Every morning I wake up and for a few seconds, I have that groggy feeling of, 'Wait--did that really happen? Oh yeah. Mary is in the hospital.'
Within a single day, we seem to have similar patterns of ups and downs, laughter, tears, intense pain, and periods of calm where Mary is able to converse, watch a show, or eat. One of us will have a great shift with her and another will be exhausted from no relief. Neuro checks are every 1-2 hours (‘What is your name? Where are you? What is the date? Why are you here? Raise your arms. Smile. Squeeze my hand. Release...’) Shift changes are every 12 hours...and so on.
Since June 19, it's been some version of this. Every day.
It's like 'Groundhog Day'--over and over again…
About a week ago Mary first began conversing with us and was actually joyful. I felt joyful! Friday she went downhill quickly, went back to the ICU~she lost her spark. I was scared.
For many hours she has suffered and asked ‘Why? Why? Why’. (I have so many questions it wears me out too, Mary.)
Mary got angry for the first time this past weekend. She had not shown any anger through all this pain. But she was mad! Her tone was sharp.
That night as Brad and I crossed the quiet, cavernous lobby to exit for home, I let myself go. I told him my list of frustrations and concerns: New doctor; back in the ICU; pain worse; still no sleep; seizures; I felt angry.
When we got home, we could hear Catherine weeping in her room. She feels as close as I do with Mary. It has been so hard for her to watch Mary suffer. They are only 19 months apart~‘CC and Mimi’.
The next morning as I lay awake, analyzing all of this~I realized that we are symbiotic with Mary. We mirror how she is feeling. Mary! Hang in there! We will ride these waves together.
7:15am yesterday, my sister April, charge nurse on 3 South at SWMC, checked on Jessica and Mary after her shift. She texted: ‘Peggy-you awake? Both girls are sound asleep!’
Mary had not slept more than 90 minutes at a time since June 18. On day 11, Dr. Le told us she has sleep deprivation and ICU delirium. He said that if any healthy person had not slept like that, they would have similar complications. She needs sleep! But her brain won’t let her sleep deeply; the staff must do neuro checks to track her swelling; and the pain has been far too great for her to sleep.
Tuesday night she slept 8 hours straight!
Movin’ On Up
In the first decade of our marriage, Brad and I moved 9 times.
In 13 days, Mary has been in 2 hospitals, 2 ER’s, the ICU, and 5 different patient rooms. Ask my kids~we are getting really good at packing up the cart and moving our patient!
Yesterday we moved Mary out of the ICU onto ‘The Floor’ (regular surgical patient floor).
She took her first shower in 13 days! (Try not to dwell on that…) She washed her own hair as I stood outside the curtain. ‘I will do it myself, Mommy.’ I made her talk to me the whole time to make sure she was upright and conscious. Remember, she hasn’t stood up or walked more than a few steps for almost 2 weeks!
She had a 10-minute warm shower and is now a very clean girl.
Mary has very meekly and sweetly told us many times in some of those difficult hours, ‘I am a new person. I am not who I was before. I am going to treat you better than I have. Do you know that I love you? I love you all so much.’
Will she ever realize that we are better because we have witnessed her go through this trial with such grace and strength? Amazing girl.
My Right Hand Man
Catherine was able to come home and visit us for 5 days in June. Kris had training back east so she came to be with us. Mary and I had a lot of fun ‘girl time’ with her! I’m so grateful for that week. She departed Friday evening. 12 hours later, Mary had her brain bleed. 48 hours later, Catherine was back on a plane to be with us again.
She didn’t leave my side for 4 days and nights. She slept where I slept. She listened to the doctors with us. She understands more than we do because of her pre-med studies.
She was able to be here for 8 days. We feel her absence this week and realize how invaluable she has been to Mary’s well being and to us!
Loss of Words
Words seem so shallow sometimes. How can we express the overwhelming gratitude we feel toward each of you? How can we help Mary to realize how much love, support and concern 100’s of people have shared with us~for her?
So many prayers~many of you fasting on her behalf~ emails~cards~beautiful flowers~stuffed animals~text messages~putting Mary’s name on prayer rolls~dinners to the hospital~milkshakes & treats for Mary~rides~Thomas care~priesthood blessings for Mary~sitting with Mary so we can take a break~lunches~care packages for us~facebook posts~phone calls~support from Oracle~helping our dogs~watering our gardens~weeding our yard~loaning us cars!~offers to help~hospital visits to us~taking care of our church callings for us~
We hear, see and read all of your kind words and sentiments. They sustain us. We are given a boost through these simple gestures. We don’t take them for granted.
Sometimes, when I have a few quiet moments, I look through my emails. I read my text messages. Tears fall. I laugh & smile too : )
With gratitude and love~
Peg and The Fam
*We realize many of you would like to see Mary! She is still on limited visitors. She is only just today beginning to take some steps. When she has had consistent sleep and managed pain, we will invite you to visit her! There will also likely be many weeks at home where you will have opportunities to help Mary fully recover through visits and therapy.