I sat down with Ms. Jones on a Sunday evening at the Mother Joseph Care Center in Olympia, WA to chat about how she’s doing and how she is processing this experience thus far. Enjoy!

AS: How are you feeling right now?

LJ: I feel comfortable. I feel a relief of pain and so happy that I had a shower this afternoon.  I feel full of joy. The world will never be an ordinary world. It never really was before, but now it’s much richer and I have so much gratitude for my family and friends. I feel steeped in the beauty of what the love of another human being has given me.

AS:What has this experience been like for you thus far?

LJ: That is probably one of the most difficult questions you could ask me simply because words fail. The experience has been more beautiful, more miraculous, deep, rich and life affirming than I ever could have imagined before the accident. My compassion and empathy is limitless- I thought I knew love- I thought I knew the bounds…and I thought I was compassionate to the depths of my soul- empathetic and caring deeply… I saw myself as off of the ordinary path. This has blown everything out of the water. It has deepened every experience in my life. Until I had this experience, I can see that I was held back. There is nothing like almost losing my life to help me realize clearly how I was living and how I want to continue to live.

AS: Can you describe what it was like in the moment when you  felt your life was threatened?

LJ: I felt powerless. Never have I felt quite that powerless because I had two little lives in the car with me. I felt life suspend itself.

AS: Can you describe that?

LJ: It was too soon to feel fear. To be afraid that the children were hurt. It was happening- Boom- life suspended. I had no idea what I was going to end up with. I didn’t know if more pain was coming.

AS: Did you experience the cliché “life flashing before your eyes”?

LJ: No… Life was very much what was happening, not what had happened before.

AS: How are you feeling about your recovery time ahead?

LJ: I am feeling very accepting. I am actually looking forward to it.

AS: In the quiet hours before you go to sleep, or between visitors, what do you think about? Are you processing everything that has happened?

No, I am so close to the bone with myself –  when visitors leave or it’s quiet, I amsimply with that quiet. I don’t do a whole lot more with that, just accepting the simplicity of what is right now. I don’t need to process it. I feel trust. I am not missing that feeling of urgency that I have to make things different. I  love the feeling of knowing that I cannot control things anyhow. This is about being in acceptance and I can find my strength in that.

AS: What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to time with more family and friends. I am looking forward to learning how to knit… cleaning up my contacts, and reading books I ordered. I am looking forward to doing the things that I never allowed myself time to do. I am looking forward to the seasons changing. And getting back in touch with people whom I lost connection with when I moved from Oregon to Washington. I am also looking forward to getting up more frequently in the wheelchair, and field trips with the care center… an outing like checking out a library book sounds like a trip to Disneyland to me. It will be thrilling.

AS: So far, what are the most important things you have learned from this?

I have learned to let the love in more than anything else. And again, I thought I had been doing that before but never like now. I have learned to let people show their love for me in tangible ways as well as other ways. I have learned something I already knew, but I’ve learned it on a deeper level – to cherish every moment of life- to honor the “everyday” things like drinking a cold cup of water, or a hot shower… these simple pleasures can bring such joy.

AS: Is there anything you miss?

I miss being able to get up and walk to a movie theater. Or get in the car and run an errand. But when I think about it I chuckle because my perspective has changed so much that any small thing is something I appreciate so deeply. Looking forward to where I can go in my wheelchair tomorrow, or getting my hair shampooed is HUGE. The things I thought I would have missed, I’m not missing. Coffee sounds too strong, gourmet meals sound too heavy, working out sounds overwhelming…What I really miss is not being able to fully return the love and the beautiful gifts that family and friends have given to me. I am just a receiver right now, and I long to be a giver also.

AS: What are three of your favorite things right now?

LJ: The sound of childrens’ voices I know are my grandchildren coming to visit me..My daughter’s laughter… A hot wash cloth with some face cleanser in the early morning hours.

My mom's emty ICU space when she was taken down to surgery.

Lydia (left), Lauren (center) and Mark (right) during one of our MANY trips to the cafeteria at Harborview.

One of the last nights in the ICU before my mom was really lucid.

The view from Jamie's front door early on Christmas morning. Also the site of the accident.

A sunrise from the ICU waiting room. This was the view we looked at constantly for 7 days straight.

My mom and Lauren for the first time since the accident. Lauren had begged for days to see "Mimi" but we wanted to wait until my mom's breathing tube came out and she could talk.

The day after Christmas... we had our own Harborview Christmas.

Mom in acute care at Harborview...

on a wheelchair epredition at Mother Joseph Care Center...

All of us at the nursing home 🙂

Hi All,

Thank you so much for all of your support. I appreciate you being patient and waiting for the latest update.

My mom is doing great, I am so happy to report. She was transfered from Harborview Acute Care to a Rehabilitation Center in Olympia (okay, really, a nursing home). Mrs. Jones has been here since New Years Eve, and everyday she has made tremendous progress. Her voice is still a bit raspy from breathing tube but everyday it comes back more and more.

She will be here at Mother Joseph Care center for an undetermined amount of time, at the very least one month. Tomorrow she will begin her daily routine of physical therapy and occupational therapy.

She has been been able to get in a wheel chair everyday. Yesterday, we took her for a spin and made about 5 slow laps around the care center, occasionally getting into traffic jams with other residents in wheel chairs.

Everyday the bruising fades, the swelling goes down, and her muscles feel stronger but her positive outlook stays firmly in place.

If you want to send her anything, please send it to the following address and it will be delivered to her 🙂 :

Lorrie Jones

107 6th st.

Steilacoom, WA 98388

Thank you all and more to come!!

The ICU’s revolving door of drama ushers in the broken and out the mended. Just as we had hoped, Ms. Jones recovered well enough a couple of days ago to be released from the ICU.  Breathing had been normal and healthy for over a day, pain was managed, and vitals were all good. We were “that family”. The family that got to leave. The family I envied only a week ago as my mom lay unconscious.

My apologies for not keeping you all closer in touch with the events, but for some reason we got busier with my mom out of ICU than with her in it.  Ms. Jones is full of energy AND conversation. She’s in a lovely room on the 6th floor where flowers ARE permitted (apologies for the SHAMELESS hint—the address is: Harborview Medical Center 325 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 731-300 Lorrie Jones Room 612).  I have to say we miss the ICU a bit. First off, the ICU staff were amazing.  Acute care is a little less intense on many levels.  It’s sort of common and if there is ANYTHING we don’t feel like after the last week, it’s COMMON.  But, it IS one step closer to the exit, which is not a bad thing.
I assure you all that we feel very fortunate.  It’s easy now to complain about the inconveniences of being bedridden.  It’s hard to adjust your position.  Someone needs to do everything for you.  If you knock your lip gloss from the side table, you’ll just have to deal with those dry pale lips. . . .  but, we’re happy that THOSE are the things we consider issues.  There is someone at every stage of injury and recovery in the ICU.  Just as we were at a low, admiring those who were on their way out, we are now out and most likely the envy of others.

When we first arrived, there was a young woman to the right of my mom’s bed (separated by a curtain).  She had been in a horrible car accident. Hit head on by a drunk driver on the interstate, this poor girl was left with many shattered bones and some head injuries.  She had been there only a day or so more than my mom. We knew because the accident was published in the newspaper.  After several surgeries, she stabilized and moved on while my mom still had a couple operations ahead of her.  We saw her mom yesterday in the cafeteria and while she’s not in the ICU, she still has many operations ahead of her and speech therapy to regain her life.

The night after my mom arrived at the ICU, a tragic police shooting brought an officer to our floor. He had been shot in the neck, in the shoulder and in the chest.  The neck wound had done damage to the spine and the portion of the brain that controlled breathing.  He was on life support and the prognosis was: “miracle required”.  The waiting area was crowded day in and day out with family, police officers, and other community members showing their love and support. We spent a couple days and nights with one of his childhood friends who spoke of a kind, loving, and loyal officer, husband, and father.

As my mom awaited her last surgery, another young girl joined our room who was also a victim of a car accident. Less significant injuries than some of the others, but she was clearly traumatized.  There was lots of yelling and panic. She pulled her own breathing tube out and all hell broke loose. I gather she only needed one surgery since we never saw her after she was taken to the OR.

The sheets were cold only a couple hours before an older man was admitted with an embolism in the back of his leg.  He needed surgery to prevent a stroke and they talked about “saving his leg” being priority #1. . . . um, yeah, I think that would be at the top of my list too.

The day of my mom’s departure from the ICU I was sitting with her in the morning chatting away about lord knows what. We were both in great moods. She was feeling good, moving on, and applying make-up to her bruised face.  A new victim arrived with an entourage of teenagers.  A young man was flown in from northern Idaho with a gunshot wound to the stomach.  I listened in over the tears of his mother and girlfriend (I think) as the nurses said there was little news to offer until he went for surgery. The bullet had been removed in the first hospital, but a lot of shot remained.  The wound had been left open since there was much work to be done.  He was stable-ish, but running a high fever and there was no time to waste.  They carted him off to the OR moments later. I’m not sure what became of him, but just yesterday I saw some of his friends in the cafeteria, so I assume he’s still with us.

Yesterday I learned that the police officer was not so fortunate. After a week of life support and no improvement in his responsiveness, the family decided to let nature take its course.  I went to the ICU yesterday to say good bye to the staff and I immediately notices how empty, quiet and sad the waiting area was.  Gone were the men in uniform, the family, and the friends who had patiently and anxiously the miracle that didn’t come.

I’m so very grateful for my mom’s life and my own.  However, it’s a mixed blessing. We left the very same floor as some people who will not make a full recovery.  My mom herself was only a few inches away from a much different future than she has right now. But, yes, we are grateful.

Lorrie has a few more days in the hospital and will then either go on to an extended care facility or home. Safety and health are priority #1, so she’ll go wherever the best care can be provided to ensure an effective recovery.  She looks better each day and her enthusiasm and energy have almost fully returned.  She does need rest and will soon require a lot of physical therapy, but we are almost out of the woods and we’ve not seen any bears along the way.

It’s a great time to call, write, and send flowers ☺ I’m on my way out of Seattle and will return in a few weeks to help my mom. I’m leaving blogging responsibilities to Angie and Bob. . . . you will hear from them soon.  Thanks again for following our journey and all of your messages of love and support. She would not have done so well without you!

It’s odd to think that only a week ago my mother was severely injured in a freak accident.  She had been run over by a minivan which beat up and broke nearly everything on the left side of her body.  Her first night in the hospital the docs had to “go in” to stop some internal bleeding (when I say some, I mean she was given 12 units of blood — I’m told the body has 14 total) that we learned days later was a little closer to life-threatening than anyone wanted to admit.  Since then, she has endured 3 surgeries to repair her leg, hip, and face.  All surgeries required general anesthesia and were performed with only a day of rest in between.

I open with this grim recount in order to juxtapose properly the unbelievable recovery that is underway (the good news).  I have hardly a sense of time at the moment. I’ve been in the ICU with my mom and family for a week. It feels like I arrived yesterday, yet I would not be shocked if someone told me I’d been here a month.  The days are defined in my memory by medical events: surgeries, tubes, awake days, breathing tests.

It was not until Thursday that I even heard my mother utter a word when the breathing tube was removed for a brief period of time. Before Thursday there were actually few moments when my mom was conscious for more than a few minutes at a time. I remember (I think it was Tuesday-Wednesday-ish) when my mom would wake up from her sedated slumber and open her eyes really wide, almost as if she had just regained sight from a life of blindness. She’d look around the room, curious and confused. Her eyes were glossy and wet with small wells of tears in the corners.  We’d whisper to her and she’d gently look to our voices. It was hard to tell if she could actually see us or not.  She gave us very unfamiliar stares at first, but her eyes quickly warmed and her forehead wrinkled.  It looked like love.  She did not look in pain or discomfort. Her face simply looked like love.  I don’t think she had the energy to raise her arms to hug us (not to mention they were strapped down to keep her from touching the breathing tube), but the look in her eyes said more than any physical contact could communicate.

There is only so much you can say to someone who is in this condition. You know they are not 100%, so it’s not the best time to recount the details of the accident.  They also cannot respond, so it’s an equally terrible time to ask a lot of questions.  All there is to say is “I love you”. Which we did, over and over again.  But, what’s more interesting is what happens when the words stop.  Sometimes she’d stay awake for a few more minutes and we’d just stare at each other. Directly. Eye to eye. Blinking was the only movement either of us made.  We could sit there for what felt like an hour simply staring into each others eyes.

When was the last time you tried that? To look into someone’s eyes for a really long time, comfortably?  I tried to have staring contests when I was a kid, but they would end in giggles seconds later. I think all the other times ended with one person needing to look away or to say something to bridge the inevitable discomfort.  A deep, uninterrupted stare into someone’s eyes is a remarkable experience. Words become unimportant and thoughts become vague. Your sole focus is on their eyes which contain their present and more personal feelings. Feelings that don’t need to be said out loud.

That’s one of the many important lessons I gained this week– it’s important to stare. Not in a rude way, of course, but in an uninhibited, unassuming way. It’s an important, unfiltered means of connecting. We use too many words sometimes. I’m not sure we even posses the right words to express ourselves in every situation. We worry about what others will THINK about what we SAY! Eyes don’t lie. They don’t need to. In fact, most of the time, they can’t.  Have we lost this form of intimacy? Why is it hard sometimes to simply look at the people we love without saying a word? What makes it uncomfortable? Is it because we want to the other person to SAY something?  Will TALKING make the feelings clearer? Maybe. Maybe not.

As the week progressed my mom’s alertness improved. Even the day of her 4th surgery she was really quite alert before and after the procedure. I wrote earlier that she went into the 3rd surgery (pelvis) with a brave face and I think by the 4th she was nearly wheeling herself into the OR. Remarkable, truly remarkable.  Her time awake was sometimes limited in the post-op phases, but when her eyes were open, my mom was more and more “on” each day.

On Xmas, the day after my mom’s last surgery, the recovery really picked up pace.  Gone were the days of drifting in and out of consciousness.  There were no surgeries left to prepare for or recover from. She was alert, alive, and very much herself. She was also armed with a pen.  She had gained enough trust to have her arms unshackled (after the last experience of not being able to breathe without the tube, the docs were fairly convinced she had no interest in pulling it out) and with a pen and paper in her lap we talked, laughed, and cried all afternoon.  If this was not enough evidence, I was FULLY convinced that my mom had regained her senses when she requested her Bumble and Bumble shampoo because she HATED the stuff they were using in the hospital. A manicure was also on the list of requests (though ironically, the manicure was the ONE thing on the left side of her body not damaged). I say this not to make my mom sound vain, but rather human.  When you’ve been run over by a car, operated on 4 times in a week, and not seen even a glimmer of hope of leaving your bed, the LEAST you can have is good hair and nails.

In some ways it was the best Christmas possible. Certainly the best Christmas given the circumstances dealt to us.  There we no songs, no decorations, no parties, no meals, and not any gifts (yet, I am still expecting them). There were no trips to the mall, no waiting in line at the post office, and not a single worry about whether or not we gave “the right git”. . . . Christmas was focused on the most important things we have: love and life.  Fortunately for my family, we got both.  I could not have asked for a richer experience (however, as I said, I never want to do this again). There were certainly some people we encountered this week in the ICU who might not have this experience, which makes me feel fortunate and incredibly sad.

The day AFTER Christmas got even better.  By the time I reached the hospital this morning, my mom’s breathing tube was out and she and Angie were sitting in her room gabbing away.  My mom does sound a bit like an R&B singer who has done perhaps one too many shows (maybe just a bit like Whitney when interviewed by Diane Sawyer), but I’m happy to listen to her all day.  In fact, I think I better be prepared to do so because either the pain killers or the fact that my mom has not spoken for a week has made her quite possibly the chattiest person I have ever met. And, if you know my mom, you know she was ALREADY CHATTY. I’m trying to figure out if she’s releasing all her pent up desire to talk or if during that week of silence I had simply forgot how chatty she is.  Anyway, if you have some questions, EMAIL ME!  Now is a great time to get her to talk about almost anything 🙂

Tomorrow she is moving to acute care. We’ll say good bye to some amazing nurses in the ICU who have seen one more broken person leave in a better state.  I wrote earlier how we’d one day be that family who moved out of the ICU with smiles on their faces. Well, our day has arrived.  The ICU bed next to my mom’s is empty tonight. I just wonder for how long.

It’s amazing how fast the time is passing considering how little I do all day. This is day 6 in the ICU. I know the hospital pretty well, thought I’m slighly less fluent with the layout of the hospital as I am with the cafeteria menu.  Our days consist more or less of reading in the waiting area, sitting by my mom’s side, eating, drinking coffee (I separate these two as they involve separate trips downstairs to break things up), and making maybe one venture outside.  Today’s big trip was out of pick up some gifts for my brother’s kids since I didn’t have much of a chance to finish Xmas shopping over the past few days.

My mom is sleeping now after one last BIG day.  She had her plastic surgery today to repair the fractures in her face.  Ironically, this was the “minor” procedure compared to the last three surgeries.  We were very relieved to have this work done today.  The doctors said this procedure could have waited a couple of weeks, but it would still mean going under and having the tube. . . .  so, better now than recovering for a week or two and then doing this all again.

We had been prepared for this procedure by the cosmetic team over the past few days.  We were told that that CT scans showed fractures on the left cheek bone near the ear (where the “face” was attached the skull, we were told), above her left sinus, and around her left eye.  You could really see the damage as well.  Her left cheek and eye were visibly set back from where they once rested. Effectively, her “face” was no longer attached to her skull as it once was.  A couple days ago I was discussing this with the doctor and asking how they were going to fix it.  A pin here and a pin there, I was told.  The doctor said it was not going to be a really big deal, but she wouldn’t know the extend of the damage until she ran some “tests”.  Curiously, I asked, “how exactly do you test how well one’s face attached to one’s head?”  The doctor replied, “I  jiggle her face to see how loose it is.”  . . .  I’m still not sure to what extent my face displayed the horror that ran through my mind.  To those medically inclined who are reading this I apologize in advance, but . . . . that sounds totally rediculous.  Jiggle her face?!?!?!?!  As if my mom is some cartoon character with a rubber visage.  I mean, where did the doctor get her medical degree, Disneyland?!?!?!?!  What’s next? Is Mickey coming into to hug my mom better (which considering the broken ribs would be a terrible treatment strategy).

Well, Disney degree or not, the doctors were outstanding and I have no right to critcize them.  She went in for this procedure this morning at around 11am and what was supposed to be a 4 hour procedure was done in 2.  She was back up in her room shortly after and was resting (sedated) comfortably (very sedated) in the ICU.  She came to shortly after coming back upstairs and was certainly groggy, but pretty responsive.  Her face looked great. Only one clean incision above her left eye that looks like it will heal really well.  There is another entry point in her mouth, but that is obviously not visible.  The cheek was clearly back in the right position, which will make my mom really happy.

So, it’s Xmas eve.  My sister and I are on duty at the hospital. My bother and his family were just here for a visit. We had dinner in the cafeteria and exchanged some gifts.  We’re hoping to leave later tonight and stay at my brother’s house so we can have Xmas with the kids in the morning before coming back.  My mom is resting very soundly right now.  They always give her the best pain meds right after surgery, so she’ll sleep well this holy night.

A few of you have replied to my emails and have asked me what exactly happened to my mom.  Well, truth be told, we don’t know exactly. The only witnesses were, unfortunately, my bother’s 4 and 6 year old kids who don’t quite command the vocabulary to explain it all.  Their view was also fortunately blocked by the driver and passenger seats that rise well above their back-of-the-car-kid-seat-buckled-in position. That said, this is what I KNOW and what we have CONCLUDED.

My mom was on her way to meet my brother and his wife for dinner. They were already at the restaurant with their littlest child and my mom was at my brother’s house getting ready to take the other two kids with her.  My brother lives in a suburb of Seattle in a nice little neighborhood where the houses are pleasantly nestled in with one another.  Their driveway has a definite slope, so it’s important to park cars with the e-brake on, especially when it’s cold out.  Since my mom was driving his kids to the restaurant, she borrowed his mini van that was already equipped with the childrens’ seats.

She buckled the kids in, started the car, and tried to back out of the driveway. She quickly realized that the e-brake was on as the car was not moving. Unable to find the brake (as she was unfamiliar with the car), she called my brother for help.  From the restaurant he helped her navigate the car and locate the brake which is somewhere on the left, down below the dashboard, oh wait not the lever for the hood, the other one . . . . . as he talked her through the steps the phone suddenly went dead. He called back several times only to get her voicemail.  Oddly, in between calls, they got a voicemail from someone from the fire department asking them to call back.  They were a little confused, but obeyed the message, called back and got someone on the line.  It was indeed the fire department.  A calm, stoic female voice simply said there had been an accident and they needed to come home right away.  This was only minutes after the phone had disconnected the call with my mom.

Fortunately, they were only minutes from their house.  They pulled into what my brother described as a surreal nightmare. The kind of dream that is so vivid, yet you feel convinced it’s not really happening. Police, fire trucks, and an ambulance were outside his home. Commotion, stress, and confusion accompanied.  My mom was on the sidewalk and his car was backed up onto his front lawn.  The kids stood beside their grandmother, Mimi, but were well protected by the emergency crew.  A neighbor had wanted to take the kids inside, but without consent from the parents, they had to remain at the scene.

My brother had the neighbor take the kids inside as he consoled my mom.  He describes a woman more brave than I can imagine.  He didn’t know what had happened to my mother, but clearly it was bad. The driveway was covered with feathers that lined my mom’s parka just moments earlier and she, laying on the ground, said her leg “didn’t work”.  She apologized profusely for not being able to get to the kids out of the car on her own and assured my brother she was fine.  As the doctors examined my mother the assessed right away that she had a chest injury and a broken leg, at least. The combination of the injuries they knew of justified immediate attention at the trauma center.  They  called for a medivac, but the helicopter had a mechanical problem, so off she went in an ambulance.

The kids were tight lipped about the accident for the first couple days and expressed their feelings only through slightly more wild behavior.  Eventually they started talking about it and that’s when we started to piece things together.  Lauren, the 6 year old said that Mimi (my mom’s nickname by the kids) was trying to fix the brake and had gotten out of the car. Suddenly the car started going backwards by itself.  Mark, the 4 year old, got scared and unbuckled his seat.  The car continued to roll, but was stopped after rolling up on to the grass and hitting the “for rent” sign on my brothers lawn (they are moving in a few weeks).  They could see from the car their grandma lying on the curb.

So, with these pieces of evidence, we’ve concluded that my mom put the car in reverse.  When the car wouldn’t move, she called my brother to get help finding the brake. She got out of the car to look for it, found it, and released it. We suspect that she forgot the car was already in reverse, so when the brake was off the car moved back and she was trapped between the drivers seat and the door.  The door pushed her to the ground and with the car moving back she was effectively trapped and run over by the car. Her injuries are all the left side of her body: a broker femur, 5-6 broken ribs, a bruised lung, a fractured left wrist, and fractures on the left cheek bone, sinus, and above the left eye.

I hate to say she’s a lucky woman because this is the kind of luck that only applies to something not been as catastrophic as it’s potential.   But, she is measurably a LUCKY woman. She is all of 4-inches-to-the-left a LUCKY woman.  The other upside is that Harborview medical center is the best trauma center in the region and she is receiving excellent care.

Hello everyone.  Little by little this email list is getting longer as more people become informed about what happened to my mom.  There is something very therapeutic about writing these emails. I feel like I am talking to each of my close friends, yet I don’t have to relive the conversations over and over again.  It’s a bit surreal to tell these stories about my own mother, but to tell them multiple times is just too difficult.  Anyway, thanks for following and thanks for your support. I really do think it helps us all, especially my mom. She was so happy today when I told her how many people (your names I read aloud) were thinking about her and asking about her progress.

So, today started off really well.  She had a restless night, but she was strong in the morning and breathing well so they cautiously removed the ventilator.  I can’t even describe the transformation. My mom literally went from looking like a patient “on the edge” to looking like, well, “my mom”.  Her swelling had died down and she had color in her face. there were no giant tubes obstructing her mouth and forcing her to talk with her eyes. Her voice was very faint, but she was conversing.  We did most of the talking, but she certainly chimed/whispered in when she had something to say.  We even joked about the nurse from yesterday who ate a bowl of stupid for breakfast.  I think mom mom actually laughed.

We told her a lot about what had happened to her. She listened with patience, but with anxiety. We got through telling her about the accident and the first two surgeries.  She had had enough after that.  We eventually told her about the third surgery and assured her that she’d make a full recovery in time.  It’s hard to express the look on her face as she took all this in . . . . a mix of complete bewilderment, confusion, surprise . . . I mean, I guess she looked like you’d expect. A sort of face that said “what the fuck?!?!?!?”. Yes, really, what the fuck indeed.

(I’m not typing on my iPhone today so this update is a bit longer, obviously).

As we talked (or, as I talked), her breathing became increasingly strained. Between the painful coughs and her general fatigue, it became harder and harder for her to take breaths.  The docs came back in to have a closer look and realized that some swelling had begun in her throat.  They gave her some kind of gaseous mixture of air, oxygen, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory meds (sounds nice, right?) to help ease things.  She began coughing more, which is good to get the gunk out of her lungs, but bad because it’s super painful.  It got harder and harder over the next few minutes and before I knew it an army of doctors were in the room and they made the call to put the tube back in.  It was really disappointing.  They told us not take it as a set back.  They said we were in a kind of war. When one strategy does not work, you regroup and try again. The war will be won, but maybe not today. Blah blah blah . . .  it was still a bummer. We had just had
her back for less than an hour. Joking. Smiling. Making fun of the dumb nurse. Then, suddenly, we were asked to leave and my mom has been asleep with the tube in her throat ever since.

In the end, we netted out equal. She has to go under for her last surgery tomorrow so the tube was going back in regardless.  What’s good is that when she WAS with us sans tube, she WAS my mom. 100%, or close to it.  So, that was the first real proof that what the docs are telling us is true. Full recovery is on its way, in time.

So, tomorrow she’s going to have the fractures in her face repaired and god willing that should be the last time she’s in the OR. We are probably looking at a few more days in the ICU and once the tube comes out for good, she can move to a private room.  This will be a good day, trust me.  After spending several days in the ICU I can tell you that this is NOT a place for a relaxing stress free recovery.  This place is a revolving door of tragedy. Just as you see one person recover and transfer out, the empty bed is lonely for only a few hours before a fresh case of drama comes rolling in. It just does not end. I know our time will come soon when we are the recovered family that suddenly is no longer there. I’ll be really happy on that day.

Thanks again for all your support. I miss you all.

Andy

My mom made some progress today, especially considering yesterdays surgery. She rested a lot, but she was awake and more responsive than ever. We focused on breathing tests hoping she would demonstrate enough strength to get off the ventilator. She did well but not quite well enough, so we’ll give it another go tomorrow. She’s really trying  She’d make you proud.

The wonderful thing about today is that she seems more coherent than ever. Though we can’t speak with one another she understands our questions and will nod to communicate.
She will also flash some very telling expressions when asked a stupid question. For example, when the nurse asked her “are you in any pain?” my mom managed to say “are you a fucking moron or something? What did you eat for breakfast a bowl of stupid?!?!?!” without uttering a word. So, my mom is still very much my mom.

So, tomorrow is another day. She loves knowing that you all are sending love. I read her all the messages you send me.

Thanks again. I’ll send you all an updte tomorrow.

Andy

Sent from my iPhone

All-

Today’s update. We had a good day. After resting yesterday my mom was strong enough for her next and last big surgery. She had her pelvis stabalized today with a couple pins. It was actually a quick procedure and the surgeon visited us after and said it went quite smoothly. She back in he ICU and is mostly sleeping, but does occasionally wake up and looks anxious but comforted by the sight and sound of
family.

She’s been alert more today than the past two. I think in general she’s grasping the gravity of her situation as she  seems very confused and concerned when she wakes up. Despite this, when the moment came to go back to the ER i asked if she was ready and she confidently nodded her head. She might be scared but she knows what must be done. She’s a brave woman.

Thanks for all your support.  Send along any messages you want me to convey.

Andy

Sent from my iPhone