A QUIET Morning in PICU

It seems that staying an extra night in the hospital is more discouraging than undergoing an extra brain surgery.  Natalie is not at all pleased with the prospect of another night here, though we will be up on the floor rather than the PICU.  I think it will be better than she thinks – here they have to wake her up every hour through the night and there is a pole between her and the window so that her bed actually faces away from it.
She cannot go home because she has not yet been out of bed and is not eating well yet.  So far she has managed 7 Saltine crackers, 1.5 apple juice containers, half an oreo and a Reeses peanut butter cup.  I just ordered her a variety of soft food for breakfast.  None of it sounded good to her, but we shall see…
The pain in her head is seriously exacerbated by noise… any noise.  We all must whisper – and only for a very short time.  Natalie lays quite still.  She whispers very quietly and only if she must.  We keep her door shut, but the voices in the hall are also painful.  This morning a resident popped in to do a neuro check – she is the only one that has placed her hand on the side of Natalie’s head and asked her to push against it… she hadn’t thought through the fact that there is an incision/tenderness running down the side of her head.  About an hour later Natalie whispered to me, “That Asian lady hurt my head..(long pause)…but I am not mad at her.”
The other thing that hurts is to smile – there hasn’t been much risk of that, until this morning.  She has a darling nurse who cannot help but be funny.  The three of us were having a pretty good laugh at various aspects of hospital/nursing care today… all trying to whisper-laugh while poor Natalie tried to support the pain in the side of her head.  It was one of those fun times when you just keep laughing at the fact that you are all laughing.  I found it quite therapeutic and I think Natalie did also, though it was painful.  She has subsequently needed more pain meds than usual, but I think it was worth it.
Natalie has charmed her nurses with her politeness, particularly when groggy.  Natalie was barely talking when her night nurse came on shift – the same on as the night before.  She was doing the neuro check and asking a lot of questions because Natalie kept saying that David was Nathan (David is getting tall).   The nurse asked if Natalie remembered her – she said, “Yes, you are Shelby, you are my best friend.”  She had labeled her as the best friend because Shelby had taken out several of her “lines” the night before.
The MRI last night confirmed that the second surgery was successful.  Preliminary pathology reports list the tumor as benign and we will have final reports next week (I think).  Hooray!

2011 – Bossier Than Cancer
(Missing Nathan in the Philippines)

A few hours have passed and Natalie has begun to eat – a pudding, a bowl of strawberries and a yogurt parfait.  They disconnected her IV to encourage her to drink.  The pain meds have kicked in and she is more pleasant – currently watching I Love Lucy.  We are still whispering.

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