Day 318 – five days late

Same view, sunnier day
Same view, sunnier day

The day at the hospital began better than the previous day had ended. Chris once again recognized us, though she seemed weaker than she had been on the first day. After a while she slipped back into the delirium, but she also slept a bit. It seemed to be the first real, peaceful sleep she had been able to get in four or five days. I was content to watch her sleep even if it meant we couldn’t talk to her.

I don’t know if the day being sunny, rather than overcast and snowy, helped with our attitude, but I know I wasn’t as upset as I had been the previous day.

The nurse aid in Chris’ room today¬†(By the way, there was always a nurse or nurse aid in the room, all day and all night) spoke with an accent I couldn’t identify. Cindy asked me if it was German, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t. My first inclination was to say that the accent was Swedish, or Norwegian, or possibly Danish since we were in Minnesota, but it didn’t really sound like any of those. So, Cindy asked the aid how she pronounced her name, and what the origin was. I don’t remember her name, by the way, but she told us she was from Bosnia. Cindy asked her if she like d it here better than in Bosnia. We were told that there was no difference.

Now, you may argue with me, but it seems to me that a country where ethnic cleansing was taking place less than thirty years ago, and the aid was certainly older than thirty, should seem different from the USA. We haven’t practiced ethnic cleansing since we moved Native Americans off of their lands. Anyway, when she told us their was no difference, I decided, without a shred of evidence, that she was probably hiding from the war crimes trials. Perhaps she saw something in my eyes, because an hour or so later she brought Cindy and I a tray of food to share. That was nice of her, and I guess it gained back some trust.

At this point I want to voice a complaint about the cafeteria at St. Mary’s Hospital…besides the food prices. When we ate there I pretty much stuck to soup, salad and a sandwich. On this morning I bought a muffin to eat. The sandwiches and the muffin were made elsewhere and packaged. Each package listed the calories, the amount of sodium, fat grams and cholesterol, but not the sugar grams. While all of the other things are important, don’t you think that in a country where diabetes is becoming an epidemic, the hospital would list the sugar grams? I sit here amazed.

We didn’t stay at the hospital as late as we had the previous days, because we were both close to exhaustion. Sitting in a hospital is not an easy task. The doctor planned on giving Chris medication to help her sleep, and we didn’t want to be around to possible disturb her, so we left after giving Cindy’s phone number to the nurse. It also gave us a chance to eat somewhere other than the hospital cafeteria.

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Day 317 – six days late

View from Chris' room
View from Chris’ room

Yes it snowed our first full day in Minnesota, but it was only flurries. Pretty, but inconsequential, unless you were one of the construction workers.

Does the term ICU Delirium mean anything to you? When we came back to Chris’ room the next morning, things had changed dramatically. She was no longer lucid; she was moaning and crying out appeared to have a hard time breathing. According to one of the nurses, she had been given an injection (I don’t remember the name of the drug) that was supposed to help her. To my mind, it didn’t appear to be helping. Later we told she was given the injection to help her get through the delirium. Perhaps I misheard them the first time around. At any rate, Chris didn’t seem to know who we were, and seemed to have lost the ability to speak coherently. She was very agitated. The nurses kept telling us that she was dreaming. Please spare me from dreams like the ones she was experiencing.

Let me say at this point that the staff at St. Mary’s Hospital impressed us with their dedication and caring attitude. Their was one exception, but that is one of the topics for the Day 318 post. When we had arrived the day before, both Chris and David were telling us how professional everyone was. That’s probably why I noticed one nurse coughing as he entered the room; coughing into his hand, not his elbow, and then wiping his hand on his scrubs. On the other end of the spectrum was another nurse who thought that the meds order was wrong because he was sure he had heard the doctor prescribe something else. I was happy to see that he checked on the order before administering the drug.

A consulting doctor came into the room to check on Chris. He asked the nurse aid for her stethoscope so he could check Chris’ lungs. The aid had no stethoscope, so he left the room to borrow one. He never returned while we were there. That’s when I realized that none of the doctors who had been in the room had a stethoscope with them. It reminded me of my time in the hospital when the only doctor I saw who had no stethoscope was my podiatrist. Things are different in Minnesota.

Finally, Cindy told me that I should connect to the hospital’s wi-fi with my smart phone, to save on data charges. That sounded like a good idea, and in a trice I was connected. At that point I lost all connectivity with the Internet, including email, Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Once I got off of the hospital’s wi-fi, all of my connectivity returned. I decided to eat the data charges.

It was a hard day for us, and for many of the caregivers. Chris had been alert and talking to us the day before, but now she seemed to be in a world away from us.