I left for Seattle Saturday morning and had a boring and uneventful flight, except for the killer ear ache insighted upon approach to Seattle. Now, I remember why I don’t like to fly.
Kelly’s brother, Suart, picked me up at the airport and and we went straight to the hospital from there. The good news was that she was no longer unconscious and she was moving from intensive care to acute care, which indicates improvement. The bad news was the heartache of seeing my friend so beaten and bruised and confused.
I really couldn’t tell if she knew me in any sense of the word and though I felt I saw a spark in her eye and she gripped my hand very tightly – it is just as easy to believe that it was only reflex and no true recognition. The move from intensive care to that of a shared room in acute care, along with a myriad of visitors proved to be too much for her and she became over stimulated.
Given the trauma and shock her body has been through, it takes very little to get her agitated and over stimulated. For this reason, I found myself hanging back and questioning the wisdom of my decision in coming, as it seems often that I am more in the way that actually effecting any kind of positive change. Still, a part of me needed to believe that it was important for me to come and on some level she knew I was there and found some tiny comfort in that fact.
We left the hospital and went back to the house around midnight. Naturally, sleep was not something that came easily and I think I finally dozed off around 4 am. Though my eyes felt like they were made of sandpaper, I got up, made breakfast for Kelly’s family and we were off to the hospital. It was determined that I would stay the night with Kelly and so I did.
I had no idea how very active and intrusive hospitals are in the dead of night and if they weren’t waking to prod and poke Kelly, they were walking her room mate to poke and prod her. Also, nurses and doctors speak very loudly to trauma patients, as though that somehow cancels out the trauma and enables them to comprehend what is being asked of them and to then perform requested tasks, like wiggling fingers and squeezing hands.
Due to the over stimulation, Kelly required pain medication from early Sunday morning all the way to the present and probably wil remain on it for a while. She has managed to pulled her feed tube twice and had to have it reinserted which is not a pleasant thing for her or the staff. The good news is that she is strong and mobile but the bad news is that she must be restrained so that she doesn’t harm herself, pull vital tubes or touch the area of her head where they had to remove part of the skull cap.
I am not sure why I believed that I would actually be able to sleep while I stayed the day and night and then half the day again with her in the hospital. Trust, this is not possible, especially with trauma patients. She gave me a couple of good kicks in the butt, which I suppose I have always needed and her color is good and it seems that each hour she looks just a tiny bit more like Kelly. I am heartened by this and feel unbeleivably guilty that I am exhausted and require sleep and even time away from her. If I were a good friend I would not require these things and I would never leave her side – but I guess I’m not the tough bitch I always thought I was and that’s what I get for being so arrogant.
I am not back at the house and going to try to get some sleep and will probably go back tomorrow or wednesday for another full day shift – it is what they seem to need and I want to be able to help them in the way they are helped.
So, please don’t feel hurt or ignored if I am unable to respond to any comments you may leave or even emails. I am at least reading them when I get a chance and I promise to catch up on my correspondence when I return home, which will be the end of this week.
Thanks to all of you who have expressed your good wishes and prayers for my friend. I cannot tell you how much it means to me and to her.