After much to-do between the surgeons, in-house doctors, etc. the decision was made to let George come home a few days earlier than anticipated. I was given a portable suction machine (that must be in the car at all times), a bag full of medications, laryngectomy accessories (a word I thought more pertained to belts, shoes and bracelets), appointment cards, a small novel of care instructions and told to bring the car to the front door.
I feel like I did when I brought my first child home from the hospital. Scared, excited and happy. Yippee!!!! He’s coming home!!!
I bundle my guy into the front seat - with the suction machine in his lap - throw everything else into the back seat and off we go. Once more the rain is coming down. The ride home is eerie. I’m in the car with my husband right beside me but I feel like I’m alone. There’s no amiable chatter, no discussion of the daily minutiae of our lives. The slap of the windshield wipers and the drone of the tires on the wet pavement are the only sounds in the vehicle. The silence is oppressive and uncomfortable. The realization of how our lives have changed is as oppressive as the silence.
While he was in the hospital I had his favorite chair brought into the living room from the den for him and I’ve set up the suction machine and humidifier next to it. He is now safely ensconced in his chair with “Mr Thirsty” in his lap and his humidifier fastened around his neck. His left arm, covered in bandages and doubly wrapped with an ace bandage, is nestled on a pillow. Ok…. NOW WHAT DO I DO WITH HIM?????
It has hit me that I am now solely responsible for his care.
I’d been given a quick ‘how-to’ on the use of the various machines and boy am I glad I paid attention. The hose has come off of the suction machine and George is in a panic. He cannot swallow at all so “Mr. Thirsty” is VIP equipment! A quick reattach and all is well again.
I cannot believe the amount of medications I need to keep track of. He also has feedings at 8am, noon, 4pm and 8pm, blood sugars to be taken before each feeding and insulin after each one. Everything has to be written down so we can keep track of calories, insulin, sugars, etc. Seeing as how I cannot remember to take a vitamin every day this is really going to be a mental agility test….sure hope I pass!!!!!
Now – if I can just get him out of the chair and into the bed….