{Small Comforts}

OCTOBER 27, 2020


These updates always turn into novels. I’m sorry. I’m a writer at heart and I want to remember everything I can.⁣

We get a phone call from the hospital at about 7:00 this morning. I’m hoping they’ll say Shaylyn woke up, I wish it every night. But no. ⁣⁣

She gives us information about the MRI – everything we already knew, that is. She tells me that the neurology team hasn’t looked at it yet, but they will this morning. She then gives me info about what the plan is for the day and if we’ll be coming in. Plans for the day include weaning her off of the ventilator and getting a feeding tube put in.

⁣⁣When we get to the hospital, Shaylyn is out cold, but really looks comfortable. The nurse for the day comes in a short time later and tells us she gave Shaylyn Fentanyl about 45 minutes before. We were told they tried to get her on CPAP, but it only lasted about a half-hour or so, she didn’t tolerate it well. On the flip side, things are looking good for the feeding tube.

⁣⁣She’s not AS aware of us today. Or she’s just exhausted from yesterday. The Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist stopped in and did some exercises with her. ⁣⁣On her right side, she was able to put her arm above her head and hold it there with help. She was able to bend her elbow multiple times and push back against the therapist’s hand – kind of like an arm wrestle. One therapist had her try to ‘wash her face’ with a wet washcloth. She could sort of drag it across her face, but it wasn’t very purposeful. But she’s great at manipulating things in her left hand and loves to says squeeze things. One nurse even wrapped a dry washcloth in medical wrap and it’s Shaylyn’s favorite thing right now. Her legs seem to give her trouble. She moves them a lot but struggles to do so if asked to do it. ⁣⁣

Eric and I decided to grab lunch outside of the hospital and go grab an item another kid needs real quick. At the store, I buy Shaylyn a pair of fluffy socks. They’re not at all ‘Shaylyn’, but it’s the only pair they have. I hope they’ll stay on her feet better than the anklets I brought her previously.

I decided to buy a notebook and pens to keep track of my thoughts. I found pens with little rubber fruit pieces on them and had to get them. Shaylyn would love them. They keep taking Shaylyn’s blanket off of her, so I’ve now claimed it. It’s keeping me warm and maybe it is worth the $100 she spent on it.

When we get back to the hospital, there’s a new dude at the front desk. Due to Covid, you HAVE to check-in with them before you’re allowed anywhere. The system has had issues every day we’ve been here. At one point they had Eric listed as Shaylyn’s husband. We think the girl this morning has it fixed now though. When we give our info, he looks us up and then questions if we’re both allowed up. Well, we’ve been doing it for 3 days now, I think that’s a yes.

Shaylyn is still out when we get back to her. Eric’s been by her side a lot today. She has one of her coughing fits and we assure her that we’re here. Eric had hold of one hand, I have the other. It’s a daily game we get to play now. We can tell the Fentanyl is wearing off. She reacts the same way every time. We try to assure her at these points as well all the while she’s squeezing our hands. Sometimes it hurts, but neither of us cares. We love to see her strength. At one point Eric lets go of her hand briefly and she starts exploring a bandaid and a monitor that are on her fingers with her thumb. She’s aware enough to know that things feel weird.

The nurse gives her more Fentanyl. It seems to be a favorite with Shaylyn’s system. We joke that it’s her favorite drug. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I’m glad it eases her pain, but it also keeps her from being very responsive, unless being really pressed to do so.

Tanis, Nate, and Zach are at home. The rest are with Grandma. I worry about the toll this will all take on Tanis. He’s a good kid and tries to stay busy, but Shaylyn is his best friend. Had a small talk with Zach this morning. He asked if Shaylyn was still sick. I told him yes and that she had ouchies on her brain. He asked if her brain was bleeding and I told him yes. He said, “People whose brains bleed die.” I had to tell him his Lynn-Lynn was okay, she’s not going to die, and that she’s just having a hard time waking up. I’m glad to have a smart kid, but I hate having these conversations.

I started a new book a few weeks ago and I tried reading it the first day in the hospital. I couldn’t read very much, but I did come across two different lines that really jumped out at me. I don’t think I would’ve paid much attention to them a couple weeks ago, now I can’t get them out of my head.

“‘You can plan for something your whole life, and still get taken by surprise,'” he mused. “‘And you can experience an earthquake and deal with it like you were born to have the ground vanish beneath you.'” He cut me a glance. “I guess that’s the moral of your story. You never know.”

– Jodi Picoult The Book of Two Ways

“Ancient Egyptians believed that the first and most necessary ingredient in the universe was chaos. It could sweep you away, but it was also the place from which all things start anew.”

– Jodi Picoult The Book of Two Ways

The Respiratory Therapist came by to suction out Shaylyn’s mouth. She hates it. Today she opened her eyes during it and looked around. I tried to reassure her and she looked at me very briefly. We asked her to give us a thumbs-up and she surprised us by giving us a double thumbs-up, arms raised.

Right about then an officer shows up wanting to speak to one of us. I volunteer Eric. I am nervous about the reason for his visit. Turns out he was the first responding officer. He wanted to check-in. He showed Eric some pics and a video from the accident scene, for better or for worse, and left a small stuffed doggie for Shaylyn. I’m so glad she hasn’t outgrown stuffies.

It’s a fairly quiet night and another one where we’ll have to leave a lot earlier than we’d like. It’s so hard to keep up with everyone, but we are feeling so overwhelmed with love for all the comments, prayers, food, donations, and good juju that you’re all sending out on our behalf. Thank you just doesn’t seem big enough. We love you all.

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