A Week of Hospital Recovery – Day 7

December 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Acute Hospital Care

A Week of Hospital Recovery - Day 7What 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 7

Discharge day.

Procedures for discharge are scheduled to begin in the morning.  Doctor was to arrive at the hospital at 9:30 am with discharge to begin between 10 and 11 in the morning.

Patient woke and did one more workout with therapists.  All vitals were normal and the discharge orders were prepared.

Lunch was served and the patient ate well.  One final IV insertion site was removed and bandaged.  The patient rested on the bed until the site was deemed safe.  Doctor performed a physical check and then the nurse went over all the discharge paperwork.

Discharge instructions include continuing on current medications as well as several new ones.  Blood pressure is in the low end of normal range.  Take blood pressure two times per day for next five days.  There is one tube left from surgery.  This tube exits her bowel and pokes through the stomach.  Change the dressing on this tube and the incisions each day and follow up in 1-2 weeks to have tube removed.

Patient left the hospital at around 2 pm.  Walked around to the back rather than attempt the basement stairs.  Needs moderate assistance to get up from the chair and minimum assistance to walk around the house.

She successfully managed her bladder during the day, producing both urine and stool.  Will add fiber and protein to her diet to help keep her “regular”.

Later in the evening, she was able to climb the stairs successfully and sleep upstairs in the bedroom.

 

Our Thoughts

While a week in a hospital isn’t technically defined as an “extended” stay, it does take a toll.  Everyone involved is exhausted from the experience.  Jess hasn’t had a good meal or a shower in a week.  Taking her out the front doors and into the car was liberating.

Jessica loves her coffee and her chocolate.  On the way home, we stopped for chocolate shakes.  Her mind wanted the large shake.  Her stomach decided it could only tolerate a few sips.  Just one of many internal struggles that will have to be reconciled during the course of the next few weeks.

At home, life will be difficult for quite some time.  Simple acts like walking, bending, and reaching are difficult at this time.  She’ll need to find the courage to attempt these tasks and the strength to complete them.

Family life will revolve around her several weeks.  An “all in” effort is needed to support a positive and productive recovery.  Someone will be assigned to assist her all day the first week or two.  After that, increases in strength and endurance will allow her to gradually assume some independence.

Although this setback is unfortunate, it actually came at a good time.  Discharge was the Sunday before Christmas, so husband and kids are home on vacation for the early part of her at-home recovery.  She’ll want to begin her recovery by resting all day.  Her family knows that the best thing for her is to move as much as possible.

The next few weeks will be weeks of supreme effort.  Like most patients, Jessica will be fearful of trying new movements.  She’ll have to overcome her fear of getting up, walking across the room, and tackling the stairs.

The worst part is the uncertainty.  There’s no telling how long it will take to completely regain control of her bowels.  No certainty that she’ll be able to regain all of the abilities she had before.  There are many variables that are out of our control.  The best way to handle recovery is to focus on the things we can control.  Life is much better when you feel like your actions make a difference.  As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.  Thanks and God bless!

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