(10th Blog Post by “Bert & I” on Behalf of Recovering Ali)
Ali continued to make progress on her 2nd day back home in Kunming.
“Bert & I” are pleased to report that this will be our final independent post, as Ali is able to sit up again and plans to take back her blog editor’s chair … maybe after a little nap.
Off-duty Blog Editor …
Overall, there is good news on most fronts, albeit with the proverbial ‘two steps forward – one step back’ pattern.
Top of the steps-forward list is that Ali is now off all opiate-based pain medication and with seemingly minimal withdrawal symptoms. Acute neck pain from the surgical wound continues to ease unless provoked by lower body muscle spasms, and she is finally getting adequate sleep. Ali is sitting up again today in her wheelchair wearing a protective collar, but she sleeps without the collar.
Topping the steps-backward list are recurring bouts of agonizing pain, triggered by random spasms that seem to launch from her legs and throw her head back violently against neck brace + chair headrest . Unfortunately, also, some percentage of Ali’s pre-surgery neuropathic pain remains, although overall the trend continues to look promising.
The strikingly strong spasms are occurring in the absence of the drug Baclofen, which Ali plans now to reintroduce at 50 mg daily until the surgery healing process is further along. Otherwise, Baclofen use in the Kunming rehabilitation program is strongly discouraged because of its adverse effect on muscle tone.
Ali has been instructed to perform a range of exercises each day while still recuperating from surgery, and a member of the Kunming Walking Programme rehab staff will be visiting daily at home to ensure she stays active with the prescribed routine.
To prevent formation of blood clots in her legs while spending to much time in bed, Ali is wearing three times daily for an hour what can only be described as giant, pulsating air boots that extend from the bottom of her feet all the way to her upper thighs. These hi-tech boots massage her legs in order to prevent deep venous thrombosis, as recent analysis of her blood has revealed that she is more prone than average to clotting.
Happily, Chinese physicians as well as nurses still perform house calls! Friday, for example, Ali’s first full day back home, one of her surgeons and two nurses (one of whom was off duty) came by for 4 hours to work with her. Blood was taken, and Ali received oxygen during the visit, as she was not feeling well. The visiting doctor lectured Ali on not eating enough, which is not so surprising as the pain medications have been suppressing her appetite. They insist she eat more protein to promote healing, and so for good measure they brought along an I.V. food bag and hooked her up.
Some feast! 🙂
While waiting for the 4-hour I.V. “meal” to complete, Ali’s mother, Uschi, entertained the medical support staff with her now locally renowned, Nespresso-based cappuccinos + cookies.
Mom’s cappuccino is very popular with visiting nurses!
Indeed, Ali is at risk of having to add an extra room to the apartment as American hospitality proves increasingly popular with her new Chinese friends. Actually, plans are underway to create “Café Ali” right at home, where regular movie evenings will be hosted weekly. She plans either American movies with Chinese sub-titles or the reverse. Or maybe Indian “Bollywood” with double sub-titles!
Other local news is that neighbor Sandra Lindberg has taken in yet another stray dog (she’s up to 4 now … no name yet for the latest) and came by yesterday to introduce the puppy to Ali, who has been thinking about acquiring another cat, as her beloved cat Bonsai remains in The Bahamas. She really enjoyed her new visitor.
New neighbor pays a visit …
Sunday brother Mattias departs for Beijing and then back to his family and home in Atlanta. He has been in Kunming for the past two very critical weeks and has been a constant source of both comfort and inspiration for Ali. Indeed, Mattias slept beside Ali for seven consecutive nights while she was in hospital.
With warm, Kunming hugs to all that have been following Ali’s ongoing adventures here in Yunnan Province, China.