Saturday, October 15, 2011


Mom experienced a lot of transitions today.  The transitions varied from changes in mood to a change in location.

The first notable transition of the day was the change in her overall mood.  She was still in a lot of pain and complained a lot about her stomach today, but we noticed a small smirk hear and there and by the end of the day she was even joking around a little bit. The joking is very limited because it is too painful for her to laugh.  She is extremely funny while under the influence of morphine, so I have to hold my laughter back as well so she won't laugh. I will often look away or stand behind her bed so she can't see me when I need to have a little laugh about what she is saying.

They also changed her dressing today. One of the surgeons (Dr. Kim) came in to check how she is doing and he changed her back dressing.  There was a ton of tape on it and removing it was the most painful part for mom because her muscles and skin are so sensitive from being manipulated for over 7 hours during her surgery.  I took a peak at her incision while the dressing was off and it looked much better than I had anticipated. She has a drain for excess fluid, so the incision wasn't oozing like I had anticipated it might be.  Her incision is about 12 inches long (I will measure it later when it has had a chance to heal - I have to know exact's the accountant in me ;)) and it is very straight, which it should be, but I was a bit surprised since I'm not used to seeing anything straight on Mom's back.  The other neat thing is that her "hump" is gone.  For those of you that have seen Mom sometime over the past couple of years, you probably noticed a prominent "hump" as I lovingly referred to it on the left side of her mid-back.  This was her spine and muscle that had built around it. For some reason I didn't expect it to be completely gone, but that is a great thing!  She also has an arch in the lumbar area of her back - again, not something I am used to seeing at all. I'm sure there is swelling and such, so things may look different after she heals completely, but so far I think her back looks absolutely great and I am excited about the positive effects this huge transformation will have on her life.

They took Mom's central line out today and transitioned her to a "normal" IV in the arm. They had trouble finding a good vein, but they finally found one that will do.  

Mom transitioned from the bed to a nearby chair. She wasn't able to go far simply because she was limited by all of the lines she was attached to.  She claims she could have walked a longer distance today, but I think that may have been her medicine talking ;).  I know that she has the determination to walk a further distance if allowed, but for now it was a great accomplishment for her to sit in a chair where she remained for 2 plus hours.

The next transition had to do with her pain medication.  She has been on a constant drip of Morphine plus she had the option of giving herself and extra dose of Morphine by pushing her button.  Today they transitioned her to not having the constant drip anymore and just having the ability to push the button when she needs some pain medication. She can push the button every 8 minutes.  When she is in pain, she will push the button and then about 30 seconds later she asks me if it's been 8 minutes yet.  We are trying to get her to push the button on more of a routine basis so that she doesn't allow herself to get into too much pain as it is difficult for her to become comfortable again once she passes a certain pain threshold.  She doesn't like pushing the button because she doesn't like to be "out of it", it knocks her out when she wants to be talking to us, and she thinks it's adding to her stomach problems.  We are able to get her to push the button by saying that we will leave if she doesn't go to sleep - something we have to do because it is in her best interest to get some rest. She seems to be very fearful of us not being there when she wakes up and of us not returning when we go to lunch or back to the hotel for the night.  I'm thinking this might be the medicine talking, but I know it's not easy to be in a foreign place in pain without loved ones around so we try out best to be there with her the majority of the day. 

The last notable transition for the day was graduating from the ICU and being moved to "the floor" as they call it in hospital lingo.  Dr. Kim approved the move early in the day, but there wasn't a bed available until around 8:30pm.  Her new room is a gorgeous room with a nice sitting area for visitors (and Mom once she gets up and moving more).  The room is one of the biggest rooms they have at the hospital and they call it their celebrity now Mom is a celebrity :). I like having her on the floor much more than in the ICU for obvious reasons, but also because she has a lot less cords and lines attached to her which makes her look a lot less sickly.  We aren't sure how long she'll be in the hospital, but prior to surgery the Dr. estimated that she would be in until about Wednesday or Thursday. 

Tomorrow is a new day and I'm looking forward to the progress that Mom will make. Let's hope her stomach is feeling better by tomorrow as that is causing her the greatest amount of pain right now.  I feel that if she could get the stomach pain under control then she could better focus on the tasks that need to be performed in order for her back to start healing. Thank you to everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers...I know the support is really helping Mom get through all of the tough times she is facing.


  1. Sounds like things are progressing nicely -- thank goodness. I was dreading hearing about her first day post-op. Lots can happen. So glad it's going well. Thought for the day -- "When life gives you lemons, sell them and buy something better, like cheesecake!"

  2. I'm so glad to hear things are progressing! What an amazing journey - Lettice, you are so courageous. Julie, we've never met, but I must say you are wonderful! And, keep some of those lemons - for a margarita or a lemon drop...

  3. Wow, we may just have to start a Lemon Cookbook! So glad to hear my pilates partner is doing well. I believe her when she says she could walk further, that's Lettice! Thanks Julie, you are wonderful! Hugs to you and your dad and soft squeezes to your mom. Keep up the great work!