I remember walking into the room. James was still intubated and sedated. The feeling of relief swept thru me like a lightening bolt. I walked over, kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear “You did it Babe! I love you so much, I’m so proud of you, everything is ok” I promised James before the surgery that I wouldn’t leave his side from here to getting home. I promised him I would be there with him every step of the way, even if he didnt know I was there.
The first ICU nurse was Susie, she was an older gal, very good at her job. Susie took care of James and allowed me to assist with bathing and re-positioning as she knew I was in the medical field. It came time to wake James and take the breathing tube out, I have had to do this with my sister a couple years earlier so I knew the procedure pretty well. This was not going to be fun. The first part is slowly waking him, followed immediately by trying to explain to him to breathe thru the tube and stay calm… stay calm. Humans are not meant to have breathing tubes down our throats so nature tends to kick in and “fix” the problem. I had to hold James hands down to prevent him from pulling out the tube. I held his hands and told him I was sorry and tried to coach him to breathe. James motioned to the tube many times and to me, I knew what he was saying. “Help me babe, get this out, please Lyns, help me, I can do this! I dont need it in anymore” Tears rolled down my face. “Im so sorry baby, I need you to work with us, please just breathe thru the tube, they need to see you breathe for a while before they will take it out, please calm down and help me get you off this thing, I love you so much, everything is ok” these minutes seemed to take forever.
It took about an hour and half but James was finally off the breathing machine and breathing on his own, supplemental oxygen for his comfort was supplied thru a nasal cannula. The anesthesia wasn’t going to be out of his system for another few hours. James would be awake for a minute or two then fall asleep again. There were a few visitors during this time, the doctor explained to us early on that James likely wouldn’t remember the first night after surgery. A few hours passsed and the visitors left us for the night. James would wake periodically, look at me and say “Hey babe, who’s idea was this? Lets not do this again”. I would respond with my usual “ok babe, I love you” He did this a few times that night, so I later told him that was the question of day 1.
The end of Susies shift she came to me and James and told us goodbye, we would probably not see her again as she was on vacation after that shift. I thanked her for all her care. Susie took my hand and said ” I can see how much you love him, not just by the way you help with his care but by the way you look at him, its nice to see that.. its rare.” “He’s my whole world and he is the best guy I know, I just want him to always be ok” I replied. She smiled and said, ” I have a feeling he will be.”
The rest of the night went about the same, awake a few minutes then asleep. James was able to get into the chair for a while around 3am. Pain was in full force though, the night nurse spent most of her shift attempting to get his pain controlled. I didn’t sleep a wink. I couldn’t miss a moment that he was awake. My love made it through the first 24 hours. 5am yesterday we arrived and here we were 5am again and he’s here, alive, awake and ok. I am so thankful.