Saturday, July 8, 2006 - afternoon

Spent several hours with Mike this morning and afternoon. The left side of his head is very swollen - quite common post-craniotomy. He has some fluid on that side, just like after the last craniotomy on the right. His eye is sort of swollen shut on the left. He's not very talkative and pretty slow to respond - though isn't talking any nonsense and still seems to have better vision that we've seen in 4 months.

I asked him some questions about last night, like who brought us dinner and if he remembered that yesterday was a really important surgery and if he knew he was pretty much back from a 4 month absence. He can't really answer open-ended questions right now. He's just too slow to find the answers. However, when asked a yes/no: "Do you remember that I told you x?" He squints a little and says, "Yeah..." like he's trying to access a more vivid recollection of that moment.

For the past 4 months, when I've asked Mike if he remembers something, he honestly says, "I don't remember." He didn't give me any of that today. When I asked him if he remembered that last night we told him that Sasha and Dee are expecting twins, he said yes. When I said suspiciously, "You do?" He said yes. When I said, "Mike, truth?" He turned to look at me like he was kind of annoyed and said curtly, "Truth. Yes." I haven't seen Mike with fire in the belly in a while, so it was startling, but really wonderful. In the absence of any answers to open-ended questions, hearing Mike get annoyed and watching his eyes look around at different faces in the room, following conversation and laughing appropriately was really a gift.

I think last night was a sort of teaser.... A preview of things to come. We might not be there for days, weeks or months, but I think last night proved that nothing we've experienced with Michael over the past 4 months is indicative of permanent brain damage. It's all about pressure. That's it. Once the swelling from the craniotomy starts to subside over the next few days, hopefully we'll get more glimpses of Mike's short term memory in action again. And as his sister Diana said on the phone today, this is when the folks at Magee can REALLY work their magic with Mike. This is what they do!

So, if you visit, don't be disappointed if he's not dancing the cha-cha quite yet. But I do think that he'll be able to store your visit in long-term memory. And right now, that's what it's all about - giving Mike new memories to make up for lost time.

Finally - thank gosh my sister is here. It's been so important having her here as emotional support and to care for Baxter during this hectic and important time. And Kylee is wonderful with him. It's a joy just to watch them play.


Don said...


Kathleen and I just got back from a computer free vacation in Avalon but you were both in our thoughts.

We are so happy things went well with teh surgery and can't wait to visit him (and hopefully you - we haven't seen you in months and miss you as much as we miss Mike).


Don-Don and Kathleen

Peter said...

Saw Mike around 4 PM today. He was not arousable. He was clearly sleeping, given the eye movements under his lids. He was also grinding his jaw, predominantly on the left side.

I spoke briefly with Jen, his very nice nurse, and she said he was tuckered out from visitors throughout the day, so I left.

Jen was very quick to concur that once the post-surgical inflammation is gone Danna will get the "he's back!" Mike back. She seemed doubt-free about this, like she was saying tomorrow is Sunday.