“Thank you for saving my life,” Tracey told the surgeon who’s managing her case when he came to see her yesterday.
“You saved your life,” he told her, although I’m pretty sure she couldn’t have done it without him.
No one wants to take credit for the medical miracle which is lying beside me in her hospital bed while I type this. A bed, I should point out, which is no longer in ICU.
Being that it means Tracey is no longer considered on the critical list, you’d think I’d be a lot happier about her moving to a ward, but despite some rocky moments in our brief time together I like ICU. I like unique ICU things such as there’s a nurse beside my wife’s bed around the clock and a doctor just over her shoulder. I like all the attention the ICU people give her. I just plain like these people.
Actually, that’s not right – I don’t like the people who work in ICU, I LOVE them. And because I want each and every one of them to know how much they mean to this family, not because they were so *intrical in saving Tracey’s life but rather because of the professional way they do their jobs while respectfully interacting with worried loved ones, I took them some more fancy donuts today as a final ‘thank you’ treat.
It really doesn’t seem like enough.
Still, despite a little separation anxiety on my behalf things are apparently progressing nicely.
Tracey’s tummy has leaked multiple times since the skin graft, with the dressing needing to be changed six times in one evening, but the ward staff were right there to do it. Doctors are still popping in regularly and she’s in what I would describe as a ‘high dependency’ room, right across from the nurses’ central reception desk area. There’s probably a proper hospital word for that area but I don’t know it.
Even better, the move to a ward on Sunday has been quickly followed by more and more good news. For example, the central venous line (I had to ask a nurse to write that one down) has been removed from her neck and a PICC line put into her arm. Plus they sat Tracey up today and are talking about getting her walking and removing the catheter by the end of the week. Every time they remove another tube from her body I get excited, because they wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t confident she didn’t need them. All really excellent positive moves forward.
Of everything, though, it’s the removal of her nose hose, the tube which has been sucking out anything accumulating in her stomach, which I’m most excited about. It’s been getting in the way of our snogging.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t had moments when I could almost feel two invisible hands shifting for a better grip on the rug of hope I’m standing on. Already I’m struggling because there isn’t a screen above Tracey’s head which tells me her blood temperature (yes I’ve used this exact phrase, proving A. how tired I’ve been, and B. how little I know about what goes on in here). For over five weeks Tracey’s body temperature has been the gage by which I know whether I can stomach bacon that day.
And now the screen and it’s wonderfully encouraging information is gone and I guess I’ve been looking around for other indicators of Tracey’s condition.
“Excuse me,” I said, presenting myself to the administrative hub of the ward. Several heads looked up. “I’m sorry, but can some one please come with me to my wife’s bed and tell me not to worry? She’s a bit pale and last time I noticed this happening she ended up losing a lot of her insides.”
As I explained to my wife as the wonderful nurse checked out Tracey’s vitals, if panicking over her appearing a bit pasty is the only lasting side effect I take away from this whole ordeal we’ll consider ourselves lucky.
So rather wonderfully, the only news I have to pass on at the moment is things are improving and the hospital specialists are setting Tracey on a course which should see her home early next year. We won’t know if she can eat or not for a long while yet, but we also don’t care about that so much as if she can hug and laugh and chat.
Thank you to you dear wonderful people in ICU at Royal Brisbane Woman’s Hospital. In the words Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers put to music for the von Trapp family to sing:
“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.”
I’ve no doubt going forward the good people working in the ward will give me just as much to sing their praises about. I have the donuts at the ready.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”