Saturday, December 8, 2012
It is hard to believe that Heidi had surgery only 3 days ago. This time three days ago we were getting ready to go in to the surgical suites. Heidi was still dressed in her street clothes. We were holding hands. We got to the hospital by 5:30, but she was waiting for her marching orders. Just three days ago. 72 hours. 4,300 minutes.
It feels like weeks. Literally. Heidi said it was true for her too. She said there were times when she looked at the big clock in the hospital room and only 15 minutes went by and it seemed like hours. I believe the old addage that times flies when you're having fun. The opposite is entirely true. Truer perhaps. Time drags when you are in pain, when you are anxious in anticipation of something, when you see someone you love in pain or discomfort.
And sleep is strange too. Especially when you only get catnaps. In the NCCU at the hospital, the door was always open and the floor was hopping. There were curtains, but they hung down only to about two feet above the floor. Doctors and nurses were coming in and going out, checking vitals, administering meds, doing their neuro-checks (follow my finger, close your eyes and touch your nose...). For those three days and nights deep sleep was hard to achieve.
We're outta there now, at a great hotel by the harbor. Getting here was a little dicey, As I wrote yesterday, we were spooked by the idea of no longer being monitored and supported by the staff. Heidi was still in a lot pain (although she did not show it much). Everything we needed was brought
right to us. Every bump and pothole in the Baltimore roads made me grit my teeth as I thought of Heidi in pain.
But when we finally got here and settled in for the next chapter of this journey, it felt so right. The room is super comfortable (THANKS DAVE!). There is an Olympic sized bed, a zillion pillows for Heidi to make her nest. It is quiet. And we can make it dark. We can eat real food and not have to ask for water. We still had to set the alarm for medications in the middle of the night and early morning, but there were no noises from the monitors, no dripping fluids from IVs, no friendly but insistent voices telling Heidi that it was time to take her medicine or to get a blood pressure test or to prick her finger for more blood. When Heidi wants a drink of water she doesn't have to suck a sponge and she can get up on her own to go to the bathroom. The last needle was taken from her vein (the just-in-case one if they needed to administer something quickly). Our last present was give to the last nurse angel.
And... wait for it... Heidi can take her first shower today since Monday. That is something she is SSssoooo looking forward to! And I get to wash her hair. It is a mess, still globbed up with whatever they put on it for surgery. Her poor incision! The surgeon made it sound not-so-bad when he was explaining the procedure to us on Tuesday. A "Lazy S" is how he described it and he put his fingers about three inches apart. "Lazy S". There isn't anything lazy about it. It is a railroad track - far longer than three inches.
But he did what he had to do. All of the folks at the hospital did. And when Heidi got up about 5:45 to take her meds this morning, when she was thinking about doses and already worrying about not getting hooked on the pain medicine ("I'll just take half a dose at night so I can wean myself off"), when she was looking forward to getting cleaned up and wondering if her remaining hair would cover her scar - I knew they had done their jobs well.
And while Wednesday's surgery feels like it happened sometime last October - we are on the other side. Easy for Tim to say you might think. There will still be pain and discomfort. It'll be a while before Heidi can turn her head easily of look up when she wants to see the stars. She won't be finishing that book she is writing for a little while. But she is back. And grateful, and funny, and spiritual, and smart, and curious.
Heidi is back.