SATURDAY — on the mend; edema

I arrived today to find Nancy in a chair.  It is not an easy task just yet for that to happen.  She is still connected to a couple of drip lines, an oxygen line, and the chest cavity drain.  She also has a suction line such as the one dental assistants use to clear your mouth.  This is a great advance over having to cough and spit into tissue.

Some body chemistry is still marginal.   Fluids are an issue partly because she is drinking a lot and not eating much solid food.  Getting rid of the fluids takes out some of the desirable chemicals, such as calcium.  While these things are easily correctable they do require monitoring, injections, and pills.  They are also (and have been for awhile) giving her low doses of insulin, as in being diabetic.  We think this may just be because of all the things that have happened and that it will not remain a long term issue.

Nancy is right handed and moves the right arm and hand more than the left.  This shows in the degree of puffy-versus-normal in the appearance of her left hand. [The puffy or swollen aspect is referred to medically as edema, caused when fluid is retained in the spaces between body cells.]

Her lower legs are likewise swollen.  This is her 37th day of being in bed, many with almost no movement.  With the open heart surgery behind her it is a sign of progress that edema is the concern of the day.

Today, there was also the issue of the bed.  I guess she has used it so much it needed to be replaced.  So, before moving her from the chair with the Robin’s egg-blue “float” (a canvas like sling), the broken bed was moved out and a new one in.  These things may not roast the Christmas turkey or fly you to your Hawaiian vacation but they are marvels of engineering and construction.  They also cost about 50 grand.