Wow what a day. I'd be in bed right now but I need to push drugs on my husband at 12:30, so I'm killing time instead of going to bed only to wake up in 5 seconds. :)
This morning, Chris woke up in even more pain than the last few days. He wasn't scheduled to see the doctor or anything, but we were planning to fill his script for pain medication (he caved...I'm glad...no reason to "be tough" when medicine will help you relax and therefore help your body heal) and also for gauze.
Well, on his way to the bathroom, the dressings on BOTH LEGS fell off and his wounds were totally exposed, with no new gauze to recover them. I immediately barricaded the room off with a child safety gate because the idea of the kids walking in there, kicking up dust and such from the carpet, well, it made me panic a little bit. Chris got irritated with me because I was making too much of a fuss. My gut said THIS IS NOT OKAY and WE NEED A SECOND OPINION. He learned that I was right. Well duh, I'm always right.
Just a little humor there. Gotta have humor! :)
Anyway Chris got on the phone with the clinic to have the scripts called in, which was taking FOREVER because of all the workman's comp insurance company red tape (don't even get me started). As he was talking, the nurse said that they were making the recommendation to have his care transferred to Iowa City (about 2 hours away...the only certified burn unit in Iowa). PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY THANK YOU LORD I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.
So we got the kids loaded up (and packed overnight bags just in case), stopped up at Chris's work to have one of the shop dudes put air in two (yes TWO) tires that were incredibly low, then stopped by the local hospital to have his wound cleaned and redressed, then headed to Iowa City with a pit-stop at my parents' house to drop off the kids.
And then we got a flat tire. About 20 minutes from home.
So we waited for the same shop dude from Chris's work to come and rescue us. He put the spare on (which I suppose I could have done but it may have taken me until 2012 to finish) and we were off again. Chris's right ankle was swelling by this point (not a good sign), so I was feeling a bit more concerned. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house, swapped vehicles with them (thanks Mom and Dad!), and headed.
By this time it was around 4:00 I believe. We left home at 1:00. It had taken us 3 hours to get only 35 miles away from home. New world record baby!
Again with the humor!
Anyway, praise the Lord there was a wheelchair right inside the doors from the parking garage so Chris didn't have to walk (he'd still be walking if it weren't for that wheelchair). And then it all started getting interesting.
Two nurses cleaned the wounds and two doctors examined him as well. I can't remember the order of everything but here are some more lovely bullet points for your viewing pleasure:
- We probably should have gone straight to Iowa City from the git-go.
- Shortly after arriving they started discussing whether to admit him right then and there. We weren't exactly expecting that.
- They informed us that his wounds needed to be washed DAILY (not every two days like we were told by the local specialist).
- The area needs to be checked several times per day to make sure that the area is still moist and apply cream (silver sulfadiazine) to keep the area moist. If it dries we can use soapy water (baby soap) to moisten the area so the dry gauze doesn't pull at the skin and dead tissue.
- They decided that Chris could go home if he felt confident in his and my ability to wash the area thoroughly. We do, so we're home.
- Chris can also take showers daily (glorious for him to hear!), as long as he uses mild soap. Baby soap will work great and I told him that will be especially good because then he'll smell like a baby and I can spend hours sniffing his head, which should cure my baby fever. :)
- We have to be back in Iowa City on Wednesday morning at 5:30 so he can have surgery.
- They will excise the area that sustained third degree burns (the described the procedure as being similar to peeling an apple, only a lot less yummy) until no dead tissue remains.
- Then they will remove skin from the front and (out)sides of Chris's thighs and graft it in.
- They take the good skin and "mesh" it (turn it into a mesh-like material...sort of criss-crossed with holes in it). This allows them to take less skin from the thighs and make it go further on this wounds.
- We mentioned that our local person had mentioned using foreskin on Chris's wounds, and they looked at us like we were crazy. Apparently transplanted tissue is only a temporary solution because the body rejects it eventually. There may have been some miscommunication or confusion there (with the local people). Not sure.
- We also double-checked on the drinking 1000 (one thousand) ounces of water per day, and they again looked at us like we were crazy. They said just make sure he's urinating frequently and that it's not getting too dark. Chris was relieved. He had to pee in a cup twice on the way. I had the distinct honor and privilege of dumping it out. It was a moment I will treasure forever. :)
- The surgery will take around two hours. The lead surgeon will then be the one to decide how long Chris needs to stay. We didn't ask if they're talking an overnight stay, a few days, or what the range could be, so I think we'll call to make sure we can plan accordingly.
- Good nutrition is important. Well, it always is, but especially now. Protein was particularly recommended for regrowth of the cells. This won't be a problem. Chris is a guy, and (most) guys love meat. We're good there.
- Chris has morphine. It didn't take care of the pain; however the doctor said it might take a little more time, and that it might help to take either Ibuprofen or Tylenol with it. So we're trying to find the right "cocktail" with the doctor's help. I'm praying for some relief for him.
Shortly after that everyone left the room, and Chris got stressed again.
He said, "What are we going to do? We're screwed."
And I said, "No. We're. Not. DON'T. WORRY."
And he said, "No you don't understand, we're screwed. You know we are."
And I said, "You know what? Maybe you're right. You find that verse - "You're screwed" - in the Bible for me and I'll agree with you."
He cracked a little grin, then said, "Yeah but..."
And then I interrupted him and said, "God has never ever NOT come through for us, and He will come through for us now. So do. not. worry."
And he finally said the magic words, "Yeah...you're right..."
See? I told you. I'm always right.
There's a little more humor to round it all off. :)
So it's going to be a long couple months for Chris, and I imagine it will get extremely hard for him to be confined to a recliner for that long, but I'm hoping to make him as comfortable as possible. I'll try to come up with some different ideas for time-killers and distractions. And he'll no doubt get a LOT of cuddle time with all of us.
And I just wanted to add that we're so incredibly thankful that the local specialist was humble enough to admit that Chris needed more expertise. If we had remained in their care, things could have gotten ugly fast. So we're very thankful for her.
Tonight when we arrived in the burn unit, there was a little boy about Emmersyn's age (almost 5). His left arm and entire torso were covered in gauze and he was limping gingerly down the hallway with his parents. It tore my heart in two. I simply can't imagine. It gave us incredible perspective.
It also helps to remember that this whole situation was filtered through the Father's hands. This is His story that was written before we were even born, and He will bring glory from it. What an amazing thought! I pray that Truth brings comfort and strength to my man in the weeks and months (and possibly years) of healing to come.
Thanks again for your prayers. I'm not going to leave you with any specific prayer requests. Instead, if Chris is on your heart, I encourage you to ask the Spirit to guide you in your prayers. Such a cool thought...it makes me smile. :)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.