RELIEF. That's what I experienced when we walked into my mom's hospital room this morning and saw, not only the bothersome cervical collar taken away, but also, a little later, a nurse spooning yogurt into my mother's mouth. Hooray for progress!!!
Before long, Dad took over the job of feeding Mom...
Here's a quick run-down of today's events...
~ I only took the younger four kids with us because Josiah stayed in town to go to his biology class and do his normal volunteering at the library and David helped Jeff at the barber shop.
~ There was a fog warning as we approached the top of the mountain; but when we got to the crest, we saw that the fog had lifted slightly, but an accident had occurred in the westbound traffic. We were heading eastbound and sailed through without any trouble, but it was a reminder of what can happen.
~ As I mentioned, Mother wasn't wearing the cervical collar; and she also wasn't connected to an IV any longer (although the ports--is that the right word?--remained in her arms, in case they were needed again).
~ The pulse oximeter was on her left hand and was bugging her; she would fidget with it quite often.
~ She had a "mitten" on her right hand, but she figured out how to use her left hand to unstrap the velcro and get it off. Sneaky little lady. ;-) By the end of our time there, she had a mitten on both hands.
~ When Mother first saw me, I felt like she didn't really recognize me; but after a bit, I felt like I saw recognition wash over her face, and then she smiled. :) I had said something like, "Hi, Mom! It's Davene"--identifying myself by name. And when she recognized me, then she too said my name. A little after that, a nurse asked Mom, "What's your name?" and she never did say "Barbara," but at one point in her groggy, mumbling voice, I thought I heard her say, "Davene."
~ One time when Dad was out of the room, I asked the kids what we should sing to Grandma, and Moriah suggested "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," so we sang that. :) Another time, we sang "Come and Go with Me to My Father's House," a song that Tobin had been thinking about.
~ Another time when Dad wasn't there, Mom was sort of leaning forward and acting a little troubled. I was trying to help her to relax and lay back; but before she did, I could see the back of her head and noticed her wound from the fall. I thought, "Wow, that has GOT to hurt!" Sure enough, one time today, Mother said, "My head hurts." She expresses so little verbally, but that thought came through clearly.
~ The nurses were all very nice, and it was reassuring to know that Mom is in good hands. My appreciation for nurses has never been low, but it's higher than ever after this experience.
~ While we were there, Mom was able to eat some yogurt, applesauce, cream of broccoli soup, and drink a chocolate milkshake and some water. I'm sure that will go a long way towards helping her recover her strength and start to feel normal again.
~ Between 12:30 and 1:00, I took the kids down to the cafeteria for lunch. It was pretty busy there, so we went for a long walk before returning to eat. It was still pretty busy when we returned! ;-) I had the kids sit at a table, told Shav to feed Benjamin, told Tobin to keep an eye on everything, then went to order (I could still see the kids from where I was). Amazingly, nobody fell to pieces! ;-)
~ Tobin and I have discovered that our favorite thing in the cafeteria is the sweet potato fries. :)
~ Dad talked to somebody from the neurosurgery department and was told that there is some fluid on Mom's brain, but the amount is very small, and surgery doesn't seem advisable at all in her case. I'm assuming that Mom's skull fracture will, like Moriah's did, heal on its own. It's kind of interesting to me that, besides all the other things my mother and my daughter have in common, they both have broken their heads!
~ They were planning to do (and have done by now, I'm sure) a standing x-ray on her so they could determine if her spine was OK when she stands up. Dad told us tonight that, after we left, they helped her stand up from the bed, and she could do that; but when they had her get back in bed, she wanted to stand up again. He said, kind of jokingly but kind of serious, that he sort of hoped she forgot that she could stand up so that she wouldn't keep trying to get out of bed! ;-)
~ I was able to meet the nurse practitioner who is officially in charge of Mother's care. This is entirely irrelevant to my mother's care, but this nurse practitioner was wearing a pair of glasses that are so funky, I could hardly believe they were real glasses and not something she picked up in the kids' aisle of a dollar store. (This is even more irrelevant, but I think some glasses styles that are popular now are completely ridiculous. I know I really need to go get my eyes checked, but I'm afraid to do so because if they say I need glasses, I may never find a pair I actually like! Silly vanity, I know. But seriously, sometimes when I see people wearing certain glasses, I think--but would never say obviously--"You are surely going to look back at pictures of yourself and question why you ever wore those!") :) At any rate, she told us that Mom will need to stay at UVA at least over the weekend, but might be able to get out sometime in the first part of next week. Sooner than that, she might be able to move to a regular floor, rather than the intermediate-level care (I forget the exact term) floor where she is now.
~ The big question is where Mom will go after she gets released, but we're wondering if a skilled care area of her nursing home is the answer. That's still up in the air though.
~ Mid-afternoon, Benjamin was getting very, very sleepy (but wouldn't fall asleep in my arms or the stroller); and although he was still in fairly good spirits, I knew he was on the verge of wailing. My cousin Matt's wife Megan had very kindly offered to bring my dad back to our side of the mountain, since she could be passing through that area anyway on her way to celebrate her mother-in-law's birthday (happy birthday, Aunt Elaine!!), so I very gratefully took her up on her offer and was able to leave before any meltdowns occurred. It didn't take Benjamin long to fall asleep in the van, that's for sure!
~ As we were coming down the mountain on our way home, we saw a gorgeous rainbow with incredibly bright, vivid colors. There was enough traffic on 64 that I couldn't rest my eyes on the rainbow, which was off to our right, for more than about a split-second, but I thought I saw something unusual about it, and the kids commented on it, too. I found out later (thanks to the Facebook post of a super-smart friend) that it was a supernumerary rainbow, and you can click here to find out all I know about that! ;-) Really, all I know was that it was BEAUTIFUL.
~ My sister will be taking my dad over to the hospital tomorrow, and I will be eager to hear their reports when they return. I'm sure I'll update when I know more! Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you who are reading and caring and praying for my mom and our family. We are so grateful for each of you!!