Every hospital I have been into, has a white board in the room. Ted’s ICU room is no different. The top portion has his name, my name and number as his contact, and then there is a space for “Today’s Goals” and also a space for nurses notes.
When Devin and I were first allowed into see him Monday night, it felt like a terrible omission that there was nothing under the “Today’s Goals” area. Had they felt that there was nothing to shoot for, hope for, strive for at this point?
Not one to leave things as they are, I asked Devin what he thought of me putting something on the board. He of coarse, did not feel that there was anything to lose and what was the worst they could do? Erase it? So, I decided on our first directive and wrote: “Live another day and get a little better each day too”. Something attainable I hoped.
The next day, we had our favorite Nurse Mollie. She had spent a decent amount of time with him before he was put on ventilator and said she saw the board notes in the morning and wondered who wrote it, but felt it was a good goal and kept it there. I decided, I would just keep adding to the goals and later that day, I added the day’s goal of: “Look for the positives”.
I wrote it shortly after the IV specialist was in to put in a Picc line and was unsuccessful even after trying from each side. It would seem that the current main line into his neck was blocking access from either side. Being later in the day, they decided to try the next day and would pull the main line before trying again. She did put in a good IV into his forearm with the guidance of the ultrasound to route some of the meds through.
Mollie came in shortly after and took a look at the new IV port and moved a few of the meds to the new site and remarked how it was one positive that came out of the failed attempts. I smiled and asked her to read the board for the goal of the day and we were both in smiles that she had exactly met the goal of the day.
Yesterday, Mollie asked me partially through the day what the goal was and said that it was good that I kept adding to them and not erasing the previous ones. I was also glad that they hadn’t erased them. So, yesterday, I added: “Surprise people in a good way”. He stayed steady all day on his back, so he met that goal.
After I left last night, they turned the ventilator O2 levels down to 70% and over night, his blood gasses got a bit out of whack. Not horribly, but it showed that while he did well on near maximum (unsustainable levels) he dropped when the level of support dropped. So today, to see if he could correct a bit on his own, they placed him back onto his stomach where the lower lungs are given more space to expand and hopefully be useful.
He has maintained better oxygen on his tummy and the directive was to only have him there for 16-24 hours and then they will likely flip him again.
Today, they shaved a bit of his face and I went and purchased some hair scissors and gave him a haircut as best I could. They turn his head from one side to the other every 3 hours, so I first cut one side and then the other after the head turn. It was a challenge as I forgot to purchase a comb and only had the little brush that Mollie had pulled out to try to make him presentable the first day I was here on her shift.
I told Ted as I was trying to cut his hair, that no one ever died from a bad hair cut and since this was likely a bad one, he couldn’t die. Since he was facing down, I struggled to not get to creative. I mean, I could have gone with:
But I didn’t.
So today’s goal that was put up was: “Do the little things that add up to grand acts over time”. I figure we did some little things to make him feel better and he was doing little thing to get better, so goal met again.
Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts. As I head out the door, he is steady at 70% oxygen and not overbreathing too much, so will hope he has a good night.