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» Saturday, December 21, 2013Intensive Care
"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care..."
And it sure feels good, too.
James got up once and went right back to sleep, but once I did, I pretty much just lay in bed thinking. There was something that we planned to do today that I was dreading.
Since we slept in, breakfast was late and we didn't go out until after noon. We had to complete a gift and had talked about going somewhere quite a distance from home to buy the parts to complete it. But with Willow in a pricy "durance vile," we didn't have the money for gasoline, so we went somewhere closer to home to buy it. We also stopped to pick up a model James had ordered, and went to Harry's Farmer's Market. We haven't been here in several years, and it really has gone downhill since Whole Foods took it over. There's nowhere as much fresh produce as it had as an independent vendor, the "wall o' chocolate" is gone, they have fewer cheeses (couldn't find any Romano cheese at all, a heresy!), and the hot bar and salad bar are both very poor now. Was hoping to find something for supper and was very disappointed.
When we finished there, we drove out to Dunwoody to visit Willow. This is what I was dreading. She looked so awful, swollen and doped up on Wednesday; she reminded me of my mom before she passed away, blank-eyed and sorrowful. I ducked into the bathroom as we entered, so James saw her first, but when I walked in, she was on her feet, no catheter in her leg, and James said she wagged her tail at him and came eagerly forward when she saw him. She greeted me, but less enthusiastically; not surprised, since I'd "abandoned" her on Wednesday.
She's still painfully thin because they have just started to try to get her to eat today. With pancreatitis, there is no medicine that will help. You have to let the pancreas "rest" by withdrawing food until it is less inflamed and can manage food.
We put her on the exam table and pretty much spent over an hour talking to her and cuddling her. We noticed she liked it when James scratched all the shedding fur on her back and asked for a brush and gently brushed out her coat. I washed the sleepers from the corners of her eyes. They brought in some food for her, a chicken mush with rice in it, but she turned away. However, when the tech came with some other food, beef mush with rice and heated up (which smelled a lot more appetizing), I managed to get her to eat some of it by taking up a fingertip-full and letting her lick it. She ate very little, perhaps a dozen little bits at all, maybe a tablespoon of the stuff, but it's more than she's eaten since last Friday. We also took her for a walk outside. James let her sit next to him on the bench and she just leaned on him.
Finally we had to let her go back, and the heartbreaking thing was that if she had eaten the little bowl of food they would have let her go home. But she definitely looks better, and is more aware of her surroundings and taking an interest in things. I hope, I hope this is a good sign.
We wanted to make another hospital visit on the way home, so called to see if it were okay, then went over to Northside Hospital to visit Juanita. Since it would have been rude to stand in her hospital room with growling stomachs—it was already 3:30 and we hadn't had lunch—we visited the hospital "cafeteria" which is a McDonald's. Boy, that says something about the healthcare in this country when a McDonald's is allowed to serve food in a hospital! A cafe is open during the week, but how about on Saturday and Sunday when people visit? Condemning hungry people to McDonald's is cruel. They could have at least picked someplace with semi-healthy food, like Panera. (Yeah, the chicken soup probably has too much salt, but at least it's chicken soup, not ... hamburgers.)
Anyway, you have to wear a gown to visit her and no hugs are allowed. She has a critical C-Diff infection which has only been exacerbated by her nursing her mother through her last days. They have tried different antibiotics on her with no success, and she has one more chance on a different antibiotic. If it doesn't work she will have to have her colon removed. But at the moment it seems to be working, so we are crossing our fingers and praying for the best.
She is exhausted from the treatment and the pain, but determined to beat the infection if she can. We talked for over an hour and then I saw her eyelids drooping, so we left. Came home to little lonesome Snowy, ate some Asian chicken and Ramen noodles for supper, and watched Auntie Mame on Turner Classic Movies.