Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

We actually only made it down one side of the hall tonight...and one room on the other side of the hall. A few weeks ago I blogged about a patient named Angel - she loves Chel, and as we were leaving, her husband and son came in and we had time for one more room, so we ran down the hall to see Angel.

We saw a few people we have seen for the past few weeks. Our first visit was to a lady who we saw for the first time last week - she is a real nice lady, loves Chelsie. We sat down and talked for awhile. She had a rough couple of days, but had a lot of visitors for the past day or so, and I think we capped off her evening. Real nice lady.

We also saw a brain surgery patient we had seen for the last three weeks, she was doing well - got up and took the stairs today and gets a free pass for a few hours this weekend. Chelsie licked her, which mommy did not care for, but she did not mind..I think it made her day. This lady's roommate was the one who broke my heart tonight.

Last week, she was getting her fingers worked on while we were there, so she just admired from a distance. Her fingers looked awful, and very painful - they did not look much better today. Turns out she had a history of kidney stones, and on April 13, along with her kidney stone, contracted a kidney infection and went septic. Long story short, people who get an infection that goes septic (enters the bloodstream) do not survive. My Sharon (blind friend) lost her mom to a bladder infection that went septic. The infection gets in the bloodstream and usually by the time it is discovered, the damage is too great. Well, this lady survived the infection, but it wreaked havoc on her body. Her fingers were in bad shape because of circulation issues, and both legs had to be amputated at the shin because of circulation issues. She had such a great attitude - said yesterday was the first day she broke down because they want her to go home next week and she does not think she can care for her wounds by herself, as the dressings have to be changed twice a day. She knows she is lucky to be alive and knows she will be walking sometime in the future thanks to prosthetics. Hard to imagine having that kind of attitude, especially knowing the sickness has left you disfigured and likely, she will be permanently disabled due to the condition of her hands when this is all done, which is likely to be 6-12 mos. Humbling to say the least.

Lastly, we saw Angel, the stroke patient. What a difference a week makes! The big motorized wheelchair was gone and Angel looked great. Moving real well, eating real well, but most importantly starting to get some speech back! Very garbled, but I understood her. She laughed her terrific laugh for us as she normally does. They are such a nice family, and in conversation with her husband, have great support from their community. Social services at Dodd found them a grant to help make their house accessible and a local contractor has donate his services - Lowe's has also donated the wood. Her husband said he has not had to cook since Angel has been in the hospital, and knows he is very lucky to have such support. Angel was supposed to go home next week, but is making so much progress, a joint decision has been made for her to stay another week beyond that. She is going to therapy twice a day, and it has been determined the extra week will greatly benefit her. Her husband said tonight it is both a blessing and curse, but he knows staying at Dodd is the best thing for her. They are such good people.

Many of the patients tonight were very sick people, in one way or another. I always leave there grateful for my mental and physical faculties, and tonight was no different. Over the past few mos, as we have done agility and volunteering on the same night, our agility has really taken off - I think it because I leave Dodd realizing what is important and we just have fun. Be sure to say a little prayer of thanks for your health and the health of the ones you love tonight.

1 comment:

the youngbergs said...

Just reading about your regular visits helps bring me some needed perspective as well. I'm really glad you share your experiences with us; you're touching a lot of people just by introducing us to the wonderful individuals you've encountered along the way.