Sunday, December 19, 2010

All Right

Yesterday Charley was in so much pain he took 2 narcotic pills (maximum dose) and he was bleeding rather profusely outside his catheter.  He can't control it, so I've got blood drops all over the floor.  There was such a quantity of blood and pain that the nurse advised us to go to the ER.  Barb H generously agreed to come over and sit with Sam while we went.  She not only sat with Sam, she gave him his treatments twice, fed him, and came up with some good ideas for taking care of him.  Oh and washed dishes.  What a rare and wonderful person she is!

Anyway, as we drove to the hospital, Charley knelt in the back seat, rocking to control the pain and singing "He's A Ridiculous Man".  He sounds a little bit like Bono!  That was a moment to remember.  I was driving, trying not to have an accident or hit too many potholes, and listening to my poor, pain filled spouse sing amazingly well.  I could live in that moment, unwrapping it, for a long time!

Turns out that his catheter was clogged, and he's having bladder spasms.  Neither situation is really very serious, it's just that we've never dealt with this situation before and we over react, apparently.  Once again, we see the difference between the medical point of view and the experience of the patient!!!!  They think everything is going well and we think this is one incredibly bad experience!

Well-wishers keep telling me "It's going to be all right."  What does that mean exactly?  When is it going to be all right?  What is this "it" that's going to be all right?

Actually, my past holds lots of moments.  They fall into many categories like absolutely wonderful, pretty shockingly awful, sad, painful, joyful, funny and all right.  I'm pretty certain my future holds a similar list of moments.

In fact, today, this moment, "It's" all of the above.  Most moments are.  I think that's why people recommend we learn to "live in the moment".  This moment is so complex that, if I focus on it with all I've got, I still won't realize all of it before it's over and the next moment begins.  This moment holds the whole world.  And that is riches enough for anyone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I'm running an ICU here.  I've been neglecting Sam while I take care of Charley and Sam is in not so good shape.   Charley continues to be in pretty bad shape and I've got blood and urine soaked rags everywhere.  He's like a new puppy - dripping bloody urine all over the floors.  Thank goodness we have all hardwood floors!  I have to add that I'm so very grateful for the support I'm getting.  The surgeon's nurse has a direct line and is very nice about talking to me whenever we're worried about something and the guys I get Sam's allergy supplies from have spent a lot of time on the phone giving me advice about keeping this place sanitized and disinfected.  (Aller-Caire The Allergy Store 1-800-547-8095)

Last night I was in tears because it took me 25 hours to get Charley's pain medicine prescription filled - problem after problem, long story - and then he didn't want to take it.  So I got him some ibuprofen and he took some baby aspirin.  And the nurse said both of those were wrong - they thin his blood and he won't heal.  So I had to go back to the pharmacy and get acetaminophen.  Charley said, "You aren't taking care of yourself.  You have to take better care of yourself."  So I skipped Sam's last breathing routine and went to bed. 

This morning Charley was mad at me because Sam had a bad night and because he had a LOT of blood everywhere.  It reminded me of something - I kept trying to remember what.  Then I finally remembered.  He reminds me of ME - when I was in labor!!!!  Cranky, scared and easily confused.  Actually he kind of goes back and forth between sort of labor pains and really bad menstrual cramps.  So I got him some of those pads that you put on your belly and they warm up.  This morning the nurse said the blood is from the aspirin yesterday and he should "TAKE THE NARCOTIC."  If he doesn't maybe I will!

But today's a new day and I did get a good night's sleep.  I just have to stay calm and do absolutely NOTHING extra.  (Well, except knit.)  Everyone keeps saying, "I don't know how you do it."  Well, I don't do it very well.   I do it pretty much the way anyone else would do it.  I just do what I can and then hope no one dies.

The catheter comes out next Thursday and then we'll see how incontinent Charley is.  I haven't reminded him that he will continue to be incontinent AFTER they remove the catheter - I don't think he could stand to hear that now.  But it WILL get better as time goes by...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prostate Surgery

The really important thing to understand, when you are offered DaVinci Prostate surgery, is that when they talk about how simple and easy and almost fun it is - they are talking about the SURGEON'S experience.  THEY have a great time.  Doing this surgery is more fun (for them) than playing Donkey Kong.  What the DON'T tell you is that they blow your stomach up with CO2 so they can see your insides better and THEN they paralyze your bowels so you can't get rid of it.  Recovery is really, really painful.  Then (while your manly man iswhimpering in pain) they tell you that the catheter they have already put inside you will cause bladder cramps which may be mild or excruciating.  "Just expect that".  (Query: Will Midol help?  I went out and purchased some of those menstrual cramp pads that warm up.  Bladder is in the same region as the uterus, maybe the same stuff I used for menstrual cramps will help.  I tried getting him to do childbirth breathing when the pain was really intense, but he couldn't focus.)
I brought Charley home late last night.  He was very nervous about coming home.  The pain has been so intense that, if a CIA operative had walked into the room, he would have gladly confessed to killing Lincoln, Kennedy, MLK AND Lennon.

The down side is that this at-home "hospital ward" has no shifts and only one nurse - me.  The upside is that I don't get distracted and I give pain meds on time.  (When I got to the hospital last night at 7:30, I asked around and discovered the last time he'd had meds was 11 am - he was very fretful and not thinking straight because of the pain.)  So Charley is doing much better at home because I'm making him take his pain meds and stool softeners.   Except for bullying him regarding meds, I'm letting him do whatever he feels like doing.  He is going up and down stairs to get what he wants, managing his own catheter and getting himself dressed.  He is also finding out what things hurt and what things he can do.  Sam is better, too.   He didn't get enough treatments the last two days because I was running to and from the hospital and he didn't really like having his parents missing. Those two ladies were not great substitutes as far as he was concerned.  (Personally, I think they were close relatives of angels.)  They kept watching the WRONG shows on HIS tv.  He was polite and charming to them, but once they left he let me know that he wasn't very happy.  A mother's place is in the home, waiting on him. 

So I'm actually doing ok, too.  It is too cold to go outside anyway and we're just focused on healing and knitting.  It was absolutely great to have him home again and I slept really well.  It's cozy and intimate and we're all three really aware of how important we are to each other.

I'm going to put in a PeaPod order later today, so we're okay food wise.  So really we need prayers and peace.  You could add my hearing aides to your prayer list: I have lost them (They HAVE to be here in the house someplace, I just got distracted) And praise: yesterday I hit a really big pot hole which blew out my tire and bent the rim, but I'm okay and I'm driving Charley's car until we can focus on fixing that.  I hit the pot hole right next to a shell gas station and they patched it up enough for me to get home.  There are TWO tire places in our alley! So I will be able to get it fixed without driving it again!

I didn't manage to get all the Christmas presents in the mail yet, but the last few are all boxed up and I'll get to it asap.