Monday, June 7, 2010

Eat what you can

With the weekend came more strides in the right direction. Patrick and I both seemed to get some real sleep Friday night. He was feeling better, his tests proved that he was getting better, and it put a smile on everyone's faces. Patrick ate a little breakfast, and then his respiratory therapist came in and gave him a breathing treatment. Those cause him to cough, and that is just what we want. After doing some of his breathing therapy, he got out of the bed and we walked around the nurse's station twice. All of the nurses commented on how happy they were to see him up and around. The staff here is so wonderful, and so encouraging. Krista came by for a while after lunch. She caught us up on what was going on with her, and she had us all cracking up with funny stories about life in the Lone Star state. It was so nice to see her. One of the hardest things about being out here is that our family is so far away. (1,047 miles to be exact) I can't tell you how many times I have wished that Becca was here bringing Cameron to check on us. How nice it would be to see Amie, Leigh Ann, and Momma cutting jokes about some of the crazy things that ended up putting me in the ER. Mr. Larry giving us a quick hello on the way to cut our grass. (Cutting grass is what he does. He IS the Yard Man.) Seeing some of my loved ones from church swinging by for a little break in the day. Having Patrick's parents here has been such a blessing. They make home feel a little less far away.

Patrick didn't eat much dinner, but he has been good about drinking lots of water. I asked Patrick if he needed anything, but he assured me he didn't, and went back to pushing his food around on his plate. He finally gave up on what he had ordered, and asked me to get him some cereal. I could hear my grandmother's voice come out of my mouth. "It's so good to see you eating. Can I get you anything else. It's ok, eat what you can and leave the rest." I called down to the kitchen for some Fruit Loops, and he did eat that.

They took him off of his IV fluids, and they only hook him up while he is having his infusions of antibiotics. The doctor came by and told us that Patrick's white blood count was going up so they were going to take him off of any steroids, which can boost your white count. The doctor said that he was a little concerned, but hopefully this would clear the issue.

The team of nurses that he had Saturday night was the same team that had to call the code on Patrick on Monday. After he left the ER, he was moved to the floor, and no sooner had he gotten here, he deteriorated and had to be put on a ventilator. One if his nurses told us more details of the night. I don't really think it was until that conversation that Patrick really realized how close he came to dying. After she left we talked about the days he doesn't remember, and he seemed even more shaken. As we settled in for the night, he said "Why don't you pull your chair over here by me." I moved the table that sat between Patrick's hospital bed and the recliner that I've been sleeping on. I put down the rails on his bed, laid down across the armrest, put my head beside him and started to doze. He took me by the hand, told me he loved me, and we went to sleep. As I laid there I realized that is the first time in quite the while that we haven't had Cameron between us. I miss that little sassy girl.

Patrick coughed off and on all night. Earth quaking coughs that any other time would make me feel bad, but those deep dark sounds were music to my ears. Those coughs were breaking up the pneumonia and subsequently breaking up this disaster. I stroked his horribly bruised arm while he caught his breath, and then it was back to sleep until the next quake.

Sunday morning Patrick woke up feeling worse. He said that his neck hurt and he was having a little trouble breathing. My heart sank. Neck pain is what started this. That coupled with the fact that his white count was going up had me in a little bit of a panic. I got up, felt his brow to see if he was running a fever, and got him a glass of water. They draw his blood for work up every morning around 5:00, so I was waiting quite impatiently to hear what his counts were. The nurses called the doctor on call, and they gave him a dose of morphine to stave off the pain in his neck. I thought we were past the point of morphine. When we got the word that his counts had gone from 22 to 16 I was able to take the first deep breath I had in several hours. The neck pain wasn't from infection, but rather it was from coughing. I hate that he was hurting, but three cheers for cough related neck pain. Patrick's parents spent the morning with us. Patrick's nurse Madlyn came in to take his blood sugar. Madlyn is probably in her 50s, and she is about as big around as she is tall. Her coffee skin highlights her bright smiling eyes. I remember her from the last two times we have been her, but I don't think she really remembers us. "Alright honey, I need to get your sugar." she said with a Southern draw. Patrick said, "Well come on in and pucker up." I nearly shot orange Fanta out of my nose. She laughed and fired back with a joke of her own. About 11:00, she came in and asked Mr. Bill, Mrs. Noonie, and I to leave because she needed to give Patrick a bath. He gave her a big grin and said "Come on in!" I told him to be sure to keep his sugar to himself, and I laughed the whole way to the coffee shop downstairs. Mr. Bill and I had white mochas, and Mrs. Noonie had a caramel coffee. We talked about how amazed we were with how wonderful Patrick was doing. I thanked them for coming out with me. The three of us basked in the prayers that have been answered in our family. We finished our coffee and went back upstairs to tease Patrick about cheating on me with an older woman.

They left to head to the airport a little after 1:00. I hugged them both so tightly, kissed them on the cheek, and promised that I would bring their baby home safe and healthy. No matter if you are 6 or 36 or 106; you are alway your parents' baby. We all held hands and prayed. Love, joy, and relief filled the room until it was tangible. It was like a warm blanket that I was more than happy to wrap up into. We all got a little misty eyed, hugged each other again, and then they hit the road. I am insanely envious. How much I wish we were going to be on that plane home. Home is where the heart is, and mine more than likely has one arm around her glow worm right now.

Mid-afternoon Patrick was feeling better, so he got up and we went for a few more laps around the nurses' desk. When we got back to the room, Patrick asked if I would go get a wheelchair so we could go downstairs. I tracked one down in the lobby, and took his chariot upstairs. We got a quick cheer from one of the nurses as we made our way down the hall. We went to the first floor to the main lobby and outside to get some fresh air. As I pushed him past a small rose garden I realized that this was the first time I have been out of the building since I got here. It was so hot outside, and the air was heavy with moisture. In spite of the oppressive heat, it was nice to feel the sun.

We walked into the far entrance into the lobby called "The Fountain." It is a very open space with lots of windows, a grand piano that always has a player, and a beautiful fountain. We sat down and watched the water fall for a while listening to the rich sounds of the massive Stienway being played by a young doctor with raven black hair. She played with such longing that it just pulled me in. As we sat, a family walked by. The mother talked to her daughter who was about 6 years old, and pushed a stroller with a pudgy faced little girl inside. She looked a little younger than Cameron. She had on a cute little pink hat, footie pajamas and a little jacket. She had a tube going up her nose and IVs running into a port under her PJs. She and her sister were begging their daddy for change to toss into the fountain. Her dad pushed an IV stand and dug into his pockets much to slowly to suite the two little girls. You could see the little girl's bald head peeking out from underneath her little plaid hat as she pulled against the seatbelt in her stroller. Her little round face filled with shear elation when her penny broke the surface of the water. Her sister cheered her on, and stuck her hand back to her dad for more change. Patrick squeezed my hand tightly and I started to brim with tears. With every cent they gleefully threw in, I made wishes. I wished that this was all a horrible dream for them. That they wake up tomorrow and their little girl was as healthy as she was happy. I wished we were home so I could kiss Cameron all over and thank God even more for her. I wish…

"Eat what you can and leave the rest." What a montra that has become. When I was a little girl, like all kids, we were expected to eat what was on our plate. Grandma never fussed if we didn't make it all the way through our green beans or rice. She didn't make us clean our plate before we could grab a tea cake on the way outside to climb in crepe myrtle trees in her yard. She always made sure we ate enough, but never more. Since Patrick was diagnosed last year, I have had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes you can work yourself to exhaustion, and no matter what you do, you just cant get it all done. That emotions can flood in until you feel like you are digging a hole in water. I feel like that more than ever. I need to carry the household from day to day so that Patrick can spend his time getting better and not worrying about the daily grind of dinner, dishes, laundry, and the like. I come home, start dinner, unload the dishwasher, pick up Cameron's trail of crayons, set the table, eat, and straighten up the kitchen all before kicking off my high heels. That mountain of laundry will live to see another day - maybe the weekend they will get washed. Wait, didn't I say that last weekend? I see people like that little girl who is in the fight of her life, and she isn't old enough to speak in a sentence. I see Patrick's body weak and horribly bruised knowing that there is nothing I can do to fix it. I try and keep Grandma's voice in my head. I can see her right now standing in the kitchen stirring away. "Eat what you can baby and leave the rest."

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