Dearest friends and loved ones,
One week ago yesterday (Wednesday), Kris did another one of her fantastic “reloads!” It was as if she suddenly found hope again! She had been in a kind of gray area since the surgery on November 6th, and just hadn’t snapped back. Yes, she was on large doses of antibiotics and anti-seizure meds, which helped make her very sleepy. And, yes, the surgery had knocked quite a lot of spunk out of her. But last Wednesday, she seemed to be able to stay awake longer and be more actively participating in therapy again. By Monday this week, the old Kris was beginning to shine through again: personality, a willingness to want to work harder... it was coming back. Tuesday and yesterday, she walked up and down steps (with assistance, of course) and was truly ready to get back to work. She had “reloaded!”
Yesterday morning during occupational therapy, the head of the psychology department here at RIOSA stopped to speak to Kris (as he has done almost every day since she is here). He’s a retired Army colonel and loves to kid with Kris since she’s Air Force. Before yesterday, she would look at him but not be very animated. Yesterday, she smiled at his kidding and her eyes were full of awareness and fun. She even “bumped fists” when he was ready to leave. He was delighted; I was thrilled! It’s amazing to see her “reload” (that’s just the best way of explaining it!) and get ready for the next “round.” You can see the hope, the desire to get better, and you can feel her strength as she pushes on. Also yesterday morning, the speech therapist was going to time her to see how often she closed her eyes or dozed off as he was working with her. Well... she DIDN’T! Not once. She was wide awake the whole session and excited about working with the computer as she tries to communicate and let us know what she wants and needs. It’s all part of pushing forward and she just has to get those fingers working again!
Late Tuesday afternoon, her stitches came out. That was painful because there were so many, but she mustered through and her incision looks wonderful. Thanks Dr. Teff. She really seems to know it looks better this time, and your baseball stitch worked like a charm! Tuesday evening, her own wheelchair was delivered. It had been ordered two months or so ago and it is built “for her.” It is so compact, light-weight, and easily disassembled and assembled for travel. Tuesday also marked her last day (we hope!) for the antibiotics and, within 24 to 48 hours, she should be able to have outside visitors again. That’s bound to make her even brighter and happier! They have to be certain the infection is gone so, by Saturday, she should have the “all clear!”
In the meantime, today is Thanksgiving, and we will be celebrating it at RIOSA with Kris. We know this is where we’re supposed to be and, yes, we have so very much to be thankful for this year! We have been so blessed with our treasured children and grandchildren, and also with love and hope and a sense of togetherness even if we are miles away from most. We will have our Thanksgiving meal with Kris and talk by phone to the others. And... exciting news... I’ve been given the “go ahead” to feed her very small portions of pureed turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and even some pumpkin pie (filling only, of course!) because her swallowing is working so much better. It’s her first real attempt at eating (other than sherbet, pudding, etc.) and, even if it is pureed, we’re so looking forward to her being able to eat a meal.
So, this year, as you “gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing” on this day set aside to truly give thanks, please know that we are so grateful to all of you for your prayers. And may your hearts be filled with the real grace of God: His blessing and His peace. It passes all understanding, and truly makes the heart happy!
Blessings and love,
Carol and George