Supporting a Hospitalized Loved One

An empty ICU room waiting for another patient

Someone in my family is very sick. She was in the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital for 6 weeks. She had sepsis, which is a bacterial infection of the blood that caused her organs to fail one by one. She was in septic shock by the time she was admitted.

It started with a small wound on her ankle that got infected. The bacteria spread so fast they had to intubate her. The doctors and nurses saved her life. The infection took a chunk of her calf muscle and layers of skin from the knee down on one of her legs. They thought it was a flesh eating bacteria because, it spread so fast. Thank goodness it wasn’t.

We were told that she has a 50/50 chance at recovering to go to a long-term acute care facility where she will have to do some serious, grueling physical therapy. Everyone in our family prayed for a miracle.

I sat by her bedside holding her hand while she slept, talked to her positively when she was tired but awake and tried to comfort her when she was in so much pain. I made her laugh and smile sometimes, but other times she just cried or stared off into space. She couldn’t talk with a tube in her throat. She spoke limited English, so expressing herself to her nurses or Doctors was a challenge. She couldn’t move either and had to be repositioned every couple hours. I spent on average 10 to 12 hours a day at the hospital. It’s hard to watch a loved one go from bad to worse. It was scary!

I try to imagine myself in her situation and what I would want if I was in ICU for over a month. I would want someone with me as much as possible to keep me company. I would want to have my hand held, so I could feel safe while I slept. I would want to hear familiar voices and see friendly faces. All of which I know my husband and children will do for me should I end up like this. I choose to believe that if people are there for the bedridden patient, there is a better chance at making a recovery. Even a small chance is worth trying for in my mind.

Today, she is in long-term acute care and has been there a couple weeks. She fought hard to get here. She nearly died a couple times in ICU while she was healing. She’ll be on dialysis for the rest of her life, but she is alive. She needs to learn to breathe on her own again since she had a tracheostomy and was placed on a ventilator. She needs to learn to sit upright, eat, drink, use the bathroom, walk, write, talk, etc.

What would you do if you or a loved one ended up in the hospital for a long period of time? Are you prepared? We weren’t. Try to be prepared with a power of attorney, an advance directive or have a will. Share your wishes with your family.

My husband and I use 5 Wishes. I got really sick a few years ago myself and we prepared for the “just in case”. It is a legal document and used for anyone over 18 years old. You can change it in the future too. We have several copies to share with family when the time comes. It’s worth it. It’s always better safe than sorry.

Prep yourself and your family as much as you can. You just never know…

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Cookies. Oh, yummy cookies!

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Springbok ‘A Kid’ll Eat the Middle’ – 500 pieces

I finished a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle recently by Springbok called ‘A Kid’ll Eat the Middle’ made in the 1980’s. The white areas were not as hard to piece together. All of that black was really tough!

I love me some Oreo cookies! It’s one of the cookies I remember grabbing out of an egg basket cookie jar when I was a kid and devouring it. They happen to be vegan too! I found that out a few years ago.

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Childhood Cookie Jar

Here I found a picture online of the cookie jar my Mom used when we were kids. It’s at least 35 years old. A familiar piece from my childhood but ugly as heck. How could you ever forget a cookie jar like this!? 🙂

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Speaking of vegan cookies… I baked a few dozen vegan chocolate chip walnut cookies for my family and friends last week. My place smelled great! They were gone in 2 days though! Didn’t last long at all. I need to make another batch for others since I’ve had a couple requests for more cookies.

This time I also have a new cookie scoop!  My 15 year old Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop broke a while back. I never replaced it so, my cookies varied in size. Now, my cookies should be more uniformed than my previous bakes with this scoop.

It makes me very happy to use my almost 20 year old Kitchenaid Stand Mixer that was handed down to me from my Mother too. Any time I get to use it for anything I get excited! Need to knead some bread? Mix a large batch of cookies? No problem. This thing is a workhorse.

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 Well, those cookies won’t bake themselves. I better get going. See you soon!

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Memorial Day Respect

I hope everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends over the holiday weekend. I did! We watched our oldest son run the Bolder Boulder 10k race on Memorial Day. He was running in memory of his grandfather.

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One of Denver’s suburbs has a memorial that is dedicated to all of Colorado’s Army soldiers, Navy sailors, Air Force airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have lost their lives in service to our country in all wars.

The Colorado Freedom Memorial was dedicated on May 26, 2013 and has the names of 6,023 fallen Colorado heroes etched in glass. There is still an additional 44 names to add to the memorial.

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Aurora’s Buckley Air Force Base Marines watch over the Colorado Freedom Memorial

My father is a retired Marine. My husband’s father was a Navy officer. I honor in memory all men and women, who have served in our country’s armed services, for their ultimate sacrifice. We will never forget.