Friday September 18
Big rush this morning – it’s picture day at school – I try to make sure Tara and Quinn are presentable from the waist up. There was some discussion about wearing the 29 shirts backward for the pictures but we decided that we would save them of Saturday’s visit to you.
I drive to Halifax with Lori and 2 of her children. It’s a beautiful morning with some fall colours showing and we have a great talk about raising kids and helping them find things to be passionate about in their life … and then the conversation drifts to you … again. Lori’s positive approach to parenthood and life (and even death) is contagious.
You are asleep, I let you sleep because I spotted Steve and Rebecca, the occupational therapy (OT) team – they are going to get you up soon enough. Christie, another OT person has left some instructions on exercises you can do to help your recovery. I want to get a handle on them today so I can help you do them on the weekend.
Marjorie, day nurse, said you had a good night, but you were less impressed with the early morning, and when asked to give a thumbs-up, you gave another finger instead! You better not do that in front of the children. I’ve never known you to use that sign in the years I’ve known you. She wondered if there was a little frontal lobe damage (it controls personality – I think). I like to think that you are yourself – but just extremely frustrated with everything and being trapped in a body that doesn’t do what you tell it.
I have been thinking a lot about how I talk to you. Are your thoughts confusing to you or are you able to think clearly? Do you hear and understand us as you normally do. And if so, are you irritated that everyone is talking to you like you are a child? Yesterday, I tried to listen to what and how I was talking to you. I have no idea how my words or perceived by you. What feelings are you having – confusion, sorrow, despair, euphoria – I don’t know – your face reveals nothing – maybe your finger conveyed the real feelings you are having.
When you awake, I will try to talk to you like I normally would in my usual style of a some rambling, a little nagging and add in a lot of encouraging thoughts.
Today, I am going to try to catch up on the diary, because as you are awake more – I’ll have less time to write and yet I want to continue to document your story for you.
Tomorrow, Tara and Quinn will come to visit you. I want to try to find some activities nearby for us to do so the visit to you will be broken up over the day. Quinn will miss a birthday party to come to visit, when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said – “visit Daddy”.
Christie comes in and goes over your left-hand exercises with me. I ask her about the muscle tremors and whether to massage them out or not. She says – “lightly massage only – the tremors are probably coming from the brain injury and unlike the muscle cramps from running, massage will only make them worse.” She asks about your running and I give her some stories of your Boston experience and the blog address.
Christie asks about your bracelet on your left wrist. It’s the blue rubber bracelet you wear for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football team. It reads ‘Play like a Companion Today’. A motto, that is dear to your heart. I said to Christie that you WILL be one of her best patients because you will work very hard and do everything you are told.
Steve and Rebecca get you up in the chair and I give you a tour around the 7th floor. We settle back in your room with you in the chair and I try to talk to you and tell what’s happening. You motion that you have belly pain – I ask if it’s heartburn – you indicate yes.
The feeding tube, that goes through your nose into your stomach, maybe the source of the discomfort. It passes right through the lower esophageal sphincter – which allows acid to burn the esophagus. I ask Marjorie about additional treatments to help the pain. The feeding has to stay in until the tracheotomy tube comes out – so medicating heartburn is the only thing to do.
I get out a few treasures of your that I brought from home – to see if they provoke any response. I show you a baseball – you finger it and palm it and try to squeeze it, even weakly toss it in the air … What a show off!
Juanita and Wayne come to visit with Maddie and little Farley – but you asleep. John K visits – you still sleep. John and I have a great talk about the amazing power of the brain – the seemingly untapped potential … or IS it untapped – maybe it is being used in ways we just don’t understand yet. Just before John leaves, you rally and even shake hands with John – another new trick!
Adva visits. Tonight is the “Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, ” She says. “I brought you some apples and honey because it will bring you a Sweet New Year. What a great thought.
You get to see your new nephew, Farley for the first time – and you clearly say ‘Farley’ three times…“Farley, Farley, Farley”
It’s music to my heart.