A Week of Hospital Recovery – Day 2

December 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Acute Hospital Care

A Week of Hospital Recovery - Day 2What does a typical week long hospital stay look like?  Here is a day-by-day schedule of our most recent visit.  The patient is Jessica and the treatment was surgery to remove part of the intestine.

Day 2:

Patient wakes up alert.  Blood pressure still a concern and white count still high.  All other indicators look good.  Patient is still bloated from the fluid, but kidneys improving and urine volume increasing.

Patient is able to follow commands and has a minimal volume of respiratory secretions.  Appears able to protect airway.  Extubated from the ventilator after a few hours of consciousness.

Prior to the vent being removed, the patient was irritated by the vent line and was biting it.  This necessitated a mouth guard as well as restraints on the arms.  Speech is difficult for up to a day after the vent is removed, especially due to the additional soreness caused by the mouth guard.

Patient can tolerate a sitting position for about an hour.  Was moved into this position twice during the day to help the lungs gain more strength.  Expect PT and OT to begin tomorrow.


Our Thoughts

The level of alertness in the morning was a big surprise.  On day 1 she was more heavily sedated as well as tired from lack of sleep prior to surgery.  With the vent in her mouth, communication was very difficult.  It was hard to understand much of what she said other than “yes” or “no” answers.

Even worse was the discomfort and helplessness caused by the mouth guard and arm restraints.  She wanted the freedom to move her hands, but she would have gone straight for the item that felt unnatural… the vent tube.  It would have been dangerous if it had been removed prematurely.  No matter how bad we felt for her, she would have to be restrained until the vent was removed.

After removal, she regained some of her voice quickly.  I say “her” voice, but really it sounded more like a child who had just sucked on a helium balloon.  The act of speaking was tiring for her today, and she didn’t have enough strength to even adjust her position in the bed.

Even with the ventilator gone, Jess was still bloated and had smaller tubes going into her nose.  If you were to see a picture of yourself after major surgery, you probably wouldn’t be happy with the way you looked.  At this point, Jess didn’t look close enough to herself to consider a picture.  She seemed about a day away from considering a camera.

Now that she was stable, it made sense to project how the next few days might go.  A sensible guess was a few more days here and then discharge home.

Our bedroom and shower are upstairs.  At this point it seemed likely that I would have to move a bed downstairs until she was strong enough to do the stairs consistently.  This was also the week before Christmas so there was still the shopping and the kids’ holiday performances to manage.  Jess would be participating in spirit and then watching whatever video we could get.

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