Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just Sit Right Back

Caution- A Not So Happy Post

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip
That ended up in ICU because of med blip, because of a med blip.

Please excuse my attempts at humor.
I bring this post today to share "A Day in the Life."
Because I look around at where I've been this last three weeks and see we are surely not the only one going through this.
I guess I want to put it out there because of a comment made to me by a concerned visitor.  She said, "Well, I've actually never had anyone in ICU before."  Wow, I guess I didn't know you could be older than me and that be true.
Actually, Jimi is currently in a step down intermediate unit, but if you have been blessed to have never walked this road I would just want to say if you know someone who is, I want to tell you how the day can be.
This morning went relatively smoothly considering it took over an hour to make a twenty minute trip this frosty 10 degree morning.  You look forward to Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy, because you feel like it makes your patient encouraged that they are getting better.  They told us they would come Saturday and Sunday, but know one ever came.
Today OT showed up and you hold your breath because again today they have battled his blood pressure all day long and if it has not come down therapy is out.  Thankfully it is down to 170, which you and I think is horrible, but they are rejoicing over. It is an ordeal to get someone with a picc line, a trach, GI tube and catheter ready to sit up. After fifteen minutes he was finally ready to get down to business, when someone shows up at the door with a stretcher saying it is time for a test somewhere else in the hospital and no they can't wait. Though you are sad for the interruption, knowing there won't be a second opportunity, you are glad for a test you've been asking about for a week. Next is the ordeal of transferring him to that stretcher.  He is in a panic, thinks he can't breathe, which panics me.  By this time we are in hall and the nurse is trying to find out if she can accompany him or at least hook him up to some oxygen.  She tells me that she can't go with him, but can do the oxygen and so gets him ready and a call comes that they are backed up and can't do the test and back to putting him back to bed with no OT and no Test again today.
Between those who are caring for Jimi, we've been asked daily if he had any kidney problems before this ordeal.  Each and every time we say that, "Yes, he was going to a kidney clinic."   So today, Doctor Kidney walks in and comes over to the bed and says, after three weeks, "Hmm, I think I recognize this man, I think he goes to my clinic."  "Does he wear, ummm...."  "Bib overalls," I knowingly filled in his blank. "Yes, with all kinds of different pens in the pocket?" In my mind, "Why yes, as a matter of fact this man you've looked at every day for three weeks, the one in the picture on this door in said bibs, is that very same man."
Doctor Kidney, cutie pie, I need to ask you to step outside while I have a complete and total come apart.
One doctor comes in and tells you how great he's doing while another one  tells you how awful thing are.
Then the Respiratory guy comes in, same guy as yesterday and tells Jimi it's time for a treatment and Jimi says, "Are you going to be here Saturday?" and the man says, "Yes."  So Jimi tells him we'll do the treatment then. This from a man who has no idea what day it is.  So, the guy walks right out the door without doing the treatment. What?
Jimi's ICU dementia is by turns sweet, funny, horrible and terrifying.
This morning he told the doc that I was his baby sister, which I am. This afternoon, he has no idea who I am.
You retell him why he's there and what they are doing, sometimes every fifteen minutes, for hours. Then your balloon pops when they ask him where he is and he can't tell them.
You are terrified to go to the bathroom without putting the restraints on and every time you have to do it  your heart is broken.
When he tells you that it is time get out of here you know there isn't much you wouldn't give to make that true for him.
And every single day you are torn between a job that deserves the best of you and a brother who may not have anyone else to be in the trenches with him that day. And your asked to make hard decisions you don't ever want to make for another person. And your having some confusion yourself about how it could be November 18 already and didn't you just do laundry?  Then you pay for something to eat you don't really like and a hefty parking fee to finish off your day.  And the thing is, it is just what needs doing and so you keep trying to make it all work, along with SuzieQ and Tish.
So, all that to say, when you know someone is in such a place, remember to be merciful- if they want to talk, because retelling the drama seems to lessen it somehow, if they don't want to talk, if they aren't quite sure what day it is, if they are late, or slow to answer because their mind is somewhere else, if they cry, or maybe yell a little.
And know, each prayer you pray and kind deed you do and sweet response you give is a blessing.


  1. What a nightmare you are living through. Please know we are sending you lots of hugs and prayers. I do know it is as difficult on family and friends as it is the patient. DO take care of yourself, too! Sure hope next week is a better one.

  2. Have been thinking about you & Jimi all day...praying for peace, comfort, wisdom...