Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dorothy update

Dorothy's surgery this morning was very successful. They estimated that it would take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes (tops) so Heather and I went up to the cafeteria for breakfast. We hung around there for about 45 minutes and then went back downstairs to find out that Dorothy was out of surgery and we had missed the doctor. The way they explained it sort of left us with our mouths hanging open and feeling chastised for "dawdling." (Heather later joked, "We should have gone back down when you first suggested it, rather than waiting 15 minutes!")

The nurse down in Endo said that they were admitting Dorothy to a room and that she would probably spend the night, which was completely backwards from what they had told us pre-op. In the end she was admitted to a room (but I think only because she wanted to observe her for longer than is really "allowed" in recovery) and she should be able to come home this evening.

I spoke with the doctor on the phone and he said that Dorothy flew through the surgery. They had been a bit concerned with her anesthetic and breathing but everything looked perfect and he said the tube went in very easily. Dorothy said her stomach area is very sore (obviously) but otherwise she's doing fine. She came out of the anesthetic surprisingly quickly and her biggest complaint right now is that she wants some REAL food! (I promised her that if her doctor gives the ok, I will make her my potato/ham/cheese chowder that she's been asking for for dinner.)

This afternoon they will show us how to use the tube. Her doctor told me that he really can't think of anything more simple to use than a feeding tube. We'll start using it tomorrow. He said that most patients are over the pain within about a day. (Wow.)

One of the most hilarious parts of the day was her wheelchair. It's a power chair and she told me the other night that I should probably learn to drive it, just in case. As I was walking into the hospital this morning I realized, duh! I should have done that before today! When they got Dorothy into the bed this morning we nominated Heather to park the chair against the wall. It took about five minutes and I thought I was going to wring the neck of the nurse trying to "direct" Heather's driving. "No, you want it THIS way! Hon, you're going forward, you need to go backwards!" Ok lady, how about YOU park the chair!

We had thought that once the chair was parked we could just leave it for the day because Dorothy would recover in that same room. Not so! Once we got her room number upstairs we went back down to Endo to retrieve our stuff and the dreaded chair. Heather looked at me and told me I should drive it this time so I sat down and gave it a whirl. First of all, it felt totally weird in general to be driving a wheelchair. Second, the steering knob on that thing is TOUCHY! One little nudge and off you go. It's a little like driving a forklift as far as the steering goes. But it was pretty funny getting weird looks from people who see me walking the halls every day and now all of a sudden I'm driving this bright red wheelchair. :) In the end, it turns out I'm a "pro" at driving it (and I even parked it!). The whole thing was pretty comical.

Heather and I are at the house now. We went to the grocery store earlier and have had some really great conversation. I really, really like her. She's very real and it's great to talk to someone so close to Dorothy who doesn't shy away from the reality of it all. I've been called "a saint" and "a godsend" several times in the past week and I'm starting to realize how uncommon (for lack of a better word) caregivers are. (Maybe "lacking" would be a better word, I don't know). And that there's sort of a quiet love for them... us... It feels funny calling myself one. :) All morning we heard, "And you are...?" and Heather and I would introduce ourselves as Dorothy's daughter and caregiver. More times than not, the person would look at me more than Heather during the conversation/instruction. It's all very interesting.

Anyway, I'm going to take a nap before we head back up to the hospital. Heather and I (and several other regulars at the house) are taking a lifting class this afternoon to gain skills for lifting Dorothy once that's needed.

Thank you again for all your prayers! I'm sure Dorothy would love prayers for her to be able to eat dinner tonight. :)

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