Sunday, December 10, 2006

Released. Released, and Homeward Bound.

The hospital was ever so eager to let him go.

At least, that's what they'd been telling him.

His cardio surgeon made it very clear that when Walter was released, he would be safe from my germs - and I would be safe from his. Statements like that told me a lot about the caliber of his caregivers. See, I never talked to the surgeon. He deduced or was told, and remembered, that I'm immunocompromised and have far more to fear from others than they do from me. He took that into account when he decided on Walter's release day.

The surgeon told Walter that if he started smoking again, he'd come after him. Hunt him down. I told Walter, --Yes indeed. Tell him he can call me anytime and I'll rat fink on you. I'll give you up to him if you start again.

But Walter had already decided he's done with smoking. Since smoking poses as big a risk to his heart as bad diet does, if he can stay off cigarettes, he's instantly overcome a highly significant risk factor.

I used to smoke, heavily, and I know full well how terrible an addiction it can be. They had him on nicotine patches in ICU, which certainly help, but an unplanned cold turkey stop is really rough. After the bypass surgery they couldn't even give him the patches; as the nurse put it, his veins would have had a fit.

He's made it through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms by now. And I have a sense he's very determined to become a healthy person again. He's made decisions and changes that are radically different from the man of only two weeks ago.

Walter did so well on his cardio rehab, which seems to consist of jumping out of bed and running up and down the halls in ICU, that they decided he didn't need any more PT than he was already doing on his own. That's why they released him straight from the hospital to home.

His MRSA cultures came out negative. Yes, negative: he is NOT colonized with my nasty germs.

Oh, hallelujah! Every time I remember that I break my face grinning.

Still, they kept pumping him full of Vancomycin. They told him Friday would be his last dose. Then they changed their minds and gave him an even bigger dose Saturday. And this morning? They nabbed him again.

All that pushing him out the door, and he was still doing blood tests and paperwork today, Sunday. The doctor didn't show up until after lunch, and you don't get out till the doc says Yes.

Then here come Horacio and Danny to save the day! They swooped in and grabbed him and tossed him in their big beautiful giant show truck.

Free at last.

This odyssey to retrieve Walter and get him safely home is taking all four of us back to the time we worked together in our shipping company. He's precious cargo, the most precious ever.

Back in the day, I used to send the drivers out on their long delivery runs with an itinerary and a sheaf of maps printed out from Microsoft Streets & Trips. I'd plug in their stops, plan their route, and show different map views including very tight close-ups for tricky places. When I could I'd print them in color.

The itinerary would have every contact name and phone number they could possibly need. Customer at home, work, cell; spouse, other family sometimes; the furniture vendor and salesman. Doorman. Building manager or security for authority to bring a truck to a New York City high-rise. I'd always get directions from the customer, too, and transcribe them. I spent a lot of time on the phone with customers, before, during, and after the delivery. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

So when Horacio and Danny asked if I would have maps for them, I jumped all over that. You want maps, guys? You got maps. You betcha.

Except...the printer wasn't printing.

That's the sort of thing I'd rather not even look at. It's amazing how much computer related stuff can wait till Walter gets home.

Not this time. the phobe, I figured it out, all by myself.


I went online, downloaded the PDF manual, realized it not only had a weird paper jam, but wanted new color inks. Okay.

I did it. All by myself.

So Friday afternoon I was ready. I must have printed fifteen maps for them. Nice pretty color ones. I did the whole route, some other overviews, and details for every time they had to change highways or do a bypass. I had close-ups maps of the hospital area and the towing company that had Walter's big rig.

The cover page had full directions to the hospital and towyard, their phone numbers, and contact names and notes for the tow company too. Including one that says, --They're open 24/7 but please call first before you go there.

After they got Walter out of the hospital, Danny called me and wanted to know how to get to the towyard.

I said, Do you still have that paper I printed out with the directions? They're on that. Phone number too, they said come anytime, but please call first.

Sometimes the guys would forget to read the whole page. That took me back, too. ;-)

They got to the rig, and cleared out Walter's things. This took a few hours. It's like moving house. They packed up his clothes and bedding and cooler and cooking things and food and microwave and lots of regular books and books on CD and tools and radios and antennas and, and all that. It filled up the entire bed of the big giant pickup truck.

Understand, this truck does NOT go places and do things like a work truck does. No. This is an Art Truck.

But it's a working truck today.

After the late release, then all that loading work, they even got 100 miles under their belts. Now they're stopped for the night. I'd hammered on them all to go SLOW. No reason to rush. Take all the time you need, take days and days if you want. Be gentle with my guy.

And they are. Extremely. He has two dedicated buddies guarding his well being like a pair of eagles. Fierce and strong and loving and determined.


Livey said...

Sounds like Walter is in good hands! Is the rig his or the companies?

Cindi said...

I'm sitting here with happy tears after reading that. *smile*

k said...

Company rig. We only owned one rig outright. The business hit the skids over news of the impending Iraq war, in August, 2002. See, suddenly the economy was very uncertain, so people put off buying nonessential things like fancy new furniture for the vacation home in the mountains. That's what we delivered. Suddenly our shipping orders went from around 20 per week to 1 per week, almost overnight.

We tried to hold on because we had some people interested in buying the business. But in December 2002 Walter was at the tail end of a big multi-vehicle crash in New York, and the rig was totalled. Walter was okay but that was The End.

So the rig he drives now is the company's. They'll assign it to someone else, and once he's got medical clearance to drive again they'll assign him another one.

Thank goodness! If it were ours we'd be stuck paying huge insurance and parking fees on no driving income for 3 months.

Cindi, I'm so glad your computer is up again! I missed hearing from you.

We are so blessed in our neighbors and friends...and readers, too.

Livey said...

Thank God, I was afraid I was gonna have to call the trucker guy and have him drive it down to you!

Granny J said...

Good news about Walter! Now -- I'm fascinated by Art Vehicles. Are you gonna post a pic of the Art Truck? What better vehicle to travel the country in...

Jean said...

Good news!... now, stop looking out the window, k...:) He'll be home soon.
Gonna be a wonderful reunion... makes me smile just thinking about it.

Nancy said...


Hooorraaayy for good friends and good doctors and good patients!!

k said...

Yes, yes, and yes.