sound bouncing patient rooms. Oh yes, there is also coffee.It is not the best coffee available in town, but it is the only coffee available at Heartland, with the exception of course of Rachael's room.  We have setup a small coffee maker.  Rachael responds to the grinder and often smiles when she hears it grinding the anticipatory cacophony of many beans pulverized.  Music it is, to the right ears.   So on St. Patrick's day, there was the kind and lonely lady in her wheel chair and she softly asked for a cup of coffee.  A family member of another resident informed her that the coffee was old and cold.  I felt sorry for my sister in need of a barrister.  Finally I told her that I was going back to make a brew and would love to bring her a good cup of Joe.  She delighted in this and said she would either be in the family room or in the dining room eating.
Now caffeine is a drug and it stimulates  the body due to the fact that the body is doing what it can to get it out of our system.  It is a poison to our temple and the temple is kicking it out.  Our heart rate goes up, the BP  notches ever higher, we move faster, all to get rid of caffeine.  Proudly thinking, "Wow, what a great way to show Jesus to this woman."  I bounded off to perform this great deed of giving an old woman fresh ground poison to lift her spirits.  Of course, in the name of our Lord.
Well I made the coffee and briskly walked down the hall knowing that I was doing a great deed for this kindly aged comrade of caffeine.  She was not in the family room so I swept into the wheel chair packed dining room like Gene Kelly doing anything and set the coffee on her table.  In character I said "One cup of coffee for you ma'am, will there be anything else...."
"STOP!" shouted an alert aide as she lunged for the coffee over the table; "She can not have coffee!"
My sweet treasure who stirred thoughts of all that was good from the Greatest Generation abruptly had her coffee taken right out of her feeble fingers.  Then in a harsh tone with an affect reserved, I would think, for her most ill behaved great grandchild but directed to the aide  "Never mind her she does not know what she is talking about!"  Those that could turn their heads, did.  For a moment I felt as though I was Moses and these were my people, yearning for freedom from this decaf tyranny. The aide was Nurse Rached and I was McMurphy ready to rally the patients and take on the oppressors.  Then I noticed the sudden change in the old woman's countenance.  It scared me.  I lost my affection towards her and gathered my senses.
In a sweetly stern tone I was informed that this woman often tries to get people to give her coffee.  It is not at all good for her.  I then learned an important fact about nursing and rehab facilities.  There are manipulators waiting for unsuspecting do-gooders to give them candy, coffee and other contraband.   Many folks in these facilities are on very restricted diets.  Always, ALWAYS check with someone prior to giving them anything.   Even a glass of water.

Sobering it is that a time may come in our lives when we are not allowed to have a cup of coffee.  Be thankful for chewing, swallowing and being able to sip a cup of coffee or tea.  Be thankful for all things.

1 comment:

dorothy said...

This is so funny. You had me in tears and smiling all the same time. Thanks for sharing. God is good.