Wednesday, February 27, 2008

man of steel is home at last


Bob's Chevy Trailblazer (I got his permission to post.)

Four weeks ago, on January 30th, Amy got the call a little after 9 AM and quickly called Ginny and then me and I called Rob. We didn't know if it was a bad accident or not, only that Bob wasn't able to make the phone call himself. Four hours later, at around 1 PM that day, he crashed. His blood pressure dropped to life-threateningly low levels, and he was not breathing well due to intense chest pain. He doesn't remember any of that, nor does he remember the day of or even the day before the accident itself, apparently.

He had to be put to sleep to be intubated; he had to receive blood, and lots of it, and quickly. Dr. Nijar and all the wonderful trauma care personnel in the Huntsville Hospital ER, with God looking over their shoulders, pulled him through. And we are so very grateful to them and to our God for allowing him to be spared. We're not finished with him yet, that's for certain, and apparently neither is the Lord.

The day of the accident Greg Johnson offered to go get anything that had been left in the car. Bob often wears caps, and he had worn one of his favorites that morning -- it has the symbol for Superman on the front and says Man of Steel on the back closure. Greg found it, intact, in what was left of the vehicle. Judging from the picture above and knowing personally everything about what he's been through, it seems ironic he would've been wearing a hat with that sentiment.

His Bible was also there and absolutely intact. He always kept that particular Bible in the car with him. That's surprising because of the amount of glass and blood that could have damaged it. He usually kept it in the back, though. Also, Bob's glasses were there, and were intact as well! We suppose the glasses and cap were simply thrown off at impact, and fortunately the glasses hit whatever they hit in such a way that they didn't break. His cell phone was scratched up a bit, but it still works just fine with its loud, annoying ring. Err, I mean, the Nokia factory ring, I think it is. You know, like on "Medium"? I think. Whatever it is, it is LOUD. But he doesn't need hearing aids, noooo.

When he was ready to leave the hospital, he wore his Man of Steel cap again. Perhaps he really is a man of steel now with the plates, screws, and metal rod. He'll certainly always set off metal detectors! He is learning how to maneuver around the house well, though of course he tires easily still. Also, he was used to rolling on smooth floors, and they have deep-pile carpet at home, so he's having to work harder with his arms to use the chair. Ginny's making him do laps with the walker, too. She knows how to crack that whip. (Only around the kitchen island; she's not too cruel of a taskmaster.)

I haven't let this be known, but I can tell it now. Ginny only spent one night at home for the entire month. She just wanted to be where he was. She's even been back at work for the last two weeks while still sleeping in a hospital recliner every night. Now, that's dedication for you. Also, I love this: I went to sit with him while she ran some errands, and before she left she went over and kissed him! On the lips! Right there in front of me! I told them I don't think I've ever seen them kiss (and I've known them for 16 years.) They just laughed at me.

We all told him we are SOOO glad he is HOME! He said he is, too. He said, "You just don't know."

I picked up his handicapped placard so they can park in one of the many empty spaces marked handicapped everywhere (well, not EVERYwhere, but a lot of places.) It will expire eventually, though.

Maybe I'll get a picture of him in his spiffy new wheelchair with the "S" hat on for you soon. He has been so touched and surprised by the outpouring of cards, love, cards, gifts, cards, candy, cards, gift certificates, cards, plants, cards, even money. My favorite story is of a certain visitor who gave Ginny some one dollar bills to have for snacks or parking as he was leaving. He came back later -- he didn't have any ones to pay for his own parking. Hilarious. We love you, friend, you know who you are.

The Coxes (well, the elder Coxes; I suppose we're the Coxes, too) have a huge basket filled just about to overflowing with cards, and I believe I've been the one to open almost every one of them! Ginny opened a few, but just didn't always feel like it. Amy opened a few, too, I think. I love to read with a dramatic flair, dontcha know, so I took it upon myself to do that whenever he'd let me. We were finally caught up yesterday. And then even MORE cards came today!! But that is not a complaint. It is awesome. Not a word I throw out often, so don't take it that way. Bob, ever so humble, can't understand why so many people would care that much about him. He just doesn't know what a ripple effect one life can have, I suppose ...

Cards from Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and all over North Alabama, at least. Wow. Monday I take him to his first Outpatient Physical Therapy session (don't worry, Lindsey, Amy will relieve me so I can get to you in time!)

God bless you, every one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

UPDATED PICTURES; all my children; Bob's hard work

***Bob will be released from the rehab hospital tomorrow, Wednesday. We are so excited to get him home!! I had lunch with him today and he's doing well and in good spirits.***
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I updated the early pictures so you could see baby-ish pics of all. Mainly Chloe's crying picture!
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Here is a picture of Julianne on her 1st birthday. Joey was 12 days old. She started walking about a week before he was born, so she was an old pro by this point. She was generally pleasant and very curious about everything; never met a stranger.
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Now here she is. My 10-year-old. I am not normally weepy or nostalgic about my childrens' rites of passage; preschool and kindergarten were a relief, to me. But somehow, today, as I filled out applications for next fall, it hit me hard. Julianne will be in the 5th grade. (I remember that age very well.) A grown-up, compassionate, deep-thinking mind she has, yet in a child's body. She has grown a lot in the last year, though, and she wears size 7 shoes! Same as Aunt Amy.

Here is Joey on his first birthday. See how I had them side-by-side in cribs. It was just easier to keep all the diapers and mess in one room. They loved it. It wasn't long after this that he learned to get out of his crib. He'd climb over into hers and they'd play, or he'd climb out. She was much more cautious.

And now. My "sweet boy" will be a 4th grader; although he excels in every subject, he is much more concerned with finishing quickly than with working carefully. Plus he'd rather be playing outside than doing any of that! He still lets me hug and kiss him -- at home -- but I don't know for how much longer. (I'm realizing it is time to relish those moments.) He is within an inch of his sister's height, but no matter how much he eats, nothing sticks! No broken bones lately, though.

Here is Abbie at about eight months. From the moment she could smile, this was pretty much the expression we saw all the time. Her name means "source of joy." Often I've thought there never was a child more aptly named. Clouds and drama appear occasionally now, though!

Now we're looking ahead to 2nd grade! She has lost her two top front teeth recently, so that pretty baby smile will never be the same. She'll still be beautiful -- but not my baby any longer. Like her siblings, she does very well in every subject, though she's not always happy about schoolwork. She loves to sing! I usually play worship music in the van, and her clear little voice is always singing along. Sometimes they all sing (and well), and it thrills my heart inexpressibly.

And my little Chloe, in Julianne's arms, at about three months old. This is what much of her first year or two looked like, bless her heart. She is "The least of my little ones," to borrow words from a poem of my late grandmother, Ruth Johnson. I think she always will be, at least in stature. Time will tell.

Chloe marches to her own beat. She has never been "like" the others. As a baby she didn't "have the same look about her," a friend said curiously. Her disposition was different, maybe because she battled reflux. She cried. A lot. And she spit up. A lot. Nursery workers would tell me she was sick, that she had thrown up. It was just how her spit-up was. With what I know now, I think she probably had G.E.R.D., but thankfully she's outgrown it. Now she is 4 1/2. No more reflux. She looks like a Cox kid and she sings constantly, so we're pretty sure she's ours! She looks and acts rather like Joey; she is full of hilarity. Way too many nonsensical knock-knock jokes, though!! It would be better if she wouldn't end them all the same way.
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My children ... about whom almost everyone says,
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"Your children are so well-behaved."
"You have a beautiful family!"
"What do you do to make them be so good?"
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I'm not sure which kids they're looking at; but the ones I see here in my house?
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Love to pick at each other.
And fight.
And pull each other's clothes.
And take things from each other.
And push each other.
And yell at each other.
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At least sometimes. We have pleasant times, too, like looking for the lunar eclipse the other night, or when we have game night, or when we watch American Idol (I know, I know, it has the word Idol in it. But it's singing, and we are the Coxes! What do you expect?) There are precious moments that I will always treasure.
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But this fighting is getting on my NERVES.
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Lately the unpleasantness seems much more common than the pleasantness. Perhaps, possibly, the disarray of our lives for the last 3 1/2 weeks is taking its toll ... but I cannot stand the bickering. Neither can I constantly spank or constantly banish. As I've told them since they were old enough, "You're going to have to work this out yourselves." They've just grown in volume and in number since then! So, when I must, I retreat through my bedroom. Into the bathroom. And then, into the closet. There I can sit in the insulated silence as long as my nerves require that I do so.
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Funny, if we take even one child out of the mix the fighting seems to magically stop. Doesn't matter which one. I guess that's true if you have three children as well. I know it's true for two! I was one of two. I daresay my brother's battlescars outrival anything my children have yet to experience. (I was the baby, so I got away with a lot.)
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I suppose it has always been thus.

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We met with all the therapists Thursday and saw what good progress Bob is making. He won't require any more Speech Therapy! He won't require any more Occupational Therapy! He will require a good bit more Physical Therapy; that's as we expected. He should go home next Wednesday. Party, anyone?!?

Bob will be using a wheelchair for several weeks. He can use a walker, but has to bear all his weight with his left leg. Before long he becomes exhausted and wants to switch his weight to that right leg, so he has to sit down. Today some men built a ramp in their garage. Don't worry, we will NOT let him go down the ramp by himself. Actually, he can't be by himself until told otherwise. But between us all that won't be a problem.

Bob was in the bed so long, he has rubbed a bald spot on his head. Just like my babies did when I had to put them to sleep on their backs, you know? Don't worry, though, Claude, he's got nothin' on you. (Oh, you're gonna get me now!) It's kind of funny in the middle of all that thick black hair. Well, it was to me. He didn't quite get the humor, I'm afraid. Oh, well, me and my perpetual foot-in-mouth disease. I come by it honestly. :-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

(shh ... Bob's in rehab ...)

All in good fun, folks, all in good fun. No, he won't be seeing Lindsay Lohan during his stint at Betty Ford -- I mean, the Rehab Hospital.

My apologies to any of you who have been waiting with bated breath for my next post. Time kind of got away from me, and I've just been living my life.

Rob went Saturday to help load everything on a cart, and Bob rode in a wheelchair (instead of on a bed) across the skywalk. He is working hard; he wants to go home as soon as possible. Ginny started back at school today, and I'm sure there were lots of happy kindergarteners this morning.

Bob is receiving Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, and some sort of memory therapy. He is busy until about 4 PM; then he is ready for his supper. (Greg & Holly, you know what I mean!) I don't think he would mind a few visitors; that said, do be cognizant of his energy level and don't stay too long. He needs lots of energy for his therapy. [Parking can be a bear over there, so don't say you weren't warned.]

Blessings on you today.

Oh, and a reminder -- I did adjust the comment settings the first week. You do not have to have a Google account to post. (Some still had questions about that.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Papa's girls; physical therapy

Sarah got to see her Papa Wednesday night. Then yesterday, after over two weeks, our girls got to see their Papa again. Joey's cough is still deep, though not frequent, but we didn't want him to have to walk so far. Huntsville Hospital is almost as much of a maze as the Winchester House -- they just keep adding on and on. Bob's room is in the furthest section from the visitor parking garage, I think.

They were happy to see him, and he them, but Abbie was rather uncertain of the surroundings. Julianne's old enough not to be, and Chloe's young enough not to be. She had all kinds of questions, like, "What's that on your nose?" (Oxygen.) "What's that on your hand?" (Boo-boo.) "What's that on your leg?" Etc. I got her out of there after she started jumping up and down on the hard tile floor. I think her visit lasted two minutes or less, but that was enough to satisfy her. Abbie mostly looked at him shyly from afar. Julianne regaled him with tales of school to which he tried valiantly to respond, but she talks so quickly it is even difficult for those of us at full capacity to keep up with her.

Sarah is quite comfortable in a hospital room so long as she has "MY mommy." That's pretty much what she says all day, Amy reported, over and over and over. She spent several days in the hospital herself in January due to a serious case of RSV. She's in great shape now, though.
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Physical therapists began to work with Bob yesterday. He now knows the tricks of maneuvering from bed to chair with the help of a walker. That much, right now, is exhausting. But, to our surprise, he will be wheeled across the Governor's Dr. bridge that extends from Huntsville Hospital to the Rehab Hospital tomorrow! He'll relocate in the morning, and will be there anywhere from 7-10 days, the rep said. He'll have 1.5 hours of therapy each morning and 1.5 hours again each afternoon. Break that up with meals and the rest he'll desperately need between sessions -- he'll have very full days there.

I have no doubt that the power and the multitude of prayers on his behalf are having a strong impact on his recovery. But beyond the prayers for healing, he also needs prayers that the God of all comfort and strength will surround him and uphold him. He wants to do so much, and he can't yet -- his spirit is willing, but his flesh is literally weak right now. Let's pray for him to remember that the length of time from winter to spring really isn't all that long -- how many times in the past, do you think, has he wondered where the time went? How many times have we all wondered that? I pray that, in his estimation, this period of time does go by quickly.

Good weekend to all. Cox out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

updates

Yesterday the childrens' fevers were gone, almost as quickly as they'd come. Joey's had lasted the longest. Now I'm not convinced the others even had the flu. The rest of us remain unscathed, although Rob has been dealing with an annoying cold for almost two weeks. Anyway, the kids were glad to attend their Valentine parties at school today.
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Yesterday some X-rays came back from the night before. They were checking Bob's right foot, which he said was hurting. They found some broken bones in his foot -- they didn't catch that before, I suppose because the other injuries were so much more severe. So now he has a boot on that foot.
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Bob got his room just in time for supper last night. He enjoyed it. He's shaky, though, and somewhat disoriented. That is not unusual after all the trauma, medicine, and time in the ICU he's had. Being back on a regular schedule, not having a room open to a bright hallway day and night, and being with his family should help. I hope he won't be too disappointed when he learns he hasn't actually sold houses to sixty doctors during his hospital stay (he told Rob last night that he had.) It seems rather like he's dreaming while awake. We pray this will pass quickly, for all the imaginings are not as pleasant as that one.
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Bob has received a total of 15 units of blood since being in the hospital, we added up. Six right away the first day, then two more later that day. You may remember me saying the human body holds roughly eight units -- so he got an entire body's worth that day. Two more during the leg surgery, I think (or in the next day or two after.) Two before the hip surgery and two during it; one more a few days ago, as a booster. Our Madison Academy family had an impromptu LifeSouth blood drive in his honor last week, and about 40 people gave blood. We are thankful for that, and how it will impact other families. Were it not for the blood Bob received on January 30th, he would not be with us any longer.

The gift of blood truly saved his life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

morpheine madness; Get me a room!

Last night was a bad night for Bob (perhaps more so for the nurses) with the morpheine. He was hallucinating; he thought people were trying to attack him. That's the version I got from Rob, who got it from Ginny, so no doubt it is abridged.

This morning he was sitting in a chair, facing the hall. He was asking every person he saw when he could have a room. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, of course; he'll be in a room later today. However, since he tires so quickly still, he doesn't need visitors. There will be plenty of time for that when he's sitting in his recliner for the better part of the next three months. I'll keep you informed.

Next week, hopefully, he'll be ready to go to the rehab hospital to learn to maneuver himself just enough to take care of basic needs. However, most of the rehab will happen after the 12 (now less than 11) weeks are up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

grandmommy


Grandmommy Ruby, Dec. '07
Opening presents at her house

For those of you who read the comments, so you'll know what my mother looks like (me in 25 years!) Love you, Mother. And I'm sure you'll love me for posting that. :-)

grumpy gramps; influenza

While Bob is awake and all is going as it should, he is a wee bit grumpy, so I've heard. I imagine you get sore after being mostly supine for 12 days. I had to "go on bedrest" for about three weeks before Julianne was born, but I wasn't unconscious and strapped down, so I'm sure it's not the same level of soreness.

He is still rather confused, and asking repetitive questions, but that seems to be part of the waking process. When Ginny called last, he was drinking some Coke and preparing to have some Jell-o. Yum! :-) He asked her to help him get back into bed while Rob was there yest., and she said she couldn't, the nurses would do that. But he asked again at least two more times, as though he forgot he'd asked.

Rob asked if he wanted to know who won the Superbowl, and, irritated, he said, "How long have I been in here?" Oh, boy. Long road ahead!

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Three down, three to go. The flu has struck our home. (Yes, we ALL had flu shots.)

*Joey is feeling much better, just still has that cough; it was bothersome enough that I still took him to the doc yesterday and he tested positive for flu. Yesterday his temp only reached about 100; it is normal today. The doctor told him, though, "Maybe you can go back to school Thursday!!! That seems like a long time to be out, but now it's Tuesday and his cough is still deep.

*This morning Julianne wakes me up with, "My temperature is 100.8." Later it was over 101, and she mentioned that it "hurts when I swallow." Plus she has a headache. So, Motrin for her. No cough, interestingly.

*A couple of hours ago, Madison Academy's school nurse called saying Abbie wasn't feeling well and her temp was 99.8. Guess who's home now? A little headache, but no other symptoms.

Dr. Zbell thankfully had the foresight to prescribe Tamiflu to all four of the children as a preventative measure (and a treatment if needed.) Dr. O'Neill obliged with the same for Rob and me, so maybe the affliction won't remain for too long. Dr. Zbell said the shots didn't work so well this year, but those who got one have fared better than those who did not.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Extubated!

Ginny went to see Bob at the 10:30 visit time, and lo and behold, he was sitting in a chair ... no breathing tube! He wanted to know what happened; again, she told him she didn't know. I'm hoping she told him he was in a wreck, at least! He was a little confused, but after being asleep for that long, confusion seems the logical result. (Anyone ever answer the phone instead of turning off your alarm?)
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Bob asked the doctor if he knew Jack Brown. Ginny said, "Do you mean Jack Moore?" Yes, he meant Jack Moore (of the church and school community here.) Yes, the doctor knew Jack.
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Ginny gave Bob some ice chips. Tomorrow his feeding tube comes out. Maybe he'll be in a regular room by Thursday. Woot!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

couple pics; quick update


Sweet Sarah, at our house, Nov. '07
(so you can see how much she's changed)

Papa reading to Chloe, Sept. '07
(I just think that's one of the sweetest pics ever.)
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Well, I finally saw the real Bob Cox again today. He is definitely back with us. He held my hand firmly, looked at each of us, tried to say Amy's name when she came in, tried to say bye when I left -- but of course, couldn't speak. Everything looks good; the only reason he is on the ventilator now is that the doctor hasn't gotten by to take it out. Bob doesn't know quite how long he's been out ... and Ginny doesn't want to tell him until that tube is out, for he needs to stay calm. He'll be in for several surprises. A lot happens in the world over twelve days, and he keeps up with the news. Hopefully he can get it in small doses and not be too overwhelmed.
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G'night, all, and have a good Monday. I'll be with my Joey, who turned up with a temp of almost 103 today and a deep chest cough. He fell asleep in the family room last night, and I thought he was just tired from a long day, but he probably was getting sick then. I don't like this cough at all, so off to the doctor we'll go as soon as they'll have us, and I'll be reliant upon others for updates from the hospital -- I'm certainly not taking whatever Joey has to Bob.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

thoughts; waking up

So much on my mind ... so much in my heart. I remembered music today. Somehow it has been strangely absent over the last [can it have only been] eleven days. Today I needed to receive, and let words and truths wash over me, refreshing and renewing my spirit. Tears have not come often, somehow, through this; neither did they appear today as more than a glimmer. How can tears come when truth is able to shine through?

You are God alone.
From before time began,
You were on Your throne.
You are God alone!

And right now,
In the good times and bad,
You are on Your throne.
You are God alone!

Ginny pondered the other night that there must be some reason all this has happened; she just has no idea what it is. I told her she might never know, and she nodded, though even my Pollyanna-ish self knows that is little consolation in a rough moment. Whatever the reason, may God be glorified; I am confident that Bob wants God to be glorified, no matter what.

I remember when Bob and Ginny were living in Paducah, KY, and he began reading a one-year Daily Bible in answer to the challenge of the preacher, Mike Tanaro, to the Lone Oak Church of Christ. I believe that was in 1994. He read the whole thing. He read it again the next year. To the best of my knowledge, he has read it all the way through every year since then. He doesn't read much else, but he reads his Bible. When I'm not sure where something is, or when I have a question about biblical history, I often turn to him.

A couple of years back an exhibit came to Huntsville that displayed and detailed what it took to preserve the Bible through the ages, what it took for people to translate it; people risked their lives for the Word -- the Living Word. Bob and Ginny purchased a page of one of the earliest printings of the Bible in English. It is a focal point in their family room, adorning their mantel; it is encased in protective glass. The fact that they want to decorate their home in that way is beautiful to me.

I am blessed with a rich, strong, generations-old heritage of faith; being united with Rob (and thereby, his family) gives our children an even stronger heritage. Praise God! And may we never forget or take for granted these blessings; may we see those who suffer, alone, and share the wealth of our God's love and our Savior's sacrifice with them!

Okay. Enough thoughts.

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Rip van Winkle is waking up! This morning Ginny and I got to talk to him, his eyes were open most of the time. This afternoon, Amy was with her and he was awake the whole time and squeezed their hands. Tonight, Rob got to enjoy the same thing. We all have a new spring in our step, and Bob is another step closer to home.

quick post

Running out the door to hospital for "the 10:30", then off to accompany a flute lesson at 11:30. Sorry not to have posted last night but Rob and I were trying to do some catching up on our "His Needs, Her Needs" homework -- last week put us behind. We're getting there, though.

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Things were looking good yesterday. The ventilator was turned back down to one breath per minute, oxygen at 40 % (the same as someone with an oxygen mask would have.) Temp. good, liver function improved (he had been a bit yellow the day before), and 16-18 good breaths per minute, deep breaths. Now he just has to wake up. It takes awhile for Adavan to get out of one's system. The morpheine has been turned down very low now, just enough to keep him from freaking out if he wakes up really well and sees all these things attached to him! He was responding (with closed eyes), especially to his grandchildren's names.

More later. Gotta run.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

guilefully guilty go-go Ginny; Bob's baby blues

******I forgot infraction #8. Adding it, 9:15 Fri. morn.******

Sound like great song titles, hmm?

I was conversing with my best friend tonight (or as they say now, my bff,) Jennifer. She was quite curious about the trouble that my dear, sweet, innocent mother-in-law could have found at the hospital. Well, she didn't have to find any trouble, buddy, 'cause it found her -- over and over and over!! We think she knows all the rules now, but it seems new ones turn up each day in the beautifully appointed, employee-donated ICU waiting room for which we are all extremely grateful.

Let's see if I can remember all the way back to that first night ... yes, you of the "Wayne's World" era, do it with me ... fingers going down like rain in front of your face as you say, "Duhdleduhdleduhdle, duhdleduhdleduhdle." We're only going back a week, so you don't have to say it for too long. Now. Imagine your spouse (assuming you have one) was severely injured just that morning in a horrible car accident and you are walking around in a daze. That was Ginny last Wednesday evening, and I was with her (in just as much of a daze, I'm afraid.) C.P. and Ruthie Rieser showed up, and Ruthie had the perfect basket with everything Ginny could need to be comfortable and organized. Notepad, flannel throw blanket, snacks galore, water bottles, magazines, etc. A welcome sight after an exhausting day!!

Later, ICU waiting has just been cleaned around 8:50 P.M. - again - for the night. We go in and sit down in two recliners which are under a rather bright light, but we don't really feel chatty, you know? Trying to be apart from others at that point. Just as we're getting settled with the blankets and pillows already laid out, one of the staff members comes and tells us that we are in someone else's spot. Whoops! We didn't realize seats were assigned at night. (Infraction 1.) So we gather our things and move them. Then she says we have to check in if we are staying for the night. Not just check in at the ICU waiting desk, but go all the way back to the main lobby desk to sign in and get badges. We didn't know! (Infractions 2 & 3.) We thought you could just go in, take a place, and park it, you know?

I do understand why the ICU folks want to know who is where -- that way they do not have to wake up everyone to find a family member if there is a problem. But the front desk? I don't get it. Maybe it's some insurance safeguard for the hospital or something.

That was done, we were settled, and Ginny slept so well under her warm flannel blanket from "Miss" Ruthie (Chloe's current teacher and Abbie's past teacher.) I was sleeping just fine with the hospital pillow and blankets until Ginny woke me up at midnight to tell me something about Bob's condition -- some kind of good news, can't remember now. I couldn't go back to sleep, and that is when I wrote the first post last week. Now she knows not to wake me up!

The next morning, as linens were being collected, one of the staff members, a very nice young woman, said to Ginny,

"Did anyone speak to you about your blanket?"
"No ..."
"You're not supposed to use personal blankets or pillows here."
"Oh ... but my friend brought it for me, and I get so cold, and it is so warm ..."
"I'm sorry, ma'am."

To me she says, aside, "Well, I never." (Infraction 4.)

Later Thursday, more friends brought more goodies. One of the containers was clear, and you could see some packages of food inside it. We were thankful for all the food and snacks -- saves time and money and effort, you know? BUT, it was mentioned Thursday that there was to be no food in the waiting area. Okay, we understand, no eating. We saw the signs, we knew not to eat in there. It's understandable when you think about it, because so many might take advantage of the situation and make messes. However, Friday morning I awakened to a staff member speaking rather sternly to Ginny because she saw food in that clear container. Ginny was so busted. Hilarious. She said,

"I can't even have an unopened package of crackers?"
"No ma'am, not in the waiting room. You need to keep food in your car."
Ginny, getting frustrated,
"I don't have a car. I came in an ambulance!!!"

To me she says, mumbling under her breath, "I'd better put all this away; they're probably going to frisk me next." (Infraction 5.)

We got a locker and put a few things in there, and I took a few things to my car. She kept that clear container, though, for it was big and light and easy to maneuver. The lady came back by later and said authoritatively,

"Is there still food in there?!?"
"No, just water!" Ginny retorted -- well, as much as she is capable of retorting.
(Assumed infraction ... 5.5.)

Then, I believe it was Saturday night when the next batch of trouble came. (She just can't help herself.) The 8:30 visit had passed, and it was after 9 PM once again. Ginny was settling into her spot in the waiting room when her phone vibrated and she answered, I'm sure in a soft tone of voice (she only speaks softly, in my experience.) A staff member came running up to her and said there is to be no talking on cell phones "after hours." She wearily complied, moving out into the hall to talk to her daughter for a few minutes. (Infraction 6.)

When she went back to her seat, she made the grave mistake of putting her bag on the seat next to hers. Heavens to Betsy!! The same staff member came running up and said she could NOT leave her bag there -- that chair had been sanitized, and someone else might need it later that night. Of course there were two empty recliners across from her, but ... (Infraction 7.)

Sure as the coyotes howl at the moon, at 2:30 AM someone came in and the staff placed her right beside Ginny. Not in one of the chairs across -- oh, no. And the woman apparently had bronchitis or pneumonia! She proceeded to fall asleep facing Ginny, and she coughed and hacked her way through the night. Ginny turned to the other side, curled up as tightly as she could, and tried her best not to breathe the contaminated air. :-) I'm sure it was a sight to behold. She has made sure to ask to be isolated since that night!!

***the one I remembered***
Then came Sunday night. After the 8:30 visit, Ginny wanted to get her shower so she'd be ready bright and early when the call came before Bob's surgery. She went to the desk and asked for towels and to be let in -- not knowing you are NOT supposed to take showers "after hours." (Infraction 8!) She cajoled, however, and explained that she didn't want to have to do that in the morning and risk missing the doctor's call. After much pleading, the staff relented, even though it gave them more work to do (dealing with towels and such.) Ah, well. Live and learn, I always say. We understand now, and try to help the newbies learn the ropes. :-)
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This afternoon we had a treat. Bob opened his eyes for a good portion of the 4:30 visit. Ginny tried to talk some sense into him. She told him he'd better get to breathing so he could go home! That was an encouraging visit. They're ever-so-slowly turning the respirator down ... maybe tomorrow he'll do better than yesterday. We watch and wait. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

minor setback; about me

The doctor decided today that Bob didn't need to move off of the ventilator so quickly. They did have it down to one breath per minute at one point, but then Bob was breathing a little too rapidly, and not deeply enough. These things just can't be rushed after all he has been through. His body hasn't had to breathe for itself for over a week now, so it is just going to take time to get him ready. They put the ventilator back up to 8 breaths per minute and that lessened the effort -- his energy needs to be reserved for healing, and not spent on labored breathing. So... a few more days, perhaps? We just don't know for sure how much longer he'll be in the SICU.

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For my blogfriends who have known me through this venue for about the last four years -- it occurred to me that you might wonder how I suddenly have time to post again. I am not in school this semester; 19 hours in the fall nearly killed me. My whole little family desperately needed a break from my schooling! Of course that pushes back my anticipated graduation date ... if I ever get there at all. Ugh. But I am pretty proud that I completed 53 hours in 16 months and earned scholarships in the process. I just hope my little ones didn't suffer too much for it. I'm enjoying the time I have with them now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

breathing more

Today began the methodical process of weaning Bob from the ventilator. Now it is only breathing 10 of his breaths per minute, and he does the other 6 (or more.) The machine will be turned down by just 2 breaths per minute only once every 4 hours. By Wednesday afternoon sometime, we anticipate the machine will only be doing 1 breath per minute for him. At that point the level of oxygen will be reduced little by little (on that one breath,) and his oxygen level will be monitored continually. We don't really expect him to be awake before Thursday.

Through all this they're having to continually monitor for infection. Bob's temp was over 101.5 again today, so more tylenol and more cultures, but everything has proven fine thus far. (Pneumonia is always a concern during intubation.)

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Maybe in a few days I will do a post telling you about all the ways Ginny has gotten in trouble at the hospital. She's a rulebreaker, that one. :-) Pure rebel -- don't let that sweet smile deceive you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

just the facts

Bob's surgery went well. It started after 10, and he got out around 1. As they had said, he pretty well shattered his pelvis. It is a T-shaped fracture. The acetabulum was in about 6 different pieces, which they put back together the best they could, Dr. Griffin said. The bone fragments are held together with two metal plates and several screws.

He will be in the hospital at least 4-5 more days, and maybe a good deal longer. He will be on the respirator at least through tomorrow, so he will be in the SICU until he's weaned off of that satisfactorily.

He cannot put weight on the broken area of the pelvis for 12 weeks, but he will learn to use a walker before leaving the hospital so he can get around unaided. His sciatic nerve is bruised very badly -- it took a good bit of the trauma, which we didn't know before the surgery. They had to move it during the procedure, so they got a good look. That may limit his foot function for awhile, but we don't expect long-lasting problems there.

Bob should be able to get comfortable in a sitting position long before the 12 weeks are up, thankfully.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

O.R.I.F.

Bob's surgery is set for Monday morning at 9 A.M., Ginny just called to say. She said the procedure is called an O.R.I.F. of the right acetabulum, "in case anyone wanted to look that up." This is encouraging news! The sooner this is done, the sooner he can wake UP.

We continue to covet your prayers.

recent pic




This is who you're praying for:

Bob Cox, with his wife Ginny & their grandchildren. Kids, clockwise from left; Abbie, Julianne, Joey, and Chloe Cox, and Sarah Hunter, Christmas 2006.

We never sat down to do family pictures this year, (Christmas '07.) That was my fault (sorry, Amy.) At any rate, this is how happy he is at times like these.
[Sarah has grown a lot, as have her hair and her independence; the others are just taller!]

surgery soon; family activities

Two apologies upfront:

I'm sorry not to have posted since Thursday night. Little has changed and I'm just so very tired; we all are. Amazing how tiring it can be to just sit there all day. I feel like a piece of concrete. I fell into bed at around eight last night and was only awakened when Julianne came to check on us at 8:30 this morning.

Also, I'm sorry the comments were not enabled for anyone who would like to comment. I adjusted the comment settings for you after a friend brought that to my attention.

There has been little change since the surgery Thursday. Bob is still on the respirator, still on a feeding tube, still on an IV, still sedated. We just wish we could talk with him; that will happen a day or two after the surgery on his pelvis if he is willing to cough at that time. Ginny expects that he will be just so he can stay awake and be able to communicate, even though it will be painful. The trauma doctor said that he saw no reason for Bob not to have surgery on Monday. Last night we learned that if X-rays look good and his temperature is satisfactory, they'll do it. His temp has been running from 102-100, roughly, most of the time, but that's not unusual with all that's happened to his body. It was around 99.7 last time I was in there yesterday, and they had his legs covered and the fan turned off, so he's made progress in that area.

Friday Bob's brother, Claude, drove in from Atlanta. He's always ready to offer support in times of crisis. Their niece, Janice, drove down from Chattanooga as well. It is comforting to have family near during these times. My brother got the kids from school Friday -- my mother was out of town with cousin Dr. Jason Stephenson (her employer) at a chiropractic convention or something. Janice had to get back Friday evening to her little one, but Claude stayed the night at Bob & Ginny's. Ginny won't come home to sleep, though. I had to, Friday, because Joey and Abbie had basketball games Saturday morning.

After the games, around lunchtime, we went on to the hospital with all the kids in tow so Rob could see his dad at the 1:30 visiting time. The kids got to meet Uncle Claude, and they just went right up and hugged him. It was good. He looks a good bit like his brother, so I suppose they all felt like they sort of knew him already. Amy's Sarah was quite taken with him, too. Saturday afternoon some of Bob and Ginny's long-time friends from Chattanooga came by. The Browns visited a couple of hours, and the Twitchells for a little while (they were in town visiting one of their sons.)

We went home for a bit and then my cousin Kate came to stay with the kids while we went back to the hospital (her husband had gone hunting, so she was free.) :-) The girls now adore her, and she made the mistake of giving them her phone number. Abbie called her before church this morning just to talk! They are insistent that she must come and go to Bridge Street with them (the latest shopping center, 5 min. from our house.) They introduced her to Hannah Montana, and she's now a fan. Too funny.

Ginny did get away from the hospital to go to school Saturday morning for awhile and put things in order ("organized" just is NOT a sufficient word to describe this woman) and to get things ready for her sub(s) for the week. Amy also got her to go to Cracker Barrell for supper. I don't know what she ate, but hopefully it was more than 1/4 of a sandwich (she's not had much of an appetite.) We begged her to go home for the night, but she stands firm. She'd rather be there, so we won't push anymore.

Thank you again for all the prayers, calls, visits, and thank you Lincoln for the barbeque! (I assume that's who brought it since you said you would.) Kate, the kids, and Rob loved it! I didn't eat, just fell into bed. I'll try some today.

I hope that catches everyone up. Oh, and Ms. Trammell, I totally forgot to get Abbie's WEB ready. Sorry!! We'll do it today. And thank you to the MusicMAnia judges for letting us postpone Abbie's callback. After we get through the next surgery we'll all feel better (except maybe Bob!)

Blessings on you today.