This week has been adjusting to a new schedule. Go to work, go to the hospital, go home, make phone calls, research brain trauma information and try to keep up with things at home.. There is some comfort in creating a routine. It may not be a routine I know or would choose, but it's somewhat predictable. After several weeks of riding the roller coaster of life and death...I will definitely take this.
Jim is working hard at learning to sit up, walk, talk and put thoughts to words. He is challenged everyday by his team of therapist at Select Hospital. It is so hard to see him struggle now, to do the simplest things that he did before, without any effort. The energy it takes to lift his foot up and move it a few inches to walk, is enormous. The sound of groaning radiates from his newly capped trach. This is the first sound I have heard my husband utter in almost seven weeks. I want to weep and laugh for joy at the same time. Sitting up straight and balancing the halo, while trying to concentrate on what he is asked to do, takes the grit of a prize fighter. My Jim has it.
The damage the fall imposed on his brain wants to rob the man who resides in the once muscled, refined body. I can see in his eyes, this will not happen without going to the mat to the finish.
It takes everything in me not to run and comfort him and make his therapy team stop imposing this new pain on him. But I mustn't. I can't. It's the only way to bring him back, to give him a fighting chance at a life , again. So I stand back, shifting my weight from one foot to the other, walking behind him, lest he see my tears. He always said 'I cry at the drop of a hat'. But this is not a 'drop of a hat'. This is gut wrenching pain. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. I want it to end, I want it to continue. Hurry, hurry...get it over with and let's get on with our life.
What will that life be? Only God knows. Maybe that's best. Today has enough to think about and deal with.
It is finally over, his therapist helps to put him back into his chair and wheels him to his bed for a rest. His body relaxes and his eyes close. I collapse into the chair next to the bed, feeling every bit as tired as if I did his workout.
The coughing racks his tired body, brought on by the activity and change of position. Respiratory nurse arrives with her bag of goodies to help him clear his airway. With time, sleep comes.
Looking out over the city through his window next to his bed, I see the sun fading over downtown. I know how it feels. Picking up my bag of mail, I've yet to go through, and throwing on my coat, I bend to give him a kiss goodnight. Eyes barely open, the smile of the man I've spent my last 36 years with, warms my heart and gives me the stamina to walk out the door and have hope for what tomorrow will bring.