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I'm the only one...


Chrysalis

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Good news-- my mother has recovered enough that she will be transferred to a rehab facility today. Excellent! She has been treated at this rehab facility before and likes it so I think that the familiarity of the people and the routines will help her to feel secure and to recover faster. So assuming that she does get to rehab today and get settled in, I think I will be able to go home tomorrow.

 

I wanted to share an observation with you that has nothing to do with smoking but which may come in handy for you some day. As you may know, pneumonia is one of the major causes of death in hospitals, especially among elderly patients. If the patients can get up and walk around, there is little danger, but for people who are confined to bed, pneumonia is a real danger. That is why hospitals always give patients a spirometer- a graduated plastic cylinder that contains a ping pong ball. The patient needs to breathe in to raise the ball. A spirometer encourages the patient to breathe deeply to expand their lungs and cough up any fluids that start to accumulate (pneumonia grows in the accumulated lung fluids).

 

Every time I visited my mother I made sure that she used the spirometer every hour or two and I insisted that she try to make the ball rise higher than last time. Yesterday she said to me, "Why are you the only one who makes me use this thing?" Frankly, I was shocked but I realized that she was right. Not one other person ever reminded her to use the spirometer-- no nurse, no physical therapist, no occupational therapist-- nobody. And yet, because of my constant prompting, my mother's post-surgical lung capacity increased from 250 cc to a near normal 1100 cc over the course of 3 days, the fluid in her lungs is gone and she is not in danger of developing pneumonia.

 

In addition to the spirometer, I also reinforce the physical therapy. So, for example, a PT will come in each morning and have Mom do some arm and torso exercises and then sit on the edge of the bed for a while. This helps her strength and breathing and balance. But they only come once a day. So I had them teach me how so that Mom and I can do the PT exercises 3 times a day (i.e., sitting up for meals). Bedsores are also a major hazard so I found out how to safely turn Mom every 2 hours. Same with an anti-itch cream-- supposed to be applied to her back every 2-3 hours but the nurses do it once or twice a day. So I do it every time I turn her. In a high-intensity situation like this (i.e., post surgery) I will generally be visiting my mother for 5 or 6 hours a day and I am usually busy most of that time.

 

My point here is not that I am any sort of superhero. My point is that now-a-days hospital personnel are very busy and often have too many patients to care for and too much computer work to do. Family members who visit patients, especially elderly patients, can do a lot to reinforce and extend what the professionals do even if you, like me, have no medical training. In this way, our loved ones will be more comfortable, will regain their strength more quickly, and will not develop dangerous and debilitating bedsores or pneumonia.

 

Just something that I have learned as a typical "sandwich generation" baby boomer. I hope this information will be of help to you.

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I was about to ask you if you used to be a nurse or something, until I got to the part that said 'even if you, like me, have no medical training'...  And you say that you are not some sort of superhero?  I disagree wholeheartedly... I think you are amazing :)

 

I am glad that (with your help), your mother is recovering nicely.  I am sure that it is similar here, with pateints not getting the care that the actually require.  I was also not aware of the cause of pneumonia, nor the simple, yet effective, preventative measure you can take to avoid it.  So, thank you - I might well need that information someday :)

 

I hope your journey home is a safe one, and thank you for keeping us up-to-date on the situation!

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Great news about your Mom and excellent guidance from you, Chrysalis,  regarding hospital incarceration.

Glad you may be headed home, have a safe drive.  I can feel your relief about everything from here.

Love,

S

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Thank goodness that she had you there to care for and to know enough to properly help her through the healing process. She is very blessed. ;)

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So very glad to hear how your mom is progressing. I'm sure your being there to help   was key to her speedy recovery. Have a safe trip home Chrys!

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Awwwww im so pleased to hear ur mum is doin well! That must ease ur stress levels! Sendin lots of love and best wishes to u and ur mum xxx

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