What a day! After a solid 6 hour sleep I was on my way to the hospital about 8 am and have just returned home at 9:15 pm. This was an amazing day with peaks and valleys and a lot in between. My favorite moment today was seeing LM smile a huge smile! The ability to focus his eyes has returned. He walked about 40 ft and he ate a tiny bit of food and appears to be mastering well the post-by-pass rituals of moving his body without using his arms, the correct way to do the logroll out of bed and getting out of the chair, and how to hug one's chest when coughing. In between these milestones there are many many uncomfortable, near tearful times and hurdles, some attainable some not. He has always had a terrible time swallowing pills and now he is being presented with more than a handful of the enemy pills 3 times a day or more. Today he did not make too much progress with this challenge. It is compounded by the fact that his throat is still very sore from the breathing tube, his tongue is swollen, and his mouth is very dry. Ice chips have helped that somewhat but even then he can only handle 1 spoonful every 15-20 minutes as each mouthful causes paroxyisms of hiccups. So painful when you have a chest full of broken ribs. All morning he continued to complain about an inability to breathe. I guess it is quite a common feeling, what with the pressure from the broken ribs and the healing incision. This feeling set up severe anxiety which compouded itself. His nurse eventually suggested he try once again to take a pain med and crushed it in orange sherbert which went down well. Within 30 minutes my dearest was calmer and able to rest for much of the afternoon. He had some visits from daughters, Meaghan and Kristi and his former wife, Ellen. Also, close friend, Bob, was in twice. When I left tonight LM was pretty uncomfortable but he has a great nurse, Mary, on until 7 am so I am sure they will sort out some issues. Most of them are very predictable for where his is in his recovery. Tonight he had begun to have serious gas in his digestive tract. VERY uncomfortable but good to know systems are working. Tomorrow morning the HUGE drains in his chest will come out and I hear it is a very painful procedure but that he will feel like a new man when the removal process is complete. Here's hoping!
The other component of this day was the gamut of emotions he is having...he was very anxious whenever I would leave the room and several times expressed the fear that I would leave him and our relationship because of this change in his health status. No matter how much I assured him of my total commitment to love him forever, he still seemed unsure. I can really understand. He sweetly told me very often how happy he was to have me there helping him and asked me not to leave at all. Finally tonight we had to say good-bye and as has been the case through this ordeal, it was painful but we both need to rest. I would not be any other place than right by his side through this and it pains me that I cannot stay but sensibility steps in and says I need to rest and have fresh air. I can only reassure LM that the thread of our love is stronger than ever, and it most certainly is true!
Thank you to everyone who has written and/or called. Your support for both of us is amazing and truly felt. Tomorow will show even more progress. I am still tearful, hopeful, feeling very loved and totally willing to see my love through this challenge and take the opportunity to really feel life, the pain and the joy of the tiniest hurdle jumped and marking the milestones.