19 April 2007: A Good Day for Mike!

Category: General
Posted by: bonnieh
This is Bonnie Howard writing this. I arrived after lunch today to visit and accompany Mike to therapy. He had a REAL good day today.

The area of concern right now is some small amount of "skin tunneling" which has been detected at his graft site. I am not sure, but apparently some of the grafted skin is growing down into muscle grooves instead of on the surface where it belongs. More on this later. (Marsha, Phyllis? maybe you can better explain this!)

I noticed most of the food on his tray had been untouched. He said there are good food days and bad food days in the hospital and lunch was a bad food day. But, he feels as long as he drinks his Ensure and his protein shakes, he's getting the nutrition he needs.

Getting him ready for therapy went much faster than last week, and Mike complimented the nurse (Steve?), but some of it was due to just getting better at it and Mike getting stronger and more mobile day by day. Mike transferred himself into his spiffy new wheelchair and rolled himself down the hall to the gym while I ran to catch up with him.

First item on the OT agenda was for Mike to play backgammon with Karen, one of the other OT patients. He had a two pound weight strapped on each wrist while he played. In the middle of the game, a very good friend from his past arrived (I was excited since I knew she was coming!). Sue (Rhonemus) Madal gave him a good surprise when she walked in the therapy room! Mike's comment was that he and Sue "were kids together". It was great to see them reunited! Even though Mike was distracted by talking to Sue, he won the game of backgammon!

Sue was a big help during PT because she's a certified fitness specialist, so reminded him to breathe and kept his body in proper alignment while he did his leg lifts. She's also a heckuva lot of fun!

Mike got his own walker today! It was brought to him in PT and Amanda helped adjust it for him so it's at a comfortable height. Mike also practiced folding and unfolding it while he sat in his wheelchair. (I later went to the nursing station and got name labels to stick on both the chair and the walker. Probably should get another sticker or two for the wheelchair.)

Towards the end of PT, Mike's sister Phyllis arrived, as well as Sue's daughter Ashley and three week old granddaughter Emily. Emily was an especially big hit with everybody in the therapy room (staff and patients)! What a little beauty. Ashley is as delightful as her mother! Sue, you may have some of your own comments to add!

We all had a nice visit in Mike's room when he was done with his therapy. Phyllis left, then Sue and her family left and I stuck around for a while to help tidy things up and get Mike comfortable in bed (and chit chat a little). Mike was in great spirits, but his emotions always lie just below the surface.

Mike's girlfriend Bonnie is supposed to visit from Cincy this weekend and he's looking forward to seeing her!!

During all of the time in the room while we were visiting, there was a certain amount of nursing activity in and out to discuss the issue of the skin tunneling. The plan for this evening after dinner was to coordinate the dressing change so that the resident trauma surgeon (Dr. Fox) could come and have a look at the skin, and hopefully say it is nothing to worry about.

Another milestone is that Mike is no longer going to be taking morphine when he has dressing changes. He said he didn't have any morphine when they removed the dressing last night and did okay. He said the pain "spikes" he experiences during changes aren't really helped by pain meds. He plans to only take two Vicodin with tonight's dressing change. The morphine had nasty side effects like severe cotton mouth and Mike wants to be done with it. He also plans to cut back on the amount of Vicodin he takes prior to therapy sessions.

Keep those cards and letters coming, folks! Mail call left a big smile on his face when a couple of cards were delivered.
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Sue Madal wrote:

This is Sue Madal. It was so good to see Mike on Thursday and I can't tell you how impressed I was with his mental attitude and strength. He will be a stronger man when he gets through this (if that's possible) because he will make the most of it and will be and is an inspiration to anyone who visits him. My occasional aches and pains pale in comparison to what Mike has gone through and continues to go through every day. He is a model patient and is working so hard to strengthen and heal his body. I look forward to coming back next Thursday for another PT session with him and Bonnie. We count his reps and he does the work. Being able to physically workout is helping him tremendously he says. It is helping him fill his day, increase his strength and stamina and also enables him to have a good night's sleep. My daughter, Ashley, really enjoyed meeting him as well and wants to come back with me next week. And her daughter, Emily, was good therapy for everyone. Babies can put a smile on anyone's face and believe me these hard-working patients need that bit of joy in their lives as they work toward their individual goals. It's always great to see Bonnie and we always pick up right where we left off, even if we haven't seen each other in a while. Good friends are like that. And it seemed like it was just yesterday that I saw Mike even though it's been years. His love of his family and friends is the core of his strength and he is drawing on that to get through this life-challenging and changing event.
-- 20 April 2007 13:11:16
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