Thursday, June 22, 2006

[Kauai - the most romantic place ever. Mike and I spent 10 days there in 2000, driving in a convertible and camping on the beach.]

Today I felt like I actually spent the afternoon with Mike. Not “sick guy who used to be Mike,” but sort of “Mike Abridged.”
Tomorrow is his MRI at Jefferson. It’s scheduled for 9:30 am, so I’m getting to Magee at 8 am to go with Mike in a special van to Jefferson. I can’t believe the MRI is finally here. That means the appt with Andrews is only one week from today and that surgery might be right around the corner.

Some great Mike moments from today:

What month is it? June
What day of the week is it? Thursday (?$*!)

I brought him the mix CD he made just before our amazingly romantic trip to Kauai in May of 2000. We had only been dating for 2 months when I agreed to spend 10 days camping and hiking with him on this jungle island. Best decision ever. If you’ve never been to Kauai, you must go. Life is short. Get there.

So, before I put the CD in, I asked Mike, “If you were driving in a convertible on Kauai, and you put a CD in the CD player, what song would you want to hear first?”

He replied, “Brand New Day.” Yes - that's the first song on the CD.

Up on the roof deck today, I played a sort of “first thing that comes to your mind” game with Mike all about Baxter. First I made sure he knew that we had a son named Baxter (cause indeed I’ve heard him say we have 2 and even three kids in the past… yikes) So I asked, “How many kids do we have?” and he said, “One, Baxter!”

Then came the fill in the blank with Mike…which was great fun for both of us.

Baxter is: “Our son.”

Baxter is: “A boy.”

Baxter is: “Charming beyond words”

Baxter has: “Two legs.”

Baxter has: “Lots of charm.”

Baxter does: “Whatever the hell he wants!” He said, laughing hard.

Later, when I told Mike the names of various people that care for him at Magee (Kit, Donna, Irene, Anne, Emily) he said, “Oh.. Right.” He said they all sounded familiar. About an hour later, at the end of his OT session with Irene, she said, “Mike, who am I?” and he said, “Donna.” Not bad! Donna is his PT… close.

He also called Kit, “Kit” right before my eyes. And then later, “Pat,” but still –amazingly close.

He’s showing signs that his vision is improving. Subtle things – details that I would never have believed he’d be able to make out. And yet, some things just disappear. It’s pretty unpredictable.

He's also more active. For instance, after he used the bathroom today (still time voiding him successfully, BTW), he located his wheelchair, but started pushing it out of the way. “You don’t want to sit in it?”

“Not now.” He said, still pushing it out of his way.

“You want to walk a bit?”

“Yeah. Let’s walk.” We walked up and down the hall and shocked Donna by showing up at PT on foot. She worked with us on more walking exercises and even on doing stairs with my help. Mike did so great.

Another good sign? He’s giving me lots of, “leave me the heck alone” side glances – for instance, after the 4th time I asked him, “are you SURE you don’t have to pee?” or when I wrongly accused him of chewing his pills instead of swallowing them, he looked at me like, “Dude – don’t you have somewhere else to be?” Kit said, “Geez! Leave him the heck alone!” and he laughed and said, “Yeah, seriously!”

Finally, there’s a really tough and incredible nurse named Myrtle who has worked with Mike since the beginning of his time at Magee. She is so good with him and finds a lot of joy in his improvements. She explained how the first week he was here at Magee, she had to dress him because he really couldn’t do it himself. Now, though, he dresses himself and puts on his shoes, and washes his face – all slowly, of course, but he does it himself. She told me that she time voids Mike every 2 hours and is frustrated that the night nurses last night put a catheter on him from 11 pm until 7 am. She is insisting that throughout the night, when they come in to turn him on the opposite side (which they do anyway) that they at least ask if he needs to use the urinal. She said consistency is the most important thing… and I have to believe that she’s right. If his body thinks that he can just use the catheter at night, why not in the day, too? She has tomorrow off, but is going to call in the morning to verify that they followed instructions to leave the catheter off. You go, Myrtle!

Finally, thanks to the help and instructions of my friend, Heide, I think I actually "cooked" for the first time ever. I cooked Yaki Soba - fried noodels and sauce - that are actually a prepackaged Japanese dish... BUT I actually sauteed Bok Choy, and ... sorry my dear vegetarian friend, Heide... but I added beef. I know I know... your recipe called for tofu, but, I just wasn't feeling the tofu love tonight. I have to say, I felt so sophisticated "sauteeing" an odd vegetable like bok choy. And Baxter LOVED it. His Asian roots must be showing through (Yes, this blue eyed, fair skinned, red-headed baby is 1/4 Chinese. No joke) because he demanded that I let him try my chopsticks. It was a disaster, but he loved it.


csm said...

AWESOME! Side note about Kit: I asked Mike yesterday, "Who's Kit?" His answer: "Knight Rider's car." I busted a gut. Then when I clarified and said who's the lady Kit he sees pretty regularly, he looked at me like-- duh-- she's his nurse. I couldn't tell if he was scammin me or not... it was pretty funny.

Glad to hear you learned some cooking. Let's hope Bax doesn't stick a chopstick up his nose!

love, csm

Dritsas said...

I stopped by to see Mike today and was quite pleased when I walked in. Last time I saw him was at the hospital shortly before his move. He was still fidgety then and not making a lot of sense.

Today, he looked great and was carrying on quite normal conversation with me and two of his college buddies. We had a lot of good laughs. It was nice.

There was one slightly wonky (an very brief) moment later where he wasn't quite making sense, but he also looked like he was getting tired, so I think that had something to do with it.

I told him looked good and that his voice sounded more like him, too. He said thanks. I hope this is a sign of good things to come. I am excited to see what happens when they do the cyst drain.

Dr. Itsas

PS: The wall clock in his room appears to be broken.

Anonymous said...

You can too cook. You're the mashed potato queen of Thanksgiving