An Aorta Adventure, Part 7

3 12 2008

We had one more major hurdle to get through before Jim could leave the hospital.  He wasn’t feeling well at all on Wednesday morning.  He was having awful pain in his urinary tract and thus could not urinate.  By 11:00 a.m. –his pain had hit a peak.  Regular pain medicine didn’t help him at all.  The nurse had to give him a shot of morphine.  Actually, that didn’t help much either.  Finally, an ultra sound was ordered.  The ultra sound revealed that his prostrate was enlarged.  Jim was put back on the catheter and was given a drug to help him urinate.  Almost immediately, his comfort level improved.  The plan was for Jim to get the catheter out by the next morning.

The plan went beautifully.  Jim never had any more problems urinating.  However, the doctor bottomed his blood pressure so low that they had to hook him back up to IV’S to get his blood pressure up to a normal level.  The doctor’s kept emphasizing that his blood pressure had to be no higher than 100 on the top.  However, they were not successful with their efforts unless they bottomed my husband out.  I wondered how I was so supposed to deal with such a crisis when we returned home.

Anyway, the plan was for Jim to leave on Friday.  So we had a little party on Thursday evening.  We walked to the nutrition station behind the nurse’s station and got some cereal, milk and juice.  Then we walked back to our room to celebrate that we would soon be home.  I pulled out whatever junk food I had left for my snack.  This was about 10:00 p.m.  Silently I prayed that nothing would prevent Jim was going home.  It had been a long stay and we were both restless to go home.

I have to say the counseling we got for our discharge was topnotch.  Not only did we get all of our instructions in print but we also got an hour’s worth of oral instruction.  We had also requested the hospital social worker to come and talk with us about social security disability benefits.  He gave us some printed material and also answered all of our questions.  Somehow, Jim and I both had a gut feeling that he would never return to work.  However, we tabled our final questions for his scheduled follow up in November.

Finally, we were able to leave the hospital.  Sandy came to pick us up.  We ate lunch at the Alektor Cafe and Book Store.  This is our absolute favorite place to eat when we visit Nashville.  It is an Orthodox booksore.  Fr. Parthenios and his wife Pres. Marion own the cafe.  Pres. Marion cooks most of the food.  Fr. Parthenios is always readily seen working on preparing all of the food orders.  Before we left the cafe–Fr. Parthenios had some special prayers for Jim. 

Our arrival home was full of merriment.  We had stopped by Sandy’s neighbor to get our grandchildren.  The boys were happy to see us.  John wanted to go with me to the pharmacy to get Jim’s medicine.  At that time–we had about 13 prescriptions.  Although Jim was tired–he was able to sit and visit with everyone.  We knew that we had a long road ahead of us but being home would hopefully help Jim to recover faster than a clinical environment.

On Saturday, our friend, Hope, cooked us a wonderful meal.  Our son and his wife also came for a visit.  The first weekend was rather rough on all of us but we soon learned to adapt and figure out better ways to make Jim comfortable.

I began taking Jim to walk each morning at the public library’s river walk.  We soaked in the Indian summer sun.  I would take a little snack for him to eat while we walked.  Or sometimes, we would take a break and he would eat his snack.  We did this faithfully the first three weeks Jim was home.  The Indian summer is gone now and the weather is getting harsh.  So we haven’t been walking as much.

Jim’s brother came for a visit from Iowa the first weekend in November.  Jim hadn’t seen his brother in 14 years.  His brother’s wife had recently died from a four year battle with cancer.  It was good being with Jim’s brother.  We took a ride into another county to visit an Amish store.  It had been so long since I had been to an Amish store.  We all enjoyed that so much.  Then down the road was an Amish bakery.  On our way back home we stopped and showed Jim’s brother the home we had wanted to buy in Todd County.  I, especially, had wanted to move but the door was closed on us.  Shortly after that disappointment, I found out I had breast cancer.  Our final stop was to visit some friends who used to be Mennonites but left their order.  They now farm and run a bookstore from their home.  It was great seeing this family again.  The oldest son was working on the addition they were building to their home.  The other five children were baking goodies in the kitchen.  They had made up enough cookie dough to feed an army.  However, that is the way to bake when one had a family of eight people.  We bought a few books from them and headed home.

Shortly after Jim’s brother left–it was time to visit Nashville again for Jim’s followup report.  Again, we got good counsel–about 90 minutes worth.  They told Jim that he would never be able to work again.  We were not shocked because after having experienced open heart surgery twice–it was very evident that Jim would not go back to his factory job. 

We were up front with Jim’s employer about his not returning to work.  Thankfully, they told us that the disability benefit was still his.  Jim had three weeks of vacation pay and one week of sick pay coming to him and then the disability checks would kick in.  At some point, Jim will apply for social security disability.  I’m making plans to go back to work after Christmas as a substitute teacher.  I know we will make it because we have lived frugally now for almost seven years.  It has been wonderful to be able to be home and take care of Jim for almost seven weeks now.  He has many computer interests that he hopes to continue working on.  He is not a blogger like I am but he loved the computer.  He also loved to read.  I’m happy that Jim will be able to be home now.  As long as he can keep his blood pressure under control–he should have many more good years of life.  I hope my story will be of help to others who are struggling with similar problems. 

God bless each of you!

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4 responses

3 12 2008
Shadowlands

Nicole3
It sounds like life is taking on a new “normal”. I am so glad that Jim’s company has good benefits and that will help sustain you all.

My only advise is to go ahead and apply for disability. Jim is entitled to it. He paid all those years and the buying power of that money is better in the “now” than if you wait.

It takes 6 months for disability to begin paying and they always pay one month behind. For my husband and I, it meant that we had to survive with no income for 7 months. That was hard and had it not been for God placing us on people’s hearts and their generosity, we would not have made it through those long months.

Your story not only will help those who are walking this path, but it will educate many who never expect to have this life changing experience.

Life is precious and I am so happy that you and Jim are able to be together…

Your friend,
Shadowlands

19 12 2008
Tiny

Nicole,
If Jim has not files for SS yet, do it now. Benefits do not start until 5 months from the day that he files. I filed Dec. 6,2006. Mine went into effect on June 6,2007.
Know this….we are praying for Jim and YOU. After 2 critical injuries, a heart attack, and 3 serious surgeries, I know, without a doubt that the wife of the victim suffers more than the victim.
God Bless you both.
In His service, Tiny

19 12 2008
nichole3

Dear Shadowlands,
Yes, I suppose you could call our lives a new “normal”. Thanks for the advice about SS disability. It looks like my friend, Tiny, has the same advice.

Your friend,
Nichole

19 12 2008
nichole3

Dear Tiny,
My friend of so many years–thanks for the advise. It just seems hard to start the process for SS security. Not in the knowledge of how to do it but just facing the fact that Jim is never going back to work. Thanks for your prayers. I know that you and your wife have been through a great deal, also. My prayers are with you both of you!

Your Friend,
Nichole

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