Hospital Transitions Require Both the Patient and Caregiver Being Well Taken Care Of

Original painting of two chicks and quote "Share Your Vulnerabilities" because that's how you get well taken care ofSo good to be home and well taken care of!!  Even before we left my friend Joan  offered to grocery shop for me.  I said no, then took it back.  “I’ll shop online at Walmart and you can pick it up.” It was in the cabinets by the time we got home.

The kids have arrived – two even before we left the hospital, another two last night.  We left with respiratory equipment and all kinds of other stuff for his care.  We were very tired but happy to be heading home, even though we were well taken care of by the wonderful caring people in the hospital!

The moment Larry knew we were going home he insisted I put his clothes on.  Really?  He didn’t like the hospital gown fashion statement?

He was so weak I had to struggle to hold him up and get his pants on at the same time but he refused to wait for the staff to come and help.  As soon as he had his clothes on he started breathing better!!!  A new cure for respiratory patients! My daughter, the researcher in geriatrics, confirmed that research actually shows that being in your own clothes, even in the hospital, improves healing.

The kids have have helped me learn how to use all the pieces of respiratory treatment equipment we have.  They’ve sat as the home care nurse went through the paper work and asked questions I wouldn’t have thought of.  They’ll remember things that were said that I can’t remember.  They’ve helped with Larry’s treatments, gotten medications and fixed him protein smoothies.

The first night home was so scary.  Larry could barely walk after a week of not walking, and his breathing was still so gurgly and labored.  Almost worse than when we went to the hospital.  He kept ripping the CPAP mask off because it was hard enough for him to get a breath without having something in the way.  The sound was exhausting for him to make and torture for me to hear.   I kept helping him sit up at the side of the bed to get a good breath, and repositioning the mask.  Finally I transferred him into his wheelchair (incredibly difficult by myself, given how weak and shaky he was) to see if sitting would be easier.  Even asleep he was so restless, flailing his arms and tossing off his blanket.  I couldn’t sleep

The kids were sleeping in the next room but I didn’t want to wake them. They’d flown in on red eye flights.   I was a basket case by morning, and I knew it.  Finally I said “uncle.”

I felt so guilty to say I didn’t want to sleep in the room, but they jumped on my vulnerability, dragging out blow up mattresses and making up extra beds.  They insisted they would take turns sleeping in the room with Larry and I would sleep on a queen size mattress in the living room with my own pillows.  I said “no, the couch is comfy,” but they rolled their eyes and kept making up the bed.  “You’ll sleep better if it’s a more normal bed with pillows and sheets.”

They were so right!  I am so rested! Not only are they taking care of Larry, they are taking care of me. It’s luxurious.  I realize how much help the caregiver needs to make the transition home, both physical and emotional help.  It’s comforting to have them here in every way. I feel so well taken care of.

Larry still had a rough night, although not as bad as our first night home.  He sounds and looks slightly better.  He even made a joke about starting a respiratory clinic with all our equipment.  When he jokes, the world is a better place!