Today Taylor woke up dealing with a progression of issues that seemed to indicate a negative outlook. First, a few weeks ago, she was not allowed outside for heart reasons. Then she had a low magnesium value that led to her taking pills that made her constantly nauseated. The values stayed low so the pills were doubled, which led to more nausea and a loss of appetite. Then they were doubled again, which led to vomiting and missed therapy sessions. Then she went on magnesium IV that was hard to place and had to be replaced a few times with several needle sticks each, resulting in constant muscle irritation in her left arm. Then the I-V dose was doubled making her stay in bed longer and causing more muscle irritation. All this time, Kit and I are doing everything we can to shove pumpkin seeds, bran cereal, halibut, spinach and other high magnesium foods down her throat. Finally, to get even more magnesium in her system, they returned to using the feeding tube which Taylor was hoping would be removed instead of reinstated. The end result was a tough situation for Taylor to keep her spirits up.
All of these events add up to a setback. Setbacks are to be expected in any recovery but that doesn’t make them any easier. Because Taylor has an amazing reputation around the floor for always being so cheerful and happy, it was hard for all her caregivers to see her so down, especially me. The staff at Craig has been incredibly caring and compassionate through this, including her nurse last night who stayed with Taylor to talk at length in the wee hours of the morning when she woke up very concerned about her situation. Luckily, all this was a minor setback in the big picture of things that could go wrong with a long hospital stay.
Now for the good news: Taylor had a much better magnesium level this morning. So much better that her doctor decided to check it again 5 hours later, just to be sure. The magnesium pills and I-V drip are now stopped. She also now has a life-vest defibrillator that allows her to go outside the hospital for a few hours a day. It was also a sunny great day. We spent some time just hanging out in the garden where Taylor was back to her happy laugh-y self. We had a good laugh about all the goings on and reminisced about some of the fun times from the past. Later we had a great meal, made by cousin Pansy in the apartment I am staying in on the Craig campus. It was wonderful to have a real family dinner after eating in the hospital for so long. Later, Taylor got a few very welcome calls from friends.
We don’t know if the magnesium levels will be consistently good/normal, but it was fantastic to see Taylor so happy again.
Now that we can breathe again, we can reflect on how this episode is also a great lesson about setbacks. No matter who you are, there will always be events that can zap your confidence and darken your outlook. Although dealing with setbacks and overcoming them can be an especially tough slog, the key is to know that they are part of the process, and one should not be deterred when setbacks happen.
Western Factoid: I said dinner, above even though the meal was at noon, because in the west dinner is at noon, supper is at 6 and lunch is when you eat on the go or brown bag it.