I finally have good things to share.
DH is now using a cane instead of the walker. He had his first PT appointment yesterday and did great. They found some residual weakness, but it was amazing watching them test him and comparing it in my mind to how it had been just last week at this time. They gave him some moist heat on his left shoulder and leg and then he was able to do a few exercises that actually involved him lifting his left arm all the way above his head, and extend his left leg straight out, things he has not been able to do in over a week. Wow! Right now he is out on his own for the first time since the 21st. This morning we went to see a free movie together as a family - he drove and did fine, so this afternoon is a test to see how much he can do. His plan is to go to school and to his favorite book store and then come home. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not too much for him, but I told him when we came home that I would not be questioning him all the time about if he was sure he was up to anything, that he would have to listen to his body and judge. I'm just biting my lip and hoping he's doing that.
The kids right now are having a picnic with our next-door-neighbors in a "clubhouse" they've all created between some trees. My sister and I had a "hideout" in the space created between a row of evergreen trees that lined our driveway growing up, so this make me feel all warm inside.
When all this medical stuff got to the acute stage last week and DH was hospitalized indefinitely, I turned all the coordination of the kid-care and meals over to my incredibly organized and amazing sister, after I stared at the computer and my cell phone for about fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to work all this stuff out so I could spend as much time as I could at the hospital. That night she reported back to me all the different things she lined up for us, exclaiming, "You've got some incredible networks of friends!" It's funny, I go through chunks of time where I wish I had more close friends, friends that would call me up and invite me to go out for coffee with them or for a night out. But times like this make me realize that I have friends, I have people that love me or that can only imagine the situation we were in and want to reach out to support us however they can.
My sister worked out a shift system and had people picking up the kids from the hospital after they visited Daddy in the morning (shift one) to take them out in the morning and then dropping them off at someone else's house for the afternoon (shift two) and then someone picking them up from that person's house to take them somewhere for dinner (shift three) and then back to my house so someone else (shift four) could come and help me get them ready for bed (I wanted them to stay here in their own beds each night to give them SOME sense of routine) and stay with them once they were asleep so I could go back to the hospital if needed (I never ended up doing that, but it was great to know I could I wanted). First of all, isn't that incredibly organized? I would have written anal and crossed it out but right now I can't remember how to do that and don't want to take the time to look it up. Second of all, isn't that amazing that she found enough people to volunteer for that?!!
I've had people bring us meals, pick up groceries without me even asking (things like snacks for the kids, bread, peanut butter, jelly, random stuff that families need), pick up stuff at my request (healthy snacks for DH and I to eat in the hospital - that person also picked up two slices of packaged Oreo pie for me!), call, visit, e-mail. My local Mothers and More group stepped up; some members helped with the kids, some tooke care of meals, one member who I hadn't even met brought a meal and groceries - incredible! I even had my cousin (Michelle's SIL) who lives in Jersey call - she's going to be sending us some pizza for tomorrow night's dinner! Our neighbors have mowed the lawn, pulled the weeds, even taken out our trash. And now the kids have moved from their clubhouse in the backyard to another neighbor's house across the street to try out a great big frisbee that one of them got.
And all the people who have prayed for us - I don't talk about faith too much on this blog because it is so deeply personal for everyone, but I am a very spiritual person. It has meant so much to me to hear people tell me that we are in their prayers, or even that they are sending good thoughts our way (the non-religious person's way of praying, in my mind). On Tuesday I was driving back to the hospital after dropping the kids off somewhere and running home to get some stuff. I had seen my neighbors and tried to update them some, but got somewhat emotional and had to stop. I do great in a crisis. I can tuck my feelings away like the best of them (I know, not exactly healthy, but helpful at times like this), but once I start to cry it's really hard to start. I didn't want to bring that back to the hospital with me, so I knew I had to pull it together somehow. I found myself pulling into my synagogue's parking lot almost without thinking about it. I walked in, bypassing the office and all the people I know that work there, and walked into the sanctuary on my own. And I prayed. At first, I didn't really know what to pray for, my mind was such a jumble of concerns and doubts and guilt for not bringing him back to the hospital sooner, so I finally just stopped and listened to my heart. And then it was clear: I thanked God for the medical care that is available to us, and prayed for strength to get through this crisis. And I gave it all up to God. I knew that I had no control over this situation, that things would work out as they are supposed to, so I reminded myself that it is in God's hands. And I left there feeling such peace, something I hadn't felt since all this started on July 10th when we first went to the hospital thinking he was having a heart attack. And now that he's been released, everything bad ruled out, improving every day, I still feel it.
I'm still tired (sleep deprivation + narcolepsy are not a good mix), still trying to get the paperwork and the house back in order, still opening cabinets and finding things in strange places due to all the different people who have been here to help, but it's all okay.
Life is good.