Thank you all so much for the sweet and encouraging comments! Your love has been amazing. We have felt strength that we should not feel during this time. Loretta and I were talking about how we have felt like Moses today - when the people stood around him and held up his arms so they would not get tired. That is the way it has been! Another thing I've decided... you people are saving my sanity! After blogging half of the night away and sleeping in, I awoke feeling like a different person. I felt like I had stepped out of the dark night and into the sunshine. Everything was clear in my head and heart and I knew exactly what I needed to do! In order to understand what happened to me, you need to know what our "team" here in New York looks like...
Melanie provides the practical and medical expertise needed for navigating the complicated world of the ICU. She is able to handle being the only one in the room when the rest of us need to rest or eat. (And when she is not there, it takes three of us to replace her!) Ginger has been Loretta's eyes and ears in the room as well as our informational go-between. Loretta (out in Montana) records everything and provides much needed organization, continuity and balance. (When Loretta is "in the room" and she is ALWAYS in the room... I am there. I miss nothing because she keeps me in the loop about every detail. She also knows me better than I know myself sometimes, so she can often make sure the situation is handled to my liking. She is truly my proxy!) Mom and Pat have taken care of practical details such as grocery shopping, errand running, laundry, cleaning and most importantly are the beautiful loving grandma faces that Ellie needs to lay eyes on from time to time. Stan has provided a much-needed outlet for John as they have taken some time to explore the city and burn off some energy and steam. John has stood watch over Ellie in the hospital from time to time - learning the technical information and details. (John and Stan have both been there to look into Ellie's eyes and whisper loving words to soothe her heart.) And because of this entire amazing network - I have been able to have rest when I need it while still being in the loop as to Ellie's every move. And when I am in the room, I look down into my sweet little girl's face... and I just know exactly what she needs to hear! All of this, my dear friends is because of you. Teamwork like this never EVER runs this smoothly, but we have seen God work miracles and move mountains - even in the tiniest logistical details!
And so this morning I walked over to the ICU and introduced myself to the nurse. She gave me an update of Ellie's status. Because I had already been briefed on Ellie's night, shift change, rounds, and the surgeon's visit, I understood everything that she said and was able to ask questions and express any thoughts or concerns that I had. I also asked to speak to the doctor as well. Once all of this was taken care of, Melanie, Ginger and I formulated a plan for the next 24 hours. I knew exactly when I wanted to be there and who I needed to be with me. I'm telling you what, it was a power trip the likes of which I have never known! Most of you know that I am just about the most timid creature God placed on this earth, and the rest of you will have to take my word for it. I still may not have come across very bold today, but in my mind I was beating down the underbrush on either side with a machete! As I sit now, I can't decide whether I feel exhilarated or nauseous... I think God may need to give me a little more warning next time he decides to give me those kind of muscles - a girl's gotta at least warm up a bit first don't you think?
Tomorrow should be a big day for Ellie. The plan is to take Ellie off of the ventilator. She will begin to be weaned off of the sedation drugs early in the morning, and before she is extubated will be completely awake. This may be quite traumatic for Ellie and so John, Melanie and I will all be on hand to keep Ellie as calm and informed as we can. We will take turns sleeping during the evening and night. This afternoon Ellie had about an hour of awake time. She was still groggy from the drugs, but was able to nod her head, squeeze my fingers, and show us that she understood what we were saying. She remembers things that happened yesterday, and she still worries over the same things that she always did - i.e. taking the IV out of her arm. A couple of times she tried to talk to me around the ventilator tube and her eyes filled up with tears when she couldn't express herself. I was able to explain enough of what was going on to comfort her, and several times she just opened her eyes to make sure that I was still there. When John came in for a visit, he tenderly kissed her and spoke her name, and she looked up at him and SMILED! And not very long after that, I smiled in her face and told her how amazing and beautiful she is and she smiled in return. My heart just melted. She is the same little brave girl, talking it all in stride... fighting and working and loving! She has been sleeping so peacefully in the hours since that wake time. Tomorrow promises to be the hardest day that Ellie has ever known, but today she smiled. And she will do it again some day soon.