The only reason I haven’t been writing daily updates is because every day it sounds better and better, and that just makes me want to be there more!
Joe sat up an hour today. We took him around to see the little aviary, full of finches and a canary. He ate well all day. Lots of company today, and he held up okay, letting everyone else do most of the talking. He spoke on the phone twice. He’s clearly stronger, though he’s frustrated to be so weak. Looks like he’s lost 30 pounds on the famous ICU (lack of) diet. Love, Gay
Yesterday, Joe really didn’t eat the finches… Brandy and Christina went in to see Joe this morning and I went for a walk around Sharon Woods Park. He spent an hour in the wheelchair with them. I met them for lunch, then went up to watch his PT session. He wheeled his own chair down the hall, stood with help and walked 6 small steps. Then he sat a while, then stood once more. He stayed in the chair for a little while, but was exhausted. A really good job for his first full PT session. He still can’t sit up on the edge of the bed without help, but soon will be able to. Slow but surely. It was wonderful to see him standing and walking. Love, Gay
Brandy & Christina went in to see Joe this morning and I took another lovely walk in Sharon Woods Park. Rusty and I met them for lunch, then we all went up to see Joe.
He worked a little longer with PT this morning, mostly standing and sitting. Still can’t quite sit himself up on the edge of the bed. They plan to remove the trach tube tomorrow. He ate well and talked a lot, about writing, teaching, poetry and what happens next. Read the newspaper. Fell asleep trying to read e-mail. We wheeled him outside into the nice atrium, wrapped in a blanket, for just a few minutes. Great to be in the sunshine, he said. He was up in the wheelchair three times today. Hope that means he’ll sleep well tonight. Love, Gay
Joe walked with a walker today, just a few steps. They pulled out his trach tube (easily). Now his throat whistles when he talks, but that’ll heal up quickly. He passed the barium swallowing test, so he can have real food instead of “dental soft” food. And real water and juice instead of thickened water and juice, yuck. He was able to read quite a bit of a book for the first time, too, and watched a whole movie on TV. They made him play with a medicine ball, throwing it back and forth and wore him right out. I drove Rusty up to Dayton to get his mail. He’s off to be toastmaster at ICON in Iowa City tomorrow. Thanks for all the messages and cards and stuff. Love, Gay
A small setback this morning. While walking between parallel bars, something pulled in Joe’s abdomen. He kept going, but It hurt so badly, he had to stop. Turns out something in his wound-repair vacuum system had let go (this is a futuristic fast-healing vacuum device that involves a machine, aluminum, collagen and I don’t what else). Everyone hopped around and fixed it, but it still hurt some this evening. In spite of this, he got up and let me wheel him around the outside of the Center, to look at the beautiful yellow, red, orange leaves. He was up for almost two hours, exhausted, but his reward was a complete sponge bath. So with luck it wasn’t a big setback. Love, Gay
Joe was tired and wobbly at 10 this morning as he started PT. He stood twice, for two minutes each time, and did an arm exercise with bicycle pedals. It seems that the wound team had just spent quite a while with him, cleaning his incision and readjusting the wound vac. It turns out he has an infection in the incision. He was droopy all day, at least partly psychologically. He reluctantly let me get him up for an hour in the afternoon and we wheeled to the cafeteria for coffee. He worked on a crossword puzzle for a while. The speech therapist found us there and taught him another exercise to strengthen his swallowing muscles. At 5, they put in an IV connection to start antibiotics while they wait for a culture to determine exactly what kind of infection it is. His spirits were much better by then. So were mine. Love, Gay