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Lost and Found – Chapter 4

Ashley got out of ICU the next morning.  She is in a regular room which means the whole family can visit at once, and they don’t have to worry about the room being so tiny and confined.  This also meant that Frankie could come and visit his big sister whenever he wanted too.  Children under 16 were not allowed in the ICU because of germs.

The swallowing test showed that Ashley isn’t able to chew up her food.  The brain damage from the seizures showed that she has troubles chewing, she either doesn’t know how to chew, or doesn’t remember that she is supposed to chew and then swallow.  So, she is now on a pureed diet, which basically means she has to eat food that is already in a soft form, so that way she can just swallow without having to worry about chewing.

Kevin, Joe, Nick, and Frankie were watching football earlier, but Ashley didn’t like that she started yelling and got very agitated while they were watching the game.

            They switched the channel over to the HGTV network which had Property Brothers on.  They were remodeling an 1870’s house that had a ghost in it and were having problems.  The ghost didn’t want them to remodel the house.  Ashley was finding it hilarious, she was laughing and smiling the whole time.

Denise noticed that Ashley’s legs were swollen during a commercial.  “Ash, honey, do your legs hurt,” Denise asked Ashley who just blinked at her once before tears started filling up in her eyes and she broke down sobbing.

            This caught Kevin, Joe, and Nick’s attention.  They turned off the TV and came over to Ashley and Denise “what’s wrong over here,” Kevin said.  Ashley just kept on crying, she was in pain, her legs hurt so much, and she just wanted to make it stop.

            The nurses and doctors came in and started testing for swelling in the legs and the calves.  Ashley of course started freaking out and crying because the machine was cold and hurt a lot when it was on her legs.  “Ashley,” Paul said, “if you are good, I will get you an ice cream shake, how does that sound?” Ashley blinked once and then tried to not cry for the rest of the ten-minute procedure.  She did start tearing up once after that but other than that she did great.

            As soon as the procedure was done, Paul went and got Ashley a vanilla shake, at her request, from the closet ice cream parlor, but not before asking everyone else what they wanted.

            “Come on Frank, let’s go get some ice cream, I’ll let you ride shotgun,” Paul said.  He could tell that the boy was getting restless and tired.  The nurse had also told them that they were going to come in and give Ashley a suppository to help get her bowels moving.  Paul didn’t want Frankie to see that happen to Ashley.

            “Hi Ashley, we are going to hopefully make your tummy feel a little better, how does that sound?” the red headed nurse said as she came in the room with a tray of supplies.

            Ashley blinked once, her stomach was hurting all day long today, and she wasn’t sure what was wrong, she just wasn’t feeling good.  Everyone who came into the room this morning knew it because she would scream and get very angry at them.

            The nurse took down the blankets and sheets and started removing her wet diaper.  They were changing her every three hours at the hospital so she wouldn’t get a rash.  “Can you help me roll her on her side,” the nurse asked Nick who was sitting next to her on the chair.  He stood up and took Ashley by her back and started rolling her to her right side, so she was facing him.

            The nurse first cleaned her bottom, since she was wet and then she explained that she was going to put a suppository up her bottom, she counted to three and pushed it in.  Ashley of course started crying when the suppository went up her butt.

            “Oh honey, shhh,” Nick said as he wiped her eyes with the pad of his thumbs.  “It’s all over Ash, it’s all over,” Nick soothed her.

            “You can roll her back now,” the nurse said to Nick who rolled Ashley on her back and then gave her a kiss on the forehead.

            “We will diaper you and it should only take around twenty minutes to work,” the nurse was pulling the diaper up through Ashley’s legs when she noticed that the suppository was starting to work.

            “When she is done, press the nurse’s button and I will come and change her,” the nurse said to the family.

            Just then Paul and Frankie came walking in the door with ice cream malts for everyone.  “Here Ash, let’s get you one of these,” Nick said as he walked over to the tray which had the shakes on them, “hey Dad, is there any special one for Ashley?”

            “One of the vanilla ones, Joe wanted just vanilla too,” Paul said back to Nick.  Everyone wanted something different, and they were all complicated, the only ones that weren’t where Ashley and Joe, who both wanted vanilla.

            Ashley enjoyed her ice cream shake and didn’t choke on it once; they gave her small bites and it took a long time to feed her, but she was happy to eat it.

            “Nick,” Ashley mind talked later on that night.  She had so many questions for him and she had been asking him all of them whenever they came to her mind.  Nick was feeding her pureed chicken, carrots, peas, pears, and she was drinking some water.  During the swallow test they figured out that she could drink anything, it was just the chewing part that she had a problem with.

            “Why do I have to eat this stuff that looks disgusting,” Ashley said as she looked at Nick.  She didn’t like this stuff one bit and she hadn’t even had a bite.  “I will just live on milkshakes,” she said to Nick.

Nick just laughed at her comment, “I don’t think you can live on just milkshakes,” Nick said to Ashley.

“Fine,” Ashley said as she opened her mouth.  It tasted exactly like chicken; it was just the texture that was a little weird.  She ended up eating the whole plate.

Denise wasn’t able to sleep at all that night; she was worried about Ashley.  So, when they came into check her levels in the middle of the night and found her low, Denise freaked out.  This was the first low Denise ever experienced with Ashley, since she has been in the hospital, she has been constantly high.

Ashley was not a happy camper to be woken up in the middle of the night for some juice.  She did drink all of the juice and was able to stay awake for another half an hour to make sure that she was all leveled out before she dozed off.

This is when Denise started to realize how hard everything was going to be, not only having a daughter who wasn’t able to speak or walk but a diabetic on top of that.  She could go low or high in a matter of minutes, she had seen Nick do that many times before, but he was able to tell someone or help himself before it got too dangerous, Ashley couldn’t even tell someone.  She would need around the clock care.

The next morning the doctor came in to do rounds.  “I heard that you had a pretty rough night Ashley,” the doctor said as he came over and started moving her legs, he then took out his flashlight and started shining the light in her eyes.

“She is having a little better reaction to the light, but not what I would like to see, she is still not closing her eyes as quick as I would like to see though,” the doctor said as he turned around to face Denise.  “I would like to get some blood work on her today, also.”

“I want to make sure that the lab work comes back okay.  If it does, I would like to move her to a rehab center for further rehabilitation,” the doctor said.  “I will get the lab work order in and they will be up shortly to take the blood, hopefully we have it back by tonight and then we can talk about rehab options.”

Ashley’s nurse came in to do vitals and change her diaper before the phlebotomist came in to take the blood work.  “Ashley how about we change you and then vitals,” Ashley’s nice nurse said as she waited for Ashley to agree, which she did by blinking once.

The nurse pulled down the sheets, and went about changing the very wet diaper, she had to roll on her side.  Denise helped roll her on her side and kept her there, she talked to her while the nurse was wiping down her bottom.

After she was done being changed and the vitals were taken the phlebotomist came in to take blood.  The doctor had already signed saying that if they couldn’t get it in the hands, to try the foot.  They got it right away in the foot though.

Later on, that night when the whole family was there, the doctor came in again this time with news, “her blood work seems fine, and we have done everything that we can here.  It is time for her to move on to a rehab facility.”

“Rehab.  What is she going to gain from rehab she can’t even talk let alone walk,” Paul asked the doctor?  He really couldn’t think of any reason why she would go to rehab; it didn’t make sense to him.

            “They will help get the equipment needed for Ashley so she can go home, we have done all we can do here,” the doctor said as he again looked in Ashley’s eyes with the bright light.

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