I keep talking to Tracey as she lies sprawled out (languishes?) on her ICU bed and she, poor poppet, still has a tube in her mouth so she’s unable to communicate outside of nodding, shaking her head, eye rolling and wiggling her cute little eyebrows.
I tell her what’s been happening these last two weeks – her trip from Gympie Hospital to Nambour Hospital and then to the Royal Brisbane – with special emphasis on her having missed our anniversary.
She can’t write because she’s so weak she’s barely been able to lift her arms. I tried putting an alphabet board in front of her and holding up her hand so she could point but she’d stare at it and then close her eyes. She wants to communicate but just can’t seem to find a way.
Tracey’s had a few visits from family today, keen to tell her what a marvel she is and how much support she’s got outside the confines of the ICU pod.
“She’s looking fantastic,” I said to everyone who would listen. She is. Her eyes are open and she’s alive. I don’t care about much else at the moment. “She’s looking really good.”
“I know you keep saying that,” said one of our cousins, “but I’m thinking if that’s looking good…” He trailed off.
“Trust me,” I said.
I understand it’s a matter of perspective. He didn’t see her when she was nearly bloodless, or when she had over 40 degree temperatures, a bloated belly, was packed in ice and still shaking like a washing machine on spin cycle on an uneven floor. After those episodes you really lower your standards a bit.
But seriously, who would have thought, even just a few days ago, we’d be at this point? I know the medical staff had their doubts.
And I appreciate how, despite their doubts, they have continued to treat Tracey in such a way as to give her the very best shot at making it. Seriously, write it down – Royal Brisbane. This is the place you want to be if you’re sick.
What’s even more amazing is no one will take any credit. Or hugs.
“It’s just my job,” the doctors and nurses who are saving my wife are keen to point out if I approach them with open arms.
Or as Professor Jeffrey Lipman, Director of ICU, seems fond of saying every time I look like I’m in the mood to embrace someone, “It’s a team effort.”
He points out it’s how the ICU ward handles things at 2am in the morning which is the mark of its success. This man, whose world renouned high dose prescription and monitoring of Tracey’s antibiotic regime has allowed her to fight off death this week, shrugs off praise.
And it just makes me love him more.
Finally, because of the surgeons and nurses and excellent baristas in the cafe on the first floor, Tracey has turned a corner and is awake. She’s not out of the woods by a long shot, but at least she has a real shot at making it home.
But what Tracey clearly wants right now, more than anything, is to rip the breathing tube out of her throat.
I’ve been told it would be sore and infuriating for her. Even today she’s gone from being able to lift her arms a centimetre or two to being so close to reefing it out they’ve had to restrain her arms.
You’d be proud of me, long time readers, because despite seeing my wife in restraints on the bed I haven’t made a single tacky joke. Don’t get me wrong, I want to say them. But I figure the nurses would have heard them all.
And Tracey thinks she’s suffering in silence.
That aside, all day Tracey’s been trying to make me understand something but I’m really bad at guessing and she’s been frowning at me a lot more than usual. Frowning and rolling her eyes and making me feel useless.
And I’m having the time of my life!
“Is it your feet?” I’ll ask her. “You want to tell me your feet are sore. I should rub them! No? Is it your ankles? Your calfs? Your knees? Your thighs? Your pelvis? Your tummy? Your chest? Your shoulders? Your back? Your…stop frowning at me. I’m helping. Should I start again? Your feet?”
I keep naming parts of her body until she won’t even look me in the eye.
I just know when she’s able to talk she’s going to give me that exasperated lecture she does if we team up at Pictionary, and I’m going to feel so stupid I didn’t get it.
Because it’s all my fault. I can tell she’s in there and she’s thinking straight, and I’ve had enough experience with her to know she’s pissed at me.
If only I knew why.
“Do you think she recognised me?” asked my cousin when we were driving away from the hospital for bite to eat.
“Of course,” I said.
“It’s just she didn’t have her glasses on. Doesn’t she need them to see properly?”
So anyway, I think I’ve solved the problem with the alphabet board. Not that I think we’ll need it. Tomorrow the wonderful surgeons are going back in to see how things are travelling in her belly, and the plan is to remove her breathing tube.
With luck she’ll be able to chastise me for playing such a poor game of charades today. I’m really looking forward to receiving a mouthful.
~ ~ ~
Thank you again to everyone involved in keeping our Tracey alive and in with a chance. If you would like to do something wonderful please consider donating to one of the heroes of this ordeal – Care Flight who got Tracey where she needed to be quickly and safely. I gave them $100 as a thank you. This is a service we need to ensure continues because it saves live, keeping mummies around for their kids and hapless husbands.