Thursday, October 26, 2006

Our Weekend With Lance - Part 11

Part 11
Tuesday – October 17th

Tuesday night we have our usual dinner followed with vital checks and urinal dumping. Fun, huh? I know … you are so jealous we are living such an exciting life. Well, you know, not everyone can handle this pace.

Tuesday we watch DANCING WITH THE STARS, our latest addiction, and I'm having major fits because I can't vote!!! I always vote via email with our many family email addresses … and I've been stranded without access to a computer for … OMG … 5 DAYS !!! I think this is the absolute longest I have gone without being on a computer … and the week isn't over!!! Oh the agony, Oh the cruelty, Oh the inhumanity!!!

After BOSTON LEGAL we go through our new nightly routine: urinal dumping, fresh ice water, brush teeth (with a plastic tub on Jimmy's chest), wash face, neck and back, pat dry. The chair I am sleeping on is kinda like a pull-out, in that the seat cushion slides out on a stand and the cushion that your back leans against lies flat. By no means is this thing at all comfortable, and I'll be visiting my chiropractor for many adjustments when we get back home, but it's free and I can stay with Jimmy so he's not alone. So … no complaints from me … just a few grumbles and a few loud creeks from my old bones.

Wednesday morning … Breakfast and vitals. Lupe and Hulu are our nurses today. Dr. Albrecht stops by and wants to know why Jimmy is passing out? And to please stop it immediately! Dr. A has a great sense of humor. Dr. A says he's going to send his internal medicine doctor over to check Jimmy out. Dr. A also reviews hip precautions and then he's off to perform more surgeries.

Roland and Danielle stop by after Regis & Kelly and we make a plan. We want to get Jimmy up and really moving today.


Same routine as yesterday … Jimmy has a pt belt around his waist, he schooches to the side of the bed, swinging both legs to the floor. Okay. Now Roland helps him stand up. Okay. Now with the walker and Roland beside him, Jimmy takes a few steps. Okay. Now Roland turns him around and he shows Jimmy how to sit down on the chair. Okay.

Uh, oh!

Jimmy's turning grey again … Damn. There he goes … Roland has him from behind the chair and I'm holding up his head and chest trying to keep him from slumping over. Jimmy's gurgling really bad now, and I'm slapping him silly. The nursing staff comes rushing in … ammonia sticks awaving. Jimmy's face turns red and he's back among the living.

OMG … I'm having heart palpations just reliving this through typing this travelogue.

Now we're seriously concerned. How are we going to get this guy out of bed and on a plane to go home in 2 days? Even the grandma's who had surgery on Monday have been walking up and down the halls since yesterday, but this healthy, athletic, robust male of 48 years can't make it to a chair without keeling over.

Roland and Danielle get Jimmy back in bed and out come the toasty blankets, again. Roland said he'll come back this afternoon. Just then the phone rings … It's Stephanie from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. She is our contact for re-arranging our flight plans. Stephanie wants to come out to visit and see Jimmy, I explain to her that he just passed out, could she come out in an hour or so. Sure … no problem.

Okay … so Jimmy takes a cat nap for about an hour and wakes up just as lunch is served. Stephanie stops by and introduces herself just as Jimmy's cell phone rings. I grab the cell phone and it's Pat from Heritage Hills (a good friend of Jimmy and one of his top accounts) so I spend time explaining to Pat what's been happening. About 10 minutes later Stephanie steps out of the room and I look over and see Jimmy crying. I quickly hang up with Pat and rush over to Jimmy. WHAT HAPPENED??? I have seen Jimmy cry 5 times in 27 years:

When he hugged his Dad when we left for Texas January 1981.
When Autumn was born, June 8, 1982.
When Matthew was born May 11, 1985.
When Harold, my step-daddy, passed away in September 1994.
When Pap, Jimmy's Dad, passed away in December 2001.

I can't imagine what happened that made him loose it. Jimmy tells me that Stephanie was asking him how he liked the weekend – aside from breaking his hip – and Jimmy was explaining how wonderful the whole weekend was and how inspirational the various speakers were, especially John O'Toole's speech on Saturday. John is facing chemo/radiation treatments after his 3rd brain surgery, which the last surgery left him paralyzed on his left side, as I previously mentioned. Jimmy is crying because he was feeling sorry for himself and what has happened to him, but then he's reminded of John. Then Jimmy gets mad at himself for feeling sorry for himself when John has so many more hurdles to overcome, and all Jimmy has to worry about is walking without passing out. I get a nice cold wash cloth and start wiping his head and neck and he begins to calm down. After 10 minutes he starts to laugh and says that he thinks he scared Stephanie away. I glance over and see her purse and jacket by the door. I told him I thought she was still here. I went to the hall and sure enough, Stephanie was there. She said she left because she wanted to give Jimmy some privacy.

Susan, our social worker, Roland, Stephanie and I begin to brainstorm how to get Jimmy home. I had to laugh when Stephanie said that when I told her Jimmy had passed out and to come visit later, she thought I meant that he fell asleep. She didn't realize that he was actually passing out … unconscious. Susan mentioned that she thought Southwest had direct flights from Austin to BWI. Our flight, on American, had a plane transfer in Dallas. It was going to be hard enough to get Jimmy home, without transferring planes. Stephanie said she'd check out the flight situation and work things out. What an angel! Susan, and her partner – I'm blanking on her name right now – worked the rest of the week to get us home. You've heard of the book "It Takes A Village to Raise A Child"? Well, it took a village to get Jimmy home.