Sunday, December 15, 2013
I've been wanting to write an update on my life since I've started my Spark break, and every time I think about it, I feel so overwhelmed, not knowing where to even start or how to condense, that I just pass it by. I am struggling with how much information I should share at the risk of boring you to tears . . . but here goes.
On November 11, my husband had a total knee replacement on the same knee he had replaced in March, due to instability. The surgery went well, and although they expected to find infection in the knee due to his symptoms, there was no sign of infection visibly or in the labwork. About 45 minutes into recovery, his blood pressure dropped to 31/15. At that point, they became concerned that there had been an infection and he may have been septic; the surgeon brought infectious disease in on his case. However, he seemed to recover too quickly for sepsis to be the cause of the shock. To this day, they have not determined the cause of the blood pressure drop, but they got it stabilized with medication and he spent two days in the ICU. Several days after surgery, he spiked a high fever and on taking down the dressing on the knee, the whole leg was red and hot and the incision looked cellulitic. Despite the multiple tests they had run, and cultures that they had done, the surgeon was frustrated, feeling that there was an infection that was eluding their testing. The determination was made to insert a picc line and send him home on 6 weeks of IV antibiotics to make sure any infection was taken care of. Due to the complications, he was in the hospital a full week before going home.
The hospital is about 50 miles from our home. I was blessed to be able to get a room in their Family House, which adjoined to the hospital and I was able to stay the whole week instead of traveling back and forth. It also allowed me to offset some of my paid time off hours from work by doing some work remotely. These two things were among the biggest blessings of my week, and I am so grateful.
Among some of the other blessings were the extraordinary nursing care that I felt he got while he was in the hospital and the incredible attention and care of his surgeon and the infectious disease doctor. I could not have asked for more!
For a week, my world revolved around pain pills, starting antibiotic infusions (two antibiotics twice a day - 8 hours a day on IV), emptying urinals . . . well, you get the picture. The week of Thanksgiving, I was able to work from home two days and commute to the office one day out of the week. I was back to work on a regular schedule last week, and just feeling like life was going to return to something somewhat normal; but last weekend, he ended up in the hospital again. His blood work showed that he was reacting to the IV antibiotics and he had drug-induced low white blood cell count, much as if he had been given chemotherapy. Less than 1% of individuals have this reaction to IV antibiotics. He was in the hospital for four days as they adjusted and re-adjusted his antibiotics.
I was unable to get a room at the Family House on such short notice, and since a hotel was not in the budget, I camped out on the recliner in his room. I was thankful that this happened over a weekend and only impacted two days of my work. Due to the fact that my husband has not been able to work since his first knee replacement, I value and seek to take good care of my job - it is highly critical that I do so. So any break in that regard is a blessing.
I resumed my daily 180 mile commute the day after his return home from the hospital and really was running on fumes. Yesterday, I had a catch up day. Laundry and dishes were piled high; I hadn't unpacked from last weekend's emergency hospital run; there were errands to run - pharmacy, banking, shopping, etc. But today, I'm re-charging, mentally preparing for the week ahead.
He will be on the IV antibiotics until December 23; also, the tibia was cracked during the surgery, so he has been only touch down weight bearing. The surgeon believes that he can give him a Christmas present of full weight bearing on the operative leg on Christmas day. I don't know how long he will remain on a walker, but I feel like once those things are behind us we can move forward with a small semblance of normalcy. But next weekend, my responsibilities with my Dad pick up again. Family has covered most graciously during these past weeks to allow me to focus on our needs at hand.
I am ashamed to say that, hard as I tried at first, life overwhelmed and many healthy habits have fallen by the wayside. I lost my 130 week streak of 60 fitness minutes per week; lost my 214 day 8-cups-of-water per day streak; my eating has been sporadic at best, adding in too much junk food at worst; and sleep has been a precious commodity. However, I did force myself to step on the scale last week and had not gained - much to my pleasant surprise. I have been amazed, though, how quickly I feel in my body that I have not been taking care of myself - fatigue, joint pain, headaches, increased resting heart rate. These things in themselves should be incentive for me to get my healthy habits back on track so I feel better and am better able physically to handle the demands of life. I cannot give up. If need be, I can start with baby steps as I did at the beginning of this journey. I think starting with getting my daily water in would be a good and easy place to start.
I will likely remain on a bit of a spark break for some time here as I find my new footing, but want to be working towards taking care of myself better than I have for the past 6 weeks or so.
So, starting tomorrow, that is my goal for the week - at least 8 cups of water daily. We all start somewhere.