They’ve told us that there’s no way of knowing what Mom will be like once she is fully awake. They’ve told us that there’s no telling when she will be ready for rehab. They’ve told us that no one can predict when Mom will be ready for the tracheotomy to be removed. They’ve told us that there’s no indication yet of whether Mom will have full function of her arms and legs.
But today, she smiled at me.
She had not done that up to now since the accident. I walked in this morning. She was awake. Her eyes opened a little wider as I walked around the bed and sat beside her. I touched her left shoulder and smiled at her and enthusiastically announced my arrival with a lively, “Hey!!!”
She opened her eyes wide, found mine, and smiled at me. It was a half smile. The left side of her face, springing to life half of an expression that we all have missed so much. I am not sure if it was a half smile due to what we’ll find out are long-term issues with the right side of her face, or if it was a half smile due to weakness and atrophy. But she smiled.
And I lit up. I probably talked her ear off for the next 20 minutes, I was so excited. She kept her eyes open for most of the time, occasionally closing them for a brief respite (either cause she needed it or hoping I would shut up).
Mom is progressing so much it seems. I know it is baby steps. And I know she could certainly have a setback any day (that’s what we are told). But each day so far this week, there has been something new.
Yesterday and today I called Dad while I was with Mom to let him talk to her over the speaker phone. She nodded at his questions, and I translated. She is opening her eyes wider than ever. She moved both right and left feet and toes. And today she turned her neck slightly to the right, which she has not done (not much now – but it was a definite effort that was followed by a grimace). Pretty awesome!!!
Oh yeah – I mentioned before that she is trying to mouth stuff from time to time. She did it to Sheila and Pattie today, too. She has mouthed “I love you, too” to me several times. Today, before I left to drive back over to Dad’s place, I told her what I was doing (heading over to check on Dad). Before I could tell her I love her, she mouthed “I love you.” It made my heart well up big time. I love my Mom.
Yesterday, when I showed her a piece of art of various flowers Caleb made from construction paper, she loved it. Her eyes widened, and she mouthed, “Very beautiful.”
I asked her physical therapy doctor this afternoon about Mom’s tracheotomy and therapy. When would she begin weaning off the trach and when would they get more aggressive with her therapy? She responded:
It will fully depend upon your Mom being able to be fully awake for long periods of time. But, let me assure you, based on what I have seen in the past with other patients (she was an experienced doctor), your Mom is fully there mentally, and I believe she will recover well. She may end up with some disability in her left arm, but so far it’s too early to tell anything else.
We’ll take it. Erik and I were talking last night, and we agreed – we are simply thankful to have Mom back to the point where we can at least talk with her. Erik comes back in tomorrow. I can’t wait to see him. I know he is anxious to interact with Mom and Dad.
Dad has had a grueling but great day. When I arrived this morning, he was waking up. I had his Tall Decaf. He was grateful. He sat up to eat breakfast and sip his coffee. We slid him over to the potty chair. We slid him back over to the bed for a sponge bath. We got him dressed. We looked through some cards people have sent. And, the therapist walked in to get him.
He had three therapy sessions today! Wow!!! He said they really worked him hard. Good stuff. Erik and I told him he’s gonna be stronger when this is over than he was before the accident. I bet he will be like “Awnold” was in his prime before rehab is done.
I asked Dad about his thoughts on today. Here’s what he said:
“The thing that I liked most about this day is the thought that people are really paying attention to Mom. She is the one who needs that interaction, and I really am grateful for what people are doing. There was a woman who came by to see me, for instance, who left from here to go see Mom simply to go and sing to her. That really meant a lot to me.”
That is a direct quote from a man sitting in a wheelchair right now wearing hospital socks, “Justice League” pajama pants, a “Superman” T-Shirt, and a neck-collar. He is the epitomy of cool (in my opinion).
While sitting in his wheelchair today, and while I was over with Mom, Dad had a first. He rolled himself into the bathroom, tinkled in his tinkle jar (as we say since Dad has 8 grandkids below the age of 7), washed his hands, and rolled back into his room. He has been sitting up in his wheelchair or in therapy all but about 30 minutes today. Way to go Pop!!! I bet he will sleep well tonight.
Dad got to talk to the Orlando grandkids this afternoon, too, on the phone. He hopes to talk to Erik’s kids tonight.
We are going to go for a walk now. Well, I am gonna walk and Dad is gonna wheel. Then, I am going to head to grab some take-out for the both of us.
Let me know if you want anything…