By Friday (Nov. 4 – I’m a little behind), Michael could not lift his head off the pillow. He could not move anything except to turn his head from side to side. His nurse on Friday night also informed us that we would not be allowed to stay with him at night either. Until then, someone had stayed with him every night and pretty much all day too. One of our first and best nurses had told us that it would happen eventually because it was really against the rules for us to be here during certain hours. So we reluctantly went home and left him alone & scared. Turns out, it wasn’t that bad. His nurse was really good at positioning him & gave him a good bath. He actually got some rest for the first time too. When I came back the next morning, he was in a good mood and looked better than he had looked since we got here! First thing, he told me to lift his hand & he moved his finger ever so slightly!! It wasn’t much, but we’ll take it!! That was the beginning of the upswing. Since Friday night, we have been leaving when visiting hours are over for the night and coming in the next morning. Everyone is getting more rest, and it’s definitely showing.
Since then, he has moved a little more every day and gotten a little stronger each day too. He’s been getting physical therapy & occupational therapy almost every day since we got here. On Sunday, he could move a finger on his other hand. On Monday, he could shrug his shoulders, and the neurologist couldn’t push them down. He actually started helping the occupational therapist with her exercises this week as much as he can. By midweek, he could push his legs a little too. On Wednesday, the physical therapist wanted him to try to sit up on the side of the bed. It was quite an ordeal and he was terrified the entire time, but he did it for 10 minutes! He said he felt like he was falling the entire time because he had so little control over his muscles. He did get a back rub while he was sitting up, so that must have been pretty nice. On Thursday, he sat up for about 12 minutes and about 25 seconds of it was completely unassisted. We were so proud!!
Also, they started weaning him off the ventilator this week. They started on Monday with the trials where they turn the assisted breathing off and let him do it all on his own. The machine is still attached so if he stops doing it or breathes too slow or too fast, it will alarm. They started doing it for an hour, then 2 hours, then 4 hours. He passed them all with flying colors. At first, it did make him tired to do it all himself, but it must be done slowly because he has to build his muscles back up. One time, he said he must have been doing good because he didn’t even know the machine was off. Yesterday, they started disconnecting the machine for a while to see how he does. If he continues to do well, he may be off the vent by next week. That would be a huge relief!!
All in all, this has been a great week for us! Yes, we are still in the hospital, and the reality is setting in that we will be here a while. We are starting to get tired of it, but we’re thankful for all the great care he’s received here so far. We are also very thankful for all the prayer, support, and encouragement from everyone!! We can definitely feel it and would appreciate your continued prayers.