Thursday, June 1, 2006

[Photo: The "pouffy" or is it "poofy" or "poufy?" hat. Mama and Bax at graduation on May 15. Thanks to my sister, Jae for the photo! ]

Saw Mike this morning from 9:15 until 10:45 am. He looked really good. Not eating a lot, but quite responsive and happy.

I talked with the woman from the Magee center who helps coordinate patients' enrollment in the acute brain injury rehab program. She was very kind and knew of Michael's case from when we were in talks with Magee about a month ago.

The main question right now is, is Michael ready for a rehab program immediately following radiation next week, or should we go to some intermediate facility to let him heal up some more before he starts rehab.
I want him to get the most out of his rehab experience, so would hate for him to begin too soon if he's not ready. the poor guy has had sooo many surgeries, followed by 6 weeks of radiation. his midbrain region is very swollen. I'm sure he could benefit from down-time. If they would send a nurse home with him, he could be here. But I have no idea how that would work. I can't imagine him going straight from the NICU to home. But at the same time, maybe if he were up and moving and doing therapy and exercises right away, he'd actually heal faster and have more energy as a result. There's no right answer here.

We shall see. We shall see. Once again, all we can do is wait.


I went to UDel today to meet with Lance to start brainstorming our summer research plan.
We have 3 fulltime research assistants (undergrad incoming seniors) who are going to be working for us, coding and cataloging episodes of the Daily Show, doing literature searches, helping plan effects experiments. It's very exciting.
It was refreshing talking about work and being reminded of that part of my life. It is a big part of who I am and I have done very little of it for 2+ months.

As I was talking about the future and teaching and upcoming conferences, I had a weird realization that my expectations for the next couple of years are going to need to change - totally change.
I knew this, but I hadn't given much thought to my academic life enough lately to consider the changes I'll need to make. Little things, like... When I go to academic conferences - who takes care of Baxter? I'm usually gone 3-4 days for each conference and in the past, between communication, political science, and public opinion organization, I've attended 4 and sometimes 5 conferences each year. I had always assumed Mike would take care of Bax, or they would both come with me and I would attend conference meetings in the day and be with them in the evenings. But now what?
And teaching?

I got a great teaching schedule for fall - Wednesday night seminar from 5-8 pm once a week. But, not knowing if Mike is going to be able to care for Baxter alone - cause let's face it - we have no freaking idea who Mike will be in September- I imagine I'll have to have a sitter those evenings.

These things aren't a big deal. They don't change my quality of life. But it is weird that I hadn't yet given any thought to how this situation altered the logistics of my career.


Anonymous said...

Hi Danna,
My name is Ellen Schatz. I'm the Speech Pathologist you met while Mike was still in the NICU at Jefferson, before he moved to JHN. I've been following your blog. Admittedly, I'm not very "blog saavy" and it feels a little like I'm reading your diary. I had to write to tell you how moved I am by you and your strengh and determination (and Mike's!). I find so much strength through things you've said. You stated that we have control over any situation by the way we choose to deal with that situation. That's something that I hope I never forget. I loved what you wrote about having faith in humanity. I agree 100%. You and Mike sound like an amazing couple with a truly wonderful group of friends and family to support you when you need them most. You have really touched me and I wanted you to know that. I feel a little like a stalker following your story, but I find strentgh in you. I hope you don't mind. You and Mike and Bax are in my thoughts and prayers. Magee has an excellent brain injury rehab. He'll be in good hands there.

Danna said...

Ellen - So good to hear from you. Thank you so much for getting in touch. If I were uncomfortable with people knowing our story, I certainly wouldn't put it on the internet of all places. I actually get a lot of strength from knowing that people (friends, family, acquaintances and strangers even) are following our story. It makes me feel like I'm not carrying it all myself.

Arizona Kate said...

Hi Danna,

Greetings from Tucson (today's high 103 degrees)!

Regarding conferences...I think that 4-5 conferences a year is an atypical Annenberg thing. At a lot of places (especially public universities), faculty members have less travel money available than we did at ASC as graduate students. Seems like a lot of scholars, therefore, put their conferences on a rotating schedule of some sort.

In any event, you know that you have a huge ASC fan club (if you didn't know that, I'm telling you now)...meaning that you could bring Baxter to conferences if you felt so inclined. I would be happy to watch him during the time slots when you are giving your presentations (and I'm sure that other Danna-fans would as well). I believe that AAPOR is in Anaheim next year. We could take Baxter to Disneyland!

On the academic front, research is much more important than attending conferences. You are doing wonderfully on that front! I'm sure that you and Lance will be producing exciting research! And in the fall, you and I can finish up some of our projection and priming work as well.

Thinking of you!
== Kate