“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and My soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:13-14 NASB
Each of us has been “wired” a specific way and according to God’s word, our days have been set out before we were even substance. How intricately the body is made, each organ, each vein and vessel made to support our frame, our lifestyles and our heritage. Each of us are different in so many unique ways.
When even one of the inner wirings of our body has been altered, it affects so many others. As I watch my husband’s system recover from several of those wirings becoming backed up and stopping the flow of vital blood to the other organs, I see the intricacy first hand and look to God in amazement. How quickly an interruption of our inner wiring can cause such changes in our world.
After a major interruption, many are sedated to allow their bodies to rest and heal, as has been the case for David. David suffered a major blow to his inner system. The outward looks the same, but his insides are still trying to recover. He died before my eyes and was brought back. This recovery included sedating him and giving him recovering oxygen and rest to allow his heart to take a rest and heal itself. When patients are given this kind of rest, many times they are also the victims of their own inner wirings misfiring and causing a new condition.
This new condition similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD may occur. A heart attack of the magnitude David experienced can bring on this condition, as it was major trauma. Another condition that rears its ugly head can be what is known in the medical industry as ICU Pyscosis. Similar to dementia, this condition often gets brushed aside or goes unreported or noted.
Let me step back. After David was taken off the ventilator and began coming around, some disorientation was expected. After all, it had been almost two weeks with only three days of that two weeks without his new found plastic friend. Catching up to the world and his new surroundings, as well as regrouping was inevitable. Each day was hopeful and each day we saw physical improvements to his outward body, but something was different.
At first I thought he was agitated with me, his blood pressure would rise as I sat with him and so I would make short visits in and out of the room and finally asked family members to come to visit to give me a break and him different company. The doctor recommended this because of the agitation and blood pressure changes. I am sure he sensed my uneasiness with the whole thing, as well as my concern and exhaustion. Part of my request of the newphews was to get confirmation of what I was seeing and partly to keep him settled and healing without the agitation that it seemed I was causing.
I remember the day the tube came out, I went in to see him and he was barely able to speak so we spent a few minutes together before I left to allow him rest. The next day he was still soft spoken and yet he was agitated, his blood pressure rose 40 points quickly. Bending down to listen, he was extremely upset about a particular topic related to home. We exchanged a little conversation on the topic and I told him I would let him rest, I would handle it and would return later. I left and spoke to the nurse and returned about 15 minutes later and he was more settled, but now on a different topic. The blood pressure rose yet again, so I determined I would keep it short and would share this with the rest of the family.
The next day one of our nephews went to visit. He was much better with his voice and they carried on a conversation that reportedly was hard to follow, but included laughter and jokes. It seemed he was better and more like his old self. This eased my mind some, so I tried again the next day to see how things were and looked forward to a better visit.
What I found was a man I did not know entirely. He was all over the Richter scale with his conversations. One minute it was capacitors on the wall and John. Another minute it was about the dogs screaming in the wall to get out. Each topic was somewhat relevant to what he was thinking, but it was extremely distorted and disillusional. He was very out of character, even if it seemed “normal” to everyone else. He was able to recognize me, as well as one of my best friends who had come with me. That was the most confusing part to me.
Even though he was a little off, we spent an hour talking, smiling and trying to keep the conversation real. By the time I left, I was more concerned than ever. Keep in mind my conversations with the Doctor on Valentine’s Day and they would be giving him the stents, rehabilitating him and sending him home to me soon. Turning over in my mind and discussed back and forth with my friend, how could I handle this? Would they really send this home to me? Something had to be done, something was still wrong.
I had made my visit early enough in the day yesterday that I asked for the doctor to call me at the end of the day. In the meantime I shared what the days events entailed with the family through our usual texts. A pastor friend who knows David very well had also been by and confirmed some of the same scary things that were said in their conversation, though he did see some of David’s normal jovial and joking self in the conversations they had. He was looking better, but all were concerned about the new David’s mental state.
At home that evening, Wilson and I took time to eat, our appetites had waned over the last few days out of concerned and sadness and still joy. Our confusion and concern gave us fits of sickness and sadness. But this particular evening we had planned ahead and a venison tenderloin and cauliflower mashed potatoes were on the menu. We worked together to complete the partially crockpotted meal and as every night during this family crisis, we sat at the dinner table to give thanks, review the days events and make plans for the coming days.
Our burdens seemed heavy, yet our faith and trust in God remained. God will provide is always my answer. My mother and my grandmother always answered any need with “God will provide” and I followed in their foot steps. Blindly at times, I just trust. I have learned God provides and we must be patient. I am not a patient person, but God is working on me! Long ago I resolved to ask God to show me patience. Through situations such as we are in now over the years, He has molded me and shown me that He provides! God will provide if we will only Trust and Obey!
Dinner complete, my phone rang. It was the doctor. “Thank you for calling, I have been so concerned.” We discussed family history, the events of my visit and that of the pastor, his current status of swollowing, steps to be taken and together it was agreed that Neurology should take a look to see if there was anything missed. I was hopeful! The doctor was hearing me loud and clear that “something” wasn’t just right here.
The rest of the evening was quiet, subdued and though the texts back and forth to family continued, it seemed we all felt better knowing that though David would get another feeding tube in the morning, the other concern of his health was being addressed. THe feeding tube would be temporary until he could regain his ability to swallow, however in order to have the stent on Monday, he needed to be stronger and this was part of that solution.
This brings me to today. David’s feeding tube was placed in the morning and by lunchtime it was complete. I had called the nurse to check on him and she said he was still talking crazy, though neurology still had not been up to see him. Not long after, I got a call from that familiar number on my cell phone and to my surprise, it was David!
David informed me they had put the tube in, that was ok, but he was getting ready to be released so he could go to Southwest Virginia where the water was the best and drink all the water he wanted. So, would I come get him soon please. He talked some more and he talked about our dogs and asked if I could please come get them as well, as they were bothering people on the floor. I explained I was coming later and we ended the call.
I immediately called the nurse. I didn’t know he had a phone in his room, let alone the ability to call me! She assured me he was a bit “off” and that they were watching him closely but that so far he was leaving his tube in and was ok. I reminded her to have the doctor call me later.
Dr. Evans called! He was back from vacation! What a sweet, sweet sound. Not only was he David’s doctor, but he was a customer and friend who “knew” David. Immediately we went to talking about what was going on. Doc had called off the stent for Monday as he felt David wasnt’ ready, though plans were in place in case they needed to do it. He also explained that he thought David was going through a sort of ICU Pycosis and that they would address this short term condition before moving forward with his stents. “David is still very sick and his body needs to heal” he said. He would still have neurology come in to double check everything and that together they would get a plan in place. (They were listening to me!!!) Dr. Evans reassured me he would check on David again throughout the weekend and keep in touch. I felt so much better, so comforted and relieved.
I decided to go see David this afternoon and retrieve my scarf I had left there and also spend some brief time with him in hopes that maybe he would snap back. In the meantime I checked to see if others were coming as backup and so that I did not have to spend a ton of time witnessing the heartbreak of what was going on. At this point, this seemed almost harder than dealing with the original heart attack.
The phone rang again a short time later, it was the nurse, Karen. She said she had called me because David thought I was still at the hospital. She handed the phone to him to prove to him that I was still at work. No matter what I said he was convinced I was still at the hospital, hiding from him. I let one of our employees say “hello David” and he still was not convinced. He said, “I can smell you. You and the dogs are still here at this hospital somewhere and I know it. I can smell you. You need to take these dogs home and come see me.” I assured him I would be on my way shortly. I remembered I had left my scarf the day before and tried explaining to him that he probably smelled my scarf and that seemed to settle him as I explained it was over on the window sill which he could see. He agreed maybe that was it, but he was certain I was still at the hospital.
I wrapped up the day at work and stopped by home to drop some things, speak with Wilson a minute and head to the hospital. On my way to the hospital, the phone rang again from that familiar Chippenham number. Though this time I caught that it was his room phone. Driving and talking on speakerphone he explained that “Wilson is having Kittens for me to get home to so to Southwest Virginia with him. I am exhausted and I am trying to get up in this bed. I’m not going anywhere with him. You need to settle him down.” I assured him Wilson was fine and that he would go without him.” He wanted to know if I was on my way home, I explained I was on my way to see him. He wanted tucked in and I told him that was what I was coming for.
It is times like these I am glad I was taught early on by family and friends how to quickly think on my feet. My mind wandered to thinking about how often is he going to call now that he has discovered the telephone? Three times already today. Oh my, what am I in for? Will he be keeping me up all night? Just before this all began we were putting a new accounting program in place and between the stress of this huge project and its demands and David’s health situation and demands, exhaustion was sinking in both mentally and physically. God will provide I kept thinking as I drove.
Arriving at the hospital I stopped for a moment to speak to Karen his nurse. He was doing better she had said and they had given him something to settle him down. She explained that he was adamant about my being there and the dogs so she had him give her the number earlier to call me. Since then she said he seemed settled.
David and I visited a bit after that. He seemed some better and yet was still talking some of the mess. Barbara and Dennis, his nephew, soon arrived. He seemed to do well, though apparently exhausted from a day of sitting up and beginning the stages of walking again. I took my opening and said my goodbyes, leaving him with different visitors and a fresh set of people he knew. Barbara and Dennis reported he did well and that at times the conversation went a little sideways, but it appeared that the medication had helped him do better.
I called the nurse before going to bed. She said he was resting and since he had a long day he would probably rest all evening. With that reassurance, I settled in to rest and get rid of the headache that I had picked up somewhere along the way. I was prepared to sleep until 7 or 8 am for a change and get fully rested and go at it again tomorrow. I felt good knowing he was getting help. I thanked God for the day and drifted off. . .
5:52 AM Saturday I get a text that woke me from David’s iPad! Half of it was normal, half all garbled and crazy. Well, good morning folks! Another day is yet to come….
I encourage you to look up ICU Psycosis or read the article linked. We need to share and be informed as to what is going on and what can happen. No one knows a loved one as well as you, you MUST be their advocate and share knowledge with doctors and nurses. Speak up and speak out! Educate each other! We are fearfully and wonderfully made and God has plans for us. Be a part of the solution and stay informed.