Friday, March 23, 2012

Longest Night

Patrick arranged Jay and his accoutrements the way he (Patrick) wanted them (after putting together that Amanda and David shared a mutual friend with Patrick. What a small world) and then got some linens for me so that I could sleep. He was quiet and amazing and I crashed hard. Until I heard people talking to Jay.

"Mr. Bernheisel. Can you open your eyes for me? Mr. Bernheisel. Can you squeeze my hand?"

I went flying out from behind that curtain like I had been shot from a cannon. It took me a minute of standing there half-asleep to realize that nothing was wrong. Patrick explained that they were preparing Jay for extubation, and to do so he was cutting his sedation by half just to see "how" he was going to wake up. Was he going to freak out? What he going to be scared? He bit down on the tube a little bit but stopped when they told him to stop. And then they turned the sedation back up again.

The next time they pulled that stunt I was prepared. But the next time was the time. They turned the sedation down and started cutting back on his ventilation. It only took a minute before he was breathing over the ventilator, following instructions, and waking up.

Then there were about 20 magical moments when I got to rub his head, tell him that everything went perfectly, tell him about all the people that had been waiting in the waiting room, and about all the people that had sent texts and messages. He started to sign, despite wrist restraints. He wanted to know how many people were there, and who was there. And then he signed


and I saw the tears in the corners of his eyes.

What a miracle it must have been for him to wake up and know that everything went well and that he was safe and cared for. And it was pretty amazing to be able to tell him all of that. Time stood still.

And the next sign was


Indeed he was.


Shannon Hennig said...

That is just so touching... (a) because it is you guys and (b) because he had a way to communicate without words which is what I do for a living and so many in my world really really want to make sure everyone waking up and dealing with tubes down their throats can still 'speak' to their loved ones.

Being able to sign (or type, or point to words/letters.. etc) in such moments is priceless. It makes the moments about connecting and not frustration and miscommunication. And I am so glad of that little detail for you guys in that moment in the middle of even bigger miracles. Thanks for letting all of us share in this amazing week. Best wishes Jay as you get back to 100%.

ECSiebert said...

Dearest Cousin: Found the blog! You and Jay and the kids have so much love being sent your way - I know you can feel it, but I wanted to say it out loud to you. -beth

Much love from Louisville:

Beth, Derek, Faith & Griffin
Jonathan, Aimee, Quinn & Bryce
and, of course, Candy and David