04 March 2009

Home Sweet Home, Part 2

Ford was released from the hospital around noon today. He is, again, happy to be home. I am too.

I also want to repeat again that the staff on the seventh floor is awesome. We even got to see Cameron Shumway at work as a PCT (it was explained to us that a PCT is one step above a CNA and is unique to the IHC system. Most of the PCT's that helped us were working on their nursing degrees and some were close to graduating either from UVU or BYU). Although he wasn't assigned to Ford, he always was kind and asked if we needed anything. (Thanks, Cam.)

Ford is really diligent. In order to help his lung situation, he was given an apparatus that he has to use. Even though it was a challenge, every hour on the hour he would do his little exercise. We also started walking laps around the floor. Every couple of hours we would make two laps around the floor. This morning, very early, when Ford couldn't sleep, we increased that to three laps, and then before he was dismissed, we made it up to four. (If he had needed to stay longer, I may have lost a little weight.)

The chest x-ray from this morning showed clear lungs.

His white blood cell count is lowering, but not
as much as first thought it might.

There are signs that the chemo is starting to set in one of which the palms of his hands are turning red. We were told that he might begin to lose his hair at about week 2 -3.

He is limited on the amount of plain water he can drink. He now has to switch off with juices, Gatorade, or a drink that can help keep his electrolytes in balance. Besides the unusual problem with his sodium, there seemed to be a bit of a drop in his potassium. Even though it was somewhat of a fluke, the doctors are being careful because his normal daily intake was about 2 liters and they think that amount might create another drop.

We were told that one of the doctors in the ICU made the comment that he was glad to finally see someone that actually drank the recommended amount of water and exercised regularly. That may be why he was always quite positive of Ford's recovery rate would be.

There was an incident that was dejavu of one of the offenses I committed while in the ER. Early this morning while Ford was gone to get his chest x-ray, I heard this terrible hacking cough coming from out in the hall. As it got closer to our room, I also heard "sniff, sniff, sniff." Then one of the crew from housekeeping came in to empty the wastebaskets. Mind you, we are on a medical/ oncology floor where most have cancer of some type and some of the patients have been transferred to this floor from ICU, because they are less critical than those coming into ICU and ICU needed the room.

The rule, as it was explained to me, is to wear a mask. She was not wearing a mask, but was faithfully fulfilling her duties entering each patient's room.

I thought about it for a minute or two, then I approached someone about it. This person turned around and, while I didn't hear the whole conversation, I believe explained to her that when she was in Room # (our room #) she would need to wear a mask. hmmmm. Let me think about this. Emptying trash from every room and Ford is not the only patient on the floor that is walking laps. A few have physical therapists that take them walking. One other was walking on his own.

I mentioned it again to the lead nurse that was helping Ford and she immediately said that the staff needed to be more aware and be more diligent about masking up.

When we went for our next walk, the housekeeper that was cleaning the rooms was wearing a mask, but the original person about whom I was concerned still was not wearing a mask. I carefully steered Ford away from her when we got near where she was. (She glared at me every time.) Finally, she turned a corner just as we were coming down the hall. I stood between her and Ford. I mustered up all the niceness that I could and told her that I thought I had heard her coughing earlier this morning and asked her if she was ill. She looked at me and said that she had been earlier, but she was better now and all she had was a cough. I
tried gently to tell her that what she had could be deadly to some of the patients with low immunity. She sort of sniffed at me, flipped her blond braided head around, and walked away.

When Dr. Alward walked into Ford's room, his first statement was: "How about us letting you go home before you catch something from here" (or something close to that).

When we getting the papers we needed to check out, I noticed that she finally had a mask on. I also saw that a few more of the regular staff were wearing masks. Come to think of it, Dr. Alward was sitting at the computer just around the corner and a few feet away from where we had encountered the housekeeper.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! How many of us comment or complain, but not to the people who can do something about it? You are awesome to speak out when needed.