Wild Week

The important stuff first…Abbie is doing much better! She is still on oxygen, but only about 1 liter. We are suctioning only rarely now, and we are all sleeping better at night. We figured out one of the causes of our stress was an oxgyen concentrator that is not working properly. So, I would have it turned all the way up to 5 liters/min, and she would still be in the low 90s. I worried that I may have to break down and take her to the hospital, but when I switched her to tanked oxygen, her sats were great on 1.5 liters. Argh!! As Kyle would put it, it really “grinds my gears” when I lose sleep and worry because equipment malfunctions.

She did so well on Monday that I decided to stick with our plan for Tuesday. The boys and I flew over to Maui for the day to see my aunt and uncle, two cousins, their wives and two kids. We had a blast lolling on the beach and playing in the water at Kihei. Every time I called to check on Abbie she was doing fine. After a terrific day, we took the last plane back to Honolulu, and I was exhausted by the time we landed. I was so looking forward to just dropping into bed. Then, Ray called…”You need to get home as soon as you possibly can. I am really struggling to keep her sats up.”

Instantly the boys’ “fun mom” disappeared as “tired worried mom” snapped at them to get in the van, buckle up and be quiet! It was a pretty stressful hour or so after I arrived at the house, but we got her stabilized and able to sleep. The events, though, coupled with my exhaustion pushed me past my breaking point. I was crying by the time I collapsed into bed, only able to say “I cannot do this anymore, my body is just giving out.”

I slept well, and the morning brought a whole new wonderful day. Rolfing session #2! Sally had asked me to keep good notes of any changes during the week. So, all our medical adventures were detailed in black and white. I suspect that the last session may have precipitated some of Abbie’s struggles over the weekend, because as long-constricted fascia is manipulated, trapped toxins can finally be released. Sally decided that perhaps we should not do as much work the second session.

Abbie started smiling as soon as we walked through Sally’s door, and was wide awake on the table with a heart rate of 83, which is normally a very relaxed sleeping rate for her. Sally taught me a couple techniques to use when Abbie has a fever (Triple Heater 16 and Still Point for those familiar with such things), and then spent some time on Abbie’s lumbar spine. Again, I saw more of “normal Abbie” emerge and I was transfixed. Most of the session focused on Abbie’s thighs and hips. Sally described the fascia as being like pantyhose spread over the muscles. So the women out there can really relate to how Abbie’s legs feel…you know that annoying feeling of panythose being twisted into the wrong position. That is what Abbie’s legs feel like all the time as her fascia has become misshapen in response to tense muscles. So, we women can also imagine the relief Abbie felt as Sally loosened these bindings.

Sally gave me one other assignment at the end of last week’s session. She wanted to see video of Abbie before she was hurt so that she could observe Abbie’s structure and how she used her body. This made a lot of sense, but I wasn’t excited about finding the video. I procrastinated that task until yesterday morning. I laughed watching her try to rock in a yet-to-be-assembled rocking chair. I howled watching her steal everyone’s ice cream at Kyle’s birthday party. I sat in stony silence of foreshadowing watching her play in a pool with RJ. What hit me the hardest was her voice…that sweet little girl voice, still using many words only understood by her family. That’s not the voice I hear in my heart any more…I hear a more grown up, eloquent voice. I’d almost forgotten how little she was. The pain of watching these images lodged in that deep place that goes unseen and for the most part unacknowledged, especially by me. Two events later in the day would open that place up and clear it out.

The first was at Sally’s house. I mentioned that she taught me how to get Abbie to still point. After we’d loaded Abbie in the car, I went back in to bid Sally farewell. Changing the sheet on the table, she asked if I had a couple minutes. Of course!! She said she wanted me to feel still point so I would better be able to do it for Abbie. As she’d told me earlier, Rolfing is teamwork, not just her working on me. So, as she cupped my head in her hands she taught me a specific way to breathe. I had to really concentrate on that, but got it right a few times. When I stood up again after five minutes on the table the difference was amazing. I’d walked in feeling like the entire weight of my body was riding on my sacrum. Now I felt much lighter. More importantly, recently I’ve caught myself holding my breath and grinding my teeth during the day. That “deep place” seems to be filled to the brim, and overflows now even during waking hours. As I walked out to the car I felt like I was really breathing for the first time in ages.

As I was leaving, Sally commented that because Abbie and I are so tied together, it would probably be good for me to have some work done as well. I was thinking the same thing, and hoped to squeeze into her schedule after her trip next week. She said she really felt we needed to do it soon, so she is fitting me in next Wednesday morning. I am so excited to begin this process to help Abbie and save myself!

So, I’d gotten some physical help to deal with the sadness of the video, but the even brought what I needed even more..spiritual help. Our small group is studying the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. I chose to use my amplified Bible, and was so glad I did when I read verse 4, about those who mourn being comforted.

Here is what I read: “Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

We truly have been comforted in ways as unfathomable as his grace, and that comfort continues as does our mourning. It’s not acute anymore, it’s not eyes-swollen sobbing or deal-making with God, but it does continue. When we imagine who she would have been. When we miss who she was. When we count the cost our family, especially the boys, have paid. But, through this we have been “especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace”, and the depth of that blessing really cannot be measured.

I read a book today that sums up our brain injury journey…”Oh, The Places You’ll Go!!” by Dr. Seuss. If you ever wonder what this life is like, read that book – we’ve experienced almost every page so far.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from dear Dr. S., lies Aeschylus, who lived from 525 BC – 456 BC A dear friend sent me this quote that sums up where I’ve been personally in the last couple months:

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls, drop by drop, upon the heart. And in our own despair, and against our will, comes Wisdom by the awful Grace of God.”

2 thoughts on “Wild Week

  1. Tiffany,

    Your post brought me to tears. There is a place in my heart also where it is all locked away. All the things that were and no longer are. Samuel’s little voice, his pattering feet, his sweet kisses. I, too, don’t watch the old videos or look at the pictures anymore. It is too much for me. And then tonight at a school function, a well meaning young lady went around the room asking the kids what their mom did for them that they liked best. When they reached my 7 year old, he was stumped and so was I. Someone else fixes dinner, does the wash, helps with his homework. There is so little that I am able to do for him anymore because of all that Samuel’s care requires and in an instant, I saw all that he had lost in a mother and it hurt. Thank you for your inspiration. I know God is there also and is teaching us one drop at a time.

    Teresa

  2. Your words are so inspiring each time I read them! I can’t tell you how much it means that you choose to share this journey the way that you do. Your words touch my heart and I can see your faith in God in those words. Your love for Abbie is so great and your dedication to her recovery is so wonderful and such an inspiration. I continue to lift Abbie and your family before God in prayer. I prayer for her continued recovery and for your comfort and peace.

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