I had the kind of day today that makes you happy to have put two feet on the floor in the morning. The gleeful kind of day that you know exists—the ones you remember from childhood, the ones where the stars align and the grey skies clear and the world decides that today, it’s just gonna be your day today. Things are going to go your way today. I haven’t had a day like today in a long, long time.
I arrived to the hospital a half hour ahead of my scheduled 10:30 appointment with a community nurse. She liaises with the discharge team and is spearheading the efforts to get us onto a funding program to offset the costs of the equipment we’ll need to set up and maintain at home—the bipap and the accompanying oxygen tanks, battery packs and batteries for portability with the bipap, a feeding pump for the g-tube, and an accompanying backpack/tote for the feed bag. The community nurse is also assisting us in getting home nursing care—upwards of 56 hours per week if we qualify—that we can use at our discretion, be it for a grocery shop, a date night, or just for peace of mind while Don and I sleep.
Right after the community nurse left, my day nurse ducked his head in to tell me that General Surgery had stopped by. Nyana’s g-tube procedure has been scheduled for 11:30am on Tuesday, March 22nd, in the radiology department. It’s taken nearly two weeks to determine a surgery date, because surgery and anesthesiology and radiology and respiratory therapy have all been debating the safest course of action, given Nyana’s respiratory condition. The decision has finally been made to do it in radiology, meaning it will be done with a generous sedative followed by a local anaesthetic. A local as opposed to a general anaesthetic means we don’t need to intubate. While I’m beyond thrilled at the decision not to intubate, I’m still scared shitless, but now scared that something will go wrong during the surgery and they’ll need to intubate anyways; an emergency intubation would be about ten times worse than a planned one. I trust the entire team handling Nyana and if they say that radiology and non-intubation is the way to go, well then, let’s go for it. This surgery needs to be done, and soon. Knowing that we have a date and time on the books is a huge weight off my shoulders.
Don had reminded me earlier in the morning that we had a lunch date with two ladies from his office. I’d all but forgotten about it and was slightly annoyed that I had to leave Ny in her playful state to head downtown to meet them. He’d told me that both women—both of whom I’ve met briefly in passing at best—wanted to take him for lunch and were insistent that I come along. I was a bit confused, seeing as I wouldn’t know these women to see them on the street, but I assumed they had pitched in for a gift for Nyana and wanted both Don and me there to accept it. We sat down to eat for all-you-can-eat sushi—them in their business casual and me in my sweatpants—and Gianna had barely begun to fill out the order card before she just burst. “Oh, I just can’t wait any longer!”
She pulled a printed sheet of paper out of her pocket as she delved into her plan. She’d been reading along a week or two ago, and of all things, it was a brief comment about Nyana’s stroller collecting dust that triggered the thought in her: Don and Karen need a break. She sent an email to Don’s whole office, all 200+ people, with a brief explanation of our situation and a quick overview of what she wanted to do for us. The response was immediate, and overwhelming.
Don and I listened, jaws agape, as we learned that we will be booked at the Fairmont Pacific Rim to enjoy their Eat, Stay, Love package. Including the room with the mountain/ocean/harbour view, it offers complementary cheese and wine, 5-course meal with wine pairing, jacuzzi tub in a marble bathroom with window walls and 42-inch TV screens, and a king-size bed. The response from Don’s co-workers was so overwhelming that there was donation enough to book an in-room couples massage, an hour each. And then there was enough to book a local maid-service to stop in for a 90 minute, 2 person clean of our apartment. And then there was still leftovers, which will be given to us in the form of Visa gift card to do with as we see fit.
Gianna told us that she had the idea that we needed a break, and that she and countless others at the firm were astounded that my amazing husband was keeping his head and keeping his smile while enduring life at work in tandem with life in hospital. I’ve known for a long, long time that he’s an awesome man, but to have someone else validate my opinion for me, and in such a compassionate way, was beyond incomprehensible. We agreed to book our luxurious staycation for the first Saturday in April, my 31st birthday.
We can see the end of the tunnel now and it’s up to Nyana to set the pace. RT Awesome has assured us that Nyana will recover quickly from her surgery and that the steps forward the g-tube afford will more than make up for the inconvenience it causes while we live with it. It’s just another childhood memory, after all. Nyana’s good at those by now.