So I think we're settled on the "long road ahead" part of the journey. Little hills and valleys but not as many bends. Something like that.
Ian is back in rehab, still coughing up yuck, but less, it seems (at least during the day - fitful nights, according to his mom, of coughing and her suctioning for him). The days are hard work - learning to walk again (his right side is still numb/tingling, that might not resolve but it's too soon to tell), getting in and out of beds, wheelchairs, dressing himself ... in all of these things he is making progress, to my eye. His facial muscles are definitely better and his eyes look good ... unfortunately he says he still has double vision and pronounced dizziness when changing position. Never quite sure whether that's a product of inactivity, lack of cheeseburgers or neuro damage. Again, too soon to tell.
So each day is an up-and-down, I think, and for the foreseeable future. That is to say, I doubt I will be able to come home and update: "today was a good day!" without some reservations. But the truth is, every day IS a good day, and he IS progressing. Questions abound, but they're none we have answers to, so we'll let them unasked as well.
Along those lines, just some helpful hints for everyone concerned for us:
1. "How are the kids handling things?" The kids are doing well. They are loved on by family and community, we are all watching for sad episodes and handling them appropriately. Audrey misses Daddy most vocally, but I'm sure Ezra would love to have him home just as much. We are not, for the most part, mopey and sad while together. We are a new "normal" that is a steady line, not a jagged one.
2. "How's he doing?" He's doing. He's working very hard. Emotionally (for me) it is difficult when he gets into his wheelchair and a long line of drool falls out of his mouth... but then again, he's able to put his own pants on ... so it's not like he's not making progress. His spirits alternate, as one would expect, but he's as sharp as ever and is so far seeming patient and determined and not overly frustrated and discouraged.
3. "How are YOU?" I'm "doing." Ian would tell you that I'm lousy at self-care until things get pretty intense, but I'm working on that. God bless everyone around me for giving me gentle reminders to take care of myself; right now I am battling vertigo (a new thing for me) but otherwise I am doing well. The drive is tiring; I have gotten some books on tape to keep me company. I pretty much take one day at a time, although sometimes they DO come all at once ... I'm simultaneously thinking, "how are we going to deal with finances," and "I'm sure he'll kick this and be able to go back to work in time for it not to matter" and "do I need to get a bath chair," and "I wonder if he can help coach T-Ball this spring." So mentally it's a challenge to cope, but when I re-center and ask God where HE wants my thoughts, He gives me that peace and wisdom.
4. "What do you need? Can I help?" Check out the Helping Hands website for immediate, tangible needs. Prayer is ALWAYS needed. We have no idea how long of road this is, so selfishly I guess I will say: don't forget about us. When things get "normalized" and we're doing the therapy/rehab thing in Pittsburgh or (eventually, hopefully) closer, we will still have struggles and whatnot - I just ask that as you come along side our family ... pace yourself. Does that make sense? Spread the love over weeks and months because endurance is different than emergency.
Yesterday I got a big smile (I forget about what), got to see him being a bit feisty (when his physical therapist turned her back he made a swatting motion, and I know he was thinking, "what a twit" about her, lol). I also got my first snuggle in four weeks: