Friday, April 10, 2009

Confinement: Episode 6

Here I am – on the hospital bed in my office. I had no idea how limited my range would be.  But it is what it is, so I am stuck with it.

I have to take Lovenox. An injection in the abdomen once a day. And a real pain in the…. Belly. But it lays waste to the chance of my developing a blood clot. Between that, and this really cool air mattress, I should be in pretty decent shape.

One thing I didn’t realize is how much work it is to move around on an approximately 20 square-foot surface. I also had to spend time prone this morning to stretch out my legs and my back. It was a really good thing; I didn’t feel so cramped like I had when I was in the hospital. The care is much better here than either the hospital or a SNF; I get one-on-one service, and I pay her well…

The graft site is doing well, I think. I have almost no pain, and any discomfort I have is outside of the graft site. Because of the wound vacuum (it has to be running continuously per the surgeon’s order) it is staying dry, and there is some drainage but nothing to really speak of. And I have my leg elevated at all times. The drainage that does get collected is “sero-sanguinous”, which is a combination of blood and serous fluids. It’s similar to what I had when the wound was open, but the quantity is so small it’s almost not worth measuring. The donor site is also okay; it is on my left leg halfway between my knee and ankle and it is approximately 2 inches square. It doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it did after the nerve block wore off, but it is still tender and a dry dressing is still on it. I think the dressing will go away when I see the surgeon this Monday. Or not; I’ll see then.

The two guys on the Cataldo crew that delivered me home last night are friends of mine. They did a great job getting me into the house. To do that we had to go through the back door; going through the front would have been impossible because of the angles. Getting me into the office was a trip; what we had to do because the stretcher wouldn’t fit into the room was seat me in my office chair and wheel me in. I then transferred to the bed with a lot of help. It was a bit of an ordeal, but we got it done and it was done safely. It just took 3 people to do it because of the level of awkwardness involved; my leg was stretched out in front of me, Martha was guiding it, and the guys did the heavy lifting.

They were awesome.

Now if only everybody else had done their jobs the way they were supposed to, Martha wouldn’t have had a near-nervous breakdown. Between case management not following through with things they needed to do, the vacuum vendor not sending paperwork to the WC insurer, the durable medical equipment company not keeping us informed about the whereabouts of the long mattress we ordered for this bed (it has a 4-inch extension at the end with 4 pillows stuffed into the gap), and the nurse who discharged me not including the prescriptions for the medications I have to take in my discharge packet, it would have been a smooth process to get me home.

But I think I’m now on an upswing. At least it feels that way.

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