Yesterday they put Kari in a reclining wheel chair, and she and Aaron toured around the hospital for three hours. She liked being that mobile, and being able to tolerate three hours up and around is a good sign. They will start weaning her from the ventilator soon, turning it off for 2, then 3, then 5, then 10 minutes, until she is up to 8 hours, and more. They seem confident that she'll be off of it in about 2 1/2 weeks. She is also eating more solid foods, so that they only use her feeding tube at night now. At present, there's no word on any more feeling or movement returning to her hands or the rest of her body, but they will start aggressive physical therapy today. Her therapist and her husband are both youth ministers at a United Methodist Church, so she was thrilled to be assigned to Kari.
Today she gets a full bath or shower, too. She's kept saying, "I'll feel better after my bath" since she's been here, so that will lift her spirits a lot, as will the fact that a hospital apartment just opened up as well. Aaron moves in tonight and will now be just one building away from Kari.
Shona Fowler will stay on a few more days in Denver ("She appeared like an angel just before I was going to leave," Linda says) and will judge how much help Aaron needs before she goes home. We return next Saturday, just in time for Aaron to leave for California to move out of their apartment, and will stay at least a day after he returns. We're back again on the 29th-31st, and again on September 4-5th. In between and after and overlapping a little, several friends plan to come in, and the Morris' thought they could return in about 4 weeks. Aaron has said that if you would like to come and visit, just let him know, and he can tell you within a few hours what the visiting situation is. It should only take a little while to arrive at a good date, and there are several fairly cheap and nice places to stay close to the hospital, if it's not possible to share his hospital apartment (at the most, it's a small one-bedroom setup and may even be an efficiency).
Aaron's brothers have been waiting for an appropriate time to come. His older brother Rick and his wife Desiree will be in Denver August 19th-21st, and his younger brothers are coming soon as well. One younger brother, Daniel is pursuing a music career, and his band plays tonight at a club in West Chicago. "They've got such incredible energy!" Kari said when she heard them for the first time back in Chicago about a year and a half ago. He, and especially his brother Bryan, are close to Kari. About three months ago I noticed they've got a picture of her stuck in the switch plate cover of the kitchen light in their Chicago apartment!
When Daniel first heard about the accident he sat in a living room chair staring straight ahead for nearly 45 minutes. After an hour he went down stairs and we heard him starting to play his guitar. Just a day after her operation he had written a beautiful song for Kari called "Bedside Water." It's unique. "Never in a million years could I see anybody else coming up with this," said Linda. The song starts as a conversation between Daniel and the glass of water at his bedside: "Oh, bedside water, have you heard about my sister? / Oh, she took a beating from the god of chance." He imagines our God troubling the water. It steams, loses form, and travels westward as God meditates on our prayers. It floats through Kari's door where it becomes a cloud and rains into the glass at her bedside, ready to quench her thirst.
Even after she started eating more solid foods, what Kari craved more than anything else was water. Water for the bath that she gets today, but most of all just water to drink. At times she would drink and drink as if she were unquenchable. Late Thursday night as she was driving home, Linda called Daniel to tell him how his song and Kari's thirst connected so beautifully. We will be using the song as the basis of a fund raising effort in the near future. Please watch for news of this. Most of all, we live in great expectation that God is going to trouble the waters. Pray for this. Expect this.
--Richard R. Guzman