I just spoke with Christi on the phone. She stayed overnight at the hospital. Fortunately, she was able to get one of the waiting rooms with a bed. She said that overall, Graci is doing well. In fact, they're pretty close to removing her breathing tube. Unfortunately, before they can do that, they have to bring her back pretty close to full consciousness. Up until now, she's been at least somewhat sedated, so she wasn't too aware of the pain, and wasn't too aware of the ventilator. Now, as she's coming out of sedation, she's in tears all of the time. She's feeling the pain in her chest and other areas. Probably most disturbing of all for her is the thirst. With the ventilator in, she can't have anything to drink (and hasn't had anything since midnight on Sunday!) so her throat is miserably dry. The only thing they can do is swab a little bit around her lips with a small, wet sponge. She also wants to be sung to all of the time, so Christi's vocal cords are getting a workout. But at least her progress is good.
I came home last night with an excruciating headache, which I had suffered through for most of the day. As I was able to get away from the stress of the hospital, eat some good food and relax just a bit, I started to feel a little better. I helped get the kids to bed, and got to bed myself by 9:30. I slept solid until 2:00 am, when I heard Jessica crying and starting to open my bedroom door. Then I heard my sweet mother-in-law, LaRita, quickly rush to Jesi's aid so I wouldn't be disturbed. I was just drifting off again when Elli started into her angry cry. Elli wakes up many nights. Some nights, she's just fussy and has a sad cry. Usually in this case, she can be calmed down fairly quickly and will fall back asleep. Not so on the nights she wakes up angry!
You have to experience the angry cry to understand it, but I'll try a little description. She puts every ounce of strength she has into this cry. (And she is a STRONG little girl!) This thing comes straight from the diaphragm and permeates walls, ceilings and other obstacles in it's way. (In other words, on a normal night, when Christi and I are both sleeping at home, if Elli starts into her SAD cry, I can reasonably be a lazy slug and pretend not to hear her while I wait for Christi to get up and help. But on such a night if Elli starts into her ANGRY cry, there's no pretending. I simply admit I'm a lazy slug and let Christi get up and help. Wait, there's not too much difference, is there? Well, I digress:) The angry cry is so piercing that you seriously feel like there is permanent damage being done to your eardrums as you approach her to hold and help her. Usually it takes a minimum of 45 minutes to calm her down. And usually, if she's woken up with her angry cry, she won't fall back asleep that night. What you hope for in this case is that she'll calm down enough that you can leave her in her room and go back to bed. After you get back into bed, you'll start to hear her again, but at this point, she progresses to her euphoric elation stage. She finds humor in something down there in her bedroom. We don't know what it is, but you've never heard laughter quite like this. She gets absolutely hysterical. Again, this strong, loud laugh is pretty permeating, but we've learned to sleep through the sound of that, while sleeping through the angry cry is virtually impossible.
Anyway, both the girls were going strong at 2am this morning. So I got up and helped Jesi while LaRita helped Elli. What really hit me at that point was how blessed I was. Usually, I'm not so great in the middle of the night. I can be a bit grumpy. But what a blessing. On a night when I really needed patience to get through Jesi's refusal to settle down, I was blessed with patience. It was also such a blessing that my headache was gone at that point. I'd had this headache (sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker) for about 48 hours. But when I woke up with Jesi in the middle of the night, it was gone. The tender mercies of the Lord can be so subtle that they're easy to miss. But they are tender mercies, nonetheless.
It took about 25 minutes to get Jesi back to sleep, and LaRita let me go back to bed while she continued to help Elli. (I fell asleep to the sweet sounds of laughter coming up from the basement.) I woke up this morning at 7am feeling much better. Whatever illness I've had seems to have settled in my chest and is localized to a pretty rough cough. But overall, I feel much better. The cough will severely limit my time in the ICU, so hopefully that will go away quickly. The kids (with Grandma and Grandpa's help-Dean went to Wendy's:) brought me breakfast in bed for my birthday. It was sweet that they would remember this little tradition in the midst of such tumultuous times. We have great kids!!!
Thanks for all of your love. It's neat to see how many of you are interested and concerned enough to check in on a regular basis for updates on Graci. We'll keep them coming!