There’s No Way but Up from Here

A couple of nights ago, when I was on the treadmill, I was giving it my all, bumping up my speed and doing all kinds of hills. I even added five minutes to my time. I was having to breathe deeply because of my physical exertion, and the sweat was trickling down the sides of my face.

I had my earbuds in so I couldn’t hear much of anything going on around me, including the Royals game which was in progress on the big screen in front of me, but I did hear my husband say, “WEIGH!”

No doubt Chuck is a̶m̶a̶z̶e̶d̶ shocked at my new-found drive to push my limits on the treadmill. I have to say, I am, too. My recent intense level of physical activity is quite a contrast to my lackluster, couch-potato existence of the past.

It’s not a new thing to bump up my speed, but it is definitely unusual for me to be incorporating so many hills in my walks. Because of my treadmill training, walking to Wal-Mart now is not a beastly trek at all. The hills don’t even faze me. Whether I walk west toward Highway 13 or east toward Main Street, I know the hike will not be too arduous. Before Trim Healthy Mama and my treadmill training, taking either path would have been preposterous and insurmountable.

During my last few minutes on the treadmill on Friday night, when I should have been ready to drop, the song “Up” by Shania Twain came on my mp3 player, and it exhilarated me beyond belief.  I stepped up my game and bumped up my speed again. Now I’m thinking that I need to play that song on a loop whenever I’m on the treadmill. It’s quite motivational. In fact, it should be my new mantra for life: “Up, up up, there’s no way but up from here.”

“Up, up, up, there’s no way but up from here.” You know it, baby.

Post edit: We just got back from taking Chelsea to the ER–for what seems like the tenth time this year. The doctor said her white blood cell count is through the roof.

Chelsea said she had smelled an odor coming from her wound on Friday when the home health nurse was here and she had mentioned it to the nurse. The stand-in nurse (her regular nurse was on vacation) said it was just the odor of the drainage and acted like it was normal.

Saturday the odor was a little worse, and yesterday, worse still. I checked and double-checked the wound site to make sure the drape was sealed and wasn’t leaking. We changed bedding, made sure all the trash was emptied in her room, looking for the origin of the smell. There were no used canisters or dirty gauze in her trash, and I could find no reason her room should have smelled so bad. I picked up her wound vac, and, ugh, the odor coming from it was plain awful.

Chelsea said she was getting nauseous and asked me to get her peppermints out of her purse so she could hold them under her nose to fight off the nausea. She also said she thought the constant odor was starting to give her a headache.

I watched a video yesterday (on You Tube, of course) about wound vacs, and one of the videos said if there was a purulent discharge or bad odor to call the healthcare provider immediately.

I read it to Chelsea and had her call and this is how the conversation went: “Was your nurse there on Friday?”

“Yes.”

“And will she be there again tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Then just wait and see what she says about it.”

My thought was that we should have probably headed to the ER last night, but we did what the person who answered her call said to do. Besides, Chuck had worked a long, twelve-hour day and I’m sure the wound didn’t deteriorate much more overnight. It was infected, yes, but the vac was still sucking out tissue.

Our regular nurse was back from vacation today. It didn’t take her long to see that Chelsea needed to go to the ER. Just the smell when you walk into her room would tell you that something is not right, not to mention the gray emaciated areas inside the wound itself.

Susan, our nurse, said, “I would not normally suggest this, but I want you to take the wound vac to the hospital with you, with the used canister still on it. I want them to see it.” Of course, she took the wound vac off, unpacked all the foam and just cleaned the wound and dressed it with regular saline and gauze.

At the hospital the ER nurse said she could smell the infection the minute she walked into the room. We hadn’t even seen the doctor, yet, when the nurse guaranteed that Chelsea would be admitted.

When she asked Chelsea to turn so she could examine the wound, infection squirted out onto her shoes. (The doctor came in later to look at the wound, and we warned him so he could stand back and take cover until she got herself turned over. He jokingly said that he’d hate to have to change his scrubs.)

When she left the room, Chelsea said, “Wait, she can’t do that, can she? She can’t make that call. That’s for the doctor to decide.”

“I’m pretty sure she’s just able to tell right away what the doctor will decide based on the level of the infection.”

They even had a student nurse come in to take a look at the wound. The ER nurse said, “Do you mind? We just don’t see a classified wound like this one.”

Something about that exchange scared me a little. I know it’s a serious wound, but I didn’t want to believe that wounds just don’t come any worse than this one.

Just when I’d gotten comfortable with the wound vac and caring for the wound in between home health nurse visits, it takes a turn for the worst, and why? How? The wound vac has been on 24/7 since May–well, except for the first week in July, when the attending physician said we could leave it off when we were in Branson to give her skin a break.

So she’s back in the hospital. We don’t know when she’ll be released.

I know she’s disappointed because she was hoping to go to the Missouri State Fair with a friend on Thursday.

Chelsea was given a wheelchair van by a sweet couple whose son had it and didn’t need it, anymore, and Chelsea’s friend was going to drive the van to the State Fair. (The Pizza Hut fundraiser we had back in December provided the funds to put new tires on the van and make it travel worthy, not to mention she also raised enough money for her alternating low-air-loss mattress for her Grade 4 wound.)

As we left the hospital, the PICC line team had just arrived since the ER nurse couldn’t find a viable vein for an IV.

My heart breaks for her. Even having to sit by and watch her get poked over and over again for blood draws and failed IV attempts is almost more than I can bear. Tears started stinging my eyes in the ER room, and I had to fight to hold it together. She has such a sweet disposition and a positive outlook. It hurts me to see her go through all this.

I can’t think of a single person who could go through all Chelsea has gone through in these past couple of years, let alone her life, without getting cranky or irritable or depressed. She keeps her upbeat demeanor and always finds something to make a joke about.

I realize how many are keeping Chelsea and our family in their prayers, and I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. Please continue to remember our sweet girl in your prayers.

Stats for 8/9/15
Weight:  N/A
Exercise: 2.152 miles on treadmill, great hills, good sweat (292 calories burned)
Blood sugar: 148 on the higher meter (after a horrible off-plan lunch of too many desserts at Golden Corral), 98 (an hour and a half after dinner)
Breakfast (7:30) FP: Snickers Shake (I had a safety meeting and I knew they would be having an off-plan breakfast so I decided to drink a protein shake beforehand to ward off any temptations. They had breakfast pizza and biscuits and gravy, and I didn’t even have one bite.)
Mid-morning snack (10:50) off-plan: headed to the ER, things started falling apart. Chelsea handed me a protein bar she had brought along for me in her purse.  If not for the sugar content, it would have been a cross-over, 43 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat
Lunch (2:00) off-plan: Golden Corral. The main meal wasn’t too bad: fish, roast beef, a steak burger with no bun, a lettuce salad with cucumbers. And then. And then the desserts. Bad day for me, and at the time I didn’t even care.
Dinner (6:00) S: Easy Chicken Enchiladas from Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen.

Up, up, up. There’s no way but up from here.

10 thoughts on “There’s No Way but Up from Here”

  1. Dirinda I just wanted to say that it breaks my heart to hear how much your daughter is suffering. I am so sorry, and I am praying for her, and for you, too. I know that as a mother you would gladly take on her trial to save her the pain. Thank you for being willing to share so much of yourself with us. I also wanted to tell you how proud of you I am for all the hard work you are doing to get healthy, for all the strength you are exhibiting. It makes me think that it is doable for me, too.

    1. It definitely is doable for you, Pam. Believe me, I wish you had known me a year or two ago. I’m a different person now. Trim Healthy Mama has given me that hope! If God can do this for me, He can do it for anyone. Our God can do anything.

    2. Thank you for your prayers, Pam. It is heartbreaking as a mom, but thinking, talking and writing about some of the things I think about are not beneficial to me or anyone else. I just have to keep trusting God.

  2. So sorry you are having to deal with all this. It is truly anguish for a mother who has a child who has been through so much. Prayers for sweet Chelsea. And,mom and dad too.

  3. Oh my gosh Dirinda..so sorry to hear Chelsea is in the hospital. Please let her know we’re praying for her and you. I hope she gets better and Chelsea’s stay there isn’t very long. Will be thinking of you both.

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