Monday, February 25, 2013

Adventures in Rehab (Or How All My Hair Turned Gray!)

A month or so ago, I announced that I would be blogging less, and reading way fewer blogs because Mr. Eva was having knee replacement surgery.  Little did I know what I was about to experience!
Here's a recap for your reading enjoyment:

Jan. 15  9:00 a.m.     We arrive at the hospital.  After a brief wait, we are escorted to a pre-op area, where Mr. Eva is instructed to disrobe (Take it off---take it ALL off!) and put on a lovely orchid and white hospital gown.  You know the type--snaps on the shoulders and free flowing air-ducts in the back with little strings at the neck and waist to secure it and preserve his modesty, NOT!

9:30 a.m.  Various nurses stop by to take blood samples, blood pressure, temperature, et cetera, and all ask the same questions.  What is his name?  His date of birth?  Why is he here?  (Somehow, I feel they should know why he's there!  It's certainly not because he has a fetish for exposing his posterior in a backless nightie!)  Has he eaten or drunk anything?  What, if any, medication has he taken?  Does he have allergies?  Who is his physician?  Does he have an advance directive?  For whom did he vote in the presidential election?  How many toes does he have? (okay, I'm stretching it a bit here, but really, he must have been asked the same questions at least 5 times!)

10:00  a.m.  A masked man who introduces himself as the anesthesiologist explains they will be giving him drugs people kill for on the street and he'll be wheeled to the operating room shortly.  A nurse sticks him with an IV and he is wheeled away, while I am led to the surgical waiting room.

I spend time reading a book on my kindle as the hours pass, hoping all is going well.

2:00 p.m.    Surgery was successful, I'm told; Mr. Eva will be in recovery for a little while and then will be wheeled to his room. 

 The next couple of days are uneventful.  Mr. Eva is recovering and will be transferred to a rehab facility.   Now the fun begins!

The first morning Mr. Eva was at the rehab facility, my phone rang at 7:15 a.m.  It was Mr. Eva!  "Get me out of here," he shouted.  "These people are crazy!"

So, I jumped out of bed and into my clothes and went flying to the rehab center, terrified of
what was happening!
I arrived, and the Physical Therapist told me Mr. E refused to see her, much less do anything
in the way of rehab exercise.  

I went to his room and tried my best to turn the situation from panic to calm.  I reassured him
that the staff there was only trying to help him recover, and that he needs to cooperate and help them help him.  I finally convinced him that he was in pain from the surgery and since both knees need replacing, the non-operated knee was causing him pain as well.  He needed to let the nurses and the aides know that both knees were a problem, so they would take greater care when
dealing with him.

He finally calmed down and they brought him lunch.  He ate and I stayed until around 5:00 p.m. and then went home.

The next several days were a repeat of the first!  Calls to me saying he wanted to come home
and that he was receiving terrible care.  Keep in mind Mr. Eva is 6'3" and weights in at a little
over 300 pounds.  He couldn't walk, couldn't stand---there was no way I could take care of
him at home by myself!

He was driving me nuts!  I knew that the problem was pain and drugs, but he would call to say
 he was getting out of there, even if he had to call a cab to come and get him.  If I didn't arrive
 to visit him early in the morning, he would call me repeatedly asking, "Where are you?"  He
was threatening to call the State Department of Human Services to file a complaint against the facility, and call all his doctors; yet his complaints were rather vague.

And he wanted Donuts!  The place had him on a diabetic diet....he is just borderline diabetic and
he wasn't allowed any sweets.   He wanted me to bring him donuts;  he wanted Chicago Dogs, and I was the mean-ass witch who wouldn't help!

He was driving me to drink, except that I'm too short to reach the liquor cabinet and had to appease myself with chocolate!
Also, during that first 2 weeks of rehab, the medical people had difficulty stabilizing his blood pressure; in fact, the first time they had him stand, his blood pressure dropped so low he passed out.  Fortunately the two therapists working with him were able to hold on to him and gently ease him to the floor.  They had to get some kind of lift contraption to get him back into his bed.  I finally was able to convince him that I was not equipped to take care of him at home until he got stronger.

( hair kept getting grayer!)

I visited with him every day;  finally he began to make progress.  His blood pressure stabilized, and he was able to start walking a bit with a walker.  Then we had a blizzard which lasted 2 days and dropped 29 inches of snow on us.  On the second day of the storm, my phone rang.

"I'm out of clothes," he complained.  "Can you bring me some clean underwear and pants?"

"The car is buried under a snow drift, and there's over 2 feet of snow in the driveway.  The plow guy won't be coming until the storm stops.  I can't possibly get there," I responded.

"But what am I supposed to do?  Hang around in my jockeys or less????"

So, I called my son Jason who owns a jeep, lives 45 minutes away, but has a big heart, and explained the situation.

Jason said, "No problem."  With his jeep all tricked out thanks to 4 x 4 Group Buy,he drove through the snow to my house, picked up a bag of clothes for his step dad and delivered them to the rehab center.
(The U.S. Postal Service could learn from Jason!)

Mr. Eva finally convinced the staff that he should be discharged on February 13th.  I was skeptical but he was bound and determined.   On his last day, a representative from the State Department of Human Services interviewed him about his care; they were responding to the phone call he'd made to complain.   He had no memory of making the call; he didn't remember all the calls he made to me demanding to get out of there.  Apparently he was drugged and in pain and off in lala land!

I drove him home that day.  He managed to get in and out of the car okay; he made it up the
 4 steps to our house, but then said he was exhausted and had to sit down.  The only "seat" available was a salt bucket sitting on the stair landing.  He sat on it.  After a few minutes rest,
 he tried to get up;  the bucket was too low, and no matter how he tried, he couldn't stand!
In desperation, I called 911 and the EMTs who responded had some sort of  chair/dolley which 
they used to get him into the house.  During the past week or so, a visiting Physical Therapist 
has come to visit 4 times, and he's making great progress.  He now can get up the steps and 
into the house without a call to 911!  Things are calming down, and I might actually get back 
 to reading and posting blogs again!!!!  

Thanks to all of you who sent well wishes and who continued to visit and comment on my blog, even when I didn't have time or energy to reciprocate!  Mr. Eva is well on his way back to normal, 
or as normal as he'll ever be!  Stay tuned--the other knee will be replaced in the fall!



River said...

He was drugged and in pain when he called all those times, so doesn't remember them? Maybe for the next op, you could tell the nurses this and they could make sure he doesn't have access to the phone. That sounds a bit cruel doesn't it? Yeah, that would be cruel. But at least you'll know next time that he's in the same situation and you can remind him. And maybe pack extra clothes.
I'm glad to hear he is progressing nicely and able to get up the stairs without 911 aides.

Brian Miller said... have been on quite the journey...ha i agree with river on no phone next time....smiles....ah youve done a good job caring for him it seems...smiles. glad he is doing better....

Stephen Hayes said...

And to think you get to go over all of this again with the other knee. I hope Mr. Eva appreciates you. I'm sending prayers your way.

Stephen Hayes said...

And to think you get to go over all of this again with the other knee. I hope Mr. Eva appreciates you. I'm sending prayers your way.

mary said...

My right knee was replaced 3 years ago - I thought I would die during recovery - I attribute that to the oxycodone that I was told to take to stay ahead of the pain. I could not eat, was depressed, had terrible night mares, heart palpitations and felt I was about to pass out just walking around. After googling the drug, I took myself off and It was like a miracle. The other knee is heading for replacement but I will never take this drug again - and druggies buy this for $10 a pill - who would want to feel that bad!

A Beer For The Shower said...

What a story. Amazing what some heavy medication can do to a person. I'm glad to hear Mr. Eva's on the road to recovery. So... did you ever get him those donuts and Chicago Dogs or what? :)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Yup. Just because the doc can legally dole them out doesn't mean drugs should be taken! It has been my experience that overdosing is a major problem in most of the medical systems of the world.... no I think I mean overprescribing. Overdosing may have solved a few troubles.

Anyway, it's good to "hear your voice" online once more. And remember, forewarned is forearmed!

fishducky said...

Sounds like such fun--good luck with the other knee!!

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Oh my gosh, does your post bring back memories. From being in the OR, to being in the hospital and seeing other patients on the phone calling 911 and state facilities to get them out of there and complaining of care. It's a wonder the hospitals even give phones to patients. Next time, God forbid if there is, you'll have some info to fall back on and be a bit more prepared and can head some of it off before it happens. Nothing you can do about snowfall though. I'm glad you and your husband are both recovering. Have a blessed day. Followed you from SITS.

Sassy Girl Cooks said...

LOL! You're great at telling this story. I hope Mr. Eva is on the mend and feeling good. ~ Meghan from The Tasty Fork

Al Penwasser said...

But...didn't you think it was odd that Mr. Eva was asked to disrobe in the parking garage?

nutschell said...

what an adventure! I'm tired just reading about it. I hope Mr. Eva recovers well!