Saturday, April 29, 2006
[Photo at left: Mike's hospital room this afternoon - filled with folks. At right: Did Mike let the cat out of the bag that Bob has a "friend" named Wendy? Look out Miss Wah.]
Note: Please read the comments posted in response to this entry for some helpful observations from Anne and my response regarding how to best interact with Mike. If you're nervous about seeing him, visiting with another friend is a nice way to diffuse the situation, too. Even I appreciate not being alone with Mike all day, but having someone else there to help ease the interaction. It's quite a natural feeling.
Today Mike had a really good day. No - no short-term memory still. Yes, still hallucinating and talking nonsense from time to time. But he was alert, had a great appetite (even requesting cheese fries in the afternoon), up in the chair from 12-2 pm, joking around, tapping his feet to music, and enjoying the warm and friendly company of the many loving friends who visited him today. Sodium’s normal (137), temperature is normal (though poor Mike was shivering most of the day. Getz’s theory: he’s so used to having a fever that 98.6 is chilly for him. Seems logical to me.)
The day was a constant stream of visitors, from Karen Getz in the morning, followed by Dritsas (or, as my sister calls him, Dr. Itsas), then me, Tracie and Bob, Tom-tom, Betsy, Kathy C. from Discmakers. Kevin and Beth, and Jenny S.G. from old Annenberg days. We all cleared out around 4:15 pm to let him rest, and a couple hours later, Anne L. joined him for a dinner date. What a great vibe in the room today. Lots of laughs and love.
I decided to post the week’s visiting schedule up on the bulletin board in his room – a nice reminder to the nurses/docs/techs caring for him that there are a lot of people who will be in and out checking to be sure than Mike is well cared for. It also provides a clear picture of how great of a person Mike is – given the huge number of people looking in on him from day to day.
It’s funny how people have been so concerned that Mike needs to have the best neurosurgeons around (which he does) and yet, Evans and Andrews only affect Mike’s life when he has procedures or complications. The rest of the time, Mike’s quality of life is completely (or mostly) dependent upon the care of nurses and techs who bathe, feed, move, and dress him. So, be good to them. Be kind. Be appreciative and deferential. Show them the love. Unless, of course, it’s Vince or some other bum nurse – then punch them in the nads (how do you spell nads, anyway?).
Today’s nurse, Denise, was really sweet and will be with Mike again tomorrow. She thought Getz was Mike’s wife… but that’s ok. She was thoughtful enough in the afternoon to tell me as I was chatting with Jenny in the hallway (and a crowd of folks was in Mikes’ room) that she feared Mike was getting sleepy and might need a break from all the action. I appreciated that as it indicated that she really was looking out for what was best for Mike. The two techs working with Mike today were charming and funny (one of them helped get me the # for the nurse supervisor to tattle on Vince on Friday). Also, one of them – very pretty young woman - had seen Josh (introduced to them as Mike’s son by Vince the f*&king genius) and told me she though Josh was b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. Then she asked if Josh dated black girls – at which point, “sleeping” Mike’s eyes opened wide and he laughed.
Some fantastic person placed a notebook in Mike’s room to serve as a visitor’s log. It’s a great place to write down general impressions and stuff you may have chatted with Mike about over a meal. And Kel and Di left two huge solid chocolate aspirin for me. I took a huge bite and it got me through the day.
Couple of funny Mike-isms from today.
First of all, in an awesome moment, when Tracie and Bob came in, I congratulated them and then Mike did the same. “What are you congratulating them for, Mike?” I asked.
Given that they got engaged about 2 weeks ago, this is either a fantastic moment of lucky guessing – or he actually was able to store that piece of information – which would be remarkable.
As Bob and Tracie were on their way out the door, Mike asked Bob if he had any new stories from “Wendy.”
“Who’s Wendy?” I asked on Bob’s behalf. Mike responded with some random stuff…then said clearly,
“You’re going to be receiving some emails from firstname.lastname@example.org.” Then, to Bob, “She is very complementary of your style.”
While Drits was there after lunch, I played some Dianne Reeves on iTunes. Mike was grooving to “Straighten up and fly right,” doing some hip hand gestures, and smooth dance moves as he mouthed all the lyrics. He was definitely performing just for us.
It’s interesting to note how folks react to their experience visiting Mike. Some folks are devastated by it and others are happily surprised at how well he’s doing. Tracie and I were joking that he was Mike, but with a little glitch or something. “Mike 2.0,” Tracie said… to which I added “or Mike DOS.” But then talking with Betsy on her way out the door, I thought differently of it. She thought Mike was really great and that the 2.0/DOS analogy didn’t fit at all. It's fair to say that the core elements of his personality are the same: low-key, positive, content, always joking, always making the funny. So, I suppose that when it comes to those subtle elements that comprise a person’s identity – or soul – or whatever… Mike is there. It’s the more primitive functions that his body is having trouble with.