Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update from David

Sent: December 9, 2010 8:36:40 PM HST

Aloha, Friends & Family

Yesterday's update did not materialize because I was travelling back to the Big Island in the afternoon to sort out some matters and bring over supplies for the weeks (or months) ahead.  Not much has changed back home these past three weeks however my perspective on what is important has.  The house feels empty without Theresa and Timmymao around, like a school during summer break.  I tried to do some tidying up in addition to gathering the clothing, toiletries, etc. that we'll need over on Oahu but could not bring myself to straighten out the seemingly random piles of books, papers, photos, recipes, or whatever that Theresa likes to create.  It's her way of organizing and I have never understood how it works, yet it does the job.  The only item she ever lost in our house was her bible, and that showed up after we replaced it.  Maybe it was God's way of telling us to have more than one around.

What made this trip possible is because my cousin Darien and her husband Darrin (honest, they didn't plan it this way) came over to Honolulu along with their good friend Mary, to look after Theresa for 2-3 days and to support me.  And Tuesday was a day that the Lord knew I really needed the moral support because there appeared a big setback in Theresa's healing.  On Monday, Theresa had successfully completed some 4-hour trials with the ventilator setting at natural breathing.  It's the equivalent of breathing through a snorkel, with the ventilator just providing the tiniest bit of assist to compensate for all of the tubing.  So bright and early the next morning, the decision was made to extubate and even Theresa herself agreed by purposefully blinking 3X in response to the surgical intensivist's question.  At first, Theresa seemed to breathe fine without assistance however as soon as she tried to cough and clear her lungs, she was the face of pain.  How could anyone blame her?  With 8 fractured ribs, a neck still healing from major surgery, and a very sore throat from 18 days of intubation, it was incredibly painful just watching her try to catch her breath.  Within 20 minutes, I was hushed out of the room so they could reintubate her.  The Lord must have heard my silent prayer in the ICU waiting area because my cousins and their friend arrived at that moment and did their best to reassure me that all would be fine.  Sure enough, we were allowed into Theresa's room within the hour where she was back on the ventilator and beginning to recover from the ordeal.  Following this excitement, the plan for the remainder of the day was to let her rest and build up her energies for the specialists to try Plan B, replacing the mouth tubes with a tracheotomy.  This would be more comfortable for Theresa by allowing her to open and close her mouth at will.

With the day of rest ahead for Theresa, I flew back to Kona accompanied by Mary, a brave soul whose husband was injured even more seriously in a car accident almost 18 years ago; and with her undying love, Phil continues his healing journey to this day.  The evening went by quickly as I pretended to be Theresa and tried to imagine what she would need.  Unlike me, she unpacks her toiletry kit following each trip so it should prove interesting to see her reaction when she's looking for moisturizer and finds panty liners and dental floss instead.  This morning, as I was finishing the packing for the return trip, our pastor came by to pick up some items that will serve well at the food bank instead of going stale in our pantry.  We had an illuminating discussion and when Pastor Al prayed with me, I could sense a powerful yet comfortable energy embracing me, almost like a bear hug but without the unpleasantness of being suffocated.  Because of this wonderful feeling, I just knew that it would be a good day for Theresa too.  And sure enough, upon returning to her bedside today, Darien informed me that Theresa's tracheotomy went smoothly and she was now mouthing silent words.  Even more heartwarming was to see Theresa arch her eyebrows.  Those who know Theresa well know that one arched brow can say more than a hundred words.  With small movements on her right side and feeling returning to her left side, we thank the Lord for all that He has done, not just for Theresa but for all of us too.



P.S.  Darien is starting a blog for Theresa's healing journey at  It's a work in progress and I will be adding to it as time permits.  Please take a look or pass the address along to friends or family that may be interested.  My internet provider is beginning to send me warnings about being a spammer so I'll have to limit the e-mail list.

1 comment:

  1. We danced at Queens' MarketPlace tonight, David, and when we do, we always think of Theresa. There were only three of us--me, Shelly and Clare--but she must've been around for moral support because we did pretty good! Stay strong; we're with you, one day at a time. Aloha.