The whole thing was worth it to see Uncle Joe sit up in bed, unsupported. He looked weak and wobbly, but determined and humorous.
What else happened that day? Nothing really seems important other than Uncle Joe wearing his glasses, holding hands, and making funny faces. And lifting his arm to comb his hair.
We woke up, had breakfast (some of us, ahem, may have been a little dehydrated from the night before); the family all converged at the condo; we went to the hospital; we went for ice cream and the yarn shop next door; then we went our separate ways. Tim and I had a fuck of a tiring time getting home (Atlanta has weather! Delay all flights!) but eventually got home – about ten minutes before the Gainesville airport crew packs it up for the night which meant that we got to get our bags.
When we went to see Uncle Joe in the morning, they were going to move him to another room. He’s out of ICU! So we were all able to crowd in his room, even though we said we weren’t – nobody wanted to leave his side because he was so alert, so aware, so funny with the facial expressions. He still had the trach in (75% of the breathing is him, 25% is the machine – they’re definitely weaning him down as much as they can). We got to watch him do the swallow test – pureed juice, regular juice, a graham cracker. We got to watch his first PT/OT session/evaluation; they sat him up and both held him and then let him support himself, had him comb his hair with both arms (that old Rotator Cuff injury was bothering him a bit), had him move his legs a bit. It was beautiful to watch, considering how he was a few days before, and I think that there wasn’t a dry eye around. Except maybe for him, because he had this look of “what the fuck, people, sitting up is not that much of a challange”).
Later in the day he used this fabulous board that Tim’s sister Jenny (an OT) put together (oh my gosh, she put SO MUCH together!) to communicate. He wanted his iPod (which I understand from Aunt Gay’s email that I just got) that he’s happily listening to even as I type, and when Jag asked if she could send him anything, he used the alphabet board to spell out “WORLD PEACE”. So if you have any of that extra, please box it up and send it his way!
Speaking of sending things – he may be out of the hospital and into the rehab center soon. If you want to send anything to him, Aunt Gay, or Rusty, please send it to the Oliver Street address (drop me a line if you need that).
A big thanks to Tim’s wonderful family for everything they did for us, both in South Bend and in coming to Cincinnati. I have said it before, but it bears repeating – I totally won the inlaw lottery when I married into that family.
And a big thanks to everyone else for coming to Cincy or planning on coming to Cincy in the next few weeks, and everyone’s thoughts, email, comments, posts… you name it. I thank you. I love you!