Where The Popsicles Are-40

More Positive News

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”–Emily Dickinson

Saturday morning arrived, and when I got to the hospital that morning, Joanie and I walked. This time she walked all the way around the nurse’s station on 7C, which meant down one long hall, around the corner and down another long hall and back by the nurse’s station and to her room. It was a major walk, the longest she had taken in the nine days since her surgery.

I think the energy came from hearing Dr. Cosin tell her yesterday she should start thinking about going home by the 1st of March. That hope, along with the take down of the NG tube seemed to have given her more life than I’d seen since before the surgery.

She had a shower and then for the first time a shampoo of that thick, black, wavy head of hair she wore so well, and then she decided she would nap for a while. I went out for a smoke and to make a couple of calls. It was a little chilly that day, but I didn’t seem to notice.

Ginny and Ed stopped by in the morning to see her, and she was glad to be able to tell them about the possibility of going home in just over a week. I learned something from Ed that day about hospital visiting protocol. They had been in Joanie’s room over five minutes or so, when Ed told Ginny they should go since they were over the five minute rule. I asked Ed what that was about, and he told me in his family the rule when you came to visit someone in the hospital was you never stayed any longer than five minutes. Since visitors can tire a patient out, and five minutes is plenty of time to let the patient know you are thinking of them and long enough for the visitor to get an idea of how the patient is doing. I thought of what Ed had told me on a couple of occasions when I invoked the rule without telling people I was doing so.

Two people who didn’t need to be told about the rule were my sisters. Jane, from Fargo and Joni, from St. Cloud. They came down today to, as Joni said, “To lay my eyes on my friend.” Both Jane and Joni new a thing or two about hospitals, so after they spent some time visiting with Joanie, and heard about the news we had, they suggested we go get some lunch and give her a chance to rest.

We headed for the Loon Cafe, and it was a welcome chance to spend some time with them, and as always, when we would be together, laughter reigned supreme. I learned during this stretch, that as a caregiver, you need time outs. They help keep you on an even keel.

When I got back to the hospital after lunch, they were preparing to change Joanie’s IV, and being unhooked from the IV and morphine for the first time caused her some anxiety. Anxiety because they couldn’t hook her back up until after they had taken her down for an X-ray and had a look at it, and that would take a couple of hours. They didn’t tell either one of us what they were hoping to see, but I assumed they knew what they were doing.

The anxiety, seemed normal enough to me under the circumstances, especially since she had become dependent on the morphine during these last nine days to keep her pain under control. They knew that too, and assured her it wouldn’t be too long, and they were right. When they hooked her back up, she relaxed and once everything was back in its place, she drifted off to sleep and I went for a smoke.

On the elevator down, I thought, “I wonder if they give frequent rider miles?” I had already made so many trips up and down, I couldn’t begin to count, and thought they should be worth something.

When I got back to her room, more good news. The first drain tube came out! For us, this was an event. It meant maybe Cosin was right and she would be home by the 1st. Couple that with her having her first drink of anything since the “Nose Hose” was taken out, when she had some Sprite, and Saturday was shaping up to be one of the best days yet.

Around 5:30 or so, I walked over to Sally’s for a beer and something to munch on. I was feeling better about how things were going than I had since the beginning, and I called her brother Dick and her sister Ann to let them know how positive things were looking today.

When I got back to the hospital, the rest of the evening seemed to fly by. We went for another long walk, and watched some TV, and about 9:30 she looked at me and said, “You should go now.” When I asked if she was sure, she just smiled and said, “Go.”

As I left the room she was relaxed and smiling. As I walked through the lobby, I saw my new friend, the night security guy, and as he did every night, he asked me how she was doing. I just gave him a thumbs up, he nodded and smiled, and I headed for the parking ramp and the drive to Tom’s in St. Paul feeling really good.

It had been a good day, and hopes were high.


About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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