Those of you who read between the lines of the entries in this blog about Brooke’s condition, or for that matter observe that there haven’t been many entries at all recently, can probably tell that there’ve been a couple of tough days. We don't mean to keep this from you, but it's hard to write about. His off-the-vent times have been lower, complicated by thick secretions and extreme tiredness; with this goes a darkening mood, empty-sounding assertions about not giving up, even the intimation I've feared might happen some day about not wanting to go on. He hasn’t wanted to see people very much. Then a day or so ago a representative from one of the van-modification companies brought a shiny, fully modified Dodge to the hospital to try, but we discovered that Brooke is just plain too tall sitting in his wheelchair to fit into this vehicle; he can’t bend his neck, since that’s where his spine was fused after the accident, and so can’t drive his chair up the ramp through the door opening, and even if he gets into the van he won’t fit forward in space for the passenger’s seat, but would have to ride in the back, like cargo. And it’s not just this Dodge that’s the problem; apparently all minivans have these too-small dimensions, and the interior room of full-size vans is even smaller. Thus even the possibility of easy transportation seemed dashed. Meanwhile breathing was worse, there wasn’t any new return, and he seemed unusually vulnerable. Yesterday was extraordinarily black, and he sent away someone he has really treasured. He quit the afternoon trach mask trial after something like 5 minutes.
But this morning was much, much brighter; the secretion problem had mostly resolved and a reduction in the amount of spasm-controlling medication he’d been taking seems to be paying off. Indeed he said something about how today was as good as yesterday was bad. There's a little new movement in his right foot and especially in the left one. And in the afternoon trach mask trial, he stayed off the vent for two hours and forty minutes—and even said afterwards, when he’s usually completely wiped out, that he felt good.
The trouble with reading between the lines in this blog is that it’s a little like astronomers analyzing patterns from stars that are thousands of light years away. You can tell what’s going on, more or less, if you look carefully between the lines, but you can’t tell what’s going on right now, when you’re doing it. Even if this news about the 2 hr 40 min trach mask in the afternoon is less than six hours old as I actually post it, a little after midnight, you can’t tell what’s happening right now.
But it could be even better: peaceful sleeping and a new sense of calm. There's not much way to talk about who deserves what with this kind of devastating accident, but you can talk about a ful night's sleep: it's hard to get, but I think he deserves it.