She didn’t rest well last night, but was still able to stay off the ventilator all day today. Her night nurse, Moira, told me that she had slept about two hours on the sleeping pill, two hours on a pain medication given at two, and was still sleeping on a small dose of Dilaudid given at four when I arrived at six. She opened her eyes, saw me standing beside her bed, and gave me a smile, but didn’t move otherwise. I leaned down and pressed my cheek to hers, and held her gently for a few moments, and she fell right back to sleep.

At about eight o’clock she finally began stirring, and awoke at 8:30. Sue, her nurse, and Maria, the Patient Care Assistant, gave her a bath, washed her hair, and changed her gown, while I went out to the waiting area and visited with Lance. Later in the morning she got into the cardiac recliner, and she and Lance played some of the games he bought for her.

Throughout the day she felt restless, and couldn’t get comfortable no matter what she tried, but most of it, I think, is just being weary of being in bed and that her mind is fully alert and ready to go. She is impatient for her body to heal so she can resume doing the things she wants to do, like writing, typing, playing cards, working on puzzles, sketching and painting.

She doesn’t see the amazing progress she has made, but rather, focuses on what she can’t yet do, or can’t yet do at the level she expects of herself. She still has remnants of the withdrawal tremors in her right hand, and although they are getting much better, she still can’t steady her hand enough to write or draw. All the other tremors have already cleared up and are long gone.

She is experiencing progress on muscle control in both her legs and arms, and is able to move her legs to make herself more comfortable. She still can’t stand because of the drop foot, but the tilt table will help with that, and once she gets into physical therapy we’ll be able to better advance stretching of the tendons in the back of the ankle. That tendon is very strong and provides the support to help you stand and lean forward. Her tendons are not stretched enough right now to get her foot flat, so she can’t stand, let alone lean forward.

But, all in all, she is making good advancement on all fronts. The ventilator was moved out of her room tonight, because it is no longer required. She has spent the last 48 hours off the vent, so she should be able to strengthen her lungs and recover near normal use. The tracheostomy will remain in place for some time, just in case she has a relapse and needs ventilator support for short periods. We expect that she will get a smaller tracheostomy in the next week or so, which will allow her to breathe more easily, and should make it much more comfortable for her.

I find it pretty ironic to say that Lea and I have been blessed by this illness, but when you realize what has been accomplished in the lives of others through your interest in her progress and recovery, and the sharing of her trials with others, it seems obvious the impact this sharing has had on others. Here’s a note I received a while back that seems very appropriate to share today:

“Larry, first of all, God Bless you or should I say God has blessed you. I cannot tell you what your emails have meant to . . . us. We understand what it is like to have death rattling the door trying to get in. You are holding on, praying for the miracle. I received mine in January with the remission. It was after 4 years though, God runs on his clock not mine! I am sure it was his lesson of patience which I sorely lacked!

I have emailed your letters of love to many of friends and prayers groups. They have called your writings that because the Love for Lea and God are tangible in these letters. I will get email asking about them. It is a miracle of spectacular proportions in many ways.

Your letters have enlightened others into a place that most do not get to go. When you face the possibility of your physical self departing this “life” you have no more things to hide. You can share easily the feeling that brought you together, keep you together. The beauty and purity of your love for each other cannot get lost in the everyday “priorities” of soccer, basketball, work, bills, whatever you put in front of yourselves, the way life gets in the way.

What a gift you have given people. I know Lea would be busting with pride for the lessons you have passed on.

I had a similar situation with my Mom. She had open heart, had a pulmonary embolism plus other complications, was in a chemically induced coma for 48 days (respirator included). I still remember her body reacted when they suctioned out the lungs. Like I tell her today, you may not remember but I will never forget. It took her over a year to even resemble what she was before the illness. When she started to wake up she wanted to know what happened but she could not speak. She would try to write it out on my chest but she would only do circles. It was very desperate for me because I wanted to give her the answers but the counselors had told me not to tell her too much up front. She would not remember what you said, and they get upset when you tell them.

I have listed the places I have sent the emails. Everyone said it was OK to pass on so here goes:

Noblesville, IN, Jacksonville, Fl, Champagne, IL, Miami, FL, Bogota, Columbia, Provincia de Goizueta, Spain, Barcelona, Spain, Madrid, Spain, Washington D.C., Manassas, VA, Pompano Beach, FL, Rio Negro, Columbia, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Orlando, Fl.

I give you my prayers. My friends and family pass them on as well. We will continue to ask for her recovery and your strength. I do not write with the eloquence that you do. So I hope you feel the love that surrounds you and your family! We remain linked by prayer.”

Thank you for your testimony! I have received many blessings like the one listed above, and am coming out of this illness a much stronger witness for our loving God, who has worked miracle after miracle in giving Lea miraculous healing. I have witnessed a great working of faith, and have felt God working through me. I suspect that’s a joy not everyone gets to feel, and I praise God for preparing me to deliver my testimony in a way that serves His will, and delivers glory to Him.