"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.