I don’t have a lot of memories from these days, but several therapy evaluations were scheduled. I remember after I was extubated, all I wanted was water. That thirst is unlike anything I had felt before. I was given ice chips. “Oh great…” I thought. This is definitely not water, but it was cool and moistened my dry throat. One of these days I was scheduled for a swallow test. I did very well with food, but I aspirated thin liquids. I remember going back to my room and seeing a cup of water on my table. I asked the nurse to pass it to me and she said you have to wait.
I need to get the thickening powder.
Dang it! I just wanted one sip! But I know she was taking good care of me. I then tasted the nectar-thick liquid. Yuck!!! In my opinion it tastes like a very diluted kool aid.
That afternoon one of my nurse practitioners came in and said I no longer needed the oxygen cannula. Another step forward…whoo hoo! And I was going to be transferred to the cardiac floor! I remember my nurse packing up all of my wonderful decorations and getting me ready to transport. The room transfer took forever…at least it felt that way.
Sometime after the transfer I was scheduled for a physical therapy evaluation. Up until this point I had sat up, stood, and walked to the door of my room. I remember getting up walking out of my room then the physical therapist asking,
“Cathy, can you lift your right foot as you are walking?”
“Aren’t I already?” I thought looking down. I then noticed my foot dragging behind me. It took all my strength to pick it up. I'm really not sure if I ever did. Next we went to a window seat. I needed a break! I sat for several minutes and tried to get up. I couldn’t.
It’s a very humbling experience to go from being the primary caregiver of a two year old
to not being able to stand up on your own power.
But given everything I endured the last two weeks, it was miraculous I was even walking. Given the results of my PT evaluation in-patient rehab was recommended. I argued with the doctor that I didn’t need it. I just wanted to go home and see my babies! My husband then looked at the doctor and said yes, she is going! My husband is usually a man of few words so I know when he says something so firm I listen. It would take months to fully understand the scope of truly how sick and weak I was. I would need extensive speech, occupational, and physical therapy for the next 8 days to even be able to walk through my front door.
That evening, I immediately requested Chick fil a! Our sweet friends Anna and Zach agreed to stop on the way to the hospital. It was the most amazing meal I have ever had. Especially better than the hospital food I was initially given.
I also remember this was the first time I was able to look in a large mirror. My hospital gown slipped off my shoulder (they are NOT one size fits all!) and I saw the extensive bruising.
My entire chest and shoulders were black, blue, and green.
When my cardiac Nurse Practitioner came to take my chest tubes out she even said you poor thing. You know it's bad when a medical professional makes a comment like that. But given that I had three broken ribs, lots of bruises were to be expected.