I had a good sleep. I was awake at 6 AM and started to write. My mind is much clearer and my thoughts more organized after a good night’s sleep. I can even process some of the feelings I had when I talked with Dr. Walling. I know he was just trying to help me and give me the benefit of his experience.
I knew your recovery would take time but I did need to hear that it would take time … lots of time from him. He made it more real and now I have time frame. I won’t hold him to the 6 months to 2-year period but at least I have an actual number to work with and you can have your expectations too.
You are restless in the morning. I ask Kari, today’s nurse, what she thought. She said you didn’t sleep well last night. She said it was discussed with the doctors and you will start on a sedative at bedtime to try to help.
Apparently, brain injured patients have a hard time getting used to time passing. I had a sense of this, which is why we got you the clock and white board to keep track of the days. It seems that all that sleep, you had in those early days, has messed up your natural circadian rhythm. I am glad your bed is next to the window. This may help get you oriented to the day. Artificial light probably wouldn’t help.
You are quite alert when we were with you. The children notice your voice is stronger. I think that’s because it’s still early in the day. I’ve noticed the best talking is when you are rested.
As a family we all practice tongue and lip exercises. You looked in a mirror to help your efforts. I hope the face you saw didn’t scare you. You have improved your lip and tongue skills. Tara, Quinn and I decide that, as a reward, you should have your golden chain back with the golden 29, the Saint Christopher medal and Janice’s Cross (which was blessed by a priest.)
I explain the Tara and Quinn that, to swallow, you must close your lips. Tara and Quinn start to experiment to disprove the theory. After a lot of facial contortions, they actually do figure out how to swallow without their lips closed … it’s not easy and looks a little odd. I picture them explaining to their classmates at school resulting in tables of kids, at lunch, all trying to swallow with their lips apart!
I ask if you want me to brush your teeth. You say “Yes”. You proceed to take the toothbrush from me and brush them yourself! Your teeth got a good vigorous brushing. That must have felt so good. We get you in the chair and wheel you around the floor for a change of scenery. That wore you out and you fell asleep.
We go get some lunch and then we head back to Mary and Stuart’s home. Andrea had offered to baby-sit them. I hand over the treasure I was saving for them: “ET” DVD that Sarah (one of Chris’ many childhood friends) had sent us and. ‘Bendaroos’ ( a craft toy). They were happy with their afternoon plan.
I went back to the hospital, to sit by your side. You were sleeping. I dare not wake you. Occasionally, you got restless but then you settled as soon as I touched your leg. Then, you went back to sleep. As you sleep, your right hand gets restless against the restraint. Your right hand finds your left hand. You entwine the fingers of your right with that of your left. Like young lovers might. I hope that by finding your left hand, it’s a sign your brain wants it back.
When you woke up, we talk quietly. You ask “Why didn’t you die.” I try to explain your miracle. You are quiet. I think you need time to come to terms of an answer like that.
I get back to the children and watch to last 25 minutes of ET with them. I’ve not seen ET before. As I watch the tail end of it, I wonder if Sarah choose it for a reason. ET could be a metaphor for you … A stranger trapped in a world that doesn’t understand him and only love allows ET to live. Have all the signs we’ve been getting – your way of ‘calling home’?
As we drive home, Dr. Walling calls to say the your left hip Xray shows a little arthritis. He feels it’s not enough to cause you significant pain. He says that the pain is probably a result of being in a bed for so long. He thinks it will get better with time. I have to admit, in my estimation as a woman, I have always felt that men have significantly lower pain thresholds. Childbirth would probably kill the average guy. I rest my case on you.
It may seem obvious to people who write journals, but to me, I feel I have discovered a way to find meaning from the day. Each day and every day. It forces me to live in the moment. It’s interesting how your journey is teaching me new things about myself.
Chris, I hope that if you take over writing your story, you will also find meaning in each day. Each day of your recovery will have challenges, triumphs and frustrations. Each day will be a measure of your determination to get better. Each day will inspire you to continue.