I always struggle with how to start off the blog. Sometimes, I have trouble not just jumping right in to whatever joy or frustration I am feeling on that day. Other days, I try not to just jump straight to medical facts because I don’t want this to be like a stock ticker…just people watching numbers go up and down. I had written a few paragraphs, but then decided to scrap them. This happens often, as I don’t always feel that I want to put into permanence what I may not feel so strongly about as time passes. Who knows, maybe I will wish I had just vented?
Today was a day filled with frustration (at least the first 75%). Katy’s fever started off in the 104 range, but did come down as the day wore on. When I left the hospital, she was around 101.2. After some pushing on my part, the doctors agreed to, and did, begin to give her probiotics in her feeding tube. They also agreed to let me use an astringent such as witchazel to clean her face. I know that they don’t feel that these are beneficial, but Katy would want them done, and she would feel the need to supplement her natural flora after the onslaught of antibiotics. Considering the the HUGE role that the intestines play in the immune system, I feel that, even if it doesn’t help her current fever, that we need to do whatever we can to build up her immune system in advance of anything else popping up. I’m tired of just putting fingers in the dike. I want to get ahead of the curve by preventing future issues.
I met with the cardiology team to discuss the condition of Katy’s heart. It now appears that Katy has had damage in her heart. It was desribed to me as a “shutter,” meaning that the heart muscles are not moving their full range of motion when pumping. This explains the elevated heart rate and the lowered blood pressure. Her heart is at “30,” and a normally functioning heart would be a “60.” This visit was the cause of most of my frustration, today. It wasn’t the news about her heart, I wasn’t really surprised by this, but rather the demeanor of the physician. I won’t go too far into it, as I hope that we are beyond episodes such as today’s, but I will NOT tolerate a patronizing tone, or a “we are giving her medicine for it” with regards to Katy’s care. I, very reasonably, expect all medical personel to let me know what the medicine is, what the doses are, the length of time, the criteria for stopping the meds, possible side effects, and any other pertinent information with regards to treatment. Short of that, and we have a problem. I hope that, as a result of our “discussion,” that no one else will make the mistake of approaching Katy’s care in this manner.
The doctors are giving her a medicine to remove some of the fluids in her body, but have to be careful due to her blood pressure dropping as a result of this. Katy’s veins are vasodialated (if I understand correctly-expanded…more porous, thus letting fluid through the walls), and this is why the heart will beat with a certain amount of pressure that doesn’t translate to the rest of the body. As a result of this, her heart beats faster to try and maintain pressure in her other regions. After she is extubated, and her blood pressure is stable, they will be able to give her some other medications to help heal her heart. There is a small possibility that it may even correct itself, but I will reserve hoping for that until later.
What I have been trying to communicate with the staff is that whether or not these things (probiotics, lavender oil, astringent) helps her medically or not, they will make her feel better, and she would want these things if she were awake. I don’t think that there is enough attention put on the intageable benefits of comfort items. Katy was sedated due to wound care, and slept through the loud voices of my conversation with the cardiology team, but woke up and smile so sweetly at me when I played a Seth Walker CD, put a drop of lavender oil where she could smell it (thanks, Mom, for the oil!), and massaged her neck and shoulders with lotion. The look on her face was one of relaxation, and love, and then she fell asleep. It was so nice to see a truly restful expression on her face, as opposed to the medically “knocked out” face I am seeing most days. Only a spouse/life partner would know the difference, and that is something that no one can go to med school for.
I would like to thank Dr. D (he knows who he is) for the kind words, today. It was nice to hear that none of the staff begrudges me for my actions (not that it would stop me), and that they empathize. I would say sympathize, but you can’t until you are in this situation even begin to imagine. Thoughts, feeling, and emotions have popped up in me that I never considered would. I have done my best to process all of these, and have even decided that I am now ready to talk to a professional. I plan on meeting with a counselor soon, and making sure that I am taking the time to allow myself to process. Katy will need me to be 1000% (yes, 1000%), and I need to make sure I am. In the interim, I am taking advantage of the generously donated time of a great social worker who takes the time to check on me daily. Thanks! Speaking of counseling….the psych team is still conspicuous in their absence. Whether I scared them off, or they don’t feel that Katy is ready yet, if they don’t respond to my requests soon (or at least send a message through the social worker) I will start roaming the halls looking for them. Kidding….kind of.
When deciding on which memory to share with you, I try to think of things that are 1-appropriate, and 2-that aren’t loaded with references to things that only we would understand. I’m sure that every couple has those things that, if someone else were to witness, would need an explanation. For example, Katy and I do a thing where we open our lips with our teeth together, and make a small chewing motion. This is a way of saying “I want to eat you up.” We adopted this behaviour from our dog, Angel. She cleans her son, Roddy, constantly. We were so amused at how much she takes care of dog that outweights her by 50 pounds, that we just started doing it. She did this motion to a nurse one day when he tried to brush her teeth. Her thought she was mad at him. I had to explain that she REALLY liked it when they brush her teeth! Another weirdness of ours is a whistle we use to locate each other in stores. It was the favorite whistle of Miranda, our African grey. Unfortunately Miranda is no longer with us, but we still do all of her whistles. We sometimes communicate many quick feeling via small whistles that only we would know….except the wolf whistle that EVERYONE knows what it means!
Katy and I had purchased 1.2 acres of land in Lakeway, TX, and a manufactured home to put on it. We cleared the very overgrown land, and made all the arrangements with the contractors. Katy, Amber, Miranda (the bird), and I were ready to move into our new house since we were told that everything would be ready. We sealed up all the loose ends on our current living quarters, made arrangements with the utilites, and moved our stuff in. Our first day was finally upon us. I carried Katy across the threshold, and turned on the light switch. Nothing. No lights. No water. No nothing. Somewhere things got messed between the utilities and the contractor. We were stuck. We bought water, cooked on a grill, and (thanks to a neighbor) ran a 200′ romex line with 2 plugs on it. The thing with a 200′ long line is that you don’t get much electricity at the end of it. We were OK until the surprise freezing weather hit. During that time, being animal lovers, we rescued a 4′ long iguana from an abusive situation. In order to rescue this handsome boy, I paid WAY too much money to the abusing family. But we couldn’t stand to see him continually tortured. His tail had been mostly bitten off by dogs, his skin had burns from a fire, and he was kept in a damp, rusty, wet, cage in the cold with no heat lamp. We couldn’t stand it. The weather got very cold, for Austin, and it started raining. We took our new family member home, and I spent 2 hours building a makeshift cage out of lumber and chicken wire. We moved our queen size matress to the living room, and placed it beside the fireplace. We lit a fire for warmth, and had Amber, Katy, Miranda, and I in the bed. We allowed all forms of electricity to go to creating heat for Iggy. The whole night was spent with the bird biting me every time I rolled over! We lived that way for a week and half.
Iggy turned out to be a great addition to our house. We had Angel Dog, Miranda Grey, Iggy, and Brielle the python. Katy and Iggy became best buds. I would come home, after a long day at work and wrestling practice, to find Katy laying in the couch with Iggy stretched out on her body lengthwise. She would be stroking him as she watched TV, and they would both be eating grapes. She loved him even though his nails cut up her arms when he tried to grab her as she moved him. People would ask Katy (very quietly) if she was a “cutter.” She would have to explain that was just from her Iggy. One night, Iggy got out of his outside cage. The weather had warmed up, and we built an outside enclosure for him. During a brief moment with the door open, he made a break for the nearest tree. This was not unusual, and we would usually let him sun in the tree for a while before putting him back in the house where we just let him roam free. This night, however, Iggy climbed high. The weather was changing, and a storm was coming in..STRONG. Well we couldn’t just leave a member of our family out in a terrible storm. We devised a plan, and this is how it went. Amber grabbed one of my spotlights from in the house. I grabbed the machete, and Katy positioned herself under the tree. By this point it was raining, thundering, wind blowing….monsoon-like weather. Amber located Iggy with the spotlight. I climbed up the tree as far as I could, and started hacking away at the branch that Iggy was on. He was still 12 feet or so past where I was cutting, but the tree wasn’t thick enough to hold me (No fat jokes, Chris). I cut the branch until it gave, and Katy caught the branch and Iggy. We all went inside, soaked, and dried off. We gave Iggy his favorite snack, grapes, and laughed about it the rest of the night. That is the kind of woman Katy is – willing to risk herself for others…even if the “other” is a reptile.
Love to all,