Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hospital Days

The heat continued in the nineties the past week and weekend and as we prepared for Mandy to fly back to Michigan, we thought hard about how Bruce would get the best care he could get and try to get comfortable. He had signed on for the Vermont Respite House in my home town.

For the past near month, he was visited regularly by the team of Olin & Steiner mentioned earlier. He hauled off to physical therapy three times a week. He was quite strongly refusing Lamoille County Home Hospice Care which was the transition group before he was ready to move into the Respite House. Pain drugs were on the increase along with a fair-size suite of other meds.

But by Tuesday, Bruce wasn't eating and drinking; sleeping much more. 'Long arduous story short: that night Mandy and I kept in close touch until, during and after she called the EMTs take him to the hospital -- we feared he was dehydrated and not keeping up on his meds. It turned out he also had quite a fever -- hard to diagnose in the 90-degree heat.

A good decision.

His hometown hospital transferred him in the night to the major hospital near my hometown. I insisted that Mandy spend her last night in Vermont at my house. The tables had turned. We were able to take good care of Mandy as she had done for 15 days for Bruce. She enjoyed a full night's sleep, breakfast, time to pack, the company of Romany and the return of Asa from Minnesota's Boundary Waters. Mandy and Romany flew in separate directions the same day. Mandy said good-bye to Bruce at the hospital.

Spouse Steve and I returned to the hospital later that day to be with Bruce in this new setting. He's more comfortable. His days are easier. I'm keeping the nurses on their toes while he is the more charming of the two of us. Mandy, if you're reading this -- a nurse today said, "he's always so pleasant!"

Today Bruce's medical team segued from the care listed in his advance directive to less invasive procedures and an understanding that they will not intervene. This prepares him for hospice where we hope to arrive early next week. He missed his Saturday admission there due to the hospital stay. His good nurse, Kris, who got to know him from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. today, said she feels confident he'll have a stable weekend and she looks forward to seeing him again Saturday.

Bruce put together a lap-sized puzzle today with great aplomb. We noodled around crocheting some long string. We looked at drawings he did in 2001. He likes the bright white bouquet of garden flowers: hydrangea, loosestrife, Queen Anne's lace ad hosta leaves. He jokes with the nurses. He laughed when I brought in a sign that Steve originally hung in Williston. It reads, "Danger: Bruce's Room."

I'm writing this from the hospital. Time to go home. The post time below isn't accurate. It's nearly 11 p.m. ~CDorschner

p.s. My car is still in East Johnson. It was the transmission that blew (the same day as my phone completely conked out). When I go into restaurants the silverware in front of me sticks together magnetized. Romany's watch stopped when she sat across from me at lunch, my office computer windows go "Wa wa" in and out when I touch the mouse, I got in the elevator at work; the door closed and it sat there (I quickly got out!) You get the picture.....


  1. Thank you so much to Cheri and Steve for being the anchors of this very difficult time. You guys are amazing, and it was wonderful to finally meet you! And Asa, Romany, Maggie Miller, Dr. Olin and Liesl Steiner, Bruce's PT Amanda, the really nice lady at the post office in Johnson, the nurse Andy in Copley Hospital who kept Bruce and I laughing and smiling....The list goes on and on. I am so lucky and honored to have helped out and met all of these people who have enriched my life. And thanks most of all to Bruce who brought us all together.

    Best wishes to Bruce and Joan

    ~Amanda Sheehy

  2. Best wishes.

    -Katina Kapellas (former student)

  3. Bruce--it's been quite a while that we've seen or talked to you. Remember going to the VT Mozart Festival with us and Cheryl/Steve? We sure wish you strength and energy to get through this very tough time. I hope you or Cheryl can email us where you are at the moment so that we can stop by and visit. Thinking of you -- Christine and Reza Ramazani