Lea just continues to delight us! She was awake most of the day today, smiling when someone came into the room, sometimes responding to kindnesses by mouthing “Thank You,” other times responding with, “OK” when asked if she was okay, or “Not really,” when asked if she was in pain. She was in and out of the fog of withdrawal, and definitely has the “shakes” more when she is afraid or agitated in any other way, but rests quietly when she has the chance. She definitely does not like to be turned or moved, though!

She was focusing her eyes much better today, and actually had both of them pointed at the same object a lot of the time. She smiled at me when I entered the room a couple of times today, and puckered up real big for a kiss. She melts my heart, but I don’t kiss her, for fear of giving her some sort of complication. She has enough going on! But, once she gets well, look out!!  I’ve been storing up all the kisses everyone has asked me to give her.

Dr. Mah came in this morning to check on her status, and stated that all the reports have indicated that she is once again getting better. Her nutrition levels are up, white count is holding, and she is taking off fluid very, very quickly all on her own. She is really beginning to look like herself again for the first time since she got so sick back in July. He ordered two units of red cells for her today to help her oxygenate, and ordered the respiratory department to try to wean her off the ventilator again.

This will be her third try at getting weaned off support, and we feel that she has a good chance of getting it done this time. She has less fluid on her body overall, and has a drain in her chest to keep fluid from building up around the lungs during the trial, and she appears to be getting past the infection she recently had. All indications are that she should be ready to go. We pray that she will be able to make it this time, and get back to breathing on her own.

She was started on the first stage at about nine this morning, which means that she was allowed to breathe at a rate that feels comfortable to her. The machine was set to force a minimum if she didn’t make that, but she took right off as she always does, and began working hard enough to work up a substantial sweat. I spent all morning putting a damp cloth on her brow and dabbing sweat from her face and shoulders.

As she gained strength in her lungs, and breathing became easier, the ventilator support was reduced. This was done several times during the day, as she gained each new plateau, and she was finally allowed to rest at six this evening when she could no longer make any progress. I’m certain she will sleep well tonight, and then she will be started on work mode again tomorrow morning.

Two longtime friends of Lea’s flew in from Indianapolis today to spend the weekend visiting with her and assisting with her care. She recognized them instantly when they entered the room, and gave them both a smile. Several times during the afternoon and evening she mouthed responses to them, and at other times was drifting off into delirium. The delirium tremors are decreasing every day, and should be completely gone by early next week, if her body is ready to get to the next level.

We are about two weeks behind our projected schedule of a month ago, when Dr. Mah said that we would go to step down if she didn’t have any set backs, which of course, she did. We think we are getting beyond that problem, and should be able to get back on track for getting out of ICU in a couple more weeks, depending on how her body reacts this time.

By the way, a mixed-joy thing happened today. I was chatting across the bed with Lea’s nurse, Janet, who was asking about how we ended up in the hospital so far from home. Naturally, my comments included the details on Pat and Joe, and I was telling her about Joe’s difficulty in getting his medicines regulated, that his heart is still in defibrillation, and the whole story of his illness.

Suddenly, the warning horns on Lea’s ventilator went off, filling the room with a racket designed to get immediate attention. The normal scan pattern when the alarm goes off is to look at the monitor to see what alarm is displayed and then visually check the hoses from the machine to the patient. We both looked immediately at Lea, who was lying between us; her face was beet red, and she was silently bawling, with crocodile size tears streaming down her cheeks!

I was very sorry to upset her, but it was over in a matter of minutes, and she is unlikely to remember any of it. We are, however, going to have to be careful what we say around her, because she is beginning to emerge from the fog, and can be easily upset. I later played a home movie with the granddaughters in it, and she seemed to enjoy it more than ever, although she was in and out of the fog.

It appears that her memory is working well enough to remember friends, to remember her affection for our friend Joe, and to be sad for his condition. Her smile is certainly working! And, there is a feeling of cheerfulness in the ICU as everyone watches with anticipation her latest battle for the next baby step toward recovery. She isn’t alone in her battle. She has a lot of support!

Dave and Dottie are here, as are her friends from Indianapolis, to help me provide around the clock support if needed through the weekend, and David will be remaining here in Hartford for a few weeks, if necessary, to ensure that we can always be available to her whenever she needs encouragement or support. Thank God for those who are able to help her directly right now, and for those who plan to help when we get home. She will need a lot of help during that stage of recovery, and we look forward to meeting the challenges as they are presented.

Thank you for the many kind responses to last night’s update. Lea and I have always had a blessed union. We made God a part of our courtship, wedding, and marriage, and everyday activities. I can’t remember a time when He wasn’t guiding our lives, and He has always blessed us beyond our desires, because we placed maximum value on love, honesty, respect and charity in our relationships with each other, and with others. The relationship I share with her is much more valuable to me today than anything else in this world. I owe her every chance for recovery I can give her.

Glory to God for Lea’s victories today! Praise God for the miraculous healing! I pray for more good days ahead, and to be able to report daily progress to you. Please keep Lea lifted up to God for His healing and protection, as we go into these next few nerve-wracking days.

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