It’s 4 days into the New Year and Bennett’s hanging in there. His days consist of laying on his back in a hospital bed, keeping up with the many meds he’s on, visiting with friends, asking me to do things for him (which I of course love doing), worrying about me being bored (get over it Bud), eating, worrying about the weird pains in his right leg and foot , worrying about the drains coming from his thigh and pelvis, talking to nurses, doctors and therapists, using his I Pad (on his golden cheese wedge and Chocolate Moose), trying to read (it puts him to sleep), talking on the phone, snoozing, being bored, being thankful, BEING, HEALING. This is just what I can observe. I have no idea what’s going through his head but even with his pain and worries he remains positive. No pity parties in room 321 of St. Anthony Hospital. He’s an inspiration to me.
Pain is still front and center. He has taken to setting his alarm for every 2 hours at night so he can get his pain meds and stay in front of the pain. Otherwise it gets in front of him and he spends hours chasing it. He’s still on track to start rehab next week, but can’t be on any IV pain meds or heparin when he starts plus he needs to be out of traction. He’s been waiting for a “pain consultation” since last Friday, and the anesthesiologist responsible for doing this still hasn’t shown up. HELLO? The goal of this consultation will be to find longer term relief. Right now his pain management consists of a variety of narcotics, nerve meds and muscle relaxers. This includes an IV pump and on occasion (when the pain gets too far ahead of him) IV Dilaudid in addition to the pump. We hope that in 6 days he can move to the 7th floor for rehab, but the pain could be an obstacle.
Last night we got our Coumadin “talk”. Bennett is transitioning from Heparin to Coumadin (both anticoagulants for the blood clot). His doctors tell him he will have to be on Coumadin for 6 months and then have the blood clot checked. The talk consisted of the importance of staying off motorcycles and having a doctor lined up that will monitor his International Normalized Ratio...or INR weekly after he leaves the hospital. I remember when Jerry’s (Bennett’s Dad’s) grandmother was on that rat poison; how hard it was to regulate and how easily she bruised. I always hated that stuff. Now it could save Bennett’s life. I’m hoping that Bennett can have the blood clot checked before 6 months, that it will be gone and he can discontinue it. While it will likely be a long while before Bennett is back to an active lifestyle, 6 months seems like a long time to be on rat poison that could cause you to bleed to death. Ok Ok, I am sounding pessimistic, but like I said I always hated that stuff. It’s ridiculous, I know. After everything I’ve seen Bennett endure over the last 5 weeks and I’m stressing over this? Sorry for the negative rambling. Did I say Happy New Year?
Bennett’s plastic surgeon is pleased with his skin graft and has released him to be able to move his right thigh. He also got cleared today to be able to use 1-2 pound weights or bands for his arms. We’re waiting on word from his Orthopedic surgeon as to what exactly he can do with his right leg. We already know that it will be a couple of months before he can put full weight on his right leg, but the Physical Therapists are looking for guidance on what he CAN do. Hopefully he will be able to put full weight on his left leg when he goes up to rehab next week.
An x-ray was done a couple of days ago on the left femur and he has quite a callus growing around his break. It sounds as though there will always be a lump there of extra bone. This is one more example of the heterotopic ossification, the condition caused by trauma that creates extra bone growth. Better this than the alternative, no new bone growth. We’re not complaining.
The staff infection continues to be treated with strong IV antibiotics which Bennett will be on for another 5 weeks. The Infectious Disease Specialist told us a couple of days ago that the infection responded better to a different antibiotic in the lab, so he was taken of one of the big guns and switched to another. He does not have a fever and his blood work is looking good so we’re optimistic that these antibiotics are working their magic. I’m trying to get a lot of good critters back in Bennett’s gut to counteract the antibiotic damage done.
Bennett’s breakfasts are consisting of lots of berries, kefir and/ or yogurt. The kefir and yogurt have probiotics and will help keep his gut healthy and replace the good critters that have been killed by the antibiotics. I’ve also been incorporating a lot of miso into his foods that with also will help with this and his healing and immune system. My twist on the southern new years dinner for Bennett was a warm black eyed pea, wild rice and veggie salad with a garlic, miso and balsamic dressing (Hopping John), Braised green and purple kale (for the money), and homemade sausage. I didn't get around to the corn bread. Hopefully 2012 will be a great year full of good luck and prosperity.
Today an old friend Joey stopped through on his way to Vail from Athens, GA. It’s been at least 14 years since we’ve seen him. What a great surprise. Kyle came in town today from Tybee and will be here with me and Bennett for a few days before heading up to Breck. Yesterday Saundra and Beth came down from Breck and the night before Dan and Heather stopped by. Bennett loves these visits. I’ve heard him tell several people that he knows the prayer and positive healing vibes being sent his way are helping him heal. He feels it and is grateful.
Happy New Year!
Much love and gratitude,