After an absence of two months, I returned to PE to visit you in ICU.
The first time I saw you it was a bit of a shock. You have lost so much weight. You remind me so much of your mother. That same spark, that same smile and zest for life. But the same thinness and age that I saw in her.
Your body has aged.
But your mind is still very much all there.
You were at pains to sign out to me (with an alphabet chart where you mouth numbers since you don’t speak) that the night nurses like to say “Good morning” when they come on duty. (You still have a sense of humour)
You made sure that I left on time to get my flight when I left (still a stickler for being on time).
I found it such an uplifting experience to spend time with you. Your smiles. You radiate love. You are such an easy patient allowing the nurses to do all the tests and whatever else they do on a daily basis. They even shaved your beard. Your lovely beard which is so much a part of you. But you just smile and accept it.
There is a woman in the bed closest to you. She had to be tied down and she was yelling. Kind of the opposite to you because she is resisting the treatment. But also opposite to you because you cannot move most of your body anyway. You can’t call for help either, although you do make a sucking noise with your mouth to attract our attention when we are near.
I watched your session with the OT and saw how proud you are of your arm movements. You can lift your wrist and arm in places. She is making you a cuff and splint to give your arm more power to do basic movements. I love the way she talks to you – with respect, with hope and with the promise that you will get better and out of this place.
You are sitting up more and more and even for a while in a chair as well.
You like to know what’s happening in the news and we read the newspapers to you. We even read some books. You are tired a lot and fall asleep during this, but that is ok.
Your body is very busy doing an important work.
You are still in a room where we have to don gowns and gloves because of some infection. The perk of this is that you have some space to yourself and can have the light off at night.
We can also play the CD of classical music full blast and you can sing with it.
The sound fills the air in that small stuffy room and transports us away to a higher place above the current limitations.
You might be leaving that room soon for rehab where they will accept you with the ventilator (and all the other attachments) but I know that wherever you go you will take that strength of spirit with you.
This is just another obstacle dad, in a life where you had many.
Granted, it is a big one, but if anyone can overcome it, it’s you.