Lea continues to do very well. She is communicating with us by mouthing words, even though she can not yet “speak” with her voice. She is trying to get control of her arms and hands again, and works to move them where she wants them. Once, while being turned today, her nurse, Nick, told her she could hold on to the bed rail, and she actually reached for it and held on as well as she could.

We are hoping she can regain control of her hands, so she can point at symbols on a poster-size communication board the hospital uses in these situations. I expect her to be using it in a day or two. She is already aware that she can’t speak, and (I think) she is trying to get control of her hands so she can pull the tube out of her throat that keeps her from talking. We’ll have to keep an eye on that.

I explained to her yesterday, and again this morning, that she is on a ventilator that is helping her breathe until she can strengthen her lungs well enough to breathe on her own. I believe she understands that, because she has been working, and sweating, up a storm all day today with long, slow, deep breaths, which is the key to getting off that vent and being able to talk again. She loves to talk, so that is great motivation for her! 

Lea received a note from our dear friend Joe Stroup tonight that he wrote to Lea earlier today. I will read it to her tomorrow as soon as I am sure she can understand it. I will have to pick the correct time to read it to her, but I think she will want to hear it. Joe’s note touched me deeply, so I called him and asked permission to share it with you. Here it is below:

Hi Lea,

Pat and I love you and Larry, miss you, and wish you were home. I anxiously await each report from Larry, and call him every few days just to hear his voice and try to be there, even though I can’t be. If the Dr’s would allow me to travel, I would have been out there already. I can’t wait for the time when you can talk again and take phone calls yourself – even though I know that will be a bawling fest. I doubt that I will be able to speak for crying.

I still have a long road ahead of me and I know your road is even longer, but it is achievable. I get around pretty well without my walker now but sometimes I move like I’m drunk, shifting sideways or wobbling like a Weeble. Just like you, my Dr. is still trying to find the right balance of medicines that will make my blood pressure and heart rate come to a happy medium.

I redeveloped the urinary tract infection that I had when I left the hospital. Pat has had to give up one of her kitchen drawers just so I can keep all of my medicine and insulin. I have lost close to 60 pounds now. I’m getting as skinny as you. I sure hope you don’t you go loosing too much weight! I liked Larry’s “Lobster Girl” just the way she was.

In all reality, however, nothing is probably going to be ‘just the same’ for the four of us, but I hope and pray that we can get back close to that point. You and Larry are our best friends. I don’t think there has ever been anyone that Pat and I have enjoyed a friendship with more than you guys. We miss the chats on your porch, the social events, the witty banter and the brainstorming, the laughter, and even the work we did together.

We have relished the way you have taken us into your family – and your family’s acceptance of us as perhaps something more than just friends. I’m not sure how to put a finger on it; perhaps cohorts, partners in crime, or whatever. Pat and I have discussed this before and both agree that there is a bond there more than just friends. I look forward to those things again in the near future.

It seems that you have made many positive strides and are continuing to win the battle. Keep up the good work. We will be here for you when you return. Atlanta is a funny town, but believe me when I say that the outpouring for you and I has somewhat overwhelmed me. The people here have a lot more caring in them than one might have originally thought. I think David can vouch for that. You will receive a good welcome home.

I will leave you for now but don’t leave me out of your thoughts, as you are never out of mine! I can say that for Pat also. We pray for you and send all our love! Joe and Pat

Father, thank you for the work you have done in, and through, our lives. We pray that you will continue to place your healing hands upon those who need your assistance tonight. Please bless Joe and Lea, to restore them to productive lives that they may continue to witness, and to bring praise to you. Be ever present with us that we might fully trust in, and rely upon, your perfect plan. Thy will be done. Amen

Glory to God,