Like all patients, I was in the cardiac ICU department after surgery. I did not allow any visitors for any reason! Why gross people out? [LOL]
After an ICU repose of two evenings (Thursday & Friday), I was sent to the Transitional Care Unit.
But it's not QUITE that easy.
In ICU, you have a Registered Nurse (RN) to care for you alone. Once you are stable and taken off the ventilator, the nurse may care for you and another patient close by.
The Ventilator: you wake up with a breathing tube in place. You are not able to speak or drink anything while this tube is in place. The breathing tube is attached to a "ventilator" that helps you to breathe until you are awake enough to breathe on your own. The machine and tube are then removed. This is a normal and necessary part of major surgical procedures.
Around 2 p.m. on my afternoon in ICU (Friday), a guy comes in to remove the breathing tube. You practice the procedure. You try to take a deep breath (yeah, right) and cough. On the second or third practice, the tube came up. So did half of the lunch that I had eaten the day before surgery (Wednesday). The reason that you 'cough' is to protect your larynx which can be damaged by the moving tube!
Then they give you four hours rest before even more even tubes come out. Changes, these are little - albeit uncomfortable - changes.
This guy had bypass surgery. I had a valve & descending aortic artery repair. I dunno... maybe not so different... he has WAY more energy than I did at this point.
But four hours after the breathing tube comes out, you get the neck catheter and PICC removed! Oh, and the Foley is removed. Don't touch my JUNK! (except, what's the alternative?)
So, now that you are stripped down to 'fighting weight' they move you to a transitional care unit - with three drain tubes still attached.
A few patients seriously needed a cup of STFU. Of course there are discomforts, of course there are pains (plural) but just friggin live with it. O.K.? They didn't say "Beach Volleyball a day after surgery! "How do you think those folks in Japan feel with their children exposed to radiation while the politicians debate moving the capitol to safer ground (at their expense)?
In the transitional care unit, there are 3 RNs 24/7 for every 3 patients. This is where you either make grade or keep other people awake with code blue or other interruptions.
When I woke up after midnight in the TCU (Saturday)...