Day three of Mom in the hospital.
It’s afternoon and she’s being moved out of ICU and into rehabilitation. The physical therapist had her up and walking a bit. Hooray! Her toes and feet don’t want to move as easily as her legs do. Not sure what that means right now. She’s not complaining of pain and that’s good. Her blood pressure is stable. When they were moving her, my sister-in-law got her to laugh. I take that as one of the best signs yet.
I love words. Usually.
Since Dad’s early morning phone call on Saturday I’ve had to become familiar with words I never wanted to have to know. Words like subdural and hematoma, intubate, edema, extubate, aphasia, expressive aphasia and swallow evaluation.
I’m sure there were other big latin words thrown around at the hospital, but I’m getting the edited, layman’s version through text messages and emails and phone calls.
So I’ve searched the internet for answers. Sometimes it’s scared me, sometimes it reassured me. Sometimes I didn’t know what to think.
Here are a few words I learned this week:
- Hematoma- a collection of blood
- Subdural Hematoma – In a subdural hematoma, blood collects between the layers of tissue that surround the brain. The outermost layer known as the dura. In a subdural hematoma, bleeding occurs between the dura and the next layer, the arachnoid. The bleeding in a subdural hematoma is under the skull and outside the brain, not in the brain itself. As blood accumulates, however, pressure on the brain increases. If not treated quickly can lead to a life-threatening occurrence.
- Edema– swelling caused by fluid in the bodies tissues.
- Intubate – to insert a tube into the larynx (helps with breathing)
- Extubate -to remove a tube.
- Aphasia is a disorder caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control language. It can make it hard for you to read, write, and say what you mean to say.
- Expressive aphasia – you know what you want to say, but you have trouble saying or writing what you mean
- Occupational therapist – helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support for those experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
- Clinical Swallow evaluation – determines if a person is recovered sufficiently to eat and swallow food after an injury or intubation. Can also help a speech therapist in assessing a patient.
What does all that mean?
It means we almost lost Mom. She’s improving surprisingly quickly. There’s a long path of recovery ahead though. She still can only say a word or two at a time, and has a hard time finding those words. The right side of her vision is inattentive, or unaware, so that needs some work. She’ll need occupational, physical and speech therapy.
I joked last night that now Dad can get a whole story told without her interrupting him. But I wouldn’t count on that for too long. They usually both tell parts of a story together, one correcting the other, or filling in a detail, or adding something important. They are like Salt and Pepper. Dad without Mom is a puzzle with a piece missing, a recipe with a key ingredient left out.
I’m glad there are people out there that know all those latin words and medical terms and what to do about it all. It translates into a few very important words that I do understand.