Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feb 4th - the visit with Annie

Hi everyone

I've just returned from Melbourne and 3 visits with Annie over 2 days. She is a little stronger each day and getting herself mentally re-orientated to a calendar concept.

The vac dressing is off now and her wound is healing nicely. She gets to shower and shampoo, for which she is very grateful. One could say she is a bit impatient to recover and leave hospital, but who wouldn't be :) However, the nurses and social worker say she will be there in St Vincents for quite some weeks/months before a transfer to a rehab unit in Bairnsdale, close to her friends. There is quite a long way to go to re-establish eating and digestion and, of course, the numerous checks to see how the digestion process is actually working. In fact, that process has not yet commenced as she is still being fed through a nasal gastric tube direct into her stomach.

Yesterday she had yet another trip to theatre (and her 12th anaesthetic) to replace the drainage tubes and check on the two antibiotic-resistant infections.) Yes, they are still there.

I found her weak, but very much her "true self". Sometimes she has confusing dreams which seem very real for a time until someone can help her validate that they are just dreams. But for the past few days she has remembered that she is having strange dreams, so that too is progress.

She can stand up from her bed, oh so slowly, with a frame and a nurse to assist - and move a few steps to a big armchair alongside the full length / entire wall window which overlooks an amazing view north across Fitzroy and Collingwood and beyond -- to the Dandenongs and Mount Macedon.

If you wonder what Annie is doing all day, let me tell you that it is all go there on the 7th floor-- and tiring. Nurses and doctors in and out constantly, up and down to various tests in other departments - x-rays etc, physios, the chaplain sometimes, a lovely and helpful social worker. Then there is the lengthy showering process, the up and down to the armchair a few times a day to increase mobility, reading a book a page or two at a time, listening to Radio National, paging through some motorhome magazines and thumbing through the cards and letters and emails you have all sent. By the late afternoon she is utterly exhausted. But it is such a pleasure to see her... alive. She almost wasn't.

Cheers, Laurie

PS - Annie really appreciates all those cards, letters and emails from everyone. Keep them coming please. They create a vital link to "real life" outside the hospital.