On the weekend they don't do physical therapy, so, although Kari did another 4 1/2 wean today, it's been a little less hectic--though she still gets very tired weaning off the ventilator, eating, and getting her shower. It's back to more physical therapy and being even more tired tomorrow, but she's getting stronger. I noticed that even when she coughs, her diaphram is stronger and the coughs are much more productive than even two days ago.
Her shoulders will be giving her more pain tomorrow, too. It's common for people with her level of injury to have shoulder problems because the muscles aren't that toned. I've been encouraging her to move her shoulders all day, every time she thinks about them, just to get some tone back. Tense them, shrug them, move them in any way she can without pain. Her right shoulder is still slightly separated, but one of the only ways to get that healed is to strengthen the shoulder muscles. Please pray specifically for those shoulders. At times this week the pain may be extreme. We'll try to make sure the therapists are always aware of the problem, but there'll be no way to avoid pain, though most of the time medication will make it more or less tolerable.
This coming week she will probably jump up to an 8 hour wean, and may be weaning a full half a day by week's end. That will add to her tiredness. "Things go so slowly," she sometimes says, and has to be reminded how ahead of schedule she is.
Yesterday when she was being lifted into her wheel chair via an electric hoist, one of the techs asked her if she was going to have one of these in her home. "Right now I don't have a home," she said, and indeed Aaron is now in California moving out of their apartment. There belongings are going several places, the furniture here, the cats there, and we've heard that Pastor Rick has claimed the big fish tank for his office for a while. Worries about shoulder pain, the tiredness of weaning, the longing for that actual home she no longer really has--these weigh on her a lot. Pray for her peace of mind and that she can feel her real home is in all our hearts. Meanwhile, there's also the daily round of smaller things--meals and meds and being turned and watching tv--that surrounds her too. I just left the room, saying, "I'll leave you girls to do girl things." Linda is doing her nails (finger and toe) and will be cutting about 5 inches off her hair to make it easier to keep. Sometimes just focusing on these smaller things relieves the big worries a while. This goes for small sensations returning here and there. She now seems to have consistent feeling throughout the length of her right thumb. Her left thumb comes and goes, but she felt sensation there, too, clear down to its tip this evening. There's consistent sensation in her right tricept too. There's not as much sensation in the left tricept--it's dull, half-numb, she says--but there's sensation nonetheless: a good sign, especially when coupled with the beginnings of consistent sensation in her left thumb. I think of Jesus' admonition to be faithful to the small things in life. Eventually they add up to something big.
--Richard R. Guzman