Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Outpatient Adventure

Today Jeff had an outpatient appointment to place a suprapubic catheter. We've been wanting him to get one for a while (oh the things you get excited about when you have a spinal cord injury!), and today was the day.

The procedure lasted 30 minutes total. Packing up, driving there, surgery prep, recovery, driving home, and getting Jeff settled back into bed took an additional 6 hours. Good thing I took the day off work today.

My mom went with us which was a huge help because we had to take a lot of stuff with us. When I called to make the appointment, the nurse I spoke with went down the list of standard stuff with me:

Nurse: "Make sure he has someone to drive him home."
Me: "No problem."
Nurse: "Make sure he wears loose clothing."
Me: "Of course."
Nurse: "Be sure to arrive 30 minutes early."
Me: "Ok. But I want to be sure that you know my husband is a quadriplegic and is on a ventilator."
Nurse: "Oh..."

After several minutes of checking with other nurses, it was decided that we should probably arrive at least an hour to 90 minutes early, bring our back-up ventilator to be used once he's on the gurney, and our Hoyer lift to transfer him from the chair to the gurney.

Here's what the van looked like when we got packed:

Yes, Jeff is in there too!

I wish I would have gotten a picture of my mom and me trying to fit the vent and lift into the van. Talk about a comedy of errors! At least we discovered this trip that the lift comes apart for easy, convenient ... transportation, which is good to know for future road trips.

Jeff's procedure was done at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. I have lived my whole life in Southern CA, and I've never been to Hoag - neither had Jeff. When we entered, I thought we were checking in to a 5-star hotel. The ladies at the registration desk wore suit jackets, not scrubs! The decor was superb, and the people were overly nice.

After checking in and getting Jeff into the pre-op room, I noticed that the gurney had a base on it that wouldn't allow the lift to fit under it; therefore, we wouldn't be able to transfer him using the lift (after all that breaking down, cursing, and sweating my mom and I had done!) Luckily there were some strong guys in the radiology department who were able to get Jeff from his chair onto the gurney. Whew!

Everything went smoothly. The procedure itself was probably the quickest part of our day.

Here's Jeff afterward. Happy from the "relaxation medication" they gave him.

He's so cute!

Once he was cleared to go home, we did everything in reverse ... got Jeff dressed, switched vents, more heavy lifting courtesy of the radiology staff, back into the chair, and out the door.

We took a moment to pause outside the hospital. Jeff enjoyed getting warm in the sun.

All in all, it was a good trip. It was the first time we got to drive our OWN van to a doctor appointment, which was a great feeling. And we even stopped by Del Taco on the way home. Yum.

Now Jeff is back in his own bed, resting, trying to warm up from being in a cold hospital. Tired, but happy to be home.

It was certainly a lot of work getting there and back, but such is the life of a quadriplegic and his family. Nothing happens fast any more. But at the end of the day, we had a successful outing and a sense of accomplishment.

Is it time to go to bed yet? :)


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