I was cancelled at work today as it was an extra day I had volunteered for last month and the hospital ended up not needing me so Chloe and I set off to see mom around 11 this morning. When we got to her room just after 12, it was evident that the mom I know and love was reappearing.
Mom was slightly confused but way more lucid than I've seen her in weeks. She had been successfully getting to and from the restroom with a walker and a nurse's help and was using the call light on her own. She knew that she had called me from her cell phone last night, although she wasn't sure on all the details of our conversation. Words cannot convey how much stronger and more alert she looked.
I had received a message from mom's case manager this morning, saying that they would be starting pre certification with the rehabilitation hospital we had chosen. I know the insurance and paperwork can take a bit of time so it was reassuring to know that it was getting worked on.
Per mom's nurse, her hemoglobin has slowly but steadily dropped the last 4 days so the doctor had ordered a unit of blood. It isn't uncommon to need blood in the hospital but it was a slight setback because they could not do a few other things necessary prior to leaving the hospital until the blood was given. At this point, mom has not had a fever in over 48 hours which is fantastic. We were just waiting for her central line which is a large IV in her neck that goes straight to her heart to be replaced with a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) which she will need for at least 6 weeks after leaving the hospital. She will need the PICC to continue to receive her IV antibiotics which will continue to run 24/7.
Mom was drastically different than even yesterday. She was moving more and was even able to stand and do arm exercises with occupational therapy. She sat in the chair for 2 hours before going to bed for a nap prior to dinner. Her new goal is to be out of bed for each meal which is fantastic. Moving those muscles is nothing but beneficial.
Mom's biggest physical complaint continues to be the back of her neck and base of her skull pain. Her surgeon explained that he had to cut two muscles back there during surgery and then reattach them so I'm sure she does hurt. However, it's nothing like the pain she experienced the two weeks prior. Mom's biggest psychological complaint is the loneliness she feels at night. I think it's more confusing when none of us are there and I wish I could stay but I know it's not possible. I continue to remind her that this too, shall pass. I'm sure it is extremely difficult to be in her shoes but each passing day leads to a better one.
Chloe and I stayed til about 430 and got mom's meals ordered for tomorrow. I also washed mom's hair to the best of my abilities (she can't shower or even lean over a sink yet) and then after, mom asked me to blow dry her hair. I think she enjoyed it and am attaching pics.
Chaplain Dick Bailey stopped by before we left and said a prayer with mom which was wonderful. Mom's good friend Kathy also stopped by and mom said the visit made her day. As much as she has been requesting no visitors, when I see her light up during a visit, I have to keep encouraging them. I hope all of you know how much you mean to mom. I read a few comments from the blog again today and mom had tears in her eyes. She feels all of the love from each one of you.
After I got home around 630, Rachel texted me to say they had put in mom's PICC! I hadn't known that was a possibility today when I was leaving and I think it was a surprise to mom's nurse too! I called Jay to verify that it was true and he said it was in! We are so excited by this because it is one of the very final steps before getting out of there! I know mom will have blood drawn again tomorrow around 4am and they will make sure all her numbers, including her hemoglobin, are still good. If they are, I know they will be kicking her out ASAP!
Although we do not wish to rush any process, there doesn't appear to be much left to do medically with mom except to keep her infection-free and that will be done by continuing her antibiotics for another 6 weeks. None of us has said anything out loud to mom but her birthday is June 26 and, although I don't want to raise false hope, if mom keeps improving so rapidly, I could almost see her home by then. This is a huge thought that I'm not ready to discuss with mom yet but I know the idea is in my prayers.
I left mom, knowing that I'll be at work tomorrow and wondering if the next time I see her, she may be in a rehab hospital. These thoughts make me smile. This woman has more fight than Ali.