Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Note From Benny

Our almost 5 yr old loves to write while eating meals. This is what he came up with this evening - we didn't realize what the note said until after Benny had gone to bed.
(note: we did not help him at all with the first word, but he had trouble spelling Destiny's name correctly).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Intimate Moment with Tammy's Newest Hip

This is what I'm recovering from...

This is only half of it. What you can't see is my hip and buttock covered in black and blue bruise.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cool Video

Hi everyone! I'm home and doing pretty well. I have a lot of pain but I'm doing much better than last time. I thank God everyday I only have two hips. Sometimes I need a bit of reminding why I did this to myself again. Remind me how kick ass my right leg is, any chance you get. LOL. The word "ass" is at the tip of my tongue lately, I wonder why! Maybe because mine is HUGE!

So, I've got a video for you all to watch. The funny thing about it is, the first time I watched it, I didn't even recognize myself! Now you can play "Where's Tammy?". Also, take note of the cool posters toward the beginning of the video. Dustin was the illustrator!

Fighting For The Community Choice Act from Alejandra Ospina on Vimeo.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Morning

Tammy is doing much better! Eating again, Color back in her face, Getting plenty of rest, Keeping medicine down. She has been out of bed several times now because Mr. Foley (She is a big Three's Company fan, in case you didn't know) is gone and she refuses to use a bedpan. We are now living A'la Commode. We brought our own commode/shower chair which we purchased from a friend after the last surgery and it works very well. It has wheels, back support and arm rests.

It amazes me how amazed hospital staff is about the things we have come up with to work for us. When seeing Tammy's shower chair they said "I love these brakes" "Oh, look it even has a velcro seatbelt." and "this is better than most of the equipment we have" - They were equally amazed with the custom built platform which a friend made for Tammy after last surgery. The social worker was even amazed that I thought to use the empty plastic notice holders on the doors to put Pictures of and artwork by Benny and Destiny. " I never thought of that - I'm going to recommend it to all our families!" I don't know if it's just the mandane work environment that extinguishes any flame of creativity around here or what - I just don't get it. In March, when Physical Therapy tried to transfer Tammy for the first time they brought 5 people and a transfer board - I thought they knew what they were doing but it was such a joke, causing pain to Tammy, going extremely slow, and just not working. I remember I said "I just don't see how this is going to work when Tammy has to hurry and get to the commode". This time, some of the same Physisical Therapy Assistants were back, they let me show them what we had figured out works best and things went much better.

In March, we really felt pushed out of the hospital before we felt comfortable going home. This time things are different. Perhaps having a surgery during the week makes a difference. Last time the surgery was on a Friday and after that Friday we did not see our Surgeon until the 6 week post-op visit but this time he has stopped by himself twice, besides the visits from his surgical team. Our Surgeon also contacted the Rehab unit to make sure they met with us and understood what we were comfortable with this time (Tammy gave feedback about the discharge last time :-) I told the rehab unit how we were pushed out last time and really had to just figure things out after we got home, how Tammy felt horrible that first week at home and has done everything possible to make this time easier. Tammy has spent weeks arranging her in-home care following surgery, we have moved into an accessible home, and we have a new accessible van. We have our platform and our shower/commode chair. So, I have been telling all the hospital staff that we planned on a 3-4 day stay just like last time (and we were planning on being forced out like last time - transferring to the rehab wing was not offered to us last time) and unless Tammy is still needing Oxygen and IV, there is no reason for us to stay.

Things are so different this time around - in a good way. We are anticpating that we will be discharged this afternoon. Even though we now have a wheelchair accessible van, Tammy may get medical transport because she doesn't know if she wants to try sitting in her chair all the way home (especially since our route home is on 270 - one of the most awfully bumpy portions of Hwy in the Denver Metro area - I hope part of the stimulus package funds for rebuilding roads will do something for that stretch- it should because President Obama loves Colorado :-)

When they decide to discharge us - it will happen fast and I won't have time to write another post but I will try to write a comment on this post - so please check back later in the day to find out what happened.

At UCH, whenever a baby is born, they play "rock a bye baby" over the entire PA system - we heard the lullaby twice this morning fairly close together so I'm thinking someone might have had twins. As I write this, the lullably just started again - triplets? Maybe they are not all from the same mother.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday Morning

Tammy will be getting a blood transfusion this morning. Her blood levels are very low, she is pale and feeling rather weak and tired. Low blood levels are normal following surgery but with her symptoms, getting extra blood is supposed to help considerably. Tammy feels she can use any extra help avaliable and has chosen to get the blood transfusion.

Tammy slept much better last night but has not eaten much of anything. I am not terribly worried because as I recall and as you may recall, her last post-op hospital stay in March followed a similar cycle of eating well then not and then having a pretty tumultuous day before being discharged the next day. If the cycle continues we will be discharged tomorrow but I have not heard anything about discharge at this point. Much still has to happen before we can be discharged. Today should be a big day so we'll see how things go.

Since last evening, Tammy has been sleeping most of the time but overall Tammy has been much more "with it" and alert than last surgery. This surgery she has chosen to avoid taking Oxycodone and is instead taking Dilaudid. Pre-surgery she found Dilaudid worked better for her and the one time she ran out of Dilaudid and tried Oxy, it really upset her stomach.

Last night at 3AM, I was presented a scapel by our nurse and allowed to cut up Tammy's pink pillow wedge that goes between her knees/legs. These wedges come in a one size doesn't fit all form. Since Tammy is so short the pink wedge was way too wide and long and she needed it trimmed down. I tried getting a good knife from our day nurse yesterday (you will remember her from the last post, we will continue to call her Sam) and she offered me a plastic butter knife or some fisher price children's scissors. I told her neither of those would work and I tried again with our night time nurse and she got me a scalpel and thats how I ended up carving Tammy's pillow at 3AM. I really liked our night time nurse and for me having a good night time nurse is more important than during the day because frankly at night I am just too tired to deal with this but during the day I am prepared to fight. Those scalpels are really nice and sharp btw; it worked much better easier than hacking at the thing with our kitchen knife like I did in March.

At 5:30AM Tammy noticed her new waterfall. Tammy really likes waterfalls. The waterfall I am referring to is the humidifier water thing attached to her oxygen which I mentioned in a comment on the last post. Tammy woke up and said "what's that water running?"

While writing this post, I have been able to get Tammy to eat some applesauce and gelatin. It would also be nice if our not so friendly friend called Nausea would say goodbye today. Hopefully Tammy will be able to eat without that not so friendly friend causing any trouble. Some big things we are anticipating today include: the blood transfusion, saying goodbye Catheter and hello Commode, and transferring. Benny, Destiny and several friends are expected to stop by today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Throwing Up and other Adventures of a Hospital Stay

Staying overnight in a hospital is not as exciting as "Night at the Museum", neither is it as peaceful as staying at a country bed and breakfast. Hospital stays are full of craziness and a warped sense of time passage - I've learned you always have to try to be alert and ready for anything! When we entered the world of UCH early yesterday morning I found my self repeating an "I don't want to be here. I don't want to be here" mantra. Quickly though I have accepted that we are here - an acceptance that was made easier by having a general idea of what to expect and knowing that this will be a short hospital stay. This is quite a bit better than a hospital stay where you never know when you will leave the twilight zone aka Benny's Birth at University of Utah Hospital July-August 2004 (a 2 week hospital stay).

Tammy had a rough first night as the lovely nerve block began wearing off. Today she has been working to get pain under control. Tammy has been eating well today (breakfast and lunch) and has been able to take some oral medications without throwing up!(I'm so glad because although I enjoy a friendly game of Dodgeball, I do not enjoy dodging projectile vomitting like I had to do 3 times yesterday). After lunch Tammy was able to sit up on the side of the bed for the first time with the assistance of myself and one physical therapist. Remembering our last experience of sitting up for the first time, I immediatley got the vomit basin ready but was thrilled not to need it.

Dang it! Our vomitless day has just been blemished! As I was writing this blog at 2:30 PM, Tammy threw up but luckily I was sitting next to her bed with a basin at the ready under my chair and I'm happy to report that I was able to catch it all like a baseball in a mitt or maybe more like something on that old Nickelodean show with the green slime?

Tammy says her day nurse hates us today. I think Tammy thinks this mostly because of an incident this morning when the PCA medicine machine started beeping because it was low. (if you have ever stayed in a hospital - you know how annoying these machines can be and how long it can take for nursing staff to take care of them) I let the CNA know who was in the hall, he said he would tell the nurse, I came back in the room and pushed the silence button and waited and then it started beeping again. As I was pushing the silence button the second time when the nurse walked in and said aomething like "no, oh no that's a bad idea" and I pushed the button anyway. We got in a little discussion because she said things like "If you turn it off - I won't know" and "we can't have you messing with the drug machine". I said things like "I already told your assistant about it", "it's only a silence button, I'm not going to mess with anything", "I live here and I'm going to press the button because I don't know how long it will take someone to come in" and "the beeping noises make Tammy spasm". Anyway I don't really think the nurse hates us because she smiled and it didn't seem like a mean smile to me. Tammy says I had more than just one heated discussion with her nurse today, but this is the only one I remember - I guess one was about getting the right amount of meds. I think it's just the nurse's personality you know, every nurse like every person is different and nurses are people too. Tammy says her nurse today reminds her of Sam on ER; Sam is the one who has a son named Alex and dated John Stamos and on the ER series finale she got a nice red car for her birthday. So, if you know this character from ER, you will have a pretty good idea of who our nurse is today.

I will write of our further adventures at the hospital in another post.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Alive and Doing Well After Surgery

Tammy was only in the recovery room for 2 hrs - much better than the about 6 hrs wait we had last time. In the recovery room, Tammy was much much more alert than last time.

Nausea has paid a visit again and we hope the visit is a brief one this time. (we are going to hold off on oral medications today because it just aint been working out).

Tammy is pissed about one thing - The nurse in the recovery room failed to properly set up her PCA Machine and when she arrived in her new room (811) she was in severe pain. I asked the nurse twice if it was hooked up and she said it was - Luckily we have a more observant and attentive nurse tonight.

Tammy is doing well and in relatively good spirits! (especially now that her pain medicine machine is hooked up properly) Tammy says "This Block is Great! Can I have another tomorrow? LOL"

Heading To Surgery 6/2/09 6:04AM

In less than three hours, I will be on the operating table, getting my left titanium hip. Unlike when I was approaching my first hip replacement 2 ½ months ago, my biggest fear is that I’m not scared enough. This time, I’m hopeful. My right hip/leg is absolutely AMAZING! I did not imagine such a magnificent outcome going into this. My leg (wow, it is MY leg!) feels cured! – Typically I despise the ‘cured’ word, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I can kick some major ass with it!  All I can do now is h.o.p.e my left leg follows suit!

I love you all, and just in case I am overly confident this time, I remain confident that because of all of you, my family will be in good hands…

On that note! We’re off!

Expect regular updates from Dustin!