Coming Home From Hospitals
I've compared the stresses of these recent weeks, to the uneasy times early in the pandemic, or the time when I dealt with cancer. But I also remember some of those feelings, after bringing Heidi and Scott home from the hospital.
Leaving the hospital with a new baby, is a lot easier (and happier) than leaving the hospital with the scars and uncertainties of open heart surgery. But there are a lot of similarities.
I remember feeling uneasy when we arrived home with our first baby. With Heidi, there was so much joy, but so many unknowns. Back then, Don and I felt like we were a pretty flexible team, but we were both used to schedules and suddenly there wasn't one.
I remember worrying the first time I put Heidi down for bed. The night ahead seemed like a huge unknown. I have absolutely no control over her schedule right now. If only I knew what to expect. If there was some predictability, I would feel more at ease.
That's kind of how I felt when Don came home 3.5 weeks ago. I'm sure he felt the same.
I wasn't used to feeling exhausted 35 years ago and neither was Don. We hung out on the couch a little more back then, just like we do now.
After 24 hours at home, Don began to have some kind of schedule. That helped. I wasn't the one hurting and recovering, but my routines had also been turned upside down. When do I shower or run? When can I dash to the store? I did what I always do, when I need a little control. I made lists. I noticed that Don was making lists too. He made some on his phone. First time milestones like, Climbing the Stairs or Walking Outside, that he could check off.
This list of WALKING songs was the first list he made, on a piece of scratch paper. Our son Scott was visiting then and he played DJ, with Alexa. Those silly upbeat walking songs were a huge help, with those 5 minute house walks, 4 times a day!
Goals for the Day
In the hospital, the nurses would often ask Don what his goal was for the day. Then they'd write his answer on the dry erase board. Just like school.
Not even sure why I took a photo of this, when I first arrived in ICU after surgery. Don wasn't asked about his goals, that day. (Did Nurse Nelson write 77kg, 185 cm...?) But in following days they asked him. It's a good way for a patient to feel like he has control. And Don continued at home for a while, with daily goals about doing breathing exercises or getting his shirt on himself.
Toasts to Accomplishments
We've tried to be positive and spotlight an accomplishment or two, each day. Some days it's easy, with an obvious task completed. But on some days, it's easier to NOT focus on progress at all. Talking about Don's health is not always fun for Don.
This evening, we hit less healthy milestone. First martinis! They were tiny martinis, but they were festive and tasty. We've toasted with juice & sparkling water concoctions, for a few weeks. Today we had a tiny toast, using our favorite vintage glasses. That was a treat!
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!