TW: Graphic photo
Mark is back to his post-surgery antics. Insisting on getting up despite every effort to distract and dissuade him. He’s got a torso restraint as well as mitts and hand restraints. He pulled out an IV line. That wasn’t a big deal. Then he pulled out one of two tubes in his nose, which are there to provide support to the graft. When his nurse saw that he had pulled it out, she closed her eyes and took deep breaths, placed an urgent call to neurosurgery, and started to cry. I told her it was okay and he’s a really hard patient. She told me that she’s never seen a patient on their unit with as many tubes and drains as he has.
Mark is defiant and also out of his mind. During the pre-op appointment with neurosurgery, I told the doctor that I was prepared for Mark to have delirium again. “Oh, without a doubt he will have delirium,: he replied. Yesterday Mark told me he had to get out of bed because it was time to pick up the boys. “Where are they?” I asked. “At Pizza Hut,” he said. “I’ll get them,” I said. “I want to get them,” he said, and continued to try to problem-solve his restraints. When I left, I told Mark to be good. “No,” he replied. “I’m going to be bad. BAAAAD.” You just have to laugh, or you’ll cry. (Also, they have a dedicated 24/7 one-on-one sitter with him now.)
I took a photo of Mark’s neck that provides an ironic lens for what it’s like to be taking care of Mark right now. This was an easy pick, this photo. What is not pictured is this: they incised nearly 3/4 of his head. Take your finger and trace from your throat to your left ear. Then take your finger and trace from below your right ear to where your right ear meets your temple. That is the only part of Mark’ head that they did not cut open. Everything else is sutured and stapled, drains sticking out, a tissue graft covered. He’s speckled with blood spatter. There are tiny blue threads sticking out of one cheek from sutures inside his mouth, where another incision was made. Then there’s the severely bruised right arm where the arterial line was placed. And his PICC line. And his incised thigh.
And he fights, and fights.