VISITING INTENSIVE CARE January 12, 2010Posted by wmmbb in Life Experience.
Susan is laid up in the Intensive Care Unit in hospital.
I am losing track of time, and I can only imagine what it must be like for her. She went into hospital on 16 December and into the ICU on Christmas Day. Since going into hospital she has not eaten solid food. Everyday, lying in bed, especially on life support, a proportion of muscle mass is lost and as I can attest from my hospital experience physical tiredness reduces cognitive functioning.
Susan has now visited the operating theatre on four occasions. Each time she is subject to sedation and anesthetics, both do not do anything to preserve continuity of memory. In the ICU a close watch is kept on cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological functioning. Her most recent operation was required by a physical problem, before which by listening carefully I was able to hear her speak. She had said, “I am confused” and “write me a letter” – which I did.
I found it a disconcerting yesterday, after her operation, when she did not appear to recognize me, even though I know on a rational level I should not respond in that way. As a visitor and significant person I feel as though I have to be a source of positive, constructive feedback.
So while she could not speak to me today because she had the breathing tube that goes down to her trachea, and which as you can imagine is very irritating, she to my surprise was able to respond to what I was saying. Among other things I was telling her about the visit the dogs and me made to the vet, as well as their medication and general condition. She indicated, at the nurse’s suggestion, that she would like me to bring in some CD’s. Now I have something to work on.
Empathy is not to be taken for granted, and I suppose that is an aptitude like others that is normally distributed. I do not normally think of empathy as a communication skill. Whatever frustration might be, hers must be so much more. I have to exercise patience.
UPDATE: 22 January 2010
Susan this evening was moved back into a general ward. I hope this is good news. At this point, she still has a long way to go with her recovery. And I hope this change will work out well for her.