Friday, 6 April 2012

ICU - Week 3

Mr Trifectagirl has progressed really well this week. 

He is being gradually weaned off the ventilator, and his time off is getting longer every few days or so.  He has been taken off IV feeding, and is now fully fed by nasal-gastric feeding, which is another really big step.  

Depression, however appears to be a problem.  An understandable problem, but there.  Being unable to communicate is probably impacting on this.  I have no way of knowing if I'm right at this stage, but I have my suspicions.

So after the suggestions and advice of on-line friends, and speaking to the doctor on duty today, I have made up a communication chart with about 30 words on it, mostly to do with comfort/pain and location; yes/no and please/thank you (because courtesy/politeness is important to Mr Trifectagirl -he'd hate not having that option!!), and entertainment/mental stimulation (TV, Radio, book, on, off, volume, up, down etc).    He'll get a radio tomorrow, and the point chart.  Hopefully that makes life stuck in a bed with restricted movement and unable to speak a bit more bearable for him.

He is in what must be the worst room in the unit - the poor man is stuck in a box.  The section phone where reception volunteers call to see if patients can have visitors or various scans and tests outside the unit are arranged, is outside his room, ringing day and night.  Most beds have either a window, or a view out the window in the room across the hall.  He's in an internal box with no natural light.  Thankfully this is on the radar of the senior doctors in the unit and a move to a window room has been discussed at team meetings, but an ICU is a busy place with a fast turn-over, and shifting rooms isn't easy.  Add Easter and the unfortunate road accidents that happen, and it may be into the next week before a  move could even be possible. 

I've been hesitant to have people other than family visit up till now, just as I've been pretty certain that he would not have wanted friends to remember him (if the worst happened) as a unconscious person on a bed with tubes and wires everywhere.  Plus he is still very weak, and I worry about him getting too tired. 

But he's now conscious and interacting pretty well, so we've started bringing in J to see him each day.  J doesn't cope too well - he can't get down and run around!!!  But he interacts with Daddy, starting 'round and round the garden, like a teddy bear' which daddy always played with him. 

Today the Minister who married us visited, as did a friend for the first time.  Unfortunately he seemed confused when I asked if the friend had visited (we'd discussed the intention to visit this morning), but I'm not sure if that's a communication issue.  Maybe the point chart will help.    If he's coping generally, I'll slowly start letting more friends see him.  It will be good to have the load lifted a bit and for him to get different stimulation.

Something to look forward to is once he's off the ventilator for longer periods they may be able to take him to a courtyard for some fresh air and sun-shine (not that the forecast allows for it in the near future!!).  I'll be asking them to let me know when they're taking him out so I can bring J in and Mr Trifectagirl can watch him run around.   

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