Brooke has moved to the Rehab 2 unit, and while it was a rather rough arrival (though not as rough as the last time he moved from one unit to another), he now seems ready for visitors again. During the week he’ll have scheduled therapy sessions totaling about three and a half hours a day (with rest periods in between), though we won’t know what the exact schedule is until that morning. Sundays there are no therapy sessions, so he’s free all the time (hint, but not too big a hint). There are still lots of downs as well as ups, and they’re hard to predict, but seeing friends really means a lot to him—even if visits sometimes have to be very brief. We’re sorry about all the times when visitors had to be kept away (there were some really hard times)—I know there were days when ten or fifteen people were turned away, and I haven’t any idea of who—many, many apologies to you, whoever you are. He still tires very easily and cannot really talk (except sometimes a few words in a low growl, voicing around the trach) so the choice is lip-reading or just exchanging smiles, but he does like it when people talk to him or read to him or tell him stories.
By the way, don’t be misled by the headline if you saw it in a recent issue of the Chrony (for those of you who are out of town, that’s the university’s student newspaper): “Former English Professor Recovering from Bike Crash.” “Recovering” is an accurate term if it’s taken just to mean moving out of an intensive-care unit where life might be on the line into a less acute unit, but please don’t take it to mean that he’ll be striding out of rehab and heading back into the hills in a week or two. He won’t. And if you do come to see him, please don’t ask for evidence of function—“let’s see those toes wiggle”—they’re not wiggling currently and there isn’t anything else to see, except how a perfect accident can lay waste to a vigorous, handsome, wonderful body. On the other hand, it is still too soon to have any realistic idea of long-term function, so we can all keep hoping for “recovery” in the real sense.
So visitors are welcome again—though of course don’t all come at once. And of course this could change at any moment—the major lesson we’re learning here is that there aren’t any guarantees. There aren’t any fixed visiting hours, but by next week Brooke will have a roommate, so we need to be sure there aren’t too many lengthy readings of arcane literary texts if the roommate turns out to prefer GQ or Sports Illustrated. If you want to know whether it seems a good moment, just call me on my cellphone 824-9160 and I’ll give you my best guess about how Brooke will be by the time you get here. And speaking of getting here, it’s a real challenge—Rehab 2 is on the second floor in the main (old) part of the hospital, but to find it it’s probably best to ask at the front desk. And be sure to drop breadcrumbs so you can find your way out.