Early morning Unca Joe catch-up post

Every day when he gets better and better, it gets harder and harder for me to be happy to be home. Now that he’s recovering so well, pushing himself so hard, I just want to be there. I feel more and more disconnected from the happenings around me here in Gainesville, and want only to be getting kissy faces from my uncle, trying to get Aunt Gay to go for a long relaxing walk, and listening to Rusty’s endlessly fascinating stories.

Tuesday from Aunt Gay –

In his room right now, noon. Set up the iPod and he has a smile on his face, listening to Jack Williams. PT sat him on the side of the bed. A chair tomorrow. He’s on a trach cuff now, room air plus oxygen. The cuff was moved aside and he’s tolerating room air alone just fine. Yay! No fever. Yay! Real food. Yay!

Wednesday –

Joe’s still doing well, though weak. Sat in a chair for the first time. Catheter is gone. Still has gastric tube, but is eating a little. He has a speaking valve & uses it well, though it tires him out. They’re moving him tomorrow to Drake Rehab Hospital. When the nurse was checking his blood sugar, I asked where his sugar was. Joe said, “She’s sitting over there,” pointing at me.

He had the nurse call me this morning to bring the laptop, said he was bored. As soon as we got there, though, the parade of nurses and therapists started and wore him out. He did see all the cards that’ve been piling up, finally. He laughed at each of the funny ones. One more step forward, none back so far.

Thursday (including a new mailing address, if you want to send fruit/flowers/cards/naked photos of nubile young women) –

Joe moved to Drake Center, 151 W. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45216. Private room. The transition was smooth, though tiring. He’s being assessed by everyone, so people were in and out interacting with him all day. Everyone seems upbeat and happy. The gastric tube is out, so he’s trying to eat more and the food is better. He’s stronger today, able to shift in bed and hold a fork. He even read a couple of e-mails and the comics. Seems like a good place for him right now. Dinner with Denise and Steve Leigh for Rusty and me. Love, Gay

And joy! Friday –

Mike Glicksohn came in for a visit, from Toronto. Joe was delighted to see him. As we arrived, the OT lady was having Joe put on his own pants and he succeeded. Then she got him on his feet long enough to transfer to a tall wheelchair, where he sat up for over an hour. The pulmonary doc started  him on the protocol to get off the trach tube. First, they cap it for four hours, to see if he breathes okay without any help. He’s doing fine. Tomorrow, it’s 8 hours; then 12. If all goes well, they’ll pull the tube on Tuesday or Wednesday. He fell sound asleep after all the activity, so we went to Guy and Becca’s for a quick visit. Then came back to find him wide-awake and alert. He’d received an Edible Arrangements bouquet that smelled wonderful, full of different kinds of fruit. I had to get permission to give him any, but we were finally able to cut it up small & let him have some. Strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, oh my. He ate until he didn’t want any more. Just then his dinner arrived; he ate most of it, for the first time. I think the fruit was an appetite stimulant.

I forgot to mention yesterday: One doctor came in and asked who Rusty was. Joe said he didn’t know; that guy was here when he arrived. Today the nurses thought Joe, Mike and Rusty were all related. I think it had something to do with the gray beards.

I can’t wait to see what today brings.

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