Diana felt that there was no one who could take better care of Bernie than her. Bernie needed to wear compression socks and putting them on his legs was the hardest part of helping him. No matter how Bernie felt, Diana made sure to give him a pain pill every four hours to stay ahead of the pain. Diana helped Bernie do some exercises she was taught by the doctors. She also walked with him and they both made sure he was reaching his milestones. Bernie ended up having pneumonia since he and Diana were unaware that he needed to be monitoring his lungs and using his breathing tool, a incentive spirometer, to prevent complications from being down in bed for a long period of time.
DIANA: When he came out of surgery he looked great. And he felt great. And they brought him up to his room and within four hours he was walking on his leg. And the one thing I remember is that they kept saying you gotta keep that pain in check. So you don't ever want it to go to where you're trying to catch up to me. So the pain medication was just huge. And it's funny because he didn't have any pain. They kept saying, "What's your pain level?" And he'd say it's three but I really don't think there was any pain 'cause there was so much pain medication.
DIANA: The next morning and I guess the doctor had come and said, "You're good to go." And he was just not emotionally ready to go home. I think physically he could have gone home because he was up and walking with the walker. Emotionally I don't think I was ready for him to come home. I was happy that he was gonna spend another night there 'cause, um, I was nervous. 'Cause it's a huge scar and it's a huge surgery. And it kinda scared us both.
DIANA: We have a two story house. The master bedroom's on the first story. And there-so there's a couple of stairs going into the house. And a couple of stairs around the house. But he really didn't have to do a flight of stairs. He had done a couple of flights of stairs at the hospital.
DIANA: He asked me, "Do you think we should get some in care for the home?" And I said, "Nobody's gonna take care of you better than me." And jokingly, I was kind of joking.
DIANA: We knew that we were gonna have a nurse there a couple times that first week doing the blood pressure and the fever and checking the wound to make sure it wasn't getting infected. Which is what they're really concerned about. And we knew that we were gonna have a physical therapist there a couple of times a week until he had his follow up appointment. And that was actually five weeks down the road.
DIANA: He had had a blood clot the surgery 25 years ago and ended up back in the hospital. So they were very concerned about that. And so I think I was concerned about that.
DIANA: He wore the socks for three weeks and I have to say the hardest part of my job was getting those socks on because I don't think he could physically do it by himself even today. And it was a big deal for me that he had clean socks every day. In the hospital they put one pair on and you go home in that pair. They don't care how many days you wear them. But I wanted clean socks every day for him. So that was the biggest challenge of our day I think was getting those socks on him. [LAUGH I was like sweating half the time because I didn't want to hurt him. And it was just hard getting them on.
DIANA: I think he was feeling a lot better than I thought he was. Because they stressed it in the hospital that you really had to stay ahead of the pain. So my phone was set every four hours, the alarm would go off. I didn't even ask if he needed it or not.
DIANA: They said he'd be on the pain medication for like eight to 12 weeks and he was completely off of it after three weeks.
DIANA: He came home on Friday and the following Wednesday I took him to his sister's house for a business family meeting. I was a wreck because I had to drive away and he had his walker and nobody else there knew how to take care of him. [LAUGH] Only me. That was important for him to get out. When I picked him up I could tell just the way he was walking out that he was tired and he came home and I did his exercises with him in the morning and the afternoon. And I made sure we did two walks a day. And I made sure when he wasn't up he had ice and I was consistently filling up the ice bucket.
DIANA: They showed me in the hospital how to work the leg and move it and, you know, what exercises he was supposed to be doing and how many repetitions. And he could have done that all by himself but just having me there made it more accountable, you know. And I don't know. He was eager to-to do it with me I think for some reason, you know.
DIANA: Every day I saw an improvement. They said we're gonna have good days and bad days. We had not very many bad days. Probably one or two. Which was exciting for him. I think we would walk a little bit further and then we're at the fire station and then we did a mile. And having the guidelines too. I mean we had the whole binder that said, you know, you should be here at this point and at this stage. It was good for him to know that he was on track and that there was no infection and was healing nicely. The swelling was going down. He was excited every day to get going and do what he was supposed to do.
DIANA: He still doesn't tackle the stairs very often. I mean he could be going up and down the stairs a couple times a day. And I think that makes him nervous.
DIANA: I think having a dog running around the house is frightening. I mean that just freaks us both out because once that dog goes running through the house we're both kind of like oh watch out.
DIANA: But the hardest part I think for him was just getting in the shower by himself. When I think like people go home and do this by themselves I think for us, it was just a comfort level for him and for myself knowing that if something happened, if he fell or tripped or something I was there. Because I wouldn't go to the store unless I knew he was going to be icing for the next hour or... 'cause I was just so worried that if he did fall or he was alone that would, I think that scared us both is that was the only thing we were really worried about.
DIANA: I have never slept so soundly as I did that first week being home. Because I think I was just so emotionally and physically exhausted. I don't sleep for anything. And that first week I'd get into bed and I would just I'd be out. I'd be out like a light.
DIANA: He ended up with pneumonia which I feel responsible for that because they do that little thing where you blow the ball in the hospital. And they sent it home with us but nobody ever said you need to keep doing that. And so three weeks after he had been home he got really sick and ended up back at the doctor's. So I feel a little guilty for that. It might be part of my problem because I should have been thinking oh he should be blowing in that thing every day. [LAUGH] But he wasn't.
DIANA: Well when I picked him up I could tell just the way he was walking out that he was tired. And he came home and he immediately wanted ice. And so any kind of activity outside of the house he comes home and he definitely wants to ice it. Yesterday he had his first physical therapy outside of our home. He's driving himself right now but he came home and he immediately wanted to ice his leg.
DIANA: You know, getting up and walking to the fire station. I mean you do that walk twice a day for three weeks. You know, you don't wanna do it anymore. You-you kinda get over it and tired of it. And so then we'd get in the car and we'd go to the mall. It took me a while to figure out that he was getting bored with what we were doing. And so we tried to switch it around a little bit.
DIANA: He likes to stay active and not only active but needed. Like he wanted to take the trash out for me and things that I was more than happy to keep doing. He wanted to feed the dog and he wanted to take the dog on the walk. And it was just, you know, you d-not a good idea.