She spoke to me! Her words struck my heart and soul, and touched me way down in the depths of places I didn’t realize I had! Her first words to me were, “I need you to help me get out of this bed.” Oh, I know, it isn’t as romantic as “I love you,” but getting out of that bed is much more important to her than romance is at the moment. Besides, the “I love you” finally came later in the day. But, it sure was nice to hear!

The respiratory therapist, Jason, installed her Passy-Muir speaking valve at 8:30 this morning, and asked her to clear her throat, swallow once, cough deeply, and then say the word, “Hello.” She did all that, and very faintly, said the word. It was so soft I couldn’t hear her at the end of the bed, so I moved closer, and put my ear where I could hear her better, and asked her how she was doing. That’s when she began to let me know what she thinks. 

She told me that the hospital needs to give the nurses cell phones so they don’t have to page them over the unit’s P.A. system at night when she is trying to sleep, and that the nurses need to check the massaging air mattresses each day for tubes that leak and wipe the mattress down with alcohol to keep them clean. 

At 10:00 she was moved into a cardiac recliner, and sat in it beside her bed for four hours. She was off the ventilator from the time she got her speaking valve until 4:30 p.m. when she needed to get some rest, so Nurse Practitioner Debbie had respiratory therapy put her on the ventilator, with minimum support, so she could get some rest. The speaking valve was removed to put her on the ventilator, and that was the only time she quit talking! 

She had some other exciting things happen today, making this a really special day. She got to EAT!! Woo hoo!! Debbie told the speech therapist that she wanted to schedule a swallow test for Lea for tomorrow, or Monday. The therapist said that she wouldn’t recommend doing it before Monday, because the tracheostomy Lea has installed is too big for a person to be able to swallow around. So, Debbie spoon-fed Lea red Jello! Lea LOVED it! It was the best tasting thing she has EVER eaten, she said!

Perhaps even more importantly, she passed the swallow test! So, Debbie will press on to get Lea on solid food. Lea was willing to jump right in and help Debbie identify the kinds of foods she should have: “apple sauce, oatmeal, cream of wheat, and lots more red Jello.” She was just too funny! I don’t know whether she was light headed or not, but once she figured out how to breathe to maximize use of that speech valve, she was off and running! 

Later in the morning, my brother David came in, and Lea described some of the hallucinations she had, (which seem very real to her), and she is quite serious when she talks about them. She also bent Debbie’s ear this morning about her problem with sleeping. She stated that the sleeping pill they have been giving her puts her body to sleep but leaves her mind running even faster, and that she is just worn out, because people are in and out all night wanting this and doing that, turning the lights on and forgetting to turn them off. 

Debbie arranged to have a schedule posted for Lea that ensures she will get some sleep at night. She is not to be disturbed for any reason between midnight and six a.m., unless, of course, she is having a problem. The nurses will just look in on her, but not enter the room if they are not needed. Then, when I return at six in the morning I can wake her and bathe her to get the day started.

This afternoon Lea also got the lung cavity drain removed from her back. One more line gone! We just keep making little baby steps! Praise God! If she can get the rest she needs tonight, perhaps she will feel strong enough to make some progress on the physical exercises tomorrow. Hopefully, she’ll be able to go eight hours or more off the ventilator again tomorrow. Thanks for your good thoughts.
Lights out!

Dear Lord, I thank You for this wonderful day. I thank You for being able to see and to hear my darling this morning. We are truly blessed because You are a forgiving and understanding God. You have blessed us so richly, and we take so much for granted. Forgive me for not pleasing you. Forgive my weaknesses. Help me start each day with an improved attitude and renewed gratitude. Help me broaden my mind to hear your guidance in my life.

I know You constantly listen to my heart, and I ask for your protection from evil. Use me to do Your will, and bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. Please bless us with the peace of knowing that our final home will be with you, and accept our praise as humble thanks giving. Amen.