In the past month, we've been overwhelmed by the outpourings of love and support from near and far. Above are a beautiful autumnal bouquet from Francie and Alan (top) and an unseasonably rosy bouquet from Nicole and Don at Melleray (bottom). And then there's the care packages full of almonds, Hershey bars, homemade barfi, letters from Uncle Phil and Cousin Jeanne and so many more, delicious casseroles from my friends Crystal and Byron...the list goes on. Truly, all, thank you for your kindness these past few weeks. It makes all the difference.
Many of you have been in the email loop, getting updates on Dad's condition, but I'll just list the main points here: the surgery went WELL. As Dr. Lim told Pam, Clare and me in the conference room after surgery, he elected to do the least invasive procedure possible, which meant taking various measures to relieve pressure on the spine; but that cervial fusion--which would have meant a lot more pain and a much longer recovery process--was not necessary. So already, we'd dodged a bullet. We didn't know what we'd find when we went into Dad's recovery room...but he was up, lucid, glowing, articulate! He even said the neck collar he had to wear--which he'd dreaded--was very comfortable indeed, and he wanted to wear it all the time now.
There were noticeable, and rather astonishing, regains of function immediately after surgery; for example, Dad could clench his right fist, whereas he'd barely been able to curl it before. In the days after surgery, we conspired to get him admitted to physical therapy "boot camp" within the hospital, instead of onerous outpatient facilities or nursing homes. So whenever the physical therapists came by to evaluate him, he showed off and (as he put it) "did extra steps," and they were impressed enough to admit him.
That's where we've been, ever since surgery on the 6th! We call the physical therapy wing "Shangri-La," because it's sort of a cross between a hotel and a hospital. It's on the seventh floor, so you can see far across the rooftops of the beautiful UNC campus. Dad gets three or four hours of physical therapy PER DAY. He has lots of room, a very amiable roommate, and of course Pam, his sweetheart, who's been a rock of strength. I'm there almost every day too; and other siblings visit when they can. In fact, I just picked up Clare for a second time--she's here to celebrate FOUR things with us:
(1) Dad's discharge date on Wednesday,
(3) Her own birthday on Friday (!), and
(4) The birth of the little girl to come...though we don't know when she's going to come! She's taking her time, just like her big brother Niko.
So, all things considered, we're doing very well here. We're not out of the woods; though Dad's made vast improvements, we still have a long way to go and sometimes it feels frustrating. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this holiday, as we keep you in ours.
Much love! --MCB