Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday, December 3

Today was all about unloading unnecessary hardware. First thing this morning, they removed all the staples and sutures from the spinal fusion surgery from the front and back of Bill's neck. He said pulling the staples from the back of his neck was incredibly painful, I can only imagine. They also pulled the staples from the gash on the side of his head and the sutures where the brain-swelling monitoring probe was. I was told the hole they drilled through his skull for that one will fill in over time. I think this means that we are a couple steps closer to washing his hair. There is still dried blood, sticks, and who know what else tangled in it. I've been working on combing out those tangles over the last few days and frankly I'm amazed that it is not considered a biohazard. Maybe I should tell him he's got a lot in common with Sebastian, his cat inthe photo to the right. I like to tease him by calling Sebastian his "crusty cat" because it seems like every time I see him he's covered with some sort of festering, oozing, stinky tom cat wound.

Bill also had minor surgery today to remove the IVC filter that was  installed just over two weeks ago. Because his doctors are no longer worried about internal bleeding, he can take blood thinners to prevent blood clots from forming in his legs. This is a more preferable way to prevent embolisms than the IVC filter. I left around 4:30 and he peacefully snoozing off whatever medication they gave him for the surgery.

We have started investigating next steps for Bill. Although the staff at Ruby is still trying to wean him from the ventilator, they don't think he will be off it before he is released. This means he will need to go to a long-term acute care (LTAC) facility before rehab because most of the rehab centers I've looked at won't take patients on a vent. The LTAC rep I spoke to today was hesitant to have me make any plans for rehab (like where he might go) until he spends several weeks at their facility. Argh! Anyway, if anyone has experience with this sort of thing, I would love to hear about it. The rep I spoke to today said that I should trust the process and let their facility and Bill's insurance company decide where the best place for rehab might be. Does anyone else think that sounds like a lousy idea?

I was reminded today that this will be a very long process. His recovery will be measured in inches of movement and weeks. If he's not doing something now, it does not mean he never will. I am reminding everyone else so that you can remind me.  One last note: if you are considering a visit, please give either Dad or me a heads-up before you drive to Morgantown. Bill wears out easily and is still really vulnerable to infection. If too many people show up, he will sleep through your visit and if you have any little sniffle you could get him sick.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, inches of movement. I've been reading about how some nerves do regenerate, but they grow at a rate of about an inch a month, which may be why they keep saying we wont know how much Bill will regain for a few years or so. Encouraging if you've got patience. I think Amber, Bekah and John will be back in a few weeks, but I might have to stay behind this time to take care of Beanie. We'll let you know first. Love and strength to you all.