Nearly Fainted

(This was cross posted at Kevin’s Caring Bridge web page).

We were at Columbia Hospital about two days when they told Kevin that he needed to take his wedding ring off. As was typical for his type of injury, his body fluids were beginning to pool and his body was blowing up like a balloon.

At first, Kevin refused to remove it. I was touched. He hasn’t taken it off since our wedding day, nearly 20 years ago. But the doctors told him that if he didn’t take it off then, they would likely have to cut it off later.

He took it off. (And we had a time getting it off because his fingers had already swollen to nearly twice their size). And it upset him. It was as if he had taken off a portion of himself, a small piece of his life had been taken away from him and at the time, Kevin struggled to maintain any sense of normalcy he could find.

He hasn’t worn it since.

A nurse weighed him yesterday. He’s using a special sort of high-tech hospital bed that weighs the patients IN the bed. So he didn’t have to move in order to get weighed.

He weighed 176 pounds, which is a pretty normal weight for him. And a far cry from the 193 pounds he weighed when he first arrived at Cox Walnut Lawn over two weeks ago.

This means that Kevin has lost nearly 20 pounds of fluid since his accident.

That’s a lot of fluid.

The doctors never gave him any sort of diuretics, he peed all of his fluids out the natural way. He’s also been wearing tubigrips on his legs (a sock that is designed to squeeze extremities to help evenly distribute excess fluid) which have REALLY been helping the puffiness in his feet. In fact, his legs and feet are nearly back to normal size. In fact, Kevin’s whole body looks like it’s back to normal.

I suppose it’s time to give him his wedding ring back. 🙂

I’m starting to clean out his room. I took a bunch of things home today and I plan on taking more home tonight. A nurse came in and gleefully told us that we were on the board to go home tomorrow. (!!) Though I’m super excited about him coming home, there is still a part of me that is holding back. I’ve had enough experience with the medical field to know that it’s wise to take what they tell you with a grain of salt. After all, things change.

And Kevin DID nearly faint today.

It was a good day. I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 this morning, bought us some breakfast from the Subway in The Meyer Center (did you know Subway serves breakfast? Me either! It’s pretty good!), gave him a sponge bath and transferred him to his wheelchair. He checked his email and caught up on Facebook while I went to McAlister’s to grab us some lunch and then we ate in the game room at the facility overlooking a courtyard. Kevin was in pain, but Kevin is always in pain. His pain threshold usually holds around 6 or 7, but the man won’t take any pain meds more than once a day. They constipate him and that annoys him, so … he endures it. Much to my chagrin. (He’s such a stinker).

After lunch, we went exploring going so far as to walk across the sky walk and into the Ferrell Duncan Clinc next door. (We get bored looking at the same sets of rooms all the time).

At a quarter to one, we headed back to his room. He was scheduled to meet with an insurance agent at 1:00 in order to sign some sort of release of records form so the insurance company could start sorting through the mountain of medical bills we’ve incurred since this whole nightmare began.

The guy shows up and he’s very nice. He was not confrontational or short in any way. It’s important for you to know that because what happened next was not the man’s fault, at all.

The insurance guy cautioned us that though Missouri allows insurance companies to “stack” uninsured / underinsured motorist policies in order to pay medical bills, there is likely an exemption clause in the policy that requires that the person involved in the accident be in a motor vehicle in order to use the “stacking” option.

Since Kevin wasn’t in a motor vehicle but on a motorcycle, we wonder how this will affect us personally.

Shortly after the man left, Kevin lost all color in his face. His lips turned gray and when I placed my hand on his forehead, it was cold and clammy. He said he felt faint and when I asked him if I should call a nurse, he said yes.

This alarmed me. Because Kevin NEVER asks for help and if he does, HE NEEDS HELP.

I had just called the nurse’s station and told them that Kevin was feeling like he was going to pass out when the doctor came in with a tech. (Talk about good timing). Two more nurses rushed in and together, we all transferred Kevin to his bed in record time and elevated his feet. A nurse put a cold compress on his forehead and color started returning to his cheeks and lips.

The doctor took his blood pressure and though it was slightly higher than normal, it was nothing to be too concerned about. When the doctor began questioning me as to what I thought might have happened, I suggested that he might have gotten a bit too stressed out hearing what the insurance agent had just told us. Though I’m confident God will take care of us, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a wee bit nervous about all of these medical bills and the fact that as of now, it looks like the woman who hit Kevin doesn’t have insurance.

He’s been in the hospital for 4 ½ weeks and has had three surgeries – I’ll let you guesstimate just how much of a bill we’ve likely run up at this point.

It’s a bit disconcerting to ME not really knowing what is going on, money wise, I can only IMAGINE what Kevin is feeling and thinking about all of this. Though we don’t talk about it, I know it bothers him.

Kevin insists that it wasn’t the insurance agent’s visit that upset him. And maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was all a coincidence, but he had been fine up to that point, so I’m going to assume that it had something to do with it.

We also had to turn over the title to the motorcycle today, too. I’m sure that didn’t help Kevin’s stress levels any.

The doctor got quite annoyed with the agent and said there were plenty of times he would like to step in and prohibit agents from visiting his patients, but of course, he can’t do that and his hands are tied in that arena.

I have a feeling I’ll be fielding any insurance correspondence in the future. I don’t know a lot about how it works, but I’ll learn.

I just hope today’s episode doesn’t hinder his coming home tomorrow. By all accounts, the doctor said everything looks great at this point. Kevin’s blood levels are now over 11 (excellent news), his bone-building enzyme is still high (more excellent news), his proteins are climbing and he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. He did say stress could cause someone to feel faint and though he wasn’t going to rule out a medical reason why he felt faint, he wasn’t going to rule out the stress factor, either.

Stress does strange things to people.

I confess, today’s drama gave me pause. Do I have what it takes to take care of him at home by myself? What if something like this happens at home? This is a big responsibility. I can do this, I CAN do this, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m just a teensy bit nervous actually doing it.

The ramp our family built is nearly finished!