FRIDAY — Pillow Talk!

Nancy continues to do well.  We’d like her to eat more real food but at the moment she is not much inclined to do that.

She got a big red heart-shaped pillow for her new year.  I didn’t know about these things until last night.  The gentleman homeowner who hosted the potluck last night asked if Nancy had gotten her pillow?  He had multiple by-pass surgery in the same hospital a few years back.  When I said I had no idea what he meant, his wife brought out a large red pillow in the shape of a heart.  This had an image of a heart on it and over that someone had drawn each of the by-passes that had been done inside his chest.  Also, about a dozen people had signed it – doctors, nurses, and family.

I got home to find an e-mail asking the same question?  “Did Nancy get her special pillow?”  I’m I the only one that didn’t know of these?

Well it seems that when your chest is split open and then closed again that in the weeks to follow you have an urge to cough frequently.  So as to keep it from opening again when you cough, you are told to hold a pillow tightly against your chest.  A stuffed teddy bear is sometimes given but any pillow would do.  It seems the red heart-shaped ones are the “special” ones – it could be considered a badge of courage and a statement that one survived.

Much of the very high-tech equipment was gone from Nancy’s room today.  There remained a gizmo on the floor at the foot of her bed making the sounds of a little stream tumbling over rocks.  This is part of a ‘chest drain’ and its purpose is to allow any fluid, blood, or pus to exit the ‘pleural’ cavity by way of a long tube.  Translated into English this means ‘from the hole in your body where they were working.’   Seems to me the original meaning (now said to be side or rib) has gotten lost somewhere along the path from Greek to Latin to Middle English to the World Wide Web.  A wine maker would recognize this as a “water sealed fermentation lock” with a vacuum assist through the water causing the bubbling sound.

Each of the two doctors on the floor visited briefly today and listened to her heart and lungs and pronounced her in good shape – for the shape she is in.  Many times a heart patient in the ICU will only encounter one or two doctors during a stay of a few days.  Today was Nancy’s 36th day there and she is on their (the doctor’s) third or fourth rotation.  Somewhat uncommon we were informed.