Friday, December 17, 2010

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

Peace and quiet at last, relatively speaking.  Compared to the ICU with its multitude of beeps, blurts, chirps, horns, whistles and veritable symphony of electronic alerts, this respiratory step-down unit is almost like being in an isolation chamber.  Only the nebulizer heater that mixes oxygen with water vapor makes noise and its hiss and pump duet is quite soothing, kind of like being on a steam locomotive train ride.  As far as Theresa knows, maybe she is on a cross-country trip and when the train sounds finally fade away, it means she has arrived at her next stop -- a place where she can breathe in silence and on her own.  Like a Tokyo subway, I firmly believe Theresa is spot on with her schedule of healing.  How do I know?  Because from the very beginning of this journey, God has been and will continue to be the conductor.

The peaceful aspect here is that Theresa is only disturbed every two hours for repositioning and every 4-6 hours for vitals, meds, etc.  She is taking full advantage of this calm in the storm and catching up on much needed shut-eye.  Not even the occupational therapists who worked for over an hour fashioning a thermoplastic splint (to replace the heavy plaster cast that spanned her shoulder to her wrist) caused Theresa to open her eyes the prior morning.  Well, mostly not anyway; at one point she opened her left eye, squinted at their warming tray and probably thought:  why the heck are they cooking brats (bratwurst sausage, for those that haven't spent time in Wisconsin) in my room?  In spite of all the noise, light and test fittings, the end result was worthwhile even if it wasn't a delicious boiled in beer meaty treat.  This removable splint is much lighter and it wasn't long before Theresa figured it out and began lifting her arm all the way past her forehead, to the utter amazement and delight of everyone in the room.  After four weeks of immobilization, I'm sure she relished the freedom to flex that shoulder and wrist.  And her legs didn't want to be left out either; in addition to the uwehe hula move she's been practicing previously, Theresa is beginning to lift from her knees, a positive sign that her quads and torn ligaments are regaining their strength and yet another example of the healing power of prayer.

Today's plan was pretty laid back for Theresa.  Other than a sponge bath and sitting in the cardiac chair for a few hours, it's mostly time to get some rest and healing.  The view from this floor's Habilitat is more panoramic but scenic in its own way.  Theresa's quiet time was just as well because it turned out to be a hectic day for me.  In between four visits by friends, there was a call to go to the housing office to sort out a few details.  While there, I heard that Queen's will be closing down the family accommodation units in early January.  In its place, arrangements have been made with a Waikiki hotel to provide housing at a reasonable cost to the off-island patient's family.  Hopefully by then, we'll already be at the next stop on Theresa's healing journey, a rehabilitation hospital.  Even if we're still at Queen's, old friends from Twilight at Kalahuipua'a (Mauna Lani's full moon cultural event affectionately known as Talk Story) have generously offered their spare bedroom near Ala Moana for me to stay.  While not as convenient as being on the hospital campus, the price is right and it's only a 10-15 minute bus ride away.  In any case, I am thankful to God that I was able to stay so near to Theresa during her critical care phase.

The other event that would have slipped my mind if not for a timely card & gift arriving in the hospital mail is my birthday.  My thanks to everyone who sent their best wishes, and while this is not how I envisioned spending the day, I would not have it any other way.  The best birthday gift I could ever receive arrived this morning when Theresa opened her eyes, gave me a smile and motioned for a kiss.  Thanks be to our Lord for making this day come true.


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