Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Morning Assessment

Last night I stayed in the motel room as per discussion with Tracy. This morning when I sneaked into NICU to be with her, she said, "Don't leave at night." She said she didn't have a bad night, in terms of pain or difficulties. She just didn't want me to leave. So, we have some logistics to figure out.

She had a fever last night and this morning, 100.1 to 100.8, probably due to her inactivity and laying flat such that her lungs are not being significantly stimulated. Dr. Cristobal said it is not uncommon for someone in her situation and it is not likely an infection. In his assessment, he had her squeeze his hand with each of hers. Then she was to clap her hands twice turning one over to clap with the back of her hand after two claps; each hand each way a couple of times. He had her wiggle her toes. He moved to her face and had her smile, pucker her lips, raise her eyebrows and follow his finger as he moved it around. He used a penlight-like instrument for her to follow with her eyes. She has some double vision sometimes when the instrument was held in a horizontal position, but not vertical. It was inconsistent, however. Dr. Cristobal said this had to do with the 4th cranial nerve. The inconsistency is odd, so this will be something to watch. The right side of her face is not really active. So, when she smiled and raised her eyebrows, it really only happened on the left side of her face. Dr. Zafero came in as well and they both discussed everything. The incision made in her belly for the fat graft looks good according to them (I didn't see it, of course).

The goal for her today is to sit in a chair. When they told Tracy this, she said, "No." They explained how important it was and she readily agreed. Sitting up in a chair will allow her lungs to work properly as well as being to reduce the swelling in her face. Her "no" was a statement of her desire, not her intention. Later, she told me, "I'm scared." I think she is afraid of being dizzy and throwing up and just...well...the whole thing; being in the condition she is in and maybe being alone. Maybe on a level that wouldn't necessarily be communicated, the idea that when it comes right down to it, recovering is going to take a huge amount of effort and motivation that is more than she can muster on her own. She wants to get better, but accomplishing it looks like swimming the ocean right now. It's hard to feel good about reaching for a goal that can't be seen. She told the nurse she wanted me to stay, and Mary (the day nurse today) let me, but said I would have to leave after a bit. They really didn't want me back in until visiting hours started again at 11:00 a.m. They want to give her a bath and try to get her to sit in a chair, among other things.

The practical result of this morning's assessment is that she will stay in NICU today. She might go to a regular room tomorrow, but that can't be decided until tomorrow. Sitting in the chair successfully, it appears, will be a major determinant of this decision. They will try clear liquids today instead of just ice chips. She still asks for chapstick everytime I come in. I'm going to have make something of that later, something funny.

I think that is it for the technical side of things, other than it is good to see her stressing a little bit over what she must do to get better, because that means she is actively engaging her life. Now, I want to be there for whatever she needs to have peace for her journey, whether it be whipping boy, audience, cheerleader or coach.

Now, here's a story. This morning after I had to leave her bedside and was in the waiting room working on this blog, I enjoyed a conversation with the lady who came to clean it. Her english was better than my spanish, but we talked each using words and phrases in the other's language to get our ideas across. She told me she saw on TV that some fella is pregnant. This fella used to be a women, and no doctors are wanting to attend to him/her. (just a weird part of our conversation) Anyway, when she left, she said she would pray for Tracy and that God would take care of her. I told her thank you and gave the thumbs up sign. She began to leave and as she went through the doors to another hall, she began praying, right then, out loud. I heard her as she went down the hall. She was speaking in spanish, but the little familiartiy I have with spanish and her tone and vocal inflection confirmed for me that she was praying and praying sincerely and passionately. It was wonderful. I felt so special, so loved; and by someone I don't even know. You see, kids, that is the family of God. That is true community. That is a true heart. I am dancing in a field of daisies.

I want to preach and exhort, but when I try to think of what specifically to present, I can't choose, because the whole truth is real, important and worthy. The visual image in my head is that of giving the whole Bible to someone who asked me to tell them what verse, adage, or truth inspires me. Living in Christ is so much more than talking about Him, or the church, or Christianity. It is being more than doing. Of course, doing comes from being. And you know whatever you really are determines what you do, or at least the sincerity of what you do. Ok, ok enough with the philosophy. For those that endured my verbosity, thank you. There are so many of you who have said things, written things, done things, shared wisdom, practical advice, shoulders and time to whom I want to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude and let you know how important you have been; the little things and bigger things. Somehow, some way, some day I will tell you or show you. thank you.


Anonymous said...

Good morning Annie and family. Glad to hear Tracy is doing well. Just a quick word to assure you that we are praying every day for her and the family. I think of you all often during the day. I know you can feel all the good thoughts and prayers coming your way. I pray that Tracy's road to recovery will be as smooth as possible. Wish I could hug ya -
Take care - talk to you soon. xoxoxo

Kim Januszewski

Christa said...

Fantastic news about Tracy's recovery, Jeff! I've been praying that Tracy will be able to safely swallow on her own and get the nutrition that she needs without the feeding tube. Seems that is the direction that she's going. Hope it goes well. I know that Tracy's scared to venture out into the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable (sitting up, etc.), but she will be all right, and the sense of accomplishment that she will get from her personal progress will bolster her and make her feel better. She will be encouraged to do more and she will progress right along. We're all looking forward to that, Tracy! We're praying for you not to hurt too much, Tracy. God bless in your efforts. You are never really alone in the room, Tracy, we are very much a presence in your care. We are standing right beside you, surrounding your bed, in our prayers.


Anonymous said...

Well, Jeff it is good to see Tracy is thinking! She has got you in a quandry (sp?). I relayed to Shelby that after discussion it was okay for you to go to the motel...Shelby chuckled saying that he knew what you were thinking should I stay or go. I know you have so much to talk with Tracy about when you are able to visit, but if you get a chance squeeze her hand for me. We love you and are continually in conversation with God our great sustainer.


Anonymous said...

I think your dear children have endured your 'verbosity' more than any here oh wonderful father. ;)
love ya pops!