Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We are finally home!

Monday, January 25th
This day was a busy one. Mayo Clinic came to the facility Hal was staying at and did some blood work. They got all of his prescriptions ready for us to travel on Tuesday. He had his staples removed. We're watching the weather closely. We had some drizzle Monday afternoon that changed to snow that night. He had physical therapy, occupational therapy, a shower. He should sleep really well tonight.

Tuesday, January 26th
We had one more prescription that we had to get filled but the pharmacy didn't open until 9. We finally left Rochester around 10 am and it was snowing! The roads are a little ice packed. Going west-bound on I-90 there were deep drifts in the ditches; easily 6 foot. The snow had blown over and it reminded me of waves. All the trees had frost all over them; it was really quite beautiful. After about an hour, we made it to Albert Lea. After a few miles on I-35, the snow stopped, the highway turned dry. We had an uneventful trip til we got to Kansas City. We came across a large truck that had been on fire and we were caught in its traffic that was backed up forever. That was around 5:30. We got home a little after 10pm but I didn't get to bed until midnight.

I hope everyone can bare with me a little longer. It's going to be a few more days til I can leave him for long periods at a time. He's definitely getting stronger but not to where he can be alone all day. I'll continue to take baby steps with him and won't be able to be at the store full time. I do plan to trim but my schedule will be a little different. Please continue to be patient.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hal's Recovery pt. 4

Tuesday, January 19th
Can't believe we've been gone a week already. This morning was a start of a new chapter of this journey. After getting discharged from the hospital this morning, Hal was taken by a medical transportation service to a skilled nursing facility in Rochester. He thinks we will leave for home tomorrow but I know he is not strong enough to travel the 600 miles home. I hope by the end of the week things will look much better.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hal's Recovery pt. 3

Friday-Monday, January 15th-18th
It would be Saturday night before Hal got any rest. He's very disoriented and his muscles are weak. His surgery site, however, looks better and the incision looks great. We got good news on Friday that pathology said they found no cancer. They started from light sedation on Saturday so they could try to get him to sleep through Saturday night. That's exactly what he did: he slept all through Saturday and all day Sunday. It looked like it was exactly what he needed. His skin color, alertness, and speech is much better. He's got a nice bruise around his eye but the swelling has gone down. By Sunday afternoon, though, his blood pressure and heart rate elevated and they're starting IV fluid. Things were improving Monday morning and we learned in the afternoon that Tuesday morning he'll be moved to a skilled nursing facility. There we'll try to get his strength built up so we can get him home. I would have not wanted to go home today anyway! When we woke up this morning it was -20 degrees with a windchill factor of -37. Really glad you guys are nice and warm in Kansas! Lots of the metal framed doors and windows are covered in frost. Visitors to the hospitals are writing their names and leaving hand prints in the frost.

Thanks again, everyone for your prayers, thoughts, calls, and any other ways that you've done to support us. I really hoped I'd be home by now but I'll be back as soon as I can.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hal's Recovery Day 2

Thursday January 14th

We had a rough night. Hal was restless and his face was still quite swollen and was hurting. They took his "turban" and bandages off. There's about an 8 inch long curved incision. I counted at least 40 staples holding it closed. From 7am to early afternoon, it seemed like a parade of different people in and out. Doctors, nurses, PT, OT, social workers, diabetes management, the list goes on. Now we're looking at our options after dismissal. Today, Hal is not strong enough to travel 600 miles home. Some type of skilled nursing facility could be next. I'm sitting where I can look out the 9th floor window, facing west. The winter sun shining gently on the snow covered rooftops, all the trees with the hills in the background, it looks peaceful.

I'm really tired. Maybe tomorrow will be better to me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hal's recovery

Tuesday, January 13th
I crashed at the hotel and slept like a rock all night. (It felt really good!) I arrived at the hospital around 8am. Hal looks like he's been in a bar fight. His left eye is almost swollen shut. He has a compression bandage around his head, it reminds me of a turban! They plan to move him from ICU to a regular floor later today. His surgeon was pleased with his recovery. He told him the left side of his face is going to be sore for quite a while. They had to go through muscles to get through the surgical site. About noon, they took us to his new room, one floor up. Finally, about 3 o'clock, the doctors and residents have been in, food services, new nurses, meds. It was all finally over so we both took a nap. Next they'll work on getting his system working again, like eating and drinking normally. He's having trouble eating because his jaw is so sore. They didn't take the compression bandage off today.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. They'll assess him to see how his progress is and predict when he'll be ready to go home. I'll continue to keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hal's Surgery

Sunday, January 10th
It's been suggested that I write a blog of our trip to Mayo Clinic. I journal every day anyway, so why not?

I awoke at 6:15 as usual. My regular chores take about 1 1/2 hours so I got moving. We had link sausages (to clean out the refrigerator) to go with our usual protein shake (which used the last of the milk). It was almost 9 when we locked the gate on our drive. By 12:15 we were in Kansas City to stop for a quick lunch. North of Des Moines, the fields were covered in snow. Big drifts, 3 foot or so, against the fences. By 6pm the car said it was -4 degrees outside. When we arrived at Rochester, Minnesota at 7:30, it was -13 degrees.

We checked into our hotel, went to a Chinese buffet, and back to our room by 10pm.

Monday, January 11th
We got ready and left for the clinic. It's still below zero but our rental car started. At 9:20 am, the first parking garage, 10 stories tall, was completely full. I let Hal out at Mayo Clinic's front doors. The staff brought a wheel chair and brought him inside. I headed for the second 10 story parking garage a couple blocks away. Its elevator took me to the subway level where I made my way back to Hal.

He had appointments with his surgeon, blood drawn, and then a good lunch at the Mayo cafeteria. Then a couple more pre-surgery tests. We left the clinic about 5:20 and it was snowing. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Back at the room, Hal had to shower with special soap in preparation for his surgery tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12th
The timer went off at 4am. Hal had a restless night's sleep. He fell against the tub in the bathroom and hurt his left side. That would be the same side that he broke ribs on last March when he rolled the tractor.

It's cold this morning, -6 degrees, and the wind is up pushing the windchill to 28 below. We arrived at the hospital just befor 5:30. Lots of other people were there. It was typical Mayo Clinic organization; assistants were there with wheel chairs to help us get him loaded. I parked in the underground garage, found Hal in the 5:30 am check in line. There were other lines for 5:45 and 6 am check ins. All of the pre-surgery questions, health checks and verification. He took a full, cleansing shower (Not even really a shower, more like a wipe down) with antibacterial cloths. All that took til 7:30. I kissed him goodbye, told him I loved him, and told him to "be nice to the nurses" as they rolled his gurney away.

About 9:15, my nurse coordinator called who said they were "in the surgical site" meaning they had started opening him up. I was escorted to a different waiting room by the ICU where he will be after surgery. An hour later she called and said things were going fine and they were in the microscopic part of the surgery. It's 11:50 and our coordinator just let me know that they are starting to close the site. She said it would take about an hour. Just before 1pm, I met with Dr. Marsh. He said the surgery went well and he thinks they removed all the tumors. The derma had an "icing" tumor. This coating did not show up on the MRI we had done in December. Dr. Marsh was able to scrape a lot of that off. It'll be a couple of days before pathology comes in but he feels it will not have advanced to a cancerous level.

Finally, about 4:30 I got to see him. His bandages are wrapped like a turban. He's doing well and seems to be in good spirits. We both thank everyone for their prayers, calls, and good wishes!