This morning was the first of many in which I woke up feeling semi-refreshed. It took a couple of days to get me back after our recent stay at The Shepherd Center. This most recent stint there was necessary, yet exhausting.
Jimmy had Phase I of his scalp wound repair done (this injury stems from The Crash). He was in a crap ton of pain but each day seems to get better and he has had some meds to help him through. Jimmy had tissue expanders put in his head. Over the next six weeks, he'll get the skin expanded with some air put in and at then a final reconstructive surgery to cover his massive head wound with his stretched skin. I know. Whoa.
The upside in all of this? He may have hair on his head again in areas where that might not have been the case pre-injury.
Surgery day was one of the longest/hardest days we've had in a long time. We waited until our surgery time and then they weren't ready for us. We waited a few more hours. They finally took us back. We got over there and waited some more. They finally took him in. I would soon learn the theme off the whole entire day is: WAIT A WHOLE BUNCH.
A surgery that normally takes 2 hours took almost 4. It was almost 8 o'clock at night when the doctor finally came to talked to me. He explained that he discovered another source of injury on Jimmy's head that caused him to proceed with even more caution as there was a fear of bleeding out. Well shit. I then felt a wave of fear and relief in one exhale.
The doctor went away telling me "they" would come get me after Jimmy spent some time in recovery. More time went by. The waiting room was clearing. I ate junk instead of dinner because I had no timetable for all of this and I didn't want to miss the doctor.
So, a hungry/tired Jaimie doesn't operate the best. My nerves were shot. A bunch more time went by and I felt... forgotten about. I thought for sure they had taken Jimmy back to his room at Shepherd without telling me (The surgery was at a neighboring hospital.). It was almost 9o'clock. I was exhausted and tired and smelly and hungry and shaky and fighting the tears. And truly, I had lost that little battle.
Finally, a nurse-looking woman comes out of recovery area. She walks right past me.
She calls out "Moore Family?"
I stood up quickly and proclaimed with one arm in the air, "YES!"
She told me I didn't look good and asked if I was okay. I told her I was in fact not okay but just wanted to see my husband so let's go.
I followed her back.
I got a second wind when I saw him. I got excited and high-pitched but that was immediately met with his yelps of pain, uncontrollable shivers and anger. He was so mad. He didn't understand why he was in so much pain.
My body fell back into that tired, weak state again. I turned around to get something and had a quick pep talk with myself as I started to well up. Okay sister: There will be time later for all of the crying and all of the feeling later. Now it's time to pull yourself together. Even 70% together will do. Just for now. He's a lot worse off than you. Be strong. Don't cry.
It was a long night. I opted to stay with him because I didn't feel comfortable leaving him. Even in a hospital. Even at Shepherd.
Most of the Shepherd nurses are amazing. Truly wonderful. Like, can-you-pleeeeeease-come-home-with-us, wonderful. But even they have other patients and can't be at Jimmy's bedside as quick as he would sometimes like. That's where we get spoiled by our home health care. So that first night felt like the right time for me to stay.
People were in and out all night. Some had a better bedside manner than others. I forgot about and was reminded of the lack of rest you really get in a hospital.
The rest of the time there was a blur. Probably for Jimmy too. Lots of our old staff (respiratory therapists, doctors, nurses) came by to visit when they heard Jimmy was admitted. It really was so good to see them.
The feeling of exhaustion I felt over the course of our five days there was reminiscent of Fall 2011. I felt older this time around, though. Not as resilient. I guess there's not much more of an explanation other than: I'm two years older. I forgot about those long hours at the hospital and how it can drag you down. The early mornings leaving the house. The late nights coming home. The worrying, caring and all the nerve racking moments in between.
At the same time we were there, a friend's father was dying. I was so sad for her but it helped me to be thankful for the many more breaths I know Jimmy would take. Jimmy would be okay. I ought to thank my lucky stars. And, I did.
It was a scheduled surgery. There was an end in sight. We are back home and while I am starting to feel back to normal my poor husband continues to feel like absolute shit. The dark circles under his eyes won't seem to go away and he's experiencing a level of weak that we had forgotten about.
He remains on the ventilator for help and I completely have his back on that decision. I know he'll slowly get back... wherever "back" was. Hopefully it will happen before the next (and final) surgery in about 6 weeks.
I'm trying to take care of myself so I can be strong (mind and body) for Jimmy. Today I walked downtown to attend a Pilates class. My arms and legs feel jello-y but it was a great class with lots of first-timers (like myself). Joy!
There is a significant football game on in two days, and, although Jimmy was hesitant, I invited some friends over to watch with us.
Jimmy is sometimes like me in that I spend time dreading certain social functions until they happen. And then? And then we're okay. We may even be HAPPY to have our people around. AND, we may even benefit from it.
I think both of us are fighting the small part of ourselves that are introverts that want to hermit. I guess I now know better.
Loved ones do a body good. Wait, no that sounds weird.
Friends are cool beans. Wait, I'm not 12.
Friendsies, yay! Wait it's no longer 2013.
Apparently my husband and I like people. There.