A Crash Course in Nursing.
Picking up where I left off in my previous post, Crash of the Titan, a very long night was ahead of Bill and I. First challenge was getting him up the front stairs. O’Lord, this wasn’t going to be easy. I needed help right away. I heard my neighbor outside, running around the house, I called out for assistance. Thank God someone was there to help me lift and push Bill up the stairs. He could barely move. The morphine had worn off and every movement created sharp cries of pain.
Now in the house, do I sit or lie him down? Every movement caused him so much anguish. Laying down caused the most pain and getting him back up was almost impossible. It was a terrible idea. This is how I got him off the bed and my first failure as a nurse. I gently placed the palms of my hands on his should blade and pushed. Oh NO, NO, NO…and the screaming commenced. Jumping to the lower part of his back I forget about the eleven broken ribs. Oh NO, NO…wrong move, more screams. There was nowhere to place my hands to pry him off the bed! One big push and he was up, gasping for air. I remember falling to my knees and crying…uncontrollably. It was the most helpless feeling I had ever experienced in my life. Hurting the one I loved thinking I was helping him.
Now I knew he was going to have to sit in an upright position for weeks. Staggering down the hallway to the living room we went, searching out the biggest, comfiest chair we had. This is where he slept for many weeks ahead. I took to the couch to keep an eye and ear on him throughout the next week. The children were old enough and available to assist me with taking care of Bill’s needs. Our son, Ray, placed cinder blocks under the comfy chair raising it up enough for Bill to get out of it with ease, good idea.
The following morning our next challenge was bathing. You know, they don’t give you a shower in the trauma unit, so to the shower, we go. Bill was still covered in blood from the night before, he smelled like iron. It seems like forever trying to wash away the dried blood stuck in his long hair. I gently avoiding the fifteen stitches in his head trying not to disturb the sutures. What a nasty scar this is going to be. The rest of the day was filled with scheduled medications, bathroom runs and making sure he was eating and drinking a lot of fluids. Sleeping was his main activity, mine was watching him sleep.
Nothing changed much that day, it was the following day that raised an alarm. Bill began to cough. Coughing with broken ribs was more than enough to deal with but he was coughing up brown mucus. The dangerous dark brown sorts, I then knew he was in danger. Infection was settling in his lungs. I had to get him to a doctor and quick.