Saturday, December 6, 2008

Visitors welcome again; don't be misled by headline

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.



Dave I said...

Peggy: great to see your sense of humor coming out in this blog. Once the roommate is on board and the literary crowd less at home, the vernacular unit will come to the rescue! See you soon.

Dave I

Ronan said...

pEggY.... UR very funny!! Glad your humor is roaring. That's great character which will invigorate Brooke and the whole planet to be sure. Thanks for your grace and strength. You are the best! XO Ron

Alan Hogenauer said...

Wishing you all the best from afar, least we're respecting the visitation restriction! Keep up the progress, which is gratefully read by all of us easily via this blog. You're in our prayers...

Alan (Hogenauer)

Alan Hogenauer said...

Thanks, Sara, for the blog/comment instructions! Until I read them carefully, I had kept trying to "create a blog" instead of "leave a comment," hence the apparent delay in passing along our thoughts!

Alan (Hogenauer)

Shireen said...

Dearest Peggy and Brooke I am just back from Iran. Reza and I have been thinking of you so much. I send you all the best vibes I can muster. Much love to you both

T.R. Hummer said...

Brooke: I deeply wish I could come visit you. I know you have plenty of folks coming and going--more, as Peggy says, that you can always accommodate. If I came, I'd read you the "good" parts from The Prelude. I owe you those "spots of time," old friend. If Peggy or someone reads you this message, you'll replay the Wordsworth in your memory, and it will be as if I had come and read them.

Keep the faith, Maestro. We're all waiting to see you again.

Love, Terry

Steve Adams said...

Dear Brooke,

It sounds as though you have a thorough therapy regime ahead of you. I am sure you will do it justice, even though it won't be fun. Barbara hasn't learned to blog yet, but sends her love.

Just got through 'The Mysterious Island' by Jules Verne, alternating chapters in English and French. Not literature, I know, but fun: making gunpowder and telegraphs from scratch. Recommend me a French novel (please; no Proust, no Hugo, no Balzac, no Stendahl, no Sartre).

Best, Steve

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Leslie Francis said...

Hi Brooke & Peggy,

It was wonderful to see you yesterday. Many thanks for being so much YOU.

Rosamond Rhodes & John Robertson both send their love (I'm at a meeting with both of them).

John & I will come up Tuesday, probably around 5; we don't mind being turned away, so not to worry.

Love, L & J

Sally Smith said...

DEAR Brooke and Peggy!
It is characteristic of your innate generosity of spirit that you concern yourselves with those who are "turned away" at the hospital. This is, at worst, a nuisance or an inconvenience. Concern yourselves no more! Bread crumbs be damned! We are all in this together.
Love Peggy's reflections on the continuum of "recovery". Everything is relative, and we, everyone of us, clings to the best possible outcome. Much love and many thoughts, Sally

Patricia said...

Peggy and Brooke,

These past couple of blogs have been terrific. You will not believe this, but I dedicated two very long and challenging yoga practices to the two of you on Friday and Saturday. When I'm back from England (and presumably germ free again), I'm bringing the Salsa music and we're "dancing"!

love to you both,

Liz von Kessler said...

I know the hard wrok Rehab is - very hard work - but plug away!.

Tell Brooke tht I am going to the Elkridge Dancing Class tomorrow to watch my grandchildren. We used to be in the same Dancing Class Class. Nothing has changed - the box step, the little velvet dresses, the boys holding their arms up and hoping they won't have to dance with the girls - ripping their ties off as soon as let out.

It is Arctic cold here and we don't even have mountains to look at!

We are pushing for you - Brooke - keep up the hard work.

Rainie and Norm at Peach Lake said...

Dear Peggy and Brooke, Just like eveyone else, we are following the blog closely and I am going to try for the first time to actually post something because I suspect that Peggy has not had a chance to check her email. I hope you got our original note with our love and prayers for Brooke's recovery, and with photos of all your family at Peach Lake. I mention this because Peggy's response was via blackberry and you may not have been able to see the photos. I'll send hard copies.

My most recent communication was a note to let you know that I sent a "care package" early last week and it should have arrived last Friday. It is an eggcrate matress pad and cover to put under Brooke's sheets; this will help avoid a rash. Those hospital beds with the plastic matress covers don't breathe. I found that this made Norm much more comfortable during his hospital stays. I will make this short because I don't know if I will have success. Please look for the package. Much love, Rain & Norm

PS - I'll work on sending you some photos. Remember the rock, paper, scissors at Pabst Point?

Penny said...

Thanks to Peggy and Sarah for keeping all of us posted. Ken and I follow along--must be akin to any hero's quest, though perhaps with a lot less glamor. More like the journey of the hobbits struggling against great odds. We are with you in spirit, Brooke and Peggy, and hold you daily in our prayers. Ken is off to the Peruvian altiplano and will offer petitions there.