Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Report

RantWoman did not go see Jana tonight but she did intersect with the person who has a 90-person email list of groupies eager to have updates. RantWoman, ever the compulsive tech support geek, suggested maybe one of the email group services would save the email person time but will leave that topic for her further discernment.

However, for benefit of ... RantWoman is going to share most of the email.

The biggest news is that Jana was moved to a new room this afternoon. Not to a step-down room in another ICU, but all the way to a room on a non-ICU surgery trauma floor. They decided that Jana was doing well enough that she could skip the step-down unit step.

Earlier today, Jana sat up in a special chair, and it was noted that her lungs seem to be beginning to clear. She was also given some water to drink today, and after being reminded to swallow and to take small sips, she was able to drink a bit of water. It was also noticed that Jana does not seem able to raise her left arm very far, which might mean there is another injury there that hasn't been detected yet. An OT assessment will be able to tell us more.

Jana's new room is in the main hospital building, floor ..., room .... Her bed is by the window - and yes, there is a view of Mt. Rainer. The directions I have been given are to use the elevators that also go down to the cafeteria (and that are near the north side of the emergency room). Wind around on the seventh floor and you should be there.

However, there are some buts.... For one thing, the room is small, much smaller than the room in the ICU. And Jana does have a roommate. Warren has said that there are two chairs in Jana's half of the room but not much more room.

The other set of "buts..." relate to how to visit in a way to will help Jana heal. A number of people have spoken to me or emailed me about how tired Jana is. Also, Jana has had serious brain injuries, which makes it hard for Jana to answer even simple questions - and it affects how we should be acting if we visit Jana.

Here are some pointers, taken from an email from ..., who has worked as an ICU nurse in the past:
"Jana may seem reasonably clear but is really in and out of a state of confusion, delusion, and exhaustion with brief interludes of clarity. Her body and most importantly, her brain, is healing but it really is drifting all over the place. She needs short periods of quiet stimulation followed by longer periods of sleep and rest. If you factor in how much the staff do with her, her time for visitors is pretty marginalized.People visiting with Jana should be close to the bed, preferably sitting and in her line of vision when she's awake. The more familiar the friend or family member, the better. Warren and Rosa singing to her is great because Jana gets to see people she loves doing something that is familiar and important for her. If she knows you as a knitter, then knit; a reader then read. I don't think it matters how long people stay as long as they are quiet and reassuring and bring reminders of "normalcy".Touch is very important so hold her hand or soothe her shoulder. Even just touch the blanket gently.Touch IS healing. Touch her when you arrive and touch her when you leave....always,of course, washing your hands!Keep the conversations to Jana simple. When you arrive, announce quietly who you are and maybe tell her the day of the week, time of day and that you care about her and will be there with her for a few minutes. A steady line of visitors all asking,"How are you", "How are you feeling","Are you doing better"is pretty much non-productive and certainly not restful for a shocked brain trying to reorganize itself.
...... all caring and wonderful people and it is wonderful to see all the folks who have been touched by Jana. Thanks for being who you are."

So BIG steps and...

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