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Sorry, was having a moment

There are a lot of balls in the air, and I just needed a moment or 3.  Bear with me.

If this were Hollywood, she’d have woken up Thanksgiving night in a flash of white light, and skipped out of the CCU while whistling “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.  If this were Hollywood, I’d have more hair, be 4 inches taller and 50 pounds lighter.

It’s not Hollywood though.  People don’t just wake up from comas.  It’s a gradual process.

I’m going to steal a line from my favorite tv show that barely was:  Firefly.  “When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, when you can’t do that…you find someone to carry you.”

Oh come on.  Admit it.  You wish you too had this much useless sci-fi knowledge in your head too.  Go check out who played Chewbacca some time.  You’ll see a familiar name.  Anissa actually got me a signed autograph from him for my birthday a few years ago.

You all have helped carry me.  I’m so thankful for that.  Her phone keeps jiggling on my hip.  It’s been a constant reminder that folks are thinking and praying for us.

Thanksgiving Day came and passed.  There were some short moments of absolute clarity with her.  Natalie got to witness some.  Angela got to witness some.  I stayed at home during the day to spend Thanksgiving with the kids.  We caught the Macy’s parade.  We watched the Lions lose, prompting me to break out my Barry Sanders dvd and show the kids the best running back of all time.  We waited.  I couldn’t take it any more and headed up to the hospital to see my wife before the turkey arrived.  The waiting was absolute agony.  Natalie was positive she had communicated clearly with Anissa.  I wanted to be there.  I had to be there.  So, I hugged my kiddos and told them mommy was waking up.  White lie?  Maybe.  Natalie saw what she saw though.

I got to the hospital and Anissa was apparently exhausted.  Her eyes were open, and she’d move her head around some, but wouldn’t respond to anything.  It was clear she was tired, but wouldn’t sleep.

One of Anissa’s online friends, The Jennster, set up a time for everyone to think/pray/focus on Anissa.  9 pm EST was the time.  I got word of it late, so the best I could muster was a facebook posting of it.  At 9:03, she closed her eyes and finally got some good sleep.

The pattern has been that we’ll get pretty good response after a long rest for Anissa.  Unfortunately, on Friday, it was like she regressed.  I waited up there for a bit, and there was no recognition.  My aunt flew in.  Anissa’s sister, Angela, drove over.  At some point during the day, I was showing her a picture of the kids.  I asked her if she wanted to hold it.  She did.  She held it up in front of her face for a while.  Then I took it away, turned around to hang it back on the wall, turned back in time to see her grab the leads that measure her heart rate.  She grabbed hard and pulled.  We restrained her again.  I’ve been saying that she’s going to extubate herself soon.

On Friday afternoon, someone new showed up.  A sales person for a hospital they are considering transferring her to.  In listening to the woman speak, it sounded to me like it was a nursing home.  That hit me hard.  I didn’t care for that.  She’s making so much progress.  I kept asking about rehab, and she kept steering the conversation away from that.  I couldn’t think of any questions to ask her other than, “would you send your husband there?”  I should’ve asked if she got paid on commission.  The answer I got was a well practiced answer.  I could tell she’d practiced that in the mirror, over and over.  I didn’t believe her.  I want rehab.  Physical, nuero and occupational.  The good thing is that the kids could visit her if she were in a facility like this.  The scary thing is would she respond to them.  Think about that for a moment.  How do you think my 11, 8 and almost 6 year olds would respond if the one person they’ve been hoping to see for the past 2 weeks didn’t know who they were?

Crushed doesn’t quite describe how I left the hospital Friday.  Then I got a call from my dad and step mom.  They reminded me that I needed to be her advocate.  Well, duh.  Of course I do.  Yeah, I had gotten so caught up in the 5 minutes of clarity with her every day that I had lost sight of that.  Thanks for that Pat.  Then it dawned on me that the medical staff isn’t seeing what we’re seeing.  They’re seeing me as a family member who’s seeing what’s just not there.  The reality is that she’s been improving daily.  Physically, her left side is very quick, strong, and accurate.  Her right side still hasn’t moved.  Her blood pressure is under control.  The ventilator is out of the room.  She’s able to manipulate a ring from finger to finger without dropping it.

On Saturday, I woke up with a new plan:  No matter how much we wanted to communicate with her, we wouldn’t.  We needed her to get her rest.  We needed her to do her dog and pony show for the nurses and doctors.  We needed them to see what we were seeing.  When Anissa had her eyes open, I explained that to her.  I explained that I was going to go spend some time with the kids, and that I desperately needed her to sleep.  All day long.  Who doesn’t want a nap-filled Saturday?

We got a new nurse on Saturday as well.  When she came in the room, we had some polite conversation, and I explained my plan/line of thinking with her.  I also introduced my wife to her.  I said the woman before you can move mountains.  The nurse was so sweet, and offered some words of encouragement.  We talked some about all the pictures in the room.  She’s a budding photographer and wanted to know who took the pics.  I said Anissa had.  She wanted to know some geeky details like did we use some software to manipulate them.  I said that the real professional is Anissa.  Get her to wake up and she’ll gladly tell you how it’s done.

So, I left the hospital, Angela stayed with her.  The kids and I put up the Christmas tree.  We went out to Cracker Barrel.  We played I spy.  We shopped for Peyton’s birthday.  We froze a little in my car because the heater went out the other day.

Angela sat up there and read a book.

We all waited.

This morning I got a text saying she’s VERY awake.

More importantly, she’s aware, somewhat, and responded to commands.

Even more importantly, the medical staff saw it.

The nursing staff was apparently all sorts of giddy.  Angela talked to the neurologist, asking if she’s still considered in a coma.  At this point, she’s no longer considered in a coma.  There is still a lot of concern about speech and her right side, and she has a very high fever.

They’ll be extubating her today.

I have absolutely no clue what is next.

One thing is for certain, God is showing us through this.

305 Comments on “Sorry, was having a moment”

  1. #1 Dawn Tucker
    on Dec 4th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Hi Peter,
    Just wanted to ‘jiggle’ that phone on your hip and let you know I’m still praying for you guys. Fantastic news that the nurses could see Anissa’s reactions.
    You must be so busy at the moment trying to juggle all the balls and with Peytons birthday coming up – tomorrow? Forgive me if that’s wrong – my kids would tell you that my memory is not so good now I’m getting older!!
    I’m praying especially that when Nathaniel, Rachel and Peyton get to see their Mom they are all able to ‘get something positive’ from it. It’s not an easy decision and you’ll know when the time is right.
    Take care of yourself and please send Anissa my love.
    Dawn, England.

  2. #2 Life, Liberty & Pursuit Of Your Boyfriend » Blog Archive » The spirit of giving (and not just presents)
    on Dec 4th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    […] Read her story here. Sadness. […]

  3. #3 emily
    on Dec 4th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Anissa is an inspiration! That’s is one tough cookie! My thoughts and prayers are with you and the fam during her recovery:)

  4. #4 Puna
    on Dec 7th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    You are an amazing and loving husband. God will get you through this.

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