Coherence, in the CICU, comes one day at a time, and you're not totally aware it's happening. While I wouldn't say I was totally with it while in the CICU, I was certainly much more lucid by the time I was discharged; lucid enough, in fact, to be a bit, well, stubborn. :)
Part of the therapy in the CICU is working with a Bi-PAP machine that helps expand your lung capacity, since you're not really breathing deeply and all that while you're in the CICU. Heck, you're hardly out of the bed. Now I know that it provides a very important function, yada yada yada, but I hate it. Really, really hate it. I hated it when I was in the ICU in 2001 and I hated it now. It resembles an oxygen mask except it's got like a Darth Vader vise like grip on your face, so that's really irritating, and it's hard to sleep with it on, because it's uncomfortable. Eventually I figured it out. (Like I said, I can sleep through most things.) The RT would always tell me how long it needed to stay on, and buddy, I watched the clock above the sliding-glass doors (which makes the CICU feel like a fishbowl) and I knew when time was up. I was able to stay sane exactly that long.
Well one night the RT came in and decided that we'd go a little longer. By now I had regained some strength and was able to manipulate the mask to give my face a break occassionally. Well I kind of threw a fit (yes, me a 23 year old). There was no way it was staying on any longer than absolutely necessary. So we went back and forth for awhile until Michelle, Savior of the World, came in. The RT explained the situation. Michelle stood there, glared at her, and said, "You told her two hours. Two hours is over. She's fine." She is sooo my hero (OK one of them). That was just awesome. And as we can see, I have suffered no awful lingering side effects from this unconscionable breach of etiquette.
Like I said in the last post, you have to actually practice fun things like sitting up! And going to the bathroom! And feeding yourself! (Which, for me, really didn't happen due to the hand) Speaking of the hand, it was bandaged in this huge swath of white gauze from the base of my fingers to about my elbow. I had to keep wiggling the fingers, even though they didn't do too much, so they didn't resemble overstuffed, purple-y sausages. Such is life. But it was OK, and we were starting to make progress. The cool water that was poured over it in copious amounts several times a day was a great thing, let me tell you. Speaking of water....I was thirsty as all get out. After lung tx, they keep you dehydrated because your lungs are sapped with fluid (I was even on a diuretic, which, let me tell you, was a lot of fun, especially when getting to the bathroom is like an Olympic event), so you can't drink anything. For days . And when you can drink something, it tastes funny because of all the saline and IV drugs in your body, which throws off your taste buds. So I would crave something, like Coke, and then I'd get it and it would be totally weird. Very disappointing.
The other weird thing about the drugs was I heard things that weren't there, like birds outside the window and the same Whitney Houston song playing over and over in my head. Yes, for some people that would be torture, but I like "The Greatest Love of All" so I was OK with it. And it didn't happen all the time. :) I even managed to read Harry Potter!! (Did I mention that before? Oh well, it's worth mentioning again because I'm proud of that, darn it.)
I believe I spent about a week (give or take a day) in the CICU before I was stable enough to move to the Heart Center. (6T, for you Children's kids... well, at least it was then. Now it's 5C in the new building and it rocks. But I digress.) Then the real fun began!
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