When we arrived at the Craig Hospital last night, Kari was tired after a long day of rehab. More than that, there was a lot of pain in her neck and right shoulder, and she asked several times when she would be able to have more pain medication. At times she would bite her lip to help get through the pain. Yet, again, she was so happy to see us, and gracious with everyone around. Shona reports that one time she apologized for snapping at her. Shona was surprised, because all she had done was ask for a drink. "Well, I felt like I was snapping at you on the inside," Kari said.
The neck pain, the shoulder pain, and several others come partly from the strain of working the muscles and being moved. Our muscles are often paired, but hers won't necessarily come back in pairs, so that puts extra strain on the muscles that are ready to be worked. We noticed a kind of widely spaced spiral taping on her right forearm. That was there to correct a muscle imbalance. The muscle that turns her forearm outward is much stronger than the muscle that turns it inward, so when she lifts her arm the forearm always tends to turn outward. The taping will help keep the fore arm from turning outward.
We asked about any other muscle groups or feeling coming back and were told that she now has some sensation returning on and off to both thumbs, though she can't move them yet. I must admit that I'm so anxious to hear about more sensation or more movement in the hands, lower torso, or even legs, that sometimes I overlook something even more basic. Remember when we feared she would never be able to breathe on her own again? We should never take for granted that her breath is coming back--and it's coming back more quickly than expected. Yesterday she breathed totally on her own for two periods of one hour each (instead of the half hour the schedule called for), and another session of one hour, ten minutes. They may slow her down some so as not to over tax her, but soon she will be at two hours. Then four. From there it makes a huge jumpt to eight hours. Once there, she creeps up in two hour segments: 10, 12, 14, until she is at 24 hours on her own. This might happen as early as two weeks from now. Breath, pneuma, spirit. We start there. We take a deep breath and slow down. As you focus your prayers for feeling and movement in the hands, give great thanks for her breathing. Kari is tired and sore and at times the pain saps her energy away, but her breathing is getting stronger and stronger.
--Richard R. Guzman