Good Morning fellow travelers! Today we continue the story of Den’s journey to the LVAD.
When I left off it was the night of November 9, 2015. Neither Den nor I slept that night, every time I talked to him he was more and more agitated and anxious. So when I got up with Em, I made the decision to take her to school and head straight to the hospital. When I arrived he was sitting on the edge of his bed in just his underwear and shaking from head to toe! He was not cold, he was actually hot to the touch! I held him and soothed him as much as possible. He told me he had asked at 5AM if he could take a shower. He was only told…”Soon.” I started asking again about every hour after I arrived for permission for him to shower. I knew he needed some semblance of normality right now and it would also help to calm him. We kept being told “Soon” until 10AM. All I could do in the meantime was stand by the bed and hold him. It finally dawned on me what was happening….he was in withdraw from his Lexapro, the antidepressant! He had not taken it since Saturday! It hurt me to know this was happening and the doctors didn’t even bother to mention it to him or me! We finally got him a shower, shave and changed his clothes and I rubbed some lotion on his legs. I talked to the nurse and asked if they could please ask the doctor for something to replace the Lexapro. I still cannot understand why they would take away someones medication and not give them a “safety net”. I mean he has a heart condition and has had depression for a long time…this was all in his chart! Dr. Sohol came in a short while later and said he would find something to help. Thank goodness! He put in an order for Prozac. Until it arrived, Den was so agitated and combative I didn’t know what to do. Everything was an argument! I decided to keep him occupied with card games and hold him when the anxiety got too bad for him to continue. About and hour later, the Prozac arrived! You could see a marked difference in his demeanor within 20 minutes! He calmed down enough that he took an hour nap (I think I did, too!) I asked the nurse about getting him something that night to help him sleep. He normally took melatonin, which the pharmacy didn’t have…so I walked over to CVS and got some for them to give him. The nurse said she would ask the doctor and see what they could do to help. I ate dinner again with Den and headed out to pick up Em at volleyball practice. I talked to Den around 10PM and he sounded much better. He even said that he was ready to go to sleep. I did not hear from him the rest of the night.
November 11, 2015
After yesterday, I decided to call off work and get to the hospital. I didn’t feel the staff had Den’s best interest in mind after yesterday! When I arrived, Den was asleep, so I asked the nurse how his night had gone. I could tell by the look on her face that it was not good. She check his chart and said he not only got 20mg of melatonin, but also a sleeping pill (Ambien) that the doctor had ordered. OK…I still didn’t understand the funny look about how his night had been, but I guess we will see.
While Den was still asleep, I used his washroom…it looked like a murder scene! There were bloody hand prints on the walls & handrails and pools of dried blood on the floor around the toilet! I found EKG stickers on the floors, walls, bed and tables in his room. His tray table was a complete mess… not how it was when I left. All I could think was, “What the F#*K happened here last night?” When Den woke up, I asked him what on during the night. He said the nurse gave him the melatonin and about an hour later the sleeping pill. He remembered doing things without knowing why or being able to stop himself. For instance, he asked for his IV to be moved and then pulled it out before the nurse could get back into the room! Then when the new one was put in he went to the bathroom and pulled that one out and just watched the blood run down his hand! Hence the murder scene in the bathroom! Then he says he remembered sitting on the bed and pulling off all his EKG stickers several times. He said he had packed up all his stuff onto his tray table, put it all back, then did it all again! Before I arrived he had again pulled off his EKG stickers and the nurse had yet to get new ones on him. Needless to say, we now have Ambien listed as an allergy….I can’t take the change of him taking this and really hurting himself when no one is paying attention!
Den slept on and off most of the that day. But when he was awake he was very confused and combative. Both of us were not at our best due to lack of sleep. Dr. Raj stopped in to check on Den. When Dr. Mitchell came by we were both confused and upset with the lack of communication. Den & I had some heated words with the him and he was ready to send us home right then…not in Den’s best interest. Dr. Raj came back and calmed us all down and suggested that we stay one more day to make sure the new drugs were doing their job. We agreed to stick with the plan. (We did apologize to Dr. Mitchell later for our behavior, he understood the strain we were under and forgave our bad behavior.) I stayed to eat dinner with Den, who’s appetite was next to nothing at this point, which was beginning to worry me. I got home around 8PM and talked to Den at 10PM. He said he was OK and was going to try to get some sleep.
November 12, 2015
As had become my habit, I dropped Em off at school and headed for the hospital. I had taken all of Den’s dirty clothes home so I had a fresh supply for him with me. He was sleeping when I arrived so I sat quietly and read my book. He woke up a little while later and seemed in good spirits. Dr. Lecke (filling in for Sohol) came in and went over all the discharge instructions. There were orders for Potassium and Magnesium to be given before Den could leave. The prescriptions for Aerodrome and Prozac had been sent to our pharmacy already. I was so excited that he was going home that I immediately packed up all of his belongings. I took most of his things to the care while we waited for the discharge orders and meds to be delivered.
He was finally released at 1:30PM. We decided to go get Em from school on our way home. (I called ahead to let them know what was happening.) When we arrived, Den needed to use the bathroom, so I went to the office to sign her out for the day. I asked them not to tell her why I was there to get her early. When she came around the corner, I motioned to her to hurry up. When she was in front of me, near the bathroom door, I pointed into the doorway where Den was standing. I swear…if she had been any further away she would have tackled him to the ground! They held each other for a few moments and then she went back to class to let her teacher and fellow students know her dad was out of the hospital.
We stopped at the pharmacy to pick up Den’s meds on the way home. They could only fill the high dose Amerodrome now, but to call when we started the last day so they could fill the maintenance dose. We finally made it home and tried to have an “normal” evening. Den slept some that night, but not much.
Ok…So this is the end of the begining. My plan is to try to get us up to his LVAD surgery by his 2 year anniversary, which is coming soon. Thanks again for coming along on this journey.