Normally, one family member for a brief period of 5 minutes at a time is permitted to visit a patient in the PACU or recovery room at Memorial Hospital. With Hurricane Sandy about to hit NYC and since all other patients had been moved from the PACU , the nurses allowed Lis and me to remain overnight with Joe, something we later learned is never done.
Joe said, "Mom, we should book all our surgeries during hurricanes."
The nurses rolled in two extra beds for Lis and me to use. As I took a power nap, Lis kept Joe company as the nurses cared for Joe and worked to adjust the pain meds since Joe was still in a great deal of pain.
Watching the latest updates on TV, Lis learned that NYU Hospital had lost power and their generators had failed. Memorial nurses told Lis that we should get ready to give back the beds because Memorial would be receiving some of the NYU patients. As the lights began to flicker on and off, Lis worried that Memorial would loose power, too. As you can well imagine, Joe was hooked up to a lot of equipment in the PACU. In fact, Lis asked the startled nurse if Memorial Hospital had an emergency plan, too. By now, Lis figured it was a good time to wake me up.
Memorial Hospital began to receive patients as NYU Hospital was evacuated, 18 patients that evening we found out. Since no patients were brought to use the beds in the PACU Monday night, Lis and I were allowed to stay with Joe.
Tuesday, October 30th
By noon, different pain meds had arrived from the hospital pharmacy and we hoped Joe would have better pain management. Joe was moved from the PACU to the 7th floor where all neurology patients are cared for.
We continued to hear reports from the nurses about the ongoing crisis in the city. Many of the hospital staff had been staying overnight since Saturday or Sunday.
Joe's roommate on the 7th floor was an elderly man, one of the 200+ patients from NYU Hospital that had to be carried down many floors on a sled in the dark. Matt, a Memorial nurse told me that one of his friends said the evacuation was very calm and orderly. Because there were no emergency lights, nurses used flashlights to illuminate the stairwells as patients were transported out of NYU.
This first hospital room was ill-equipped to handle two patients. As it was an end room, each time Lis and I left the room, we had to walk by the unresponsive patient and his visitors, his rabbi and the volunteers who always kept him company. No privacy, but everyone worked hard to be kind and considerate and as quiet as one could be given that sometimes there were many people in a small space.
Joe rested in his hospital room and later that afternoon, physical therapy came to help Joe get up and moving. And as extremely painful as you can well imagine it must have been for Joe to move, Joe was amazing. As always.
In the middle of the night, Joe had to change rooms. His roommate was requiring breathing treatments and it was virtually impossible for Joe to rest with the parade of professionals caring for this patient. Against the backdrop of the curtain separating the two patients, Lis, Joe and I could see the nurses tending to this man. Because of the back lighting, the hospital curtain served as a scrim with the medical scene playing out in full view.
Luckily, a room was available and the late night move was accomplished with a minimum of fuss.
Wednesday, October 31th
Jack-o'-lantern in Joe's room at Memorial Hospital, 10/31/12
See Lis's next post for latest.
This week, as always, Lis has been an incredible sister doing whatever it takes to help Joe.
Thanks for checking in and for loving Joe, too.