Angels and Accommodations

Waking up at home this morning with no place to rush to… what a luxury.  The night in ICU turned out to be not quite as bad as anticipated.  The nurse saw me and my blankets and offered to go and find a better chair.  She found one that flattens out to a bed; it took us both awhile to figure it out.  Luckily I had seen David operate a similar one on the oncology ward three years ago.  It wasn’t too bad – about 8 inches too short and similar to being on an airpad while camping…a broken one with leaking air.  Exhaustion beat out over any sort of need for comfort and I was very happy to lay flat.  Besides, I was up to stretch every hour or so; as Jackie needed her foot massaged and her elbow gave her all sorts of trouble.  For some reason they had to take out the arterial lines about 30 minutes the lights went out (some of the lights) and then the catheter came out at 2 a.m.???  The funny thing was that I was only a couple feet from Jackie’s bed so that everyone that entered the room to help her also hovered over me.  That was lovely.  Then the icing on the cake — in order to stand up I had to scoot toward the end of the bed (past armrests) and get up quickly before it totally folded up on me.  I learned to climb up over the armrests – just a step more dignified than the folding action.  Good memories.
We were up and going by 5.  Jackie’s blood pressure had dropped quite low so that when they tried to get her on her feet, her vision went black.  Luckily she had her central line so they could empty an IV bag quickly – It worked rather well because it gave her a couple more hours before having to get out of bed again.  Mark came to spend the day with Jackie around 9:30.  By the time I was home he had texted to tell me that her central line was out and she had been transferred to the floor.  I had some nice hours at home to shower, take a nap and enjoy some homemade pretzels that David made.  Nap and shower were amazing, but mostly I enjoyed those pretzels – he asks me to make them often and now I see he can do it on his own.  Yummy.  We got through afternoon driving and were able to pick up Natalie from tennis and head back to hospital for a little family party.  We bought the new Thor movie, but it isn’t very exciting on the small screen so we resorted to our favorite hospital family activity — playing in wheelchairs through the now deserted hallways.  Well, not the whole family.  I tend to stay behind.  It is a little unnerving that we know so many back hallways, nooks and crannies around OHSU/Doernbecher hospitals.  We spent so many holidays and late nights here with Greg… Mark always knows how to entertain the children.
He also volunteered to take the night shift – thus my nice morning waking up at home.  Kimberly asked if she could join me today/tonight.  This has been fun – I like to have a friend while Jackie sleeps.  We enjoyed exploring the OHSU campus outdoors in the sunshine.  This new room is very nice.  Plenty of space, two large windows with a great view, a recliner that lays back for Kimberly and a padded bench that should make a decent bed tonight.
Medical update is all positive.  Jackie has her chest tube removed this morning and it has made all the difference.  I guess those things are just incredibly uncomfortable – a large, rather stiff tube with about  8-10 inches inside her chest.  UGH!  Her comfort level has greatly improved.  Our doctor gave us great news today when he predicted that she should be able to go home tomorrow!  Hooray!  This is a couple days earlier than I anticipated and I hope that he is right!

Mt. Hood in Background

Our room has a nice, wide window ledge.  While Mark and I overlapped our hospital time today, I gathered her gifts and decorations and placed them all on the ledge to enhance Jackie’s view.  It looks cute – and gave Mark something to laugh about because he spends his time gathering things and putting them out of the way.  He did mention that I should maybe rethink putting the chocolates in the window – in case they will melt.  I assured him they would be fine because he has the temperature in the room turned down so low.  When the doctor came to visit he chatted with us about the nice room (I had implored him to let us recover at Doernbecher with the nice accomodations); and he admired Jackie’s decorations.  As he left he warned us that the chocolates in the window might melt.  Mark’s response —“I knew I liked that guy!”  Seven hours later – the chocolates never melted.
The main reason I stayed in bed enjoying home-life this morning was that I had woken up pondering the idea of guardian angels.  I believe in them wholeheartedly, but don’t think of them often. When I do, I am intrigued – seriously one of my favorite things to think about.  I think that they must be individuals who know us; family members I mean.  I only know a small handful of people who have passed, but there must be countless numbers who know us.  On Tuesday, after the doctors had talked to us, we were once again sitting in the family waiting area and Mark must have been thinking the same kind of thoughts because he said, “If my dad could be in there helping… I am wondering what sort of help he could be.  He certainly doesn’t know how to perform thoracic surgery.  But then I thought that I could see him saying, ‘Stop, let’s not go any farther.  You are all done for the day.'”  Something like that.  I had to smile. It totally fits.  Mark’s dad was almost always in some sort of leadership position, when he spoke everyone listened.  His was a soft, lovable type of authority and I appreciate the image of him being here helping us.  Not today though, today he should be spending some time watching his sweetheart celebrate her 80th birthday with all of her sons (minus one) who have flown in for the occasion.  Family —another of my favorite subjects.

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