Saturday, September 4, 2010

Big smiles

Sigve greets me with big smiles when I come into his room, and that feels wonderful.
While he had the high temperature, he had a look on his face and in his eyes that was unfamiliar, but now that is gone and the old Sigve is back. He has started taking an interest in things again, and even watches some TV.

I suppose most of you are familiar with hospital regimes concerning keeping things as bacteria free as possible. This is especially important in a case like Sigve's, where his immune system was totally killed, and he had no resistance at all against even the most common bacteria and virus.
These hand disinfection dispensers are everywhere, and we use them constantly; when entering the ward, and again when entering Sigve's room. It's a gel, and I wonder if maybe some softener has been added to it, as my hands feel very soft after applying it. Some people seem to get very dry hands, but mine have handled it well.

Before I got there, a niece of ours had been visiting. Her son went through the same treatment about a year ago, so she knows exactly what we're going through. He's doing well now.
I just missed her; I was probably in one elevator going up while she was in another one going down.

Sigve was sitting up in a chair while she was there, and he's encouraged to do that as much as possible, rather than just sit up in bed. Sitting up properly helps the lungs get back to work as the diaphragm has better working conditions than when lying down. Breathing deeply helps prevents fluid retention in the lungs, which again can cause pneumonia.

However, fluid retention in the body is common with long term bed rest and I guess also from certain medications, so in order to detect it Sigve is weighed every day. Ever since he first started on the chemo he has been given large amounts of iv fluids to help flush out the waste and prevent kidney failure. He's also encouraged to drink as much water as possible. So when these fluids start building up, he's given diuretic medication. Very effective. At times he could produce 3 dl/10 fl oz. every 10 minutes. When his temperature started rising, he got weaker, and it became too difficult to make it to the bathroom in time, so they started giving him bottles to use in bed. Remember he had to unplug 2-3 drop counters and drag Hangman with him too! He claims his life really took a turn for the better when he got to use the bottles. So on his night stand there are always various kinds of bottles; what goes in must come out :-)

His food so far, a nutrition mix, has been administered through Hicky. In addition he gets sodium chloride with magnesium and potassium added. Blood tests taken every day show if he needs other mineral additions. Today he needed calcium, which cannot be given with magnesium and potassium, so they had to hook up another bag of sodium chloride and add the calcium later.

Sigve is trying different kinds of food now. This morning he had some toast, then cauliflower and broccoli soup for lunch, and a bite of fish and some fruit soup for dinner. Very little of each, but it's a start, and he's trying. I can understand his reluctance when the smell makes him feel sick, but he was ok with that food today.

It's a good thing he doesn't have to drink the nutrition mix, it doesn't look very appetizing! He has had some other nutrition drinks though, and he likes the chocolate flavored one. Or maybe not exactly likes, but he drinks it anyway.

Another picture from Birgit shows Sigve's appetite (and oh, the hair!) back in 1979:

Tom, the physiotherapist wanted to test Sigve's ability to walk up and down stairs today, so we went on an excursion to the stair well. No big deal, he walked stairs like he always has. And Tom was surprised, he had not expected him to do it so well so soon.
Afterwards Sigve and I did several lengths in the corridor, We made a point of walking really fast, and kept going until he got tired and a little breathless. After that I let him go back to bed for a nap, I thought he deserved it by then.

Geir Espen is spending another night in hospital too. His crp is around 60, which can indicate either a bacterial or viral infection, so they await more test results before starting any kind of treatment.

Today I am grateful for:
*Sigve's willingness to push himself
*The wonderful and encouraging nurses and other staff
*That Geir Espen is kept in hospital until they know exactly what's going on

1 comment:

steve.scott said...

I hope you know that today and everyday Sigve and Geir Espen are especially grateful to have such a beautiful and strong mother, wife, friend and all-around support system in you. I cannot imagine how either of them would make it without your unconditional love and support.

Keep up the good work!

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