Unit walks.

Things are moving on and this week talks about life on the unit and unit walks.

Moving from the ICU to the Cardiovascular unit basically meant more training for life after the hospital, getting in better shape, getting used to the LVAD and all the things that went with it.

My organs and body functions still needed some encouragement to go back as close to normal as possible, and physical activity was a huge part of making that happen. Three walks a day was the minimum. I was lucky (!!!) not to be in any pain so it was fine for me to do this part of recovery. If anything it got severely boring to circle that same place 30 times a day. On the other hand it felt great to notice the improvements and I felt proud over my achievements. The staff was relentlessly encouraging and positive and, again made me feel very special. It is shocking to experience the degradation of ones body and hard to accept the need to limit physical activity. On one of my first walks in the corridors of the hospital I had to eat the humble pie. After insisting, despite the nurse’s warnings, that we keep on going farther and farther away, I had to take several breaks on the way back and at one point I was wondering if I’d make it back at all.

There were some key things with the LVAD that had to be learned and remembered: how to wash the hole where the electric chord went in through my stomach and change the dressing that covered it (not my body in the pic), in what order to connect and disconnect the cables when switching batteries, not to fall asleep without disconnecting the batteries and connect to the wall unit instead. Plenty of things to freak out about, but I had family, friends and hospital staff to support me.

Thanks again for coming by to read and hope you’re all doing well.

Peace and quiet…

Time flies. I skipped last week since I was up to my earlobes in work, but now I’m back!

This week talks about getting out of the ICU and moving to the piece and quiet on a regular cardiovascular unit. I got my own room which was incredible. After spending, I forget how long, in the higher energy ICU it was like being let out in a sunny meadow. In the ICU they have constant check on everything that goes on in your body since you’re fresh out of the oven. Like I said in the comic, there are alarms going off constantly for disconnected tubes or end of IV-cycles (when all of whatever medicine has been pumped into somebody’s body) or if there is some urgent event. I felt very safe there since I was surrounded by people who were focusing on me being ok every hour of the day and night. The flip side of that coin is that it can be hard to get good rest there. I can’t remember if I wrote this before, but a nurse said something like “it’s ironic that the hospital is not really the best place to get some good rest”. Apart from the alarms there are tests and x-rays and studies and check-in’s. And that’s not counting the crazy lady in the next room who screams that she needs to speak to someone who understands Russian. I felt for her. Being in the hospital can be scary, and not understanding what the hell people around you are talking about as they poke you is not going to make it better.

So, my own room felt incredible. There continued to be tight checks on everything, but I could close the door and have my own space, I could have visitors. Of course, in the back of my head I was often thinking “this shit ain’t free”, but the comfort at the moment was the most important.

So, anyway, I hope you’re all doing well, or at least decent. Thanks for reading!

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