Wow, I don't know where to start today! Should I begin with the fact that Mom is no longer in the ICU? Or that she was sitting up by herself on the edge of the bed for over five minutes? Or that I heard her voice today for the first time in two weeks?
As you can tell, I am really excited at the progress Mom is making. I can tell God is on the verge of showing Himself magnificently mighty on Mom's behalf, and I am just thrilled.
Mom was moved early this morning to the Neuro Special Care Unit, which is right above the Intensive Care Unit. This is a step down from the level of care given in the ICU. Still in the north wing of the hospital, same entrance to go in the hospital, just punch "5" instead of "4" on the elevator. She is in room 523. One must stop at the nurses' station before entering the NSCU ("Niskyew," in 'Nurse-ese') and use the black phone on the desk to call in to the unit to get permission to visit. Scheduled visiting hours are 10 AM - 2 PM, 4 PM - 6:30 PM, and 8 PM - 10 PM. They ask that only two people go in at a time because of the limited space available.
When I arrived in Mom's room today the physical therapist and occupational therapist were there giving Mom a workout. They got Mom sitting up on the edge of her bed, and as I mentioned before, they let go of her (while staying right behind her for safety of course) and let her sit on her own. They were pushing her gently forward, backward, and to each side to see if she could compensate by working her muscles to stay sitting upright, and she did a great job! Then they tried some finer motor skills with a toothbrush, lip balm, and a comb. Still a lot of work to be done there. Mom would not pick things up, but would hold them when they were put into her hand. Then she did not seem to know what to do with them. The therapist would guide her arm and hand with the appropriate action, but Mom could not repeat it on her own.
Later the speech therapist came in to start Mom in the process toward speaking again. The first thing she did was to "sit" Mom up in the bed by raising the head of the bed to a sitting position. Then she deflated the donut-shaped bubble that is inside Mom's windpipe, surrounding the trache tube--its purpose was to make sure that nothing went down the airway that wasn't supposed to be there. Once that was deflated, she put a one-way valve on the outside stub of the trache tube which allows Mom to breathe in through her tracheostomy but forces her to breathe out through her nose and mouth. That went well too. Then the therapist, Claudia, got Mom to make a sound with her vocal chords--the first one in two weeks! Words are still a bit of a challenge for Mom. I could tell that her brain was working and she knew what she wanted to say, but the process of making the words come out through her mouth is still a bit too complex for her. I tried to explain to Mom that the nature of her brain injury is such that things that seemed so simple before are going to take a lot of work to learn how to do again, but that this is normal and that she WILL get it! She nodded as though she understood, and I really think she does. I plan to work with her some as well on my own, which Claudia encouraged me to do.
Mom still has her lovely smile--several people have commented on how sweet she seems. When I told them that Mom has people all over the world praying for her, that she communicates regularly with many missionaries and they have all been notified to be praying for Mary Jane Ames, Mom got a great BIG smile on her face! Her heart still beats for missionaries just as much as it always has.
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers. God is answering, so don't stop! :-) We appreciate you so much, and Mom does too.