Sunday, November 1, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 9

Colleen was sleeping when I arrived and the nurse took me aside and told me the operation had gone according to plan. She did say that Colleen needed to stay in the unit for another few days as the risk of more problems was going to be higher than the team had first thought.

She explained that from a medical perspective, Colleen was starting  the recovery process from Day one again. I felt deflated and worried, but the nurses and the team were still optimistic. I then realized that we would not be home until mid or late December if everything went well. Christmas at home was not looking as it would be a reality this year.

Colleen slept for most of the day, the stress of the second procedure was hard on her, but the nurses were very professional and treated her well.

Over the last nine days, I have met a number of the nurses at the Alfred who have been working with my wife. They are without exception truly wonderful and dedicated people. One of the nurses did her training at Mansfield hospital and Wangarretta hospital and had worked at Mt Buller so my daughter and her partner recognized her, not from her work at the hospital but from seeing her around town. Small world.

Another one of the nurses talked about how she was on shift when Colleen was to be flown in to the hospital and that how she (the nurse) was quite disappointed that Colleen had arrived by ambulance. She said it had been a boring night and she was looking forward to seeing a new patient early in her shift as opposed to later in her shift. 

This young nurse also coined the phrase "Baby Doctors". The Alfred besides being one of the major Trauma centres in Australia was also a teaching hospital. As a teaching hospital Interns would make the rounds with the Neurosurgeons and other high trauma doctors. 

A few days before this setback this young nurse, my wife and were talking and the nurse said, "Watch out here come the baby doctors" my wife and I laughed and asked what I asked what she meant. She replied that these people were Interns who were learning to be doctors, so she called them the baby doctors. This particular nurse was quite a character and loved to talk, she did not stop talking for almost her entire shift. I enjoyed her conversation  and the fact she encouraged my wife to engage in conversation, which helped my wife's cognitive skills

My wife and I loved the term "Baby Doctors" and for the rest of that day, when a doctor came to visit my wife, she would ask them if they were a "Baby Doctor" and laugh. I am not sure if the Dr.'s thought this strange or just part of the normal confusion that happens to people who suffer Acquired Brain Injury. I saw this as a very positive and happy improvement as it showed my wife had at least retained her sense of humour. I saw it as a good sign that my wife remembered the term Baby Doctor and used it when the Dr. came to see her, for about 2 days before it slipped away from her memory.

Some of the nurses were quiet and focused on doing their job and would not engage in conversation unless they  were asked a question, others would engage with me and Colleen without prompting. No matter where the nurses fit on the introvert or extrovert scale, I was impressed by their calm, patient, and professionalism. They kept close track of my  wife and and few also kept reminding me that I needed to keep myself in good health. I am thankful for the professionalism and the caring attitude of these young people.

Every day was a challenge but everyday was also a day where I thought Colleen showed improvement and therefore I was hopeful that Colleen would soon be moved to the next ward, which was the "high dependency ward", but I also knew that move would come later rather than sooner.

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