Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just the Facts

No long ruminations today; just a few relevant facts. You can probably get the picture of what’s going on, for both of us.

Number of hours of physical, occupational, and recreational therapy combined Brooke gets, per day: about 5.

Number of hours of preparation for the first outing, Saturday morning, to see the Metropolitan Opera’s simulcast of Orfeo at a local theatre (brilliant and much enjoyed): about 3, including bathing, dressing, transfer into wheelchair, attachment of ventilator and oxygen tanks, travel in van with lift, locating accessible space in theatre, etc. etc.

Number of rehab personnel required for first outing: 3, not counting spouse.

Number of deep suctionings of mucus out of lungs required since introduction of dramatically effective new secretion-clearing device, CoughAssist: down from (at its worst) maybe 20 per hour to maybe 4 per day.

Number of food containers from delicious things brought by wonderful people that I haven’t managed to return, and for the most part now can’t connect them with their owners—maybe 35. (Come and see if I have yours.)

Number of thank-you notes actually written: 0. Number of thank-you notes that ought to be written for amazing things that people have brought or done—huge. I mean huge. (I’ve been exhaling thank-yous into the atmosphere in the hope that they reach you.)

Number of muscle spasms and shock-like neurological events (as Brooke describes them), per hour: plenty, despite the medications. (He says he’s getting used to them, even as unpleasant as they are.)

Number of hours of trach-cuff deflation time allowed for talking: up from 2 hours a day to an official 4, but in practice even more.

Number of nurses and nurse’s aides assigned to Brooke per day, in three shifts: 6. But he knows the entire staff and many of them drop in to visit him even when not on duty.

Number of cards and letters not yet opened since mid-November: undetermined, but we’re still finding them.

Percentage of oxygen in the air delivered to Brooke by the ventilator: down from 40% (with spikes to 100% in times of respiratory crisis) to 35% to 30% and now down to 21% for the whole past day—21% is the same as room air, the stuff the rest of us breathe. Getting down to room air is great news.

Number of musicians playing Sunday afternoon in his room: 4, two blues guitars and two wailing harmonicas. Really good stuff.

Bottom line: things are looking way better on almost all counts (except the thank-you notes)—



Lorraine Seal said...

It’s so good to hear you and Brooke enjoyed the performance. I’m glad it went well. It must have been a treat for both of you, especially Brooke, to get away from the Rehab unit and enjoy a bit of city living for a change.

And I’m delighted to hear of the progress being made with regard to the ventilator. Well done, Brooke! It does seem that things are looking better all the way around. Thank you notes be damned!

Brenda Cowley said...

I urge you to let go of the idea of thank you notes. I think the two of you are doing more than enough already. I'm pretty sure there's a "clause" in the Recovering From Massive Trauma Etiquette Handbook that allows you to forget all about things like that.

The continued attention to Brooke's (and your) progress is what We need.

I love you both, and love the photo.

Brenda Cowley

Ellen B said...

Such incredibly good news - as we always say "the facts speak for themselves"! I've been following with avid interest and continue to send positive thoughts and prayers your way.


lama said...

Wow, Peggy, your last entry gives those of us not around at least SOME idea of what your lives must be like. I haven't been in touch much, but please know that you and Brookie are still very much in my thoughts and prayers. I'm amazed at the amount of energy the two of you have managed to find. All best.