Monday, July 14, 2008

My First Baby Step

You all know probably a lot more about what's been going on in my life for the last week or so than I do, but in a nutshell this is what I think went on: I went in for a routine follow-up brain MRI on 1 July and was feeling short of breath; next thing I knew I was in the ICU at the UW Medical Center, intubated and fighting a nasty form of pneumonia (I did catch in passing that the brain MRI was a big improvement). Evidently, when people are intubated, they find this to be upsetting, so all sorts of antianxiety and antiremembering drugs are administered to keep the patient, who is necessarily mute and being fed through the nose, calm. Or a modicum of calm. The effect this appeared to have on me was to make me seem wide awake and lucid at times, and dangerously paranoid at one other time (which I'll go into later). I did somehow manage to email my cousin Laura of the Matching Socks on her birthday—I would totally have meant to, but was completely unaware that I'd done it. Anyway, Happy Birthday Lo! There are also bits of evidence—in my handwriting, unfortunately, of other things I felt necessary to dictate.

I'm almost out of steam, though, so I need to get to my point, and quickly. Once one is intubated, as I said a feeding tube is also placed through the nose. I happen to know first hand how uncomfortable this is, because I pulled mine out in a fit of druggedness, and it had to be put back in. Which did not involve anesthesia, Anyway, when a person in unintubated, she doesn't automatically get to eat normally again. The esophagus has been taken over for up to weeks by a rigid, alien snake-thing, and it has completely forgotten how to tell the difference between breathing and swallowing. These are vitally important differences in sustaining life, so a protocol has been developed to retrain the appropriate functions. The protocol is simple: small ice cubes, plastic spoons, grape popsickles. Since I tend toward small bites and lots of chewing anyway, this test of whether or not I could eat through my mouth again went swimmingly. I'm not sure Ian would've fared so well.

Okay, time to nap. Amazing just how weak the human body can become.

And one last thing, Ian, you sweet, funny thing have so earned rights to post to this blog. Thank you for being so sensitive, so generous, so you.


Ian said...

Yay for food!!!!!
And for having Captain Calin once again at the helm of this crazy ship.

Anonymous said...

YAY FOR BABY STEPS!!! YAY FOR YOU, CALIN!!! We love you so much and are so happy to have you back and posting!

xoxoxoLaura (of the not matching socks, so to speak :) )

Anonymous said...

And yes, I am crying at work again. But as your husband said through his own sobbing a couple of days ago, they are tears of joy!

Anonymous said...

Hot damn it is good to "hear" your "voice." Ian is a great guest-host, but I am thrilled that you are back on the blog-waves Calin.

Mind hug, mind high-five, mind happy dance.

Anna K. said...

Brownies! Baked!

Robert said...

So glad to have you so much more back, Calin . . . And I'm looking forward to HEARING you soon, too!

Robert V.

KateMV said...

We were absolutely thrilled to hear - via my mom via your blog - the news of your un-intubation while we were away, and even more thrilled to see you writing on your own today (Ian's fine guest blog skills notwithstanding). Enjoy those popsicles and we'll come for a visit in the next couple of days. HOO - RAY. -Kate

ACB said...

So good to "hear your voice," Calin. You are indomitable, and inspiring. Thank you for teaching us and sharing your wonderful Self with all of us.

Andrienne said...

I vote Ian "Best Guest Blogger Ever"! Probably best husband too. Calin SOOOOO glad to have your thoughts posted again. I hope my visit was one you didn't remember I was remarkably boring!

Gregory said...

Great to have you back Calin! You seem shockingly lucid, all things considered. Thanks, Ian, for taking such good care of her, and for keeping us all up to date with such panache. I can't wait to see you two!

Stacey said...

You are a star,--and your experience. life-changing for so many of us. I will look forward to seeing you, to TALKING with you on Friday.

Months of hugs,


Shelley said...


Karen said...

I'm so happy to hear that you
re starting to feel better, you are such a strong person. I love you very much. I'm in Arizonz but will be back Wednesday. I have kept up with your blog and Marsh has given me updates. Ian you are such a sweet and caring man, Calin has been bleesed with having you as her husband and best friend. Take care and I will see you when I get home. xoxoxoxo Aunt Karen

Sassy Glasses Girl said...

Hey Calin! Glad to hear you're back to your old self. Ian really has been great at blogging--I'm sooooo glad for that, as I wanted to know each day how you were doing. (Yay, Ian!)

My dad has been in town and just left on Monday. As soon as things settle down a bit around here (with work, etc.), I want to come see you!! Are you in the same room you've been in all along?

Welcome back!


SS Laura said...

Hi Calin : ) I feel even MORE special now knowing that you sent me birthday wishes and don't remember (there is no way I'm being sarcastic in that last comment...I know it looks like it, but I'm not). I mean, how COOL is that? You weren't even feeling like your complete self with all you have going on and there I was poking you in your subconscience : ) Happy day : )

I hope you continue to gather strength. I know it is easy for me to say, "Give it time..." and "there is learning in everything"..., but really, keep up the incredible recovery work you are doing. I am so glad you are who you are. You are incredible!

I'd like to take this time to thank you for marrying Ian :) He ROCKS! We are so blessed to have him in our family :)

Keep up the ass kicking job of recovery!


SS Laura (I knew I was messing it up in the way I remembered it...matching socks made more sense considering that NOT matching socks Laura was wearing CRAZY socks and completely okay : ) One more thing...I know I've response blogged too long here but...I love your friends too! They are all so loving and really special it makes having you as a cousin that much more special : )