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The one where I’m tired

My part of this one will be short.  A friend popped in and thankfully…ever so thankfully….she sent a write up….allowing you all to see through her eyes (and make it so I can keep you guys updated!).

There has been an army of friends and family that have paraded through and visited Anissa over the past 2 months.  They all comment about how awesome the progress is.  I see it too, but I’m a little envious of each of them.

They get to go back to their respective homes…and spend time with their normal routine and family.


I am constant.

I used a line the other night that I rather like.  I tend to get the end of day table scraps of what others got to see that day.  As with all scraps, there’s bad mixed in with the good, so occasionally a drive home from her isn’t always the happiest of times.

To steal a line from Queen:  “Friends will be friends, when you’re in need of love they give you care and attention.”

Last week, some new friends put together an inspiring little video I have to share.

Absolutely awesome isn’t it?

For several reasons, which you’ll see shortly, I didn’t see the email when it came through.  Instead I saw it when I needed to.  When I was at a low point after one of those bad drives home.

So, I *think*, I’ve got enough coverage through mid April.  I have to finalize some things with a few folks, but I have to tell you how absolutely awesome it is to have support.  Not a single day goes by that I’m not amazed by someone’s actions.

Last week, Sandi made a return visit for a few days and REALLY brought out Anissa’s personality.  The therapy group in the nursing home was more used to working with a different age of patient.  So, they tend to talk over/around their patients.  It’s not a negative, some of their patients are more responsive than others.  So, Anissa was standing in the box (a contraption that helps her work on trunk control), and they were talking around her about food.

Anissa leaned over so that she was in the face of one therapist and said, “Whatever”.

The therapist looked a little shocked and said, “what?”.

Anissa replied with, “This morning I had ‘almost’ meat for the first time in 50 days.  You need to change the topic”.

The next day they stood her up in the box.  They asked her to stand up for 5 minutes.  She said she could do 5 minutes if coffee were involved.  They reminded her that she’s not able to have liquids just yet.  She told them that she couldn’t do 5 minutes then.  They agreed to a thickened cup of coffee.  Anissa started pointing to other people around the room, “you’re a witness, you’re a witness, you’re a silent witness, etc” based on whether or not they could talk.

She did 10 minutes of standing then.

Time has obviously passed, and I’m a tad overwhelmed by a handful of life events, not the least of which is my wife.  I’m having a tough time keeping up with her.


Because we’ve moved.  We made it.  After many sleepless nights, filled with worry and concern, we’re at rehab.

Today we got a wheelchair.

I’m betting $1 that she walks by her birthday, at least one step.

Now without any further ado, I’ll give way to Dawn.

Hi – I’m Dawn (aka @kaisermommy or “one of the Room 704 girls”). I roadtripped with Alex to Hotlanta Monday-Wednesday this week to see Anissa. It was one of those times where things just fell into place and we took off for Georgia.

I’m going to give you a little background on me – not that you particularly care about ME but it’s going to come back around to YOU here in a few paragraphs – so bear with me.

I was a smidge freaked out as I sat in the parking lot of the care center. Last time I was in a hospital setting was sitting next to my dad who had just died. My dad who was a funeral director and mortician my entire life. Son of my grandparents who were both funeral directors and morticians. When I was 20, one of my friends (occasional boyfriend type) was ejected from a car after being hit by a drunk driver. Being with him after the wreck sent me down the path for becoming a speech pathologist. I’ve seen some bad stuff and pretty much expect the bad stuff to happen.

I sat in the car surrounded by all my emotional baggage. I acknowledged it was there. But I hadn’t driven 6 hours with a toddler to NOT go in. And really – I just needed to take the minute to acknowledge all the bad so it wouldn’t come sneak up on me once I was inside. This was the minute for it to be all about me, before I went in and it got to be all about Anissa.

I strapped toddler in his stroller and we headed in. Peter had given me a run down of things that morning so I was up to date. Regardless, the first time seeing a friend laying in bed obviously weaker than the last time I saw her? Sucks. Easily being able to see that one half her face isn’t playing well with the other half her face. Sigh.  Same friend looking me in the eyes and the recognition sparking and hearing her say slowly and quietly – “I know you! I know you! I can’t believe I know you! And I can’t believe you are here!” I just climbed up on the bed with her and hugged her for me and for you – and for you and you and you and oh yes you in the back.

While her right arm might be, as she put it, “a mess” – that left arm? That left arm hugs back hard. Right. Freaking. On.
I showed her pictures of Victoria – quizzing her – I told her it was Victoria she looked again and said VDOG! and then could tell me that the photo was taken at a party, and it was the New York [Aiming Low] party. I showed her the photos of Maria and Angie that they had sent along with me. I showed her Aiming Low and she goes “oh, it’s still going!” uh yeah girlfriend, you weren’t around to fire them so they kept working. She’s having some trouble with double vision (totally normal at this stage) so to be able read we zoomed in the text on the website and she was able to read the post title “I Actually Kind of Care What You Had For Lunch. Sorry Maggie Mason” She said, “I don’t know who that is.” I explained Maggie Mason… Mighty Girl … the No one cares what you had for lunch book. She said, “Hm. Yeah, I guess I don’t get that reference.” *snort*
We talked more about people – she’s working to connect the dots of real names, twitter names, and where people live. She has some things mixed up, it’s like a big tangle of yarn up in her head but she’s workin’ it out. And she’s READY to be working it out. She knows her memory is bad (she told me) I said “oh yeah, like pregnancy brain?” she said, “ohhh if it’s as bad as pregnancy brain, I’m really in trouble.” *snortsnort*

She told me what she’d been up to. “Stroke. Sleepy Time. Hospital. Here.”

I told her about going to my cousins wedding where the Yorkshire Terrier dogs were wearing tuxes and were ringbearers. How the Father of the Groom (small town cattle rancher who drinks a. lot. of. bourbon – divorced from my Aunt) didn’t notice the dogs till halfway through the service. Then you heard *coughcoughcoughdamndogscoughcoughcough*. And how he sounded just like my dad and my grandpa as well and in my head I could just picture the three of them in a row in a chorus of *coughcoughcoughdamndogscoughcoughcough*. She leaned her head back on her pillow with a pleased, dreamy look on her face and says, “That. Would. Have. Been. GLORIOUS!” *snort snort snort*

Alex was done after a while. Tired, strung out. I started making noises about going and Anissa looked at him and said,  “Oh yeah, you’ve gotta get him a nap before he completely loses it.” Spoken like a mama to three for sure.

I took Alex. We napped. We headed back. Met Peter. Peter and his Aunt were cleaning up the room. Why? Because Wednesday morning was moving day! Out of the care center and into the bright! shiny! awesome! rehab center! We stayed for a bit and then cleared out. As I was sitting on the bed telling her g’bye she says “I can’t believe you found me.” I said, “I’m a pretty good stalker.” She gestured to her legs in the bed “Well I’m pretty easy to stalk.” *snort to the fourth power*

I described her as a slow, very very tired Anissa. Sometimes I had to lean in close and watch her face and listen very carefully to understand what she was saying. Sometimes I had to tell her I didn’t understand and I needed her to repeat. I repeated things back to her to make sure I understood. I counted to ten in my head while waiting for her to find the word she wanted, rather than jumping in to supply it.

She’s making it. She’s got this. I am amazed.

We got up Wednesday and puttered around the hotel for a while – trying to let toddler run off energy. We got to the rehab center finally and peeps, this place is fabulous. It is geared for Anissa. They were letting her take it easy b/c it was transfer day. One of her doctors came in and talked to her and gave a little exam. Then the occupational, speech and physical therapists all came in (OT, SLP, PT for future alphabet soup reference). Three women about our age and, I suspect, future Aiming Low readers. They did introductions and wanted to do some basic evals as well. Anissa was ALL about getting shizzle rolling. They took the blanket off her – displaying her fab legs and her hospital issued unmentionables. Peter says, “oh, Anissa would you like some pants?” She gestures to the ENTIRE room of onlookers (me, toddler, aunt, 3 therapists), “Well why bother NOW!” (SNORT) (Her therapists love her already.)
They had her sit up on the bed with one of them behind to support – I was really impressed with the trunk control she had – I wasn’t expecting her to be able to sit up that well (even with assistance) just from how she looked settled in the bed. Good to be surprised sometimes. They went through some movements, checking for range of motion, for what she was able to feel. They checked for how she could control eating and drinking – had her sip water through a straw and after she swallowed the first sip she said, “OH, water-water!” – she had been expecting water with the thickener in it [it’s NAS-ty no wonder she was excited about ‘water-water’].

There was much happiness and determination in that room today. Yes, there are details that are just fogged in her memory – Like thinking she and Peter got married in 1971 – but she also remembered that it was Wednesday January 13th when asked for that detail after a 30 minute delay. (*someone* coughcoughmecoughcough thought it was the 14th even though I’d heard the same info she had.)

She sparked right up for her therapists. She was pretty mellow and sarcastic with me. And she’s something … different … with Peter. There’s a connection there that amazes me and makes me happy for my friend to have that relationship with her husband.

I’m going to bring it back around to you – Told you I would.

In about 6 weeks, the Mayhews are going to be ready for more real live help (as Peter mentioned in his last update). Peter’s TIRED dudes. He gets up, gets 3 kids out the door to school, goes to work, goes to Anissa, goes home, puts the kids to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anissa is on the last step before HOME. In those first weeks at home, she’s going to need someone with her after the kids go to school and Peter goes to work. What they are going to need are people who can be around and be flexible. If people nearby could take a day off work to be with her – awesome. People from farther away – Atlanta is going to warm up while a lot of places are still freaking cold – want to spend a few days in Atlanta? Hanging out with Anissa when needed and making yourself scarce when not needed? (The town rocks, I didn’t have near enough time to check things out.) No time off but some frequent flier miles to help someone else get there? Near enough to gather some friends and make a bunch of meals for them to cook later? Think about the tasks in your daily life – is there something you can do to help them with that same task? Which leg of this relay marathon do you think is meant for you?

83 Comments on “The one where I’m tired”

  1. #1 Stephanie
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I found out about your wife and her condition in the beginning of this long road you are on. (I think from Amahla”s twitter page) I look forward to your updates and you are all in my thoughts and prayers. She must be such an outstanding wonderful person and strong as hell! I hope that you know that you have a lot of people pulling for her. Stay strong.

    P.S. The video is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. You all must feel so blessed.

  2. #2 Laurie
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    So happy to hear of her progress! Still thinking of you guys daily.

  3. #3 Tracey
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Me too!!

  4. #4 pixielation
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I think this is an amazing update, and it’s so wonderful to hear.

    I would offer my time and help, but I’m no-where near you guys (not even in the same country), and Anissa has even heard of me, let alone met me. But I am sure that the help will flood in. Because it’s so clear what an inspiration she is, and how much love and respect ripples out from her through the blogging world.

    The video was incredible.

    Peter, you’re doing an amazing job, keep on going. I hope the cavalry gives you the boost you need. You’re her strength right now. You’re the strength of the family. That’s a heavy burden for anyone. Keep strong.

  5. #5 Mary
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I’m fairly local (G Co.) and am happy to help in whatever way y’all need. And I’m fortunate to not have one of those pesky job things, so I have a pretty open schedule. 🙂

  6. #6 Katie (Overflowing Brain)
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Peter, I know you know I think this already, but you have done such a great job. She’s where she needs to be because of you and because of her.

    As much as Anissa has worked, you have worked. As much as her recovery is a miracle already, what you have done too, is miraculous.

    I’m staring at a calendar. I want to help, I just don’t know when/if I can make it happen yet.

  7. #7 Malia
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Peter, I hope you get some rest very soon. I’m glad you have help on the way!

    Dawn, I’m so glad you got to go and visit and help and see. I loved seeing Anissa through the eyes of a friend.

  8. #8 Traci Williams
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 1:33 am

    “you’re a witness, you’re a witness, you’re a silent witness, etc”
    … that girl cracks me up! LMAO
    Your doing great Peter, get some rest 🙂

  9. #9 Andrea's Sweet Life
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 2:53 am

    Oh my good Lordy, does this post make me want to hop a plan to Atlanta, which is 2500 miles from my home, but does it really matter?

    I want to be there for Anissa, for Peter, for the kids and for the sarcasm and wit and love spewing forth from Anissa as she conquors this mountain that popped up in front of her when she least expected it.

    Anissa, when you are better and reading back over all of this and thinking about all the things you missed – please know that every single one of us loves you and wishes we were there with you to help you through it. I love you, to pieces and pieces and pieces, and not just because you saw me naked within a half hour of meeting me for the first time. You are everything I aspire to me, lady love. And I can’t wait to wrap my arms around you and give you the biggest squeeze of my lifetime!

  10. #10 Maura
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 3:31 am

    This makes my heart feel so much lighter. There’s always bad news in the world and hearing that my friend is improving means the world.

    Peter, if I can work it out, I’d be happy to come out there for a week or so. The time I have (I’m unemployed), I just have to make sure things are taken care of here at home.

    When you have a schedule of when people are able to help, and can let me know if you have any gaps, I’m pretty flexible.

  11. #11 Marianne
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Have you heard of Lots of Helping Hands it’s a website you can set up with a calendar to post the exact help and times needed. I don’t even know you guys, but I wish I could help – I’m just so far away. All the best to you!

  12. #12 Mishi
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I’m signed up for a few times a month and there will be no other place that I rather be at that time!! Your visit totally echos what I experienced when I saw her. However, I burst into tears when she said Mishi.

    Peter: Much Love to you.. I’ll be in touch about another visit soon! xo

  13. #13 Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    so happy that things are going so well. If I can swing it I would welcome warm Atlanta for a few days instead of cold, snowy Ohio

  14. #14 Jenny, Bloggess
    on Jan 16th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I love this. And I needed to read it.

    Thank you.

    More later…

  15. #15 Janine (@twincident)
    on Jan 17th, 2010 at 3:24 am

    You rawk Dawn! Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s not easy for people to ‘know what to say or how to act’ around someone that has gone through something like an extended illness or even suffered a loss. Yet what’s important is just being there. And I’m so glad you were able to do that… get her brain firing in different areas, and give Peter a lift.
    I am definitely looking into how I can do my part.

  16. #16 Kim Cragg
    on Jan 17th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Great update – thank you for taking a turn posting…

    Is there a Let’s Eat or Dinner Done type place around the Mayhew’s. I’d love to go in together with other folks and get them a gift card so they could buy as many meals as possible that they can pick out themselves?

    Praying for you ..

  17. #17 Karl
    on Jan 18th, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I’ve been so mired in my own crap, that I’ve been out of the Anissa loop since before New Year’s. I, too, needed to read the updates.

    Very glad to hear you’re doing so much better, babe.

    My prayers are with you. Wish I could pay you a visit.

  18. #18 Davezwife (Tracie)
    on Jan 18th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    “She’s got this.”
    Those words continue to send chills thru my body, and warm my (aching) heart.
    My other favorite, I’m trying to force upon mySELF…
    “You are never broken.”


  19. #19 Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You
    on Jan 18th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I can never come here and NOT leave with tears in my eyes. I’m so so glad that you are kicking ass, Anissa. I can’t wait to see your snark return to twitter, FB and beyond!

  20. #20 Complicated Mama
    on Jan 18th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    So happy to read about how well she is recovering.


  21. #21 maryleigh
    on Jan 18th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Yeah for sparkle moments! And Sparkle Friends! I cannot help, but I can sure keep on praying! Wish I could come by and help, though!

  22. #22 A Vapid Blonde
    on Jan 19th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Very inspirational and really puts many, many things into perspective. Rock on Anissa!

  23. #23 NYCityMama
    on Jan 20th, 2010 at 1:11 am

    So, so wonderful…and Dawn’s piece, so sweet. Thank you for keeping up with all the updates and posts, for sharing with us so much, and allowing us to be there in some way, even if only in prayer for you, for Anissa.

    This is amazing…I LOVE her fighting spirit. Amazing woman.

    Thanks again!

  24. #24 Diane
    on Jan 20th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Love to you and the family during this time of hard work.

  25. #25 Amanda
    on Jan 20th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    What an amazing gift that video is! It is so beautiful and inspirational. From reading I realize you guys are surrounded by love and support, but that video shows it for all to see.

  26. #26 Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
    on Jan 21st, 2010 at 2:10 am

    It’s so amazing to hear Anissa’s sarcasm and humor shining. I love it.

    I just jumped for joy when I read that you’re in Atlanta… I had forgotten that (since I live in Vancouver, BC, CANADA, your exact location hadn’t been the issue… I knew it was far enough away to not drive over.)

    But I just realized, I am going to Atlanta for a StomperNet conference March 26 – 28. Perhaps I could fly in a day or two earlier and come to help out a little.

    It takes all day to fly from here to there, so if I flew on March 23rd, I’d have the 24th and most of the 25th to spend with Anissa.

    Just let me know if that would work out well or not…

    Talk soon

  27. #27 Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy
    on Jan 21st, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Wow. I can’t think of anything to say other than that. What an amazing woman. And Peter, I say prayers for you too. Continued strength for you both.

  28. #28 amanda
    on Jan 21st, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    This update was incredible. I am humbled by the perseverance, friendship and honesty. I’l pray and try to come up with a way that I can help.

  29. #29 Melissa - The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans
    on Jan 22nd, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I hope things are continuing to go well in the rehab facility!! You all are so amazing. Continuing to send my hope and love…

  30. #30 the hectic eclectic girl
    on Jan 22nd, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I live north of Atlanta, and would be glad to cook a dinner or several and include a few meals that you can just snag out of the freezer and reheat! Just let me know when you want them.


  31. #31 MaNiC MoMMy
    on Feb 3rd, 2010 at 11:26 pm


  32. #32 Carrie
    on Feb 17th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing your amazing story! I will be praying for EVERYONE. I know that Peter has the overwhelming task of taking care of the kids, working, and going to see Anissa. All of that leaves little time for shopping and running errands. So I was wondering if he has heard of Alice.com? They are a very neat website that delivers (free) everyday items. And can be set to order/deliver on a need basis. I hope that this helps make life a little easier. ~ Carrie

  33. #33 Al_Pal
    on Feb 18th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Awww, what a fantastic update!
    Thanks, Peter, and Dawn!

    *healing vibes*