Tonight ends our 10th day in the hospital. The good news is that not only is A out of ICU and in the step-down unit, but as of today she has both of her chest tubes out and seems to be doing great! The better news is that if all goes well tomorrow, we may discharge tomorrow, or by Monday at the latest. Of course, things may not go as as planned and we're here longer...but I am nothing if optimistic. She's even been for a few short walks around the ward today (wobbly on her feet after being in a prone position for 10 days, but still!) and is eating and drink like the champ she is.
These last 10 days have been very hard on me. Not only is it a tiring emotional roller coaster, but it's physically exhausting having a child in the hospital. Even just sitting bedside depletes my energy. The first several nights I slept at home, since she was under sedation and didn't know that I was even there; I felt it was best to get what sleep I could. Now that she's awake (ever since Wednesday) we've been here 24/7. I slept here the first two nights, and J slept here last night. I'm here again tonight (I went home last night and got a glorious 10 hours of sleep). I'm hoping that tomorrow night all four of us are tucked safely in our own beds, all under the same roof.
The other thing that has been hard for me physically is not being able to work out every day. It's no secret that I'm addicted to working out and try to swim, bike or run 6-7 days a week. I'm always training for something (these days I'm training for my next triathlon, which is in September, and the Long Beach Half Marathon in October). I am the queen of being able to find time to work out, but having a child in the hospital has wreaked havoc on my schedule.
Before I was here [mostly] full-time I was able to get a quick run in the morning before coming to the hospital for the day. But since being here most days and nights I have only been able to squeeze in a few workouts here and there (I got two short swims in this week while my son, D, had his swim lesson, and did a great elliptical workout the other day in the gym at the hospital's Ronald McDonald House). My working out is less about training these days than about a stress release. When I am able to work out and get a good sweat going, my body feels better and my mind clears. Doing a short swim yesterday was literally a breath of fresh air; after being in the hospital for 55 hours straight, moving in the water in the fresh air and sunshine was heavenly! I realize that family comes first, and am happy to give up a lot of my workout time in order to sit bedside with my daughter. But at the same time, I need to do SOMETHING here and there for my sanity; it makes me a better mother.
(Speaking of training, I feel that my fitness has really gone downhill recently. I haven't done a long run since June 5 when I ran the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, and while I have done a few swims since then, I have only gotten one "real" bike ride in, although I've had a few sessions on the spin bike at the gym. I have a new mysterious pain in my foot and am trying to stay non-impact for the next few days. I really need to kick it up a notch once I get my princess home, so I'm in optimal shape for my first Olympic-length triathlon.)
I am glad to have the outlet, even if it's occasionally, to work out as a stress release. I need to take care of myself in order to be there for my kids and husband, and I can think of no better way to do so. Hopefully the next post I write will reporting that my baby is finally home!
#217: Author Matt Fitzgerald Talks Mental Fitness
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