Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quiet, but Smelly

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.


Anonymous said...

Hey, HOORAH for baby steps and hallway walking. I am imagining Spackle and Hoover playing a mean game of poker to pass the time until you get down to see them. Wearing those visors.

All our love from Jason and Rosemary and me xoxo A

Anonymous said...

holy smokes sounds like you did more than I did today! Keep up the good work! I read my mom your blog tonight and she was jealous of all the walking your doing so she wanted me to tell you to keep walkin for her too!

KateMV said...

Standing! Walking! Non-ICU! Catheter out! So much good news. We are very happy for you. Keep up the great work!


Andrienne said...

My mother woke up because I was laughing so loudly. "What is so funny" she yelled from bed. "Calin," I said, "I'll read it to you tomorrow." Then she replied "No, I'll get up now - read it to me now!" She laughed as hard as I did. Sweet, but smelly dreams!

allyson said...

Keep the great news coming! xoxo AQ

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that washing of the armpits was such an important milestone on the road to recovery. Makes me rethink my relationship to armpits, especially my own.

I can not express the depth of my happiness to hear that you are walking, and breathing and washing on your own. AND that you are leaving the ICU. That is wonderful wonderful news. Go team indomitable spirit!


Gregory said...

Ha! "Do you like white noise?" I hope you said, "Like it? Honey, I used to SELL white noise!" Which is 100% true, innit?

I am very happy to hear that you are becoming more you again. It's great progress. Wash an armpit for me!


Stacey said...

I hope you know how loved and appreciated you are. And, i hope you know how much healing energy you send out to the rest of us who are in the restoration process as you heal too. Truly.

I have this dilemma: I have justified not coming to the hospital all week because I thought I was going to be coming through Seattle today, but as it turns out I have to be in Portland for the Summer Institute a day earlier than I originally thought (just found out last night). I will be coming back through late next week and will keep up on things so I'm sure to know where to find you.

I am proud of you. I miss you--I also miss a good 3/4 of the people who have been coming to visit you and/or posting comments (I hope you all are reading this Mathewsons, Ian, S&L, Erik, Lee, AC etc. etc. etc.--I am so grateful that Calin has created and continued to be the center of this much larger community)--but most of all I miss you, Cousin C.

Continuing to visualize healing of all kinds for you and reenergizing that is so big it can barely be visualized. You are a messenger of healing and peace, and I know that because of that you are receiving healing and peace.

So much to catch you up on one day soon.

Love, love, love, hugs, hugs, hugs,

Cousin S.

Sassy Glasses Girl said...

It's excellent to see your smiling face on this blog again. Yay!!!

And, I have to say, I'm sitting at my desk CRACKING UP at the last couple of days of entries. My favorite lines so far: comparing your oxygen feed at the moment to a whisper, to "the vermouth in a dry martini."

And, of course, this one: "I then took a nap the likes of naps never seen this side of wherever naps are big."

I love, love, LOVE your writing, Calin!

And, yes, I think you ARE being reborn. Brilliant of you to spot that. :) Like we've all said, you amaze us...


m s laura said...

I was visualizing your dogs pacing the first floor of the hospital. Then I realized that there is no way Spackle would pace calmly if he hadn't seen you in a while, so I enjoyed a good chuckle at the visualization.

I will think of you now, probably every time I wash my armpits...oh and I'll chuckle while doing it : )

You funny, incredible girl : )

Love you,

Laura (matching socks)