Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 5 (Saturday) - Yeats also had a gyre

Yesterday was a challenge. There were good things that happened, and there were challenging things, too. For starters, Kirsten is now able to text us occasionally. She is totally on top of what is happening (which is different from liking it!) and writes questions for the medical staff and reminds them of what they said last time, how it differs and what they have yet to do. Still our Kirsten!

I spent the day with Alannah. I pushed her around Double Bay in her birthday trike while Darren has his back crunched by the physio. Then we had brekkie at their usual cafe. That was good. I like that Ally is learning how to eat in 'society'. Then Darren visited Kirsten and Ally and I played. She claimed 'play rights' with my phone most of the day. At one stage, when she woke up, I said I wanted to brush her hair, but where was the hair brush? Ally went over, retrieved it from on top of the bench and brought it over to me. Pretty good for 12.5 months, but I would think that wouldn't I. Darren went to soccer and returned sans skin, but (he grinned) they won so it was worth it. No comment said a wise mother-in-law.

Darren's assessment of Kirsten was that she was good but the LHS of her face had blown up more. As I left Double Bay, to walk home (about 4:15), I received a call from Tony (Kirsten's father), suggesting that I not visit just then. He and Pam had visited and Kirsten was very tired trying to cope with the extra saliva going down her throat as they had released the cuff on the trachy in preparation for its removal on Sunday. I will stick this thought here. Yes the LHS of her face is now the most puffed out it has been (like an Aussie rules football), but it is mainly along and out from the jaw line. Both eyes are good in their sockets now, with the left eye open as much as the right, and sans the yellow bruising.

Just as I was about to walk into my place, I got a call from Darren saying that Kirsten's haemoglobin levels were way low (75??) and they should be 100, meaning that the blood was not replacing itself well enough from the operation. Now he understood what Dr L. said was a blood 'infusion', whereas later (twice) I heard the word blood 'transfusion'. Darren will sort that out this morning. One of the Registrars was making the declaration of risk to Kirsten about 'transfusions'. I could not sign the indemnity form. Nor can Darren. It must be explained to Kirsten. The elephant in the room, of course, is her needle and blood phobia. I held her hand through an injection in her leg.

All this treatment is very demeaning. There is not a lot of dignity. And Kirsten is a very dignified woman. I want more dignity for her!! It was very tough to watch her mount a comode to be pushed into the toilet. It was very tough to see the distress (effort, pain, discomfort) as they put a sucker down through the trachy into her gullet and suck out the accumulated saliva. She is so strong. So focussed. No tears. No obvious fear. Just resigned acceptance as to her plight. You know she sent me a text over night, telling me to try not to worry. She is quite special.

Another text overnight said her Hb is now measured at 85 with the aim being 100. They just might be able to do this by altering what her 'restaurant' serves. I had also fussed around trying to get her more comfortable when sleeping. Her head flops to the side and she wakes up. Did they have winged pillows? No. Could I get another softer pillow? Possibly. Could I roll up towels to simulate wings? Oh, alright. *swear word* *swear word* *swear word*. So one of the things that I have to do this morning, very early, is nip into Soul Pattinson's in Pitt Street Mall and buy a winged pillow.

Did I tell you that trains are not runnning on the North Shore line this weekend? Grrr ... I think it is drizzling a bit outside. Think Darren should go up this morning to sort out the Hb/transfusion/infusion issues. I will give him the pillow and care for Ally 'til he returns. I will go this afternoon. Like yesterday, I will ignore the nominal visiting hours!

Image 1: taken on Wednesday (Day 3) and judiciously cropped.
Image 2: The print on the wall directly in front of Kirsten. Now normally I like corrugated iron, especially corroded. But this one is entitled 'Breaking Down'. I want to replace it with Frederick McCubbin's 'Little Girl Lost'.
Image 3: Macquarie University campus in its winter garments.

Although my title for this paen alludes to Yeat's 'Second Coming', I will press on with his 'A Prayer for my Daughter". Today Verse 5:
In courtesy I'd have her chiefly learned;
Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
By those who are not entirely beautiful;
Yet many, that have played the fool
For beauty's very self, has charm made wise,
And many a poor man that has roved.
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.


Julie said...

Hephaestus? Being lightly educated in the classical myths, I will go learn about this bloke. Hopefully today ...

diane b said...

Oh Julie you brought tears to my eyes when you described what Kirsten has to endure. The poor girl. How clever is that little grand daughter of yours? Fox can put the phone to his ear and say something that sounds very much like Hello! But when I say hello to him over the phone he clams up.

freefalling said...

That's a good idea - a winged pillow.
It's funny the little things that can make such a difference.
I bet Kirsten will be pleased when she gets that trachy removed.
One less thing tying her down to that bed.

Joan Elizabeth said...

That CI is a strange image for a hospital room, not uplifting ... even for a country person longing to go home.

I feel the tensions in your story ... my heart goes out to you all.

Dutchcloggie said...

Winged pillows are good. I used one for Jane when she was still sitting up. In bed however, I think it worked better to push her regular pillow up on the sides. We did this by putting a roll of towels underneath the pillow on the side where her head would flop to. So it was almost like folding the pillow around her head.

When Jane had her brain surgery, her face was so swollen I actually walked straight past her when she was sitting in the Discharge Lounge, waiting for me to pick her up. They had said 'some swelling' but, like Kirsten, her eyes looked sunken in her sockets when in reality, her entire face was swollen and blue.

I hope Kirsten continues to improve but she'll also needs plenty of rest, both physically and mentally.

brattcat said...

Amazing how the smallest things like an adjustment in the pillow can make such a big least for a few blessed moments. Hang in there, all of you. And I'd suggest a different photo each day for Kirsten...something to look forward to and to ponder.