Let the Healing Process Begin

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

Good morning,

It’s 6:22 a.m. and Kevin is peacefully sleeping and appears relaxed (his facial muscles are slack and his mouth is slightly hanging open. He will likely kill me for telling you that, but it’s just too cute not to mention). He is laying on his hospital bed (which he has compared to laying on a cardboard box, so I bought a pillow-top mattress cover and double layered a blanket for him to lay on), the foot of his bed slightly elevated to take some pressure off his pelvis and he’s still fast asleep.

He’s not only getting a lot of sleep, he’s getting a lot of RESTFUL sleep. We all know that when you’re in the hospital, you don’t really sleep, what with everyone coming in every ten minutes to take vital signs, to ask questions, to bring him food, or just to check on him. Kevin is looking better every day. He’s also getting a lot stronger and is able to stay in his wheelchair for longer and longer periods of time.

He stayed in his chair a whopping seven hours on Wednesday. And he was in it virtually all day yesterday save for about a 30 minute break to lay down and rest.

He’s also able to sit with us at the family dinner table and eat with the rest of us. Our family is slowly starting to get back to normal.

He was released from the hospital on Tuesday. Jeanne, Kevin’s mom, stayed at our house all morning so that she could let Cox Home Care in to deliver a bed, a commode, a shower chair and hook up the trapeze. I stayed at the hospital with Kevin and coordinated his release while cleaning up his room and making sure everything was in order and Kevin was prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

At 1:30, we transferred Kevin to his chair and wheeled him down to the nurses’ station so the doctor could show him his x-rays. Kevin hadn’t seen what his pelvis looked like after the accident and he had only seen what they had done to fix the right side of his pelvis. So he was really curious to see the films. Though I was really grateful to the doctor for showing us the x-rays, the “before” shot was dark and I’m not sure Kevin really got the full impact (pun intended) of his injuries. When the intensive care doctor showed me his x-rays at Cox South, we (me and the boys), got a clear look at his pelvis – it was a complete mess. But I think Kevin saw enough for him to understand his injuries.

Now the x-ray after his surgeries was quite impressive. I hadn’t seen the film either and all of his new shiny hardware virtually lit up the screen. Kevin was speechless. He knew his pelvis had needed a lot of work, but I don’t think he fully appreciated what the doctors had to do to put him back together again until he saw it all for himself.

The Medi-Trans man arrived as we were looking at x-rays and patiently waited for him to finish before taking control of Kevin’s wheelchair. I gathered all of his stuff and quietly faded into the background as all the nurses said goodbye to him. They were all so nice and several hugged him.

I think it made Kevin feel good that so many people cared for him.

I had parked close enough to the entrance that I was able to watch as the Medi-Trans man loaded Kevin into the van. I can’t quite explain the myriad of emotions that surged through me as I stayed to make sure he was safely in the vehicle: love, joy, elation, apprehension, excitement, determination …

I made it home before the van. I quickly unloaded my car and had just enough time to drop the last armful when they pulled up.

Jeanne and I watched as he was lowered out of the van. It was so good to have him back home!!

The man wheeled Kevin into the house (thank goodness for the ramp!!), and we took over. The first thing Kevin wanted to do was be wheeled around the house; he had missed his home surroundings. It had been over a month since he had been home, after all.

Getting him into the bedrooms is a challenge; the doorways are a lot narrower and though we can get him into the bathrooms, his wheels get stuck and it’s a challenge to get him back out again. But he can get around the rest of the house pretty easily so we’ll likely have to stick with using the commode and sponge baths for a bit longer.

The boys transferred Kevin’s work computer into the dining room, so that room will be his make-shift office for now. We had to run a really long network cable to the router and the boys came up with the idea of taping the wire up over the doorway so no one would trip over it.

I thought that was pretty ingenious. I wonder where they get THAT trait from. (Hint: NOT from me).

We’ve also had to move furniture around and it takes a bit of juggling on my part to make enough room to transfer him from his chair to his bed, but overall, he’s settling in comfortably and we’re starting to develop a routine so all of this will seem common place before long.

The family has been bringing over dinners and it’s been SO GREAT not to have to worry about cooking. I’ve been so busy taking care of all of us, the house, running kids around and trying to get my own work done, that food has honestly been the last thing on my mind right now.

Yesterday was pretty busy. We opted to have Oxford Home Care come out and check on Kevin, so a nurse came and took a sample of Kevin’s blood to check on his Coumadin levels, his vitals and just do an overall inspection. Everything looks great and they called later to tell us that we needed to continue the same dosage (5mg) of Coumadin every day, except on Friday when he gets 2.5mg. I’ve been a bit nervous about the Coumadin, but everything seems to be fine at this point, so I just need to relax – it’s better than him developing a blood clot.

An occupational therapist came by, too. She evaluated his balance and his motor skills. Everything looks good there. She asked him what was the number one thing he would like to do on his own and he said, “go to the bathroom by myself.”

So, we all talked about ways we could make that happen. We can get him in the back bathroom (the front bathroom is just too narrow), but it’s a very tight squeeze. Then, once he’s in there, we can’t really turn him because of the small area, so she suggested we remove the outer wheel portion of his wheelchair. (The part where you grab on with your hands). That would give us about four more inches to work with and I’m pretty sure we could get his wheelchair into the bathroom with those removed. Once he’s in the bathroom and positioned, I think he can maneuver himself onto the toilet. She’s going to come back on Tuesday and we’ll work on making that happen.

The occupational therapist’s goal is to try and get him to do as many things as he can by himself, to help him become a bit more independent of me. We’ll see how that turns out. We haven’t heard anything from the physical therapists yet, they concentrate on strengthening his muscles and improving his flexibility. They will likely come next Tuesday, too. Kevin has opted to have all of his visits on the same days so he can get everything over with at the same time, as opposed to having someone come over every day of the week.

So, even though he’s home, he’s still as busy as ever. Between nurse visits, occupational therapist visits, physical therapist visits, family visits and getting his work done, I think he’s actually busier than he was BEFORE the accident!

He has an appointment to see his orthopedist on June 8th. They plan on taking more x-rays, so we should have a pretty good idea how his fractures are healing then. We’re also hoping they tell us that he won’t be required to wear his wrist splint or the back brace, either. Cross your fingers!

Thanks again for all of the wonderful words of encouragement and for your support. I’m completely convinced that your prayers and well wishes are helping him recover that much faster. 🙂

(P.S. – I found this .27 second video on my camera card. I had planned on taking a picture, but had it on video mode. It was shortly after Kevin got his brand new motorcycle home and had just ridden it for the first time. It makes me so sad to know that he will never enjoy riding again. )

(P.S.S. – Today marks exactly five weeks since the accident).