A close family member we will call Mr. X had Open-Heart Surgery on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee. As my previous Associated Content article described, he remained in the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) for nearly 8 day.
Mrs. X and I had been instructed by their hospital dietician about his diet. The main warning was that we needed to severely limit his salt and sodium consumption or else we put him at risk of congestive heart failure.
Mr. X had managed to take 200 steps during one of his daily walks at the CICU instead of just 50. This made him too strong to qualify for Health South (the Rehabilitation Clinic). Therefore, since he was strongly opposed to going to a nursing home, his only option was to return home. He was as eager to come home as Mrs. X was to have her husband back under the same roof. The long wait without him had been really hard on her emotionally.
After watching a 30-minute video of what to expect after leaving the hospital, being warned to lift nothing heavier than 5 pounds, and going through the other necessary exit procedures, I was instructed to go down, get the car, and wait outside the Emergency Room entrance area.
After about a 25-minute wait, the nurse wheeled Mr. X down in a wheelchair. We loaded him into the back seat with his heart-shaped pillow clutched closely to his chest. That pillow was especially helpful to cushion the pain when he coughed or sneezed. It also was used to protect his stitches on his chest from the sharpness of a seat belt. Mrs. X got into the front passenger seat. Then off we drove. I made extra certain I took all turns and curves as gently as possible to keep Mr. X from suffering any more than need be.
Adventure #1 happened when we arrived at their house. Their driveway was on a bit of a hill. Pulling Mr. X, age 79, from the backseat of the car onto that hill was extremely challenging. He weighed 210 pounds. Mrs. X, age 81, weighs 96 to 98 pounds. My weight is in between the two. I started to panic, wondering if we were going to be able to get him inside with only the two of us and his walker to help. After many stops and stalls, he finally managed to shuffle his way up the driveway, onto the sidewalk, up the one step up onto the porch and the one step up into the house, down the hallway, and land on the love seat in the living room. There he stayed, pale and panting, for the next several hours.
Mr. X was too tired to drink. He was too tired to eat. Fortunately, he did not need to go to the bathroom since he would have been too tired to get up. He was too tired to read or watch TV. He simply sat there and panted.
Since Mrs. X didn’t dare leave him and she was still suffering from a strong bladder infection, I went to the pharmacy to pick up about a dozen different medications prescribed by his cardiac surgeon. I also went to the grocery store to try to buy low sodium, low sugar items for Mr. X to eat.
Mr. X had found the apple juice served by Holston Valley Hospital to be quite refreshing. At the grocery store, I picked out the juice bottle that was 100% juice that also had the least amount of added sugar and sodium that I could find. I found out later that Mr. X now had a newly acquired strong sensitivity to sugar. He found this particular brand way too sweet. I don’t recall which brand I bought. Since he formerly had enjoyed White House Applesauce, he suggested I buy that brand of apple juice as well. I have yet to hear whether or not that was a successful purchase since I had to take him back to the hospital two days later, and he has not yet returned home.
Here is the pertinent nutrition description for multiple apple juice brands:
Sodium – 0.0 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 28 g; 100% Juice
Florida’s 100% Pure Apple Juice
Sodium – 5 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 28 g; 100% Juice
Pure Pressed Simply Apple (Not from Concentrate) 100% Pure Pressed Apple Juice
Sodium – 10 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 26 g; 100% Juice
Sam’s Choice 100% Apple Juice with Added Fiber & Vitamin C
Sodium – 10 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 28 g; 100% Juice
Mott’s 100% Apple Juice from Concentrate with Vitamin C
Sodium – 15 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 21 g; 100% Juice
Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice
Sodium – 20 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 26 g; 100% Juice
Nestle Juicy Juice 100% Apple Juice
Seneca 100% Apple Juice from Concentrate with Vitamin C
Sodium – 25 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 26 g; 100% Juice
WhiteHouse 100% Apple Juice from Concentrate
Sodium – 25 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 27 g; 100% Juice
Old Orchard 100% Apple Juice
Sodium – 25 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 35 g; 100% Juice
Welch’s 100% Apple Juice
Sodium – 35 mg; Total Fat – 0.0 g; Sugars – 28 g; 100% Juice
Great Value 100% Unsweetened Apple Juice from Concentrate
Hy-Top 100% Unsweetened Apple Juice from Concentrate
Mr. and Mrs. X both really enjoy soup. Mrs. X sent me to the store to find low sodium, low fat versions of the soup flavors Mr. X typically loves. That was quite the challenge. Surprisingly enough, the totally fat free soups were very high in sodium. The hospital dietician said that we would find that the soup cans with the green labels of Healthy Request and so forth would contain 45% and 50% less sodium than the regular soups. My mission was to find soup that had no trans fat, very little saturated fats, at least 45% less sodium, and was largely fat free.
The list below includes Health Valley, Campbell’s, Progresso, and Healthy Choice soup brands:
Sodium – 30 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Lentil Soup
Sodium – 30 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Low Sodium Split Pea Soup
Sodium – 45 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Split Pea Soup
Sodium – 50 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Low Sodium Chunky Vegetable Beef Soup
Sodium – 60 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Tomato Soup
Sodium – 60 mg; Saturated Fat – 2.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Low Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup
Sodium – 70 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Mushroom Barley Soup
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Minestrone Soup
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Vegetable Soup
Sodium – 80 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Health Valley Organic No Salt Added Potato Leek Soup
Sodium – 90 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Low Sodium Tomato with Tomato Pieces Soup
Sodium – 140 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Sodium – 140 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Low Sodium Chicken with Noodles Soup
Sodium – 440 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Healthy Choice Italian Style Wedding
Healthy Choice Microwaveable Chicken With Rice
Sodium – 450 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Progresso Healthy Favorites 50% Less Sodium Garden Vegetable
Sodium – 450 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Progresso Healthy Favorites 50% Less Sodium Chicken Gumbo
Sodium – 460 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
Healthy Choice Microwaveable Steak & Noodle
Sodium – 470 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Healthy Choice Microwaveable Minestron
Progresso Healthy Favorites 45% Less Sodium Chicken and Wild Rice
Progresso Healthy Favorites 50% Less Sodium Chicken Noodle
Sodium – 470 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Tomato Soup
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
Healthy Choice Chicken Tortilla
Progresso Healthy Favorites 50% Less Sodium Minestrone Soup
Sodium – 480 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Minestrone Soup
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Vegetable Soup
Healthy Choice Country Vegetable
Healthy Choice Microwaveable Country Vegetable
Healthy Choice Garden Vegetable
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice
Healthy Choice Chicken Noodle
Healthy Choice Vegetable Beef
Healthy Choice Microwaveable Beef Pot Roast
Sodium – 480 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request New England Clam Chowder
Healthy Choice New England Clam Chowder
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Healthy Choice Microwaveable Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Vegetable Soup
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Chicken with Egg Noodles
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Savory Chicken and Long Grain Rice Soup
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Chicken Rice Soup
Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Vegetable Beef Soup
Healthy Choice Chicken & Dumplings
Healthy Choice Fiesta Chicken
Healthy Choice Hearty Chicken
Healthy Choice Split Pea & Ham
Healthy Choice Zesty Gumbo
Sodium – 480 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Beef Barley Soup
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup
Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Campbell’s Select Healthy Request® Italian-Style Wedding Soup
Campbell’s Select Healthy Request® Mexican-Style Chicken Tortilla Soup
Healthy Choice Bean & Ham
Progresso Healthy Favorites 50% Less Sodium Italian Wedding Style
Sodium – 500 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Progresso Vegetable Classics 99% Fat Free Lentil Soup
Sodium – 530 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s 25% Less Sodium Tomato Soup
Sodium – 630 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Progresso Vegetable Classics 99% Fat Free Minestroni Soup
Sodium – 650 mg; Saturated Fat – 1.0 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s 25% Less Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup
Sodium – 660 mg; Saturated Fat – 0.5 g; Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Campbell’s 25% Less Sodium Chicken Noodle Soup
I arrived back at their house about 4:00. I remained until I felt the two of them were fairly well settled. Then I drove home as I had a storytelling performance the next morning. Adventure #2 happened during that storytelling performance.
On Wednesday, June 3rd, I left the house about 8:30 a.m. My husband received a phone call from Mr. X at 9:00. He had had a rough night plus Mrs. X was not doing well physically. He had tried to sleep in their king size bed along with Mrs. X. He found it extremely hard to get out of bed to make his frequent trips to the bathroom. Additionally, the master bathroom toilet had no bars or easy way for him to lower himself to the toilet seat or to get back up again. Mrs. X, weighing less than half his weight, was very little help. Since I was not available, they called in a neighbor. She remained with both of them for a couple of hours. When I called after my performance, I asked the neighbor to give me an honest assessment. She assured me that neither Mr. nor Mrs. X needed to be taken to the ER. Things had settled down a bit; however, they really needed me to spend the night. We arranged that I would get some necessary work done at home and then arrive after dinner to help out.
Given that I had severely neglected my work due to having to help out for practically 8 days straight that was now going to turn into 10 days, I called up Mr. X’s two sons and pleaded with them to help. One lived near Nashville, TN. One lived in Huntsville, AL. They agreed to get there as soon as they could so I could have a few days to try to catch up on my work.
Adventure #3 happened about 4:00 p.m. The case worker had arrived to set up a schedule for Mr. X to receive thrice-weekly therapy sessions. She arrived while Mr. X was taking a nap on the recliner chair in the guest room. He had already discovered that the only bathroom that he could successfully use was the one in the guest room as it was roomy and had a sturdy vanity that he could use to help him keep his balance.
Mr. X was groggy from his nap. Mrs. X and the Caseworker were standing near by. Mr. X grabbed hold of his walker and attempted to get up from the recliner. Abruptly, he lost his balance and toppled forward like a tree. Fortunately, he did not hit his head on a wooden surface. Unfortunately, a rectangular wicker basket chest was at the foot of the bed. Mr. X hit the area just above his right eye near his eyebrow on this basket and started bleeding profusely. Since in addition to all his multiple prescribed medications, he was also taking a blood thinner in the form of baby aspirin coated with Enteric to protect the stomach lining, his blood did not coagulate properly. It was quite some time before they could get the bleeding to stop.
The Case Worker taped up his eye. Mrs. X attempted to clean up all the blood on the wicker basket, on his clothes, and on the blankets stored in that wicker basket. You can still see traces of blood on that basket.
I arrived around 7:30 p.m. to see Mr. X with a black eye and blood occasionally still dripping down his face. It was decided that he would sleep that night on the recliner in the guest room. I would sleep in the guest bed.
Mr. X still had very little appetite. Some of the medications he was taking caused him to have to urinate almost every hour. So now, this was the onset of Adventure #4.
Mrs. X went to bed early as she was absolutely exhausted due to the chronic bladder infection that refused to go away. Mr. X used the walker to shuffle his way to the recliner. The time was about 8:30. I moved a heavy wooden chair to one side of the recliner. There was a vanity dresser nearby that was quite sturdy. We couldn’t actually recline the chair as it would be too hard for him to get up. He had been instructed to elevate his feet as much as possible to avoid blood clots, etc. So Mr. X put his feet on a low step stool with a pillow on top for cushioning. I placed a tissue box and a bell within reach on that wooden chair. The walker was right in front of him so he could grab it quickly. Of course, he clutched the heart-shaped pillow as it really hurt to cough. I covered him and the pillow with his robe. He attempted to fall off to sleep.
While I worked on my laptop in the dining room, I kept my ear open for that bell. Sure enough, Mr. X had to ring it at around 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30. I would rush to the recliner. I would help him get up from the chair as he held on to walker, wooden chair, and dresser. We had some false starts as he would sometimes fall back into the chair. Once he was up, he was able to use the walker to shuffle into the bathroom on his own. I would place the bell on the sink vanity next to the toilet. Then I would close the bathroom door and return to my work until he was done.
Once Mr. X was done going to the bathroom and had
washed his hands, he rang the bell. I would come rushing. Almost every time he had to sit down in a plastic chair in the bathroom as he was totally out of breath from this effort. He would try to catch his breath enough to use the doctor-prescribed inhaler. Eventually, he regained enough energy to get up with my help, shuffle his way back to the recliner, and then I would get everything positioned as described above.
I went to bed myself close to 1:00 a.m. Mr. X finally fell off to sleep. I used the powder room in the hallway so as to not disturb him when I had to go to bathroom, brush my teeth, wash my face, etc. He managed to sleep until about 4:00 a.m. before needing to ring the bell again. Then he went back to sleep for another 4 hours. I got up myself around 8:30 a.m. After another visit to the bathroom, he managed to sleep one-more hour. Three times during the night, I had to wash off the blood that had dripped from his eye area down to his neck. The blood was still not successfully coagulating even after all the hours that had passed. His black eye looked even more colorful as the hours went on.
Mr. X had multiple pills to take at 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Since he was sleeping so peacefully, I gave him his pills at 9:30 a.m. instead. He managed to have a bit of breakfast. Then he headed off to the loveseat in the living room.
It was now Thursday, June 4th. I decided I needed a break. After eating breakfast, I headed off to Bays Mountain Park to video the wolves and deer and other wildlife. Feel free to watch my 1-minute videos on Associated Content including one of two baby deer that were born that very morning. I figured Mrs. X could take care of him for the morning. His physical therapist was due at 12:30. So I figured I would not need to come back to their house until about 1:30 or so.
As I was heading back to their house, I called Mrs. X to see if she needed any groceries. She reported that the therapist had discovered that his blood pressure was dangerously low. It was 80 something over 40 something. It was supposed to be 120 over 80. She called for a nurse to come to the house. I rushed to their home while the nurse was still there. She indicated that I would need to take Mr. X to the Emergency Room. His blood pressure needed to be stabilized. Also, she said that he would need stitches to help his cut finally heal.
I gathered his medication list. I made certain that we noted that he was consistently at 210 pounds. He was 218 prior to his open-heart surgery. We were told that if his weight varied by more than 2 pounds in a 24-hour period, we had to return him to the hospital as this could be a sign of possible congestive heart failure or other ailments. I quickly stuffed down a candy bar and some diet cola to tide me over. Little did I know that this would be my last food intake until past midnight.
This brings us to Adventure #5. So that Mr. X did not have to deal with the hilly driveway, he shuffled his way into the garage and got in the passenger side of the front seat of his car. We were told that as long as we moved the seat all the way back and he kept his heart-shaped pillow between him and the seat belt, he could ride in the front seat. There apparently is a major danger of an air bag severely damaging his heart area. Mrs. X remained home as she was not feeling all that well. Additionally, her younger son was due to arrive at about 5:15 that night. Her older son was due to arrive sometime the next day.
We left the walker in the garage as Mr. X would be able to use one of the many wheelchairs that the hospital provides. I drove Mr. X to the Emergency Room entrance, got out, and helped him into a wheelchair. Normally, there is a Security Guard posted there that helps with those kinds of tasks. I guess we caught him at his break. I wheeled Mr. X to the information desk, flagged a different security guard to wheel him to the ER, while I went and parked the car in the parking garage.
It took me some time to find a parking space. About 2:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday was apparently one of their busier times. By the time I arrived in the ER, they already had Mr. X lying on a bed in a curtained-off area of the Minor Trauma unit. They took his blood pressure while he was lying down and sitting up. They were going to also take it with him standing. Since his blood pressure was now even lower, 70 something over 30 something, while he was in the other two positions, they realized that standing would make it even worse. They also had to give him intravenous liquids as he was severely dehydrated. Eventually, a medic came in and gave him 6 stitches to close off that cut. Mr. X was looking more and more colorful.
Originally, I had imagined that we would be there only about 3 hours. Instead, we were there 9 hours total. I called Mrs. X with hourly updates.
At around 6:00 p.m., the second ER doctor came in echoing the first. Both of them urged Mr. X to check into the hospital so he could be monitored overnight. They suggested that due to the low blood pressure, his falling and cutting open his upper eye area, and the dehydration, he would probably now quality for Health South, the Rehabilitation Clinic.
They both suggested he was at risk of possibly falling and breaking a hip with his blood pressure spikes. Mr. X realized the wisdom of their words. He now understood that he was not really ready to be at home yet until he could get re-conditioned. So he agreed.
After five hours of being there, he had not been able to visit a bathroom. I played the squeaky wheel by asking that they get nurses to help him to a toilet. He did not find it easy to urinate into one of those bottles. He was a very private man. They brought in one of those portable toilets. A nurse assisted him. Apparently, he had been suffering from about 5 days of constipation. No wonder he had no appetite. He finally managed a small bowel movement to take some of the pressure off. By the time they finally had a room vacancy for him and housekeeping had finally completed cleaning it, he was able to successfully go to bathroom a second time.
His younger son had arrived at their house at 5:15 after a 5-hour drive. He finally decided to head over to the ER at about 8:00. He brought Mr. X some food and drink. He only managed to drink a little juice and some water. It was not until 11:44 p.m. that Mr. X was finally in a hospital room bed up on the 5th floor. I mentioned to the orderly wheeling his bed that we had been there 9 hours. He said that one person had been known to be in the ER 39 hours before having a bed vacancy in the regular hospital area. After hearing that, I was definitely thankful it hadn’t been any longer.
Once Mr. X was settled into his room, his younger son and I drove off to I-HOP to have a very late dinner. I was ravenous and could hardly talk for eating. Yum! Now that both sons would be there to relieve me, I drove back to their house, gathered my belongings, and made the 45-minute drive back to my house. I got home at 2:10 a.m. That was the end of Adventure #5.
Adventure #6 included Mr. X remaining in that hospital room for all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He was given a Lasix pill that caused him to have to frequently need to urinate with very little advance warning. This pill was necessary as his swollen ankles were indicative of getting a blood clot or other ailments. He also had to wear something akin to thigh-high tights to help manage this problem. His two sons reported that Mr. X would sometimes wet himself as the nurse did not get there in time to help him to the bathroom. Sometimes, he would also forget to take the lid off that plastic bottle container that they were using to measure the acidity in his urine, etc. That was a frustrating time for him indeed as he has always been a very independent man.
Adventure #7 began on Monday, June 8th and will continue until Friday, June 19th. Mr. X moved to Health South, the Rehabilitation Clinic. The ER doctor, with lowered voice, warned Mr. X to be an under-achiever when
the Case Worker from Health South tested his walking ability and strength. He said the decision to send him there was no longer in the doctor’s domain. It was totally controlled by the insurance companies. He indicated that Mr. X could do as much strength-training as possible once he was there, but don’t try too hard to walk so he could be certain to qualify.
Mr. X shares a room with a man who has suffered from a stroke. He gets intensive therapy in the morning and after lunch. Visiting hours are from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Their younger son had to leave on Sunday as he had a wife and two little ones at home. Their older son was able to stay until Wednesday morning, June 10th, before heading back to his job, wife, and son who still lived at home while attending college. His two older daughters had homes of their own.
I arrived back at Mrs. X’s house that Wednesday morning. I got groceries for her and picked up some medication. We went to visit Mr. X from about 4:00 to 6:30. I then took her home, got her situated, and drove home to my husband.
The next day, Thursday, June 11th, I arrived at about 3:00. We went to visit Mr. X. We then went to eat at one of her favorite restaurants, Piccadilly Cafeteria. While there, she started complaining about feeling faint and sick to her stomach. Her bladder infection was such that even after going to the bathroom to urinate, she felt like she had to go really badly immediately after. She was gone so long that I was almost going to go in to see if she had fainted. When she finally came out, she was crying. She thought she might need to go to the ER but wasn’t sure. She pleaded with me to stay the night as she was too afraid to stay home by herself as she didn’t know if she would get really sick in the night. Naturally, I didn’t have the heart to refuse. Her two sons and I were more concerned for her ability to cope than we were for Mr. X as he was normally a strong and healthy man. Additionally, we have been entertaining fears for the last three years that Mrs. X may have the beginning stages of Alzheimer. Her father died from that disease several years ago. So I called my long-suffering husband to tell him that I was going to be away still another night.
Once we got home and I helped her to bed, we decided that the ER was not necessary. She had hardly slept the past three nights. I put the bell on her bedside table in case she needed me in the night. Fortunately, she had a new toothbrush. I borrowed everything else I would need. Other than a book to read, I had not brought anything else with me as I expected to only be there a few hours.
On Friday, June 12th, Mrs. X felt somewhat stronger as she had slept really well. I stayed with her until after our late-afternoon visit. Then I headed for home.
On Saturday, I arrived around 3:00 and left after our visit to Mr. X. I did talk to their very helpful neighbor who had frequently been offering to help. Thinking of my backlog of work and my husband who wondered if he still had a wife, I asked if he could line up neighbors who could drive Mrs. X to visit Mr. X each afternoon. Wonderful man that he was, he lined up someone for just about every day this week.
Sunday, June 14th, my husband and I reveled in having a day to enjoy each other’s company.
This morning, Monday, June 15th, Mrs. X called in tears once again. She felt really sick. She made an emergency appointment with her family practitioner for 1:00 today. This wonderful neighbor offered to drive her to her doctor’s appointment. Mrs. X did not visit Mr. X today as she needed to come home and rest. Mr. X, a very compassionate man, definitely understood.
Two different neighbors will take Mrs. X to visit Mr. X on Tuesday and Wednesday. I will come again on Thursday, June 18th. My husband and I are going to spend the weekend at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a belated honeymoon. This is a seven-hour drive for us. Either that wonderful neighbor will help Mrs. X bring Mr. X home from Health South on Friday, June 19th, or their oldest son may be able to make the trip again on Thursday night through Sunday. So one way or the other, they will have help.
To conclude, Mr. X has made great strides at the Rehabilitation Clinic. He has more of a appetite. His blood pressure and fluid levels are stabilized. Even though he spends most of the day in a wheel chair, they are training him to stand up and sit down using only his leg muscles rather than pressing down on the chair arms with his hands. Apparently, he is endangering his incisions and causing trauma to his heart region when he pulls himself up using his hands and arms muscles. Originally, he had to be wheeled to the bathroom and then helped to the toilet. The other day, he got up and walked at a relatively normal pace with a gate belt wrapped around his waist and a nurse following him in case he should begin to fall. The last day I saw him, he got up and walked to the bathroom unassisted, unattended, and minus the gate belt. It is very encouraging to see how much stronger that he is. He no longer gets out of breath. The only real noticeable trait is that he is not able to generate much volume to his voice. I suppose this will eventually get back to normal.
So, this wraps up the saga of the 24 days following his open-heart surgery. Stay tuned for the next article that will detail what happens after that.
To read “Open-Heart Surgery on a Family Member” on Associated Content, please visit http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1821341/openheart_surgery_on_a_family_member.html?cat=5