Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Room, Tasks, Date, Diagnosis

Don continues to improve his strength and abilities in rehab. A few milestones have been reached during the past few days. After starting to walk using a walker, he goes a little farther with it each time, he stands up and moves from the bed to wheelchair easier, and has learned to step up on a 2” platform, then a 4” one. Below left: up and smiling, right: down is a little trickier.


One of the best events happened on Saturday – he was moved to a private room. His former roommate has Parkinson’s and keeps making loud noises, barking like a dog and hollering loudly during the night. He also had ‘accidents’ during the night and techs would come in and turn all the lights on to clean him up. Needless to say, Don had trouble getting his rest! Also the room was pretty tight for nurses, techs and therapists, with two each of beds, wheelchairs, potty chairs, tables, nightstands and guest chairs. We talked with Dr. Catherine Aspinwall, and she made it happen! Don now has room 3920 all to himself, and the former roommate also has plenty of room with only one bed, etc. His wife is still friendly with us and everyone is happier. We’re forever grateful to Dr. Aspinwall!


All of this positive progress was tempered by the news from Dr. Sturgeon, Nephrologist. She confirmed that Don’s renal failure is chronic and he will need to continue dialysis the rest of his life. But we are investigating options for allowing us to continue to travel when he is otherwise able to do so. We can plan ahead and go to different locations for dialysis – every city of any reasonable size (maybe 50,000+ population) is likely to have a dialysis center. We can also look into home dialysis if he qualifies, with supplies sent to us wherever we are. This probably means we won’t be leaving the lower 48 because travel through Canada or Mexico would be way too complicated. But we’re up to the challenge to figure it out, and look forward to new adventures in the future.

Meanwhile, I have decided to postpone the procedure I need on my legs. I have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or 'leaky valves' in my leg veins, causing blood to pool in my calves and ankles, swelling and sometimes painful, and could cause a blood clot. The procedure the endovascular doctor is going to perform will use heat to cauterize the veins that are affected, so blood will get re-routed to other veins. I've been wearing compression stockings for 3 months to satisfy Medicare for coverage on the procedure. It has been approved, but I don’t want to complicate our lives further just now, and I’m okay wearing the stockings.

Finally, we were given a more definite date for Don’s discharge: August 11. We’re hoping for not only more strength in his core and leg muscles, but also improvement in his upper body strength by then. That date is 2 weeks away, and a lot can happen during that time. It will also be 10 weeks after surgery, so his wounds will be well-healed by then. Onward and upward!