I was so afraid to come to the hospital this morning. Kari’s condition was so bad last night and I could hear her screams in my head as I walked over from the apartments that I dreaded stepping on to her floor. When I walked in, though, I found her alert as they were getting her up into her wheelchair for the day. Kari’s mom, who is spending nights with her, said she finally went to sleep around 6:30 for a few hours and then ate breakfast. Brea, her tech (check out the “meet the Craig Hospital staff” link on the website) wrote down Kari’s quote of the day that she said when she woke up: “I remember everything I forget.” Kari said that she remembers being crazy last night, although not all the details. She explained some of the things she was trying to say to us, but just couldn’t put into words—amazing because to us she had no Idea what was going on.
After the worst night ever, we probably had the best day ever. Kari got up in her chair around 10:30 and stayed up for 9 hours, a new record for her. She had a good PT and OT session, ate a full lunch, and then we went to see Randy Snow, the first Paralympian inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame, speak in the gym at Craig. Kari was still really groggy, but enjoyed hearing him and seeing a very successful businessman, athlete and speaker who is paralyzed. (Although he’s not a quad.) After that we went outside where they had refreshments and sat by the small pond near the back patio. We went back inside around 3:00, but Kari was still feeling good, so we got permission from the nurse to go off campus. It was the first time we’d been off the hospital grounds without the whole crew of nurses and techs that they take on the outings. We went up to the top of the parking garage across the street, where there is a great view of the mountains and lots of room for Kari to practice driving. Without anything to be afraid of running into, Kari drove pretty fast and got some more confidence in her chair. I got some video clips of it too, which we’ll try to put on the website soon. After hanging out in the sun up there, we drove over to Swedish hospital to visit some of Kari’s old nurses from the Critical Care Unit where she was from July 17th – 29th. The only one of her nurses that was there was Melissa, so I showed her her old room and the waiting area where our families lives basically stopped for two weeks. I showed her the couch on which we took naps and th corner where we stashed all our food and stuff. As I took her past some of the rooms, she was wowed at the amount of tubes and machines hooked up to the patients, and I explained to her that she used to look like that. It’s been a road much harder than I could have imagined, but we’ve come a long way.
We went back through the tunnel to Craig, got dinner in the downstairs cafeteria and brought it back to our room. She kept forgetting to chew her food because she was so drugged up, but she ate a ton. Afterwards, we went to get some more food at a going away party for a patient on the east side, and Kari saw a baby there with whom she was completely enthralled. Now that Kari’s on so much medication, she basically says whatever she wants, and she was making faces and gestures to the baby for about 5 minutes. In fact, the whole day, she kept spacing out, but she wasn’t panicking, so the medication seems to be slowing down her mind a bit, which is what we were hoping for. After a full day, she had her shower and went to bed. After not having spasms or needing pain medication all day, she started again when she laid down, but after about an hour of it, she went to sleep until about 2 am. (I went back to my room to get something, fell asleep and then woke up a little bit ago, which is why I’m doing this post in the middle of the night.) Since 2am, Kari has been waking up every 5-10 minutes or so and having spasms, but not as violent as last night. If last night hadn’t happened, I’d probably be pretty worried right now because she’s very confused and is talking nonsense again. I know, however, that she’ll come out of it, but it still hurts to see her like this. Hopefully she’ll get in another long period of sleep before morning and we can finally get her on a day night sleep schedule. Thanks for keeping up with us. I saw a ton of comments and got a few phone calls today and I know that a lot of prayers were offered up for Kari today. Seeing how well she did restores my faith a lot—I was getting so discouraged. Thank you for contending for her and for me.