Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bake for 214,560 minutes ... and it's DONE

The total number of days between Thursday, September 6, 2012 and Saturday, February 2, 2013 is 149 days. If you prefer to think in weeks, that's 21 weeks and two days.

Or, you could say it's 4 months and 27 days.

149 days is 3,576 hours or 214,560 minutes or 12,873,600 seconds.

Why am I telling you this?

Because if my husband is released from the rehab hospital on schedule - on February 2 - this coming Saturday - that will be how long he has been in the hospital. Or, more accurately three different hospitals.

Almost five months. Nearly half of a year.

It felt like a lifetime, but he doesn't remember much of it. He has asked me not to tell him the details until he gets safely home, and then we will talk. And we will start our new life together as he continues to build up his strength and gain back some of the weight he lost.

It's going to be difficult for a while. There might be some re-arranging of furniture. Some re-arranging of our schedules. Some re-arranging of our roles because now I'm the strong one - physically - and he's going to have to trust me not to let him fall. And he's got to be willing to ask for help, and that might be the hardest thing of all.

It sure as heck was hard for me.

But I also think that we have a renewed appreciation for each other. Just today, he told me that he appreciates that I didn't give up on him and just walk away. And I appreciate that he clawed his way back to health and that he's working on rehab like he's training for the Olympics.

He's still got more rehab to go - probably at an outside facility rather than in-home. We both agreed that going out would be preferable, since a rehab gym would have more equipment available, but with in-home work, it would be limited to whatever the therapist could bring in.

And going out will be good for him. Walking to the car, getting in and out of the car, walking from the car to the gym. All very normal things. All very challenging right now.

Of course, there will be exercises at home. Practice on stairs. Walking. Standing. Reaching. Getting used to living at home again.

Even now, there are some naysayers who insist that Bob will never be normal again - that he won't be able to do the things he used to do. That his life will be forever changed.

Okay, I might agree that things will be changed. We lost five month of "normal" time together. That changed us. But not necessarily in a bad way.

Maybe he won't want to climb a ladder to clean the gutters, or maybe he won't be able to lift as much weight as he used to. But those things are inconsequential. And just maybe with enough rehab, he will gain back his strength, and then some. He might emerge on the other side of rehab in better shape than before.

Meanwhile, he's underweight. I can fix that. His hair is thin and wispy and his fingernail look ... strange ... no doubt because of lack of nutrition. His hair will probably come back. And if not, so what? His fingernails are already growing better. Seriously, if his fingernail looked forever wonky, who would care? He's not a hand model. His voice is a little raspy, but it's getting better day by day.

But his sense of humor is completely intact. And that's really, really, really important to me.

Despite what the doom-and-gloomers said, he has beaten the health issues. He is breathing room air, and doesn't even need oxygen when he's doing the rehab work. He no longer needs the feeding tube, and it will be removed soon and that little wound will heal up just as well as the surgical wound and the hole in his throat where the trach tube used to be.

Despite those negative people, we do not need a vast array of medical equipment at home. We do not need a hospital bed, or an oxygen tank or fancy monitoring equipment. He will come home with a walker, and a shower bench is recommended. We might rent or borrow a wheelchair just for convenience. And that's it. Nothing earth-shatteringly expensive or complicated. He won't need nursing care or tests or injections or monitors or wound care or tube feeding. He will be himself, but a little weak. He will get better.

The important thing is that I will have him home, to cuddle up to and talk to and confide in and laugh with. Our lives will be normal enough. I won't have to drive to a facility to visit with him, and I won't be home alone all day.

Of course, I will also be able to cook for him, and that makes me positively giddy.

This will probably be the last post about Bob's health, but I'm sure you'll be reading a LOT about what he's eating.

Won't that be fun?

Here are most relevant previous posts about my husband:

Sept. 10 - Cooking has been put on hold
Sept 13 - Over one Hurdle, Surgery is Done
Sept 16-  It's my birthday, and I'll steal posts if I want to
Sept. 24 - 34 Years and Still Counting
Oct. 17 - The Single Worse Day of My Life
Oct. 28 - Why I'm not giving away Snickers for Halloween

There were quite a few other posts that mentioned him in a sentence or two, but the ones above are the main posts. If you want to see all the mentions, a search for "hospital" in this blog will find all of them for you.

Thanks to everyone who supported us, comforted us, cheered us up, and cheered for us. Without all of you, I don't think I would have made it through the past five months with my sanity intact. I love all of you!