Not one more procedure!

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Just when I thought we were through the scariest part, we had another fright. This blog post is a continuation from yesterday.

It was Saturday, the day after my husband’s birthday. During the week my husband was hospitalized, I did the best I could at keeping the kids’ lives as normal as possible. They knew Daddy had a bad ouchie and he was in the hospital, but beyond that, they didn’t really understand what was going on. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really want them to understand.

One of my neighbors came over Saturday morning to mow our lawn. And then later that afternoon, I packed the kids up and took them to a birthday party. I made arrangements for a friend of ours to come over and babysit the kids that evening and ordered pizza for everyone to eat.

While I was at the hospital, I noticed what all of the other doctors noticed earlier in the day. Chris’s breathing sounded bad. Worse than the day before. Also, he had some other issues I’m not going to write about because I don’t want to embarrass him. For argument’s sake, let’s just say that all of his symptoms added up to a concern that the doctors might have missed something. They ordered a second CT scan to take a look and what they found was that old blood from the original injury was pushing up against his left lung, causing his breathing difficulties. One of the doctors who worked with his trauma surgeon believed that it would be in Chris’ best interest to have a chest tube placed.

WARNING!!!! I’m going to provide a graphic description of what a chest tube is. If you don’t want to read about it, please skip to “End of TMI”

Beginning of TMI

A chest tube is roughly the diameter of a nickel, maybe smaller. It’s inserted through the soft tissue of the rib cage and and kept in place by either using tape or a few stitches so that it doesn’t fall out. The other end of it is connected to a box that controls the suction. Basically, having a chest tube is another surgery with another set of possible complications. It was the last thing I wanted for him, but if he needed it, so be it.

End of TMI

The doctor who recommended the chest tube couldn’t do anything until his actual trauma surgeon evaluated him. The problem with that was the trauma surgeon was on-call for cases that rolled into the emergency room. It was already after 8 pm when we learned he might need a chest tube. I wanted to be there while he was having the procedure. Also, I didn’t want to take advantage of the woman who came over with two small kids. So, while we waited to hear from the trauma surgeon, I called my best friend to come over (because her son was at a campout with his den) and asked her if she could relieve my other friend.

Child care was one of the most stressful things I dealt with while my husband was in the hospital. We are a military family and are closest family members were in Ohio. I had a ton of wonderful people who stepped up to help me out but I was also hyperaware of the fact that all of these people had kids, and lives, and responsibilities of their own which made it very hard for me to ask for and accept help. However, I didn’t have a choice. And I won’t be able to say “thank you,” enough for all the times my friends picked up all three of my kids and fed them dinner so I could stay with my husband at the hospital. Our family has truly been blessed with wonderful people.

It was probably one o’clock in the morning when the trauma surgeon contacted the nurse. He advised her that as long as Chris’ vitals were stable and he was resting comfortably, he didn’t feel it was necessary to wake him for a procedure. He told the nurse he’d make the decision regarding a chest tube the next morning. I kissed Chris on the forehead and went home.

That night our prayers were answered. Chris had one of the best night’s sleep since he was admitted to the ICU. His breathing improved and the surgeon did not feel a chest tube was necessary. From this point forward, my husband’s condition continued to improve. On Sunday he was transferred out of the ICU to the Progressive Care Unit.

On Monday, he was told he could be discharged Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday morning the discharge orders were written.

Meanwhile, life at the Silver house took an interesting turn. The shit hit the fan. Rest assured, none of it had anything to do with Chris or his condition. 

Part 5 continues here.

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