Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Reclaiming self

It has been twenty-three and one quarter hours since I took any prescription pain reliever. I did break down and have a couple of tylenol half an hour ago, but I think, for the time being, the big pain is past. Mostly now what bugs me is discomfort. The constant mediciney taste in my mouth. The niggling sensation of the port-a-cath tube on my chest. Also, I've got some congestion in my head, ringing in my ears and my skin doesn't seem to be transmitting sensation with its accustomed efficiency (I think this is called peripheral neuropathy).

Still, all in all I'm much happier and better. The highpoint of my day was calling into a law firm board meeting, and getting a couple of work related messages - nothing high pressure, just enough to let me know I'm missed. I'm determined to do some work (even 1/10th of an hour) by weeks end.

Brian, my home health care professional came by this afternoon to install a new access tube to my port and to teach me how to administer my own IV antibiotics. I'm enthusiastic about doing this myself, but wasn't ready to fly solo after one demonstration, so he's coming back tomorrow to walk me through it again.

Brian says all I have to remember is "SASH", or Saline, Application, Saline, Heparin. This means I flush my port with a syringe of saline, then hook up the antibiotics for 30 minutes, then flush it with saline again and then flush it with heparin. I also have to mix up the medicine, hang the bag, and make sure the bubble doesn't go in the tube ("NEVER let the bubble in the tube") (What is THAT about? Why IS THE BUBBLE THERE IF IT CAN'T GO IN THE TUBE???!!!!). I also have to wipe the tip with alcohol in case it has ever touched anything, and I have to break some tips off but make sure other tips stay on. I wish I'd taken at least one science lab in college. Milton is a comfort but damn little practical help to me now.

It's ok. A couple more days and I'll get it for sure.

OK, the real highpoint of my day was sitting down to dinner with my family in my home and listening to Seamus and Judy play violin and piano together after dinner.

Thanks to all our friends and family who continue to shower us in unreasonably generous love and support. May God bless you as you are a blessing to us.

8 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

Jim,

If you need any help battling the bubbles, call me. Bubbles are my business!

Love,
Jenn

8:58 PM  
Blogger vkenny said...

Hi Jimmy,
Bubbles can be fun in alot of circumstances but this is not one of them. Everything that seems so strange now will seem almost routine in no time. Keep on plugging
along, you and Judy seem to have a real grip on things and tag team is the best way to handle this test. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

V

8:17 AM  
Blogger nlowry said...

Jim,
I missed checking in for a few days, but the blog (read from the bottom up) is a great story of suspense. I could probably talk about protagonists, denouement, etc., but as an engineer, I don't really follow that stuff! Too bad it's non-fiction.

I'm soooo happy you're home.

Niamh

10:09 AM  
Blogger Dorrie said...

It sounds like all the love and caring for people that you've been throwing out into the world for as long as I have known you (my whole life) is boomeranging back to you. I wonder if you've been handed this challenge just so you could see the tremendous love people have for you. You’ve been given dark clouds lined with the precious silver of friends and family being moved to express what they've always felt but never mentioned. Did you know, (really, really know and believe) how much people loved you? Will your physical hardships leave you with an emotional gift so beautiful that you’ll be touched forever? In case I haven’t said it enough, I love you. I always have. I always will. You’ve been my hero since the day I opened my eyes and stared out of my crib...

11:46 AM  
Blogger Tom Wolf said...

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
Paradise Lost, Book 1 Line 254

This wisdom is more valuable than lots of seemingly more practical stuff. (Of course, as an English major myself, I'm somewhat biased.)

Hope to see you soon.

Love, Tom

4:27 PM  
Blogger UisceBaGirl said...

I am with you on avoiding the pain medication as long as I can stand it. I took just one Percoset after my surgery in January and afterwards I couldn't focus my eyes to read or watch TV (my two non-sleep options at the time!). That was to me scarier than the pain.

I hope the discomfort symptoms abate or, if that's not possible, that you acclimate to them quickly.

My science lab classes would be no more helpful than Milton (I took Geology lab!).

5:12 PM  
Blogger UisceBaGirl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:14 PM  
Blogger GSP87 said...

Hi Jim - Just wanted to check in and say Hi. It was great to talk to Judy and yourself yesterday. Know that we are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Love Al & Cheryl

8:44 PM  

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