December 30, 2021 – January 1, 2022

December 30, 2021 – January 1, 2022

I know, it seems like a letdown, right, to have such a long couple of posts/days, and then here I am lumping three days into one?! How dare I deprive you of drama! I’m actually not sure there was much drama in these three days. I was pretty numb, and let Tim’s family take over.

Dust in our eyes our own boots kicked up
Heartsick we nursed along the way we picked up
You may not see it when it’s sticking to your skin
But we’re better off for all that we let in

We’ve lost friends and loved ones much too young
There were so much promises and work left undone
When all that guards us is a single centerline
And the brutal crossing over when it’s time

Well, I don’t know where it all begins
And I don’t know where it all will end
We’re better off for all that we let in

From Facebook, on the 30th:

No real update from me today… I’ve been instructed to stay home today and to only leave the house if I’m going to the studio to lose myself in art for a couple of hours. Other than that my instructions are to eat the food people put in front of me, and nap. Linda, bless her heart, stayed all night at the hospital, and she doesn’t want to leave. Jenny took Bill in, so they can be there together, and when Jenny goes to the airport to pick Billy up this evening, she’ll bring either Bill or Linda back, and the other one will stay overnight. Jenny is totally taking charge of delegating, and I love her for that … for some reason sometimes I’m not a good delegator/letter-go-of things?!

Linda has been texting almost every hour with updates, tho. He’s still not able to speak very well, although he can communicate through gestures, nods, and some words, but the words are very hard to get out. I’ve also texted with him, and if you just read his text messages you’d never know anything was wrong. Mostly, she says, though, he’s just been resting.

However, this last stroke yesterday messed with his ability to swallow, and he still can’t, really, so they’re giving him a feeding tube through his nose. Makes me gag to think about, but Linda said he did better with it than expected. This means they were also able to give him Tylenol through the tube, for his headaches, so that’s good.

Side/Hindsight note… he never regained the ability to swallow. He spent the next, what, 71 days, with a feeding tube – for the most part. There were a couple of times he couldn’t have a feeding tube; for the most part they hooked him up to fluids, or …. I’ve already forgotten what it’s called, T-something (?), it’s a nutritional mash that goes right into your veins, ick. Oh! Oh! TPN, Total Parenteral Nutrition. There were also quite a number of times – a shocking number of times, maybe at least eight – where he pulled the feeding tube out. He did NOT like that feeding tube.

As part of my “doing nothing” today, though, Jenny and I took a huuuuuuuge load of cardboard boxes to the local dump for recycling. Back in August, Clay County ceased collecting recycling because they didn’t have enough staff to do both garbage pickup on Tuesday and recycling pickup on… whatever day that was. Monday? They chose to move everyone to garbage pickup (good choice) but you can still bring your recycling to the dump. I also glazed a few ceramics, and took some product photos for some things I pulled out of the kiln the other day but probably won’t put online until February.

I know I say this all the time, but thank you. Thank you all for all your love, your support, your prayers, your ju-ju, your candle lighting, your goat sacrifices, your everything. Thank you for just being you and for saying you’re thinking about us. I’m so tired, I’m so worried, but I’m so supported. My brain keeps concocting these “what if” scenarios so I say again, brains are dumb. But not your brains. Your brains are all perfect and I love them!
x o x o

One day those toughies will be withered up and bent
The father son, the holy warriors and the President
With glory days of put up dukes for all the world to see
Beaten into submission in the name of the free

We’re in a revolution, I have heard it said
And everyone’s so busy now but do we move ahead
The planets hurting and atoms splitting
And a sweater for your love you sit there knitting

Well, I don’t know where it all begins
And I don’t know where it all will end
We’re better off for all that we let in

From Facebook, on the 31st:

With family here, we’ve been trading off being with Tim; I just got here about half an hour ago, right after they took Tim off for another E-ticket ride in the MRI machine. Billy is here with me, and Linda and Jenny went home. Bill is out there, Jenny and Bill are going to put together my Catio (or at least try to), Linda will catch up on sleep, and Cetty will keep making food.

More and more I found it fascinating just how much they could fit into these rooms. That bed there under the window? That’s where any of us who stayed the night, slept. In the morning the cushions come up and become the seats and backs of the little chairs, and the middle lifts up into a desk. It really is a pretty brilliant design. And when they would wheel him out, bed and all, for scans? The room looked so huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge! Trust me, though, the more things they added to his “Tree” (sometimes called “Christmas Tree”), the more crowded it felt in there. There were plenty of days when there were lots of medical people in the room where I felt squished.

Meanwhile, my notes from Linda from this morning — it’s been good to see for myself the problems and challenges and see the team strategies. Tim seems a little more alert this morning. Scott, the PA, was just here. He explained that they X-rayed Tim’s mouth last night because they are still looking for the source of the infection. It rarely starts in the heart. It could have disappeared from the origin already but they don’t want an active infection going into surgery. The cardio team still haven’t weighed in on a decision so we’re still in detective mode. For today, maintaining physical strength. They also want to avoid “hospital delirium” from all the interruptions in sleep etc. I’m seeing that this is all a much slower process than I had hoped because it’s stroke recovery while doing continuing info seeking, and avoiding backsliding while knowing that the ultimate solution will involve another round of healing and therapy. But from what I’m seeing, he has a really good team, and I am seeing improvement. And he does indeed always know the answers to: are you married, what’s your wife’s name, where did you meet?” He’ll make it through all this! Glad Billy and Jen got in. Good signs: speech therapist came in. When asked what year it is, which Tim can always say, this time he asked “is it 2022 yet?” I thought that was great! His grip is markedly stronger. She reminded us that the infection is still very present. Cardio team will be in later.

I’ve since heard that there is no mouth/tooth infection, so that’s not where it started… that part is still a mystery. And, like I said, he’s still down getting an MRI. I’ll take notes if anything else happens today.

And at the risk of repeating myself… hug your loved ones. Every day is a gift.

See those crosses on the side of the road
Tied with ribbons in the median
They make me grateful, I can go this far
Lay me down and never wake me up again

Kat writes a poem and she sticks it on my truck
We don’t believe in war and we don’t believe in luck
The birds were calling to her, what were they saying
As the gate blew open in the tops of the trees were swaying

From Facebook, on the 1st (technically written on the 2nd, but it’s about the 1st):

I had known that day was going to be rough for me; it’s the anniversary of the day my father died, and this was the 20 year mark, and the anxiety I have from that plus the anxiety of what’s going on with Tim, and those two things feeding off each other (in fact, I know a LOT of the swelling panic I’ve been feeling about Tim isn’t that he’s doing badly as much as I’m afraid he’ll do badly, because things went badly for my father at this time of year, and well, brains are dumb). Anyway, I sure wasn’t good for much yesterday morning. Bill gave me a big fatherly hug and I’m afraid I broke down crying so loudly and long that both Linda and Jenny came running, fearing the worst. No, just me, breaking down (finally).

It also didn’t help that Newt was yelling all night long, so I brought her in the bedroom with me, and that made Tulip so angry that she woke me up at one point, made deliberate eye contact with me, and peed on me on the bed. Later, in showering, I discovered that she also peed on my clean laundry. Any pile of it she could find. I did … six loads of laundry yesterday? Seven? Fucking cats, man. But wait, there’s more! Newt wouldn’t stop yelling, so I put her in the cat room with Moya (Serenity was hanging out, looking for snuggles). So I was snuggling on the couch with Serenity, and eventually she hopped off my lap, hopped onto the coffee table, turned around, looked me right in the eye, and peed all over the table. FUCKING CATS. So now Moya, Serenity, and Newt are all locked in the cat room, Tulip is locked in my bedroom (but now, thanks to Jenny and Bill, has the Catio), and if the cats are lucky I’ll give them fresh food and water some time next week.

Serenity was not done peeing, by the way. She peed on me twice more – once again on the couch, and then also in the bed. I really do not like being peed on, I’d just like to state that for the record. Turns out Serenity was pretty sick, but I didn’t see it at the time because of everything else. This’ll play out in about a week or so.

Notes from yesterday include…. Tim operating the remote on the TV looking for things he wanted to watch.. a few Christmas movies, including The Grinch with Jim Carrey… switching from Christmas movies to watching SpaceX videos on his phone… Sending me a picture after Jenny had rigged the puzzle tray at a slight angle (Tim can’t be raised more than 30degrees right now, for blood flow reasons, which means he has been too flat to see the puzzle and work on it)… blood draws to check the infection, which seems to be being knocked back nicely by the Vancomycin (which I might not be spelling correctly)… an MRI showed that he did have more strokes, when I was watching him and ran to get the nurses… both on the left side, where the speech centers are. (Why does he keep having multiple strokes at the same time? He does understand it’s not a Publix BOGO special, right? He doesn’t get extra points for extra strokes?) He is still hooked up to a feeding tube through the nose (hence no face pictures right now) and while I’m sure he’s not loving it (that boy does love him some food), he’s not fighting about it.

I’ve passed the cemetery, walk my dog down there
I read the names in stone and say a silent prayer
When I get home, you’re cooking supper on the stove
And the greatest gift of life is to know love

Well, I don’t know where it all begins
And I don’t know where it all will end
We’re better off for all that we let in

Lyrics by Emily Saliers
All That We Let In

I think those two days, December 30th and January 1st, were the only two days I didn’t go into the hospital.

xoxo y’all

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