Lots of changes afoot today in 8 Northeast Room 8226, not least of which is that I have been officially upgraded to non-ICU status, which mainly means I need to plan farther ahead when I want attention because there are definitely people on the floor in more need now than me. It also means that I'll be changing rooms, probably tomorrow, which, yes, doesn't count as a change from today. Another change definitely from today though is that I walked, practically shuffled but did move my legs, one after the other, down the hall about 50 feet, and then back again. Yes, I was pushing a huge industrial-sized walker and PT Jason was monitoring my oxygen levels and someone (Stan?) was following along behind me with a wheelchair closely enough to hit me in the back of the knees (in fact, when I did pause to sit that's probably what it looked like had happened), but I did it, and that was about 200 steps closer to being able to go downstairs to the main floor and see my dogs, who unfortunately aren't allowed in the ICU and would never remotely be mistaken for service dogs. Certainly not by blind people.
Note: my dogs are not currently on the main floor waiting for me.
Another notable new absence is my catheter, which I actually had mixed feelings about. I mean, I have to piddle way more times a day than anything else I do down there, even at the best of times, and I just didn't have to my first two weeks here. I could just lounge in bed all day and it took care of itself. Nevertheless, no catheter means more independence. In fact, the commode is sitting by my bed right now, and I'm contemplating using it in a moment. The one thing that's giving me pause is that the door to my room is open. The curtain in front of it is closed, and my sense of personal boundaries has been severely foreshortened in recent days but still . . . and I'm just not sure I could make it to the door safely with a cause less life-threatening than fire. Personal scruple just wouldn't carry me that far. I'll probably be on that commode before too long.
I am no longer on the high force oxygen or whatever it's actually called, where I wear a mask over my nose and mouth and a mixture of pure oxygen and air is blown into my face. I am back to the so-subtle-as-to-be-almost-invisible little nose-thingy. This gives out a very small amount of oxygen, a whisper really, a hint, the vermouth in a dry martini. This gives out little enough oxygen that I could, theoretically, take a couple small canisters home with me as soon as I can do other things like reliably walk up ten stairs and wash under my armpits. And so the gale-force wind machine in my room has been turned off leaving a blessed quiet (one of the first things I remember a nurse asking me here, when I was hooked up to my oxygen, was "Do you like white noise?" And I replied, quite sadly and truthfully, "No." But you adjust, it turns out, particularly when you don't keep waking up to piddle.)
I also gave myself a first "bath" today, where a PT handed me warm soapy washcloths and then warm unsoapy ones and I cleaned myself . . . and I did a horrible job. I think my goal tomorrow will be armpits before stairs.