The second night was much like the first, with orderlies and nurses showing up every hour to take X-rays, check vitals, deliver injections, and basically prevent either of us from getting more than an hour’s sleep at a time.
A bit before 6am, one of the surgical residents showed up. And just like that, they removed V’s catheter. We discussed the needed changes to her oral pain meds, and notes were made and passed on to the nursing staff. We had V’s pain under control!
That left only two drains, and we were told to expect members of the surgical team to return in late morning (after their first surgery of the day) and remove the drains. After that, we’d see how Valerie was doing, and it was likely she’d be going home the next morning, assuming she managed to urinate some time in the next four to six hours.
Except that’s not what happened. V had moved from the bed to the chair, and was resting comfortably, waiting for an orderly to show up with breakfast. Instead, the surgeons returned. It turned out other people involved in that morning’s surgery were running late, and so they returned before breakfast and quickly removed the remaining drains!
Then the nurse came back, and even though Valerie was no longer on an IV drip, someone had decided she needed a couple hours’ of Magnesium added to her system. So a new line was put in (after she’d worked so hard to have all of the old lines removed). A very crappy hospital breakfast (with almost nothing that V had actually ordered brought to her) was picked at, and I took that opportunity to sneak off myself to the cafeteria (where the food was actually pretty good). When I returned, they’d managed to bring some of the items Valerie had ordered, but they were horrible all the same.
Valerie took a trip to the bathroom and lo, managed a tink! Soon after, the Physical Therapist showed up and wanted to take a walk and see what Valerie could handle. V was a star! She strode back and forth the length of the hallway with ease, and climbed up and down a flight of stairs without any problem. The PT was well pleased, and announced that she was done with V.
When the Magnesium was done, free at last of all drains and tubes and monitors (but with a massive dressing where her chest drains had been), and having successfully regained the use of her plumbing, we proceeded to wash off a couple days of grime and bed sweat. Valerie looked and felt a million times better afterwards, and settled back into bed in a clean gown to await the arrival of sister at noon.
Her sister showed up, as did the lunch tray. After a bit of chitchat, I left Valerie to her sister and went off to grab a bite myself, and to get some work done. A little over an hour later, they called to say the senior surgical resident had come through and completed Valerie’s discharge order. Prescriptions for her meds had been written up, and I headed up to the room to pack up everything while we waited for a wheelchair to come around.
We were on the road a bit after 2pm, and despite massive traffic all the way home, we arrived just after 3pm. I unloaded the car, made sure Valerie was settled comfortably in bed, and then headed off to the pharmacy to fill her scripts before she needed her next dose (I made it with fifteen minutes to spare).
So, we’re home. All the danger is past. All the anxiety is over. No more sleep interruptions, no more juggling medication schedules trying to find out what works. The plan for the rest of the weekend is sleep, broken up by scheduled pain meds, and such getting up and walking around as suits V’s desire.
As for me, I’m happy to have my wife out of the hospital, and I’m looking forward to being able to sleep for more than an hour at a stretch tonight. Good night!