General Family Update

Until I just logged in to post this update I didn’t realize that it had been over a month since I sent an update.  May was a very busy month as you can imagine with Russ just having come home from the hospital and all his doctor appointments, William’s birthday and his doctor appointments, Daniel even through in his own doctor appointment (well check), and end of  the school year for Tyler.  My May calendar was crazy, it was bad before Russ’ accident then got exponentially worse after.

Russ is doing well now.  On his follow up appointment last week he was able to get rid of his hard brace.  The doctor told him to wear it if he was doing anything strenuous that could cause pain, I haven’t seen it on him since he took it off on the way home.  We are still struggling with getting his blood levels good on the blood thinner related to his blood clot, so he is till having weekly blood draws.

The older boys have been home for about 2 weeks now while I am at work.  Daniel has been home for the last week.  It was too hard for Russ to take care of him with the hard brace.  I think they still have their moments, but it is getting better.  Russ still has a lifting restriction and isn’t to be lifting the older boys, Daniel he has permission to lift.  We have hired our neighbor’s 15 year old grandson to help with the kids, housework, and yard work.  Tyler is loving having a “big brother” to play with.  I think it is going well, though I would like to see more of the to do list done when I get home from work.  Yes, I am being a task master from work and would like to see the things done.

Russ is home

It has been a good weekend.  Russ is home for the hospital.   I brought him home with me on Friday evening.  We only had Daniel for the night that night.  The older 2 boys came home the next night.

We are settling into a routine of sorts.  Russ and I are learning to work together on taking care of his basic needs and pain.   He is doing very well, in handling the pain.  We still have some hurdles to cross in him being able to take care of himself, the big thing being his brace since it is difficult to put on yourself.  I don’t think it is impossible, but it is not easy.

Tyler is loving school.  He started the day that Russ was moved to rehab.  My mom is the Teacher’s Assistant in his classroom, so “Mena” is still taking care of him.  Today she was the teacher, since the “real” teacher was out sick.  He is so excited about the field trip on Wednesday and getting to ride on a “real school bus.”

William doesn’t have physical therapy as he usually does on Tuesdays because his theapist has other appointments that she had to attend.  The in home PT will be here in the morning to work with Russ, though.  He started his speech therapy last week, and I am looking forward to see how he progresses with that.

Next week will be another set of changes as I go back to work on Sunday.  My sister is going to take Daniel, and I think my mom is going to have the older 2.  I told my sister she would have the week off this week, but she is going to end up watching 1 or 2 still 3 days this week as Russ has 2 doctors appointments and I have a class I need to attend for work.  I am not working my 12s this week, but I am still taking care of work things.

God is so good to us, while Russ getting injuried was the last thing we would have wanted.  I can see how it is working for good and maybe he will come out of this much healthier than he has been.  I know it has been good for weight loss, which he needed to do anyway.

Now to Rehab

God was good once again.  Russ got out of ICU after a 2 night stay.  Thankfully he only had to spend one night with a very needy roommate, who I think was on his call light 30 times in the space of 5 hours that I was there on Tuesday (only a slight exaggeration, truly).  William had his first PT in a new place and I wanted to be there for that so I missed the surgeon, but not the hospitalist because I came in the afternoon.  She was the one I really wanted to see anyway.  I suggested to her a consult to see if he would qualify for rehab.  She said that the trauma service usually did that consult, but seeing who the attending on was she was willing to write it.  I found out later that she called over to rehab to see which doctor to give the consult too (Thank you Iris and Linda).

As I was leaving for the night, I saw one of the rehab doctors.  I turned right around and put my stuff back in Russ’ room and went back out to talk to him.  He saw me and I told him what was going on.  They had not even looked at Russ’ orders yet to see the consult, but quickly checked and he came to see Russ.  He explained everything to us.  I finally understand how serious the break was and why it has caused so much pain and the need for the surgery.  I think he was on the edge of qualifying, but he did qualify for rehab.  I have explained to the doctor our situation for me being able to take time off work, since I had very little FMLA left after maternity leave.  (Thankfully I hadn’t taken my whole 12 weeks).

One of the biggest problems has been pain control.  They just were not getting it under control.  Medications were working a little, but he was not eating and was always telling me he was in a lot of pain.  I could tell, he was very, very quiet and not asking many questions about the kids and things going on at home.  You could see in his face, they were making him stoned.  That night the doctor changed some things.  It was better, but not were it needed to be for Russ to come home, once they found the dosing for the blood thinners.

Wednesday, I went to work.  Russ was doing better, so it wasn’t as hard to go to work as it was on Saturday (2 days after surgery, the day before ICU).  The rehab doctor said that maybe he could be transfered on Wednesday if everyone else agreed.  I was on pins and needles until I heard that he was coming to rehab.  Then I was excited for him to come.  I work in the same building that the inpatient rehab unit is in, so know many of the staff.  They came up to me during the day and gave me mini reports and asked some questions.  I was able to give the hospitalist that is working in our building a brief run down of Russ’ history before he came.

His pain was still bad Wednesday night.  Thursday the did a major change of his pain meds and they are working!  He hadn’t needed the IV pain meds all day and that was even with doing PT and OT.  He was so much more alert last night, asking for food and asking me questions about other things.  I managed to even see most of the doctors, even though I was working yesterday.  They have conulted infectious disease doctors, since he has been running temps and put him on strong antibotics.  I wish I would have known that and I would have tried to run up (Russ’ room is one floor above the one I work on) when he was there, since I could have answered some of the questions that he asked Russ and he wasn’t sure of the answers.  This could be worrysome, or could end up being nothing.  We do want to keep a close eye for infection, since it would be bad to get an infection in the surgery site.

So far I feel like the rehab stay has been 2-3 steps forward and 1 step back.  I am hopeful that it will be a 10 day stay, like the doctor initally thought it might be.  If he has to come home on antibotics, we can handle that.

In ICU

My secret fear came true yesterday, that Russ would end up in the ICU with all of this.  He had not been recovering as well as I would have liked.  Still was needing lots of pain meds and oxygen, 3 days out from surgery.  Usually in general, you need IV pain meds for 1-2 days after surgery, then can do oral pain meds.

The day shift nurse did not like how he looked and his vital signs.  She called the doctor about it and a CT scan was done that showed he had a blood clot in his lung.  The surgeon that was on-call  wanted him moved to the ICU to make sure that the blood thinners for the clot did not affect his surgery site.

We had already planned that I would bring all the boys up to see Daddy after church and my mom would come and pick up the older two after she had her Easter dinner.  So I was there when the doctor said that they were moving him to ICU.  She came and got the older two, but since I had not come prepared to stay without Daniel, I kept him.

As we were waiting to transfer down to ICU, I could tell I was getting anxious though I wanted to deny it to myself.  I couldn’t stop playing with my watch band.  It didn’t really hit me until I was sitting in the ICU waiting room for them to get him settled in and they had told me I couldn’t bring Daniel back with me.  I started loosing it.  I was by myself with a sleeping baby, so I couldn’t even cuddle him since he was sleeping in the stroller and I didn’t want to wake him up.  I have had friend tell me that I am stoic.  I didn’t cry a lot and even now I want to tear up, but am trying not too since I don’t want to get Russ upset.  The only time I really cry easily is when I am pregnant. lol

I know it is for the best, but it is hard just to have a family member in the ICU.

We initially thought he might be coming home today, now I don’t know when it might be.  My guess is the end of the week, after they can get him on oral blood thinners and get them somewhat regulated.  I am hoping that I can work a couple of days this week, so I can spread out my FMLA as long a possible.  I worked Saturday, and as long as he is doing well I will work Wednesday and Thursday, depending on discharge. We still have a lot of things to figure out — child care and Russ care, sleeping arrangements.  I know it is possible.  It is just going to be an interesting spring and summer.

A Day for the Family History Book

Yesterday really was a day for the family history book in my husbands family. The oldest two having surgery related to accidents, Russ on Monday and his brother Paul, on Thursday.

I am so glad that Andrew gave us something happy to remember the day for. He got engaged.

Today is a little bit of the rough day for Russ, but then I expected it. He is sitting in a chair right now for the first time since Monday. 🙂

We are slowly getting organized for me to go back to work once Russ is home.  I am going to go to work tommorow as he is not well enough yet to be discharged tomorrow and I need to preserve as much of my FMLA as I can.

Surgery is Done

Russ’ surgery is done. All I know is that the surgery went well as the doctor doesn’t like to talk much. He is in pain, but that was expected.

Right before the call that he was in recovery, we got a call that my brother-in-law had been a in a scooter accident today and broke his leg.  He was to have surgery shortly, to repair the break.  It was hard for my in-laws to hear, especially since they were with us and couldn’t be there with them and help out with their kids.  My in-laws are headed home tomorrow and I am sure they will be helping with my brother-in-law’s 2 kids.

Our stress is bad enough, I can’t imagine how hard it is for my in-laws right now.

God is Good

As you read this blog you may at first wonder why I entitled this God is Good, but I have seen God’s hand in the way everything so far has worked out.

Monday, Russ and I were working on cleaning out our garage. It has been a work in progress since we moved into this house. He got a lot cleaned out and sorted out a couple of weeks ago, but had been waiting for me to help him finish it up. We both had gone up to the attic area above the garage and were surveying what was up there and getting down some of the things that we needed from up there. I had just made the comment that it wouldn’t been good if the ladder fell since neither of us had our phones on us, before Russ headed down the ladder. As he started going down the first few rungs, the ladder fell and he landed on the concrete floor on this rear. I was still in the attic.   Tyler came out the garage to investigate and tried to get the ladder back up for me.  He didn’t know/understand were to go to find a phone to call for help. Russ ended up lifting the ladder back up for me and holding the now bent ladder so I could get down. On after thought, I think that if Tyler could have gotten a phone, I think I would have ended up having Russ call 911 without moving to get me down and got him a little bit quicker treatment. I really didn’t know who to call to help us, if it had been summer and our neighbors were back I would have sent him over there.

As soon as he landed, I knew a trip to the ER was in the near future. I called my mom and got the boys packed up for the night. When we left our house I wasn’t sure which ER we were headed to the one 5 minutes away or the one 35 minutes away where our insurance covers better. It quickly became apparent that driving a long distance was out of the question, so as soon as we dropped the older boys we headed to the closest ER. On CT, they found that he has an L1 fracture (one of the bones of the spine). Defiantly explained the pain he was experiencing, they broke out the stronger pain meds. The plan was to admit him there, in fact he even had a room assignment. After they talked to the neurosurgeon who wasn’t going to be able to get to him soon (my guess people out of town for spring break), they were talking about transferring him. I told them to do it, since transferring him meant we could get to the hospital that we have better insurance coverage at (I think we would have had a 20% copay if we had stayed there).

He finally got admitted to a hospital bed about 3 am and I was exhausted by this time, but I didn’t want to miss any of the doctors. I had run home while they transferred him to get clothes for everyone, take a shower, and drop off to my mom what the boys needed for morning. I am so glad my mom told me to take a shower (I hadn’t managed to take on that day). I still managed to beat him to the second hospital. The nurses were very nice and got me a recliner that I could sleep in for the rest of the night and into the morning. Daniel has done well sleeping in the stroller.

The neurosurgeon finally came to see him about noon yesterday, at that point was not sure what if he was going to do surgery or not. He did finally let him eat, since they were not letting him eat not knowing if or when he would do surgery. The nurse came in about 5 pm and said that the office called and said that Russ was scheduled for surgery 8 am Thursday morning. We now know some of Russ restrictions – not lifting more than 10-15 lbs (Daniel is 12.5 right now) for at least 6-8 weeks, the older boys for up to 4 months or more.

I went home to sleep and gather up fresh clothes for Daniel and take care of my trashed house. I did stop at my mom’s to see the older boys. I think Tyler understands what is going on as much as a 5 year old can. William pretty much rejected me. I am pretty sure he will come around.

How I could see God’s hand —

  • It is spring break in Midland.  Mom is not working at the preschool this week and is proabably (in my mind) why they were having a hard time with the neurosurgeon, which brought up the transfer.
  • He did not have worse injuries.
  • In the last 2 weeks, I learned how to update my status on facebook from my cell phone.  We were able to get lots of prayer from putting out short status messages (I hate entering text messages from my phone)
  • I was still in the middle of a 5 day stretch of day off work, so didn’t have to worry about work yesterday.  (I did call in for 2 days, Wednesday and Thursday and am hoping to work Saturday to help stretch out my remaining FMLA days).
  • Our church just started an attender site, so I was able to put status messages up for our small group there.
  • We got our tax refund last weekend, and I had paid all our bills before this happend and had gotten the bills caught up from maternity leave.
  • Daniel is a good baby and still young enough to sleep most of the day and night, since I am keeping him with me.  He likes sleeping in the stroller.

Things to pray for over the next few days

  • The actual surgery will go well and he will heal quickly and correctly from the break and surgery.
  • Everything will fall into place so I can continue to keep working while he is recovering.

As I started typing this I had started listening to Pandora.com on the Contemporary Christian channel.  The first song was a song we sing in church,  Strong Tower, by Kutless.  The chorus is exactly what I needed to hear. (emphasis added)

You are my strong tower, Shelter over me
Beautiful and mighty, Everlasting King
You are my strong tower, Fortress when I’m weak
Your name is true and holy, And Your face is all I see