I actually hate rollercoasters. Back in the days when I was trying to be a good Catholic girl, I would go on rollercoasters to prove to myself that I could and then pray the entire time. “I promise to be good the REST of my life, just let me live through this.” And then, I would collapse on a park bench in a heap of weak limbs and sweaty skin.
So yesterday, after the relaxing day that I described, Layton had a challenging night. He didn’t want me to leave so at 9, I made sure Mom got back to the room and then came back to be with Layton. About 10, Layton began throwing up-sorry to be so descriptive-but it is nasty to do this at the best of times-it is worse with a trach and needing suction. It was a very frightening experience for both of us. Even with the trach, it was hard for him to breath. For almost an hour, he had two RNs and an RT supporting him as he struggled through this. When I asked if this was normal or what we could do to prevent this, I was told simply, “This is ICU/Trauma. Nothing is normal.” I guess I have observed that over the past two weeks. Layton had a pretty good night after that, but it sure took a lot out of him.
Today, Layton had a couple of sessions sitting up in a chair, first one for two hours, the next for just over an hour. In case, you haven’t noticed, he has a pretty scrawny butt and it gets SO sore in this chair. The sitting up is going to help loosen the secretions in his lungs…which leads to more painful suction. So what is good for him, hurts him. His own rollercoaster.
The doctor says his x-rays are better again today and he thinks the insurance company may send a Leer jet for us sometime next week, assuming the progress continues, but Layton will still be on the ventilator at Kelowna General Hospital.
So back to the rollercoaster ride. As the sedation has decreased, Layton has become increasingly aware of his surroundings…and his limitations. The gratitude for his recoverable injuries, the helplessness of his recoverable injuries. The frustration of not being able to do almost anything for himself from moving a pillow to straightening himself out in bed (he is constantly “listing” to the right), the humor and wit of his short written comments (when asked if he had had a bowel movement during the day, he wrote “ghost poop”, meaning, “No, he hadn’t”). Up and down and around the bend.
Over the past few years, I have changed, thankfully, so that I learned to better control my mind…fewer panicked thoughts, promising to “be good for the rest of my life”. I now know with confidence that “This too shall pass” as someone remarked in one of our blog comments. A year ago tonight, Layton and I were dancing at our friend, Lesley’s 50th birthday. A year from now we will likely be having one of the most special Father’s Days ever. Maybe that will be the change in our lives….the rollercoaster of life will just be rolling hills, offering enough variety to keep life interesting and enough predictability to keep the blood pressure down.
Blessings to all the fathers out there in blogland…may you have the capacity to “flatten the track” for your loved ones when they really need it.