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Greetings. Rebecca suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on Friday, June 2. After a month in the neuro ICU at Mount Sinai West, she moved to Kindred Hospital in Wayne, New Jersey, which specializes in helping acute patients be weened off the ventilator and breathe on her own. A few days after the incident, two key scans -- an MRI and an angiogram -- did not show the damage to the brain stem that the doctors feared, lots of inflammation but no damage. Inflammation can heal. Since then it's been all about healing the body with the hope of getting her time for the brain to heal. There have been lots of ups and downs -- still are -- but we're still on this slow uncertain trajectory toward hope and recovery. For a while now, since the end of the first week, Rebecca has been sporadically wakeful and aware, capable of responding to commands like wiggle your toes and show me your beautiful smile. Likewise she seems to understand the conversation, indicating yeses and nos by blinking, and her amusement or disdain by raising her eyebrows. This is big important stuff because it shows that the potential is there. Since coming to Kindred on July 3, her stamina for being awake is growing and she is starting to be more aggressively weened from the vent. So our world has changed, I'm trying my best to help Rebecca, care for Elena and Adam and (like everyone reminds me) for myself. From the beginning, we've been blessed with tremendous support from family and friends -- and it helps. One metaphor that comes to mind is that it's a big line running a marathon uncertain length and drama but at every step there are people running beside you and standing close by cheering you on. People offer to help, and I try to ask as needs show themselves, for the really big thing for me, i find, is to not get overwhelmed -- by chores, by emotions, by fatigue, whatever. I'm especially enjoying walks in the park and by the river -- and watching favorite movies with Elena. This week we watched Working Girl, Persuasion, and North by Northwest.
So that's the scoop. I think I'll post occasional updates, especially if there's good news.
At this time, I have two asks.
The big one is please visit Rebecca if you can. No expectations, I understand. But this is the time for some heroics if you can do it. Company is helpful to her, and it also gives me some relief, whether I'm there or not. The drive is about 20 miles from the GW Bridge. the address is 224 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ. Her hospital, Kindred, occupies the 8th floor of a larger hospital, St Joseph's, which occupies the the whole building.
If you're planning to visit, use your common sense: don't come if you have a cold, or have been at home with someone with a cold. wash your hands before entering her room. and then just enjoy her company. call her name, nudge her shoulder to wake her and take to her about whatever's going on in your life. the second book of Harry Potter is now available to be read to her. there's a book mark. you can also play her music from your phone. Those of you who play instruments, bring them and play or her.
Now it;s all about helping her increase her stamina for being awake.
Please note that I'm taking Elena to Cornell next weekend; we'll be gone from Friday the 14th through Sunday the 16; if you can make plans to come during that time, especially, please do.
The second ask is that, finally, I'm accepting meals for dinner. Any time they've shown up they have been extremely welcome and helpful. it's just Elena and I so a little food goes a long way . Everyone says carbs, which I love. But I'm starting to dream of protein. Take a look at the schedule and fill it in if you'd like to send something. that's the best way, otherwise we'll just be overwhelmed with food we can't eat. Two or three dinners a week would be huge for us.
What can i say?
Thank you seems like such a meager way of responding to all the kindness we've been shown but it's all I got.
I can tell you that every gesture, and every expression of kindness, is received as a gift and blessing and really helps.