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Waking up

Obviously, I’ve been away a bit, having a little nap. Okay, big, big nap. I’m back … ish.

I don’t have internet access. A friend printed off all the comments for me to read and I really appreciate all the good wishes coming, even from complete strangers. I’ll get him to post this. Waking up was quite a shock. I have absolutely no memory of anything before having the breathing tube removed. The first thing I remember is understanding I’d need blood to have it removed.

When I first awoke, I could not feed myself, scratch my own nose, walk or stand. Comas aren’t like on TV. Every day, you lose 10% of your muscle mass, which means you wake up quite helpless if you’ve napped for almost 3 weeks, as I did. My hands shake and I can’t write by pen. I have a colostomy. I had several IVs and drainage tubes. However, once I became conscious, things moved very quickly. Every day, it seemed, they pulled out another tube or discontinued a medication. I got stronger too.

Now, having been awake 13 days, I can walk several steps with a walker. I can feed myself and (very importantly) type. I still have a very long way to go I cannot get myself from sitting to standing without help, for example. The nurses keep raving at the speed at which I am progressing, but I don’t know how they can look at all the photos of my kids (and my dog!) and be surprised at how hard I’m working at getting moving again.

When I first realized what had happened, that I wasn’t just waking up from surgery that morning, my primary emotion was enormous gratitude. Not only am I alive and getting stronger each day, but I am amazed by the number of people who helped and supported my family. It took me days to fully realize the scope of the support.

Actually, I’m not quite sure I’ve absorbed it yet. After several days, J started giving me the emails. I still haven’t made it through them all. I can’t even begin to list everyone who made a difference, but the people who helped my children in some way are obviously at the forefront of my thoughts.

I want everyone to know that the awareness that there are so many people out there who have kept me in their thoughts really does help as I get past the relief at being alive and start into the real work of rehab. It’s tough in here.

The kids are coping remarkably well, in part thanks to all the support J is getting. Maya is being her typical mature self and Boo continues to be her happy self. Asher has also shown remarkable maturity. He turned 9 while I was unconscious and really enjoyed the huge party he was thrown.

He had a biopsy for celiac disease (no official result yet) and swore off gluten the moment he walked out of the hospital. He hasn’t had a moment of complaint over not being able to eat what the others eat, and hasn’t even complained that I have been unable to fulfill my promise of baking GF challah.

Because I can’t bake, J went to the GF section of our grocery store and bought $75 worth of GF snacks pretty much one of everything to try with Asher as time goes on. The next morning, Asher woke him up before 7 am to inform him that he didn’t like the bagels or bread, but all the other snacks were good. He’d gone through and sampled the entire thing before breakfast.

I’ll continue to update this blog through my friend, wishing I had internet access, as often as I can. Getting my life back is going to be a long, hard job. I don’t want to get all maudlin, but please appreciate your lives. It can all disappear in a moment and you can wake up in someone else’s life, struggling to get your own back.

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