Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Good Morning Sunshine"

"Good morning sunshine!"...This is how my son greets me at 7:30 am. with very little sleep and four days in the same room without seeing the light of day. Last night was rough for him. His pulse ox was down  (oxygen levels) so they put a monitor on his pointer finger. Everything he is connected to has wires, every time he gets up to use the bathroom he must disconnect a wire or wrap up a chord. Alarms are sounding all night, one for the fluids being empty, one for the finger, one for the blood pressure cuff. He bolts up out of bed at  2 am, grabbing wires and angry. He says "I need to get out of here, I am claustrophobic and need to breathe!!! Having had panic disorder for many years, I knew exactly what to do. I turn on the light so he can see around the room, unplug his monitors, remove the finger monitor as he stands up. Within a few minutes, he feels better, is back in bed and sound asleep.

A couple of hours later, at 4 am I get a nudge. I wake up and he is up again, asking for a change of clothes saying "I forgot to change yesterday". I get his clothes for him as he tells me "you're snoring is keeping me awake"!  I put layers of pillows on the double mattress' so I am sitting up. Hoping this will allow him more sleep. Within ten minutes he is sound asleep. He barely remembers the incident.

Zack is back sound asleep so I decide I might as well get up, take a shower and head down to the cafeteria for breakfast. While down there I bring back something for him, which he still does not eat. His eating is way off this time around. He doesn't eat breakfast or lunch. He only manages to eat some dinner, which contributes to his weakness. His nausea is not as bad as his previous hospital stay, but enough to keep him from eating. This is the first time that I am staying "in house" to eat. I don't want to run off too far, so I take the elevator down to the second floor. Being a little nervous and anxious about going to a new place, I take my time. The halls are long, but filled with beautiful photos taken by the staff. They are personal, as if the staff are sharing their families with us. There are children in Halloween costumes, a family portrait of four generations, pets covered in mud from playing in the fields, a man holding a large mouth bass he just caught. I can't help but smile at the simple pleasures depicted. What a great idea, this makes the hospital more personal. No cheap prints or tree lined walkways in an unknown location. 

He has slept most of the day, he wakes up for a few minutes, grabs his cell phone texts a few lines and then back to sleep again. I ask the nurse if this is normal, that last time we were here he was so nauseous that took precedence, now the sleeping. She said it is totally normal, the chemo cocktail will make him tired. 

It is 2:30 pm and the chemo has started for the day. Zack gets up to go to the rest room and as he exits his face is white, his eyes start to close and He grabs onto the bathroom door. I stop him from falling by throwing my body in front of him, grab his arms and throw them over my shoulders. He slowly walks back to the bed. I hit the call button and ask for immediate help. The nurse walks in and I tell her what just happened. She tells me she had just given him decadron and probably put the fluids in too fast ( they take two minutes to do so, but for Zack they need to take a little longer or he has a reaction). She calls the doctor who orders an x-ray to make sure his lungs are okay. (the x-ray came out just fine). His oxygen levels were too low. It turns out that he has been so weak that he hasn't been able to walk around, by not walking around and being in the bed for the four days, he doesn't take deep breathes and that's what causes his levels to go down. They put him on oxygen for a little while, then brought in the insentive spirometer which he has to breathe into to build up his oxygen intake. 

I'm sure once we are home he will bounce back. He is tired of being here, who wouldn't? He is ready to be in his bed, with his television, his friends nearby. Frank comes to see us and pick up some of the items we brought for our stay. I see Zack perk up a bit. They talk about the car, how does it sound? why does it leak oil? what can we do about it? How much are you driving it? He tells Frank, "You better put gas in it, if you're driving it around"! we all laugh! I head down for dinner while Frank stays with him. I would love to have dinner with Frank, but we feel more comfortable if one of us is with Zack in the event he must get up and is dizzy. (which is actually just what happened). Frank heads out, so he can care for the animals. I tease him and tell him he better enjoy his "bachelorhood", he only has one more night. About a half hour after he leaves, Amy and Bill stop by after an all day bike ride around the mountains. Amy shares several pictures of their ride and they tell us of their adventures of the day. We live vicariously through others right now, sounds funny but true. They said there was no way they were going to be in Asheville and not stop by. How cool is that! With their visit came more laughter and help passing the time. 

Zack continues feeling sick to his stomach, so I call Will (our night nurse) in and ask for Benedryl to help him sleep tonight. He brings in his shot (which Zack likes to self administer) and gives him the Benedryl,.  Zack motions for me to come and sit next to him, he holds my hand and I snuggle with him for a little while until he is asleep. He may be a giant, but he will always be my little boy.The one the nurses call "an absolute sweetheart." 

Entrance to the Pediatric section of the Hospital

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