Lea didn’t seem to rest as well overnight last night, as she apparently napped with frequent periods of alertness throughout the night. David stayed with her overnight again, bless his heart, and reported this morning that he was ready to go back to the room for some badly needed rest. Lea evidently had a lot of “I needs,” and kept him on his feet tending to her all night.

She is definitely getting better, although she complains of being tired, thirsty and hungry. She got a food tray this morning with hot oatmeal, hot Cream of Wheat, pineapple puree, orange juice, 2% milk and steaming hot coffee. Of course, she couldn’t have the oatmeal, milk or coffee, so that left the Cream of Wheat with Sweet & Low, and the pineapple puree. We also had thickened ice water and some thickened cranberry-apple drink I got from the cafeteria.

After I mixed up the Cream of Wheat with Sweet & Low, she tasted a bit from the spoon, pronounced it was “okay” and said, “Keep it coming.” She probably ate six or eight half teaspoons full, and was satisfied. We then laid her back in her cardiac chair for a little rest, waiting for our first “field trip” at ten o’clock. We had made plans with the day nurse, Chris, to cruise down to the family lounge on the east end of this floor, which has a nice view to the foothills between here and Long Island Sound, forty miles away.

Since she is able to be off the ventilator for several hours at a time, it makes it possible to put her in a recliner with wheels, and get her out of her room. It isn’t as easy to maneuver as a wheelchair, but this was great just to let her see some other scenery. She got a lot of “thumbs up,” “congratulations,” and huge smiles from the nurses and nurse supervisors as she was pushed through the ICU.

She also was told that if the weather is nice next week, that they would take her downstairs and outside the hospital for a brief visit on Monday or Tuesday. She will be having friends from back home visiting during that time, so it could be a terrific boost for her morale to get to go outside and visit with “the girls” for a while.

She is not yet reading books or magazines, nor writing or typing, since she has little strength or control of her arms and hands. She isn’t yet able to feed herself, stand on her own, or even adjust her bottom when it gets tired of lying in one spot too long. She needs quite a bit of help, and is willing to accept all you are willing to give. She doesn’t care to watch TV, and would rather visit with those who stop in to see her. She can’t yet hold the telephone receiver to make or receive phone calls, but once she’s ready for that, I think she’ll be much happier.

I have mentioned before that I just can’t imagine what it is like to be paralyzed, in bed, unattended, but Dr. Mah was right when he told us a few weeks ago that she would need someone with her most of the time after she came out of the drug induced coma and became able to communicate. Her mind is sharp and alert, although her body isn’t yet ready to do much of anything. She is still spending several hours a day on the ventilator, to get her lungs working at full capacity. (Thank you, God, for letting me make the comment that she is spending most of her waking day off the ventilator.)

It is hard to comprehend how weak the body becomes in such a short time, but the loss of muscle mass became very evident as she began taking off the large volume of water she had taken on during the illness. She is down now, incidentally, to less than 59 kilograms, bed and all. At one time she was 114 kilograms! She is very frail, and her lungs are weak, but the talking is helping build up her lung capacity, although she tires quickly.

She is starting to eat again, consuming about a tablespoon of food at each meal, and a “large” volume of liquids, by comparison, as she likes to have a variety of flavors of drinks, and usually has ten to twelve half spoons full every half hour or so. I’ve been making a number of small plastic foam cups half-filled with vanilla yogurt mixed with flavors such as cranberry juice, apple juice, cola, and mixing water with thickener to get it to the puree state so she can safely drink it.

It’s a challenge to keep up with her “needs,” because her mind seems to be running 100 miles an hour. I’m sure the pace will slow, eventually, from the constant streams of consciousness she experiences right now, in which she jumps from one desire to another. The muscles in her legs need massaged, she’s hot and needs a cold rag on her head, she needs her pillow under her arm fluffed, and the one behind her head changed for something thinner, and she needs to have her mouth rinsed again. And, you know what? I’m SO happy!

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful blessings you have worked in this illness. Thank you for the many, many people who care about Lea’s recovery. Thank you for the support you give us through family, friends and others. Thank you for the blessings you give others through us. Thank you for the strength you give us to carry on. Praise your name, and to you the glory! Amen

By the way, I am attaching a photo Lea asked me to take and send to you, “So they’ll know where I am.” Here she is in her cardiac recliner after the tour of the floor. She is looking (really!) out the window to the south. She wanted you to see “all the wires and things.” Little does she know how few there are compared to what was required earlier. 🙂

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