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Archive for the ‘ICU’ Category

Free groceries for your whole family!

Select the items you want:

– fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as canned and shelf-stable items
– each family receives 20 to 30 pounds of food
– open to all families who have students at Glenallan Elementary School, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, and John F. Kennedy High School
– meet with school staff and to learn about community resources

First come, first served.

Please bring your own bags.
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THIS SITE HAS MOVED

This site has now officially moved to bobscheiber.com. Please click the link to be taken to the new blog and bookmark it for future visits.

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“This is my new story.”

Sunday, May 31

Today started out not so well, with a prolonged coughing seige that was finally alleviated with a nebulizer treatment (“thank god for the nebulizer,” Bob said). After that, things were pretty much on the
upward curve.

When Susie arrived this afternoon with a bagfull of clean clothes, Bob donned a t-shirt and shorts immediately – as far as he could without assistance. While he & I chatted, waiting for the aide to arrive to
help him dress the rest of the way and get into his wheelchair, I heard what sounded like a little rock concert down the hall. But by the time I got to the dining room to check it out, it was coming to a
close. Phooey! How could they not include Bob? Oh well, they don’t know how much music – this music – means to him. But what to do now? I asked the musician, a one-man-band playing golden oldies, if he’d mind staying a little longer to play one last song for Bob. It’s his music, I told him, and music means the world to him. “Twist my arm,” he said with a smile, as he handed me a playlist for Bob to choose from.

The dressing and transferring took awhile, followed by the taking of vital signs. I was afraid the musician would give up on us, but he was waiting when we arrived. “I’m Bob,” Bob told him. “I’m Jeff,” the
musician said. It had only taken a second for Bob to select “Lean on Me,” by Bill Withers, and he joined in singing with the opening words. Jeff said, “Yeah! Sing along with me!” So we both sang melody and harmony through the whole thing, Bob taking half of the call and response at the end of the song. An old lady in the room sang, too, and smiled encouragingly at Bob throughout. When the song was done,
Bob said, “I flew through the air, and I survived! This is a great song for a survivor!” Many thanks all around, and “God bless you” from Bob to Jeff.

Outside on a second blue day in a row (unusual this rainy spring), Bob said, “I flew through the air, and I survived. This is my new story.” And so it is.

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From Barbara:

It’s four weeks since Bob was taken to Suburban Hospital, and today, he made a big step forward – he felt, for the first time, that he could really recover. For the past week or so his mood has been sad and frustrated, mixed with great anxiety (when he wasn’t almost totally subdued by medications). At the same time,  his body and mind have been healing steadily, and his greater awareness has made him more and more upset about being in the hospital. We tried to comfort him as best we could, letting him know we understood how he felt. Today, when I came in to his room, he was as distressed as ever, insisting that he wanted to “get out” and NOW. I know at that moment he felt betrayed by my inability to whisk him right out the door, into the car and back to his apartment. It took a while for him to calm down and later, almost miraculously, his mood began to change. He’d closed his eyes for a while, and I was sitting near his bed, when he turned his head toward me and began to talk – very very slowly and softly. Some of his words were almost inaudible, and I had to lean close to hear.

“I can’t believe I did that,” he said. “But it happens.” I realized he was talking about the accident, something he has never said anything about, never wanted to hear about. We didn’t know if he remembered it. Then, he said, “I feel very fortunate that I didn’t get into a more horrendous accident.”

He cried hard, and then, “I’m sorry but this is the only way I can express myself.” And, a few minutes later, “I feel that I’m going to get my whole life back together again.”

Amen.

And more news: Dr. Westerband, the wonderful surgeon in charge of his care, came to Bob’s room today to talk about next steps. He is very happy about Bob’s progress – clinically, he is 100% better than the day he first saw him, and he is ready for a new stage, not quite a rehab facility because of his extreme weakness, need for further medical care, and the fact that he can’t put weight on his legs for another 6-8 weeks. What he is recommending is a nursing facility that will give him appropriate care along with some physical therapy, occupational therapy and other help. This is planned as a step toward actual rehab.  We are waiting to see what help Bob’s health insurance can provide, and then to visit various recommended places to see what would be most appropriate for him.

There’s a long road still ahead, but Bob can do it!  Especially with all of you behind him – his extended family – whose beautiful words of encouragement come every day. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

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Like all recoveries, Bob’s has its ebb and flow, and right now is a fairly tough time for him. The protracted stay in the ICU – locked into bed, with every kind of tube inserted in his body – draws on all his resources and strength. All of your loving support and prayers are adding to that strength, we know. And, of course, the wonderful work of the nurses and doctors at the hospital. Still, the trauma to his entire being is deep – and fear, depression and great agitation are part of the story, a very difficult part for him. One added difficulty is his inability to control his swallowing, despite the early optimistic report about eating. Aspiration is a genuine danger (it happened once) and he is again being fed intravenously. We hope with all our hearts that there will be a new turn toward greater normalcy soon, and thank you again and again for your visits and messages. Keep them coming!!

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“A tough cookie.”

We were excited on Monday to see Bob actually eat – chew and swallow – real food! – a meal of chicken, potatoes, carrots, apple sauce, milk, tomato soup and pineapples. Not that he ate it all, but the  act itself was real progress. His nurse reported that before we arrived he had been really lively – waving to the secretaries in the hall, answering her questions (even volunteering that he didn’t want to come back to this place). And she reported proudly that he had been able to sit in a chair for a little while. When we came, he was pretty tired from all this, but was relaxed while being fed.
On Tuesday, his orthopedic surgeon, who had done complicated surgery to repair both legs, called to say that the steel rod in one leg had slipped and he would have to do another procedure, which was scheduled for Wednesday morning (yesterday). He also needed more oxygen to help him out while his lungs are getting stronger so he’s in a kind of face mask to pump more into his system. He came through the surgery very well and though tired out, he was alert when he came back to his room, and talking even more than before. The doctors and nurses at the ICU are just terrific – watching over him constantly and with real concern, affection, respect and optimism. We say a grateful thanks to them and to all our family and friends who surround him and us with loving help and support. As one nurse said earlier, “he’s a tough cookie,” and we look forward to seeing him bounce back from this new surgery and be ready for his next 5-course feast.
As Bob would say, “Stay tuned.”

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Off the ventilator!

Update from Barbara, as I was out of town this weekend and haven’t seen Bob since Wednesday.

“Again, our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has written to express their concern and love. We feel encouraged by Bob’s progress from day to day. On Sunday, they removed the ventilator, and he definitely seemed more alert – even able to growl some words from a very sore throat. His first sentence, which I leaned in to hear, was, “I want a soda.” His breathing is somewhat fast (lungs are still healing), and he is getting extra oxygen through a new contraption. All the contraptions, of course, are driving him crazy and we’re not sure he actually comprehends yet what has happened or where he is. Today, the speech therapist is coming in to test his ability to swallow (something that can be affected by ventilators) and we hope the test will lead to that soda – or, really, food and drink. He waved to me through the glass panel of his ICU room with a hand wrapped in a fat white mitt (to prevent pulling out wires). I’m sure he’s waving to all of you, with thanks.”

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