Monday, October 17, 2011

Moving Forward

Today was a day of change in a positive direction.  While Mom still had ups and downs throughout the day, overall she is headed in the right direction, which is something to be very happy about.Mom had a pretty rough night last night because she had a bad reaction to her pain medication at about 3am.  She had severe nausea, was shaking, got really hot and then cold and started sweating. This was likely because she is still on a clear liquid diet and didn't have anything to eat prior to taking the pain pills. The Dr. has since switched her to a soft food diet and she was able to eat with her most recent dose of pain medication, which seemed to help.

Mom was casted for her new brace this morning and she had to stand for 20 minutes which made her completely exhausted!!  She should get her custom brace tomorrow and will start using that full time.
I am happy to report that Mom was approved for the inpatient rehab program.  She will be moved to the rehab floor and will be there for 7-10 days depending on her progress. The rehab doctor (Dr. Rao) came to let us know that she got into the program and Mom talked with him about her frustration that she feels like everything is taking a long time in terms of progress and she feels like she takes one step forward and then five steps back.  Dr. Rao helped to put things in perspective for her and talked to her about managing expectations.  She is expecting much more out of herself than the doctors are expecting.  He said everything she is doing now is in line with what they expect at this point, so she has to cut herself some slack and have some patience.  She also needs to recognize the achievements she has made in such a short amount of time relatively speaking - her surgery was just last Thursday and today is only Monday.  Dr. Rao's "pep talk" helped Mom wrap her head around the fact that she should give her self more than 4 days post surgery to be able to get herself out of bed, bathe herself and do simple tasks that we all seem to take for granted.
The other area of frustration and discomfort continues to be Mom's stomach.  She finally gave in and allowed the doctors to give her stronger stomach medicine (for those of you that don't know, one of Mom's biggest phobias/fears is throwing up, so she was very resistant to taking heavy stomach medicine.)  The stronger meds helped to get things moving and she is feeling better!! She is also have to eat some regular food now, but she will remain on a soft food diet for the time being.

A bed in the rehab unit was available around 3pm.  Mom was transferred via wheel chair to her new room, which was MUCH smaller and more claustrophobic...this did not make Mom a happy camper at first. I've learned that Mom doesn't like change very much because she doesn't know what to expect.  Luckily I was able to help her focus on the positive part of what this portion of the journey will bring and she settled down and started accepting what was to come. 

Once she got to the rehab unit, we met her nurses and the explained a lot about what goes on in this unit.  Mom will have occupational and physical therapy up to 3 or 4 hours a day throughout the day with breaks in between.  The therapy usually takes place between 7am and 4pm and her schedule will vary each day.  The therapy sessions act as stepping stones to get her ready to go home. I think this program will be great for Mom and will also help me to learn about everything she will need once she gets home. 

When moving from the surgical care unit to the rehab unit they have to discharge her from one unit and admit her in the next unit. Because of this, she had to go through the admitting process all over again. I mention this because they had to take her weight for the first time since she was admitted to the hospital a week ago. She stepped on the scale and it said she weighed 15 pounds more than when she was admitted last Monday (Mom said it was OK for me to blog about this in case you were wondering ;)).  She quickly told the nurse that it couldn't possibly be the right weight because she was 15 pounds heavier than a week ago.  She stepped on again and got the same result.  The nurse took the scale from the room, weighed herself and came back to report that the scale is in fact accurate.  Mom was in disbelief and I was racking my brain to come up with reasons why she would weight that much more. I wanted to make her feel better because I could see she was clearly discouraged.  She couldn't believe she weighed that much more after being on a liquid diet for a week.  I personally think there is a lot of water weight involved because her feet are swollen and she's just a bit "puffier" in general.  I also thought that the hardware has to weigh a good amount, but when I looked up about how much it weighs on average, several websites said it probably weighs about 2-3 extra pounds. 
Regardless of her weight, Mom looks much slimmer because her torso is no longer scrunched up.  She is definitely taller after the surgery, which she is very excited about. We noticed that she "grew" when I was standing next to her in the mirror. I think she is taller than I am again, but we still haven't had a chance to take exact measurements.  Every time I am walking behind her, I can't believe that she is the same person that I had just seen scrunched together a week ago. She just looks so much straighter and taller!!  It was hard to know what to expect, but the results look much better than I could have ever imagined...I just never thought she could go back to looking how she did prior to shrinking so much.

Mom didn't have any therapy today because she got to the unit too late in the day. She will begin her therapy tomorrow and she is a little anxious about it, but she's looking forward to the knowledge she will gain.

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