One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

a donkey on the head

It turns out that the number of nights I can go without sleep without experiencing total emotional meltdown is 3. If I had written my last update on Friday afternoon instead of that evening, it would have been all upbeat, I promise you. Annika was really looking great during the day. Then the afternoon came and she began hurting and her hemoglobin plummeted and I was worried about bleeding and having to send her back to the O.R. I think the fall was harder because she had looked so good during the day. After such a great day, the IV pole next to her bed had filled rapidly as the doctors kept adding to her regimen. Soon her cluster of IV pumps was reminding me unhappily of her post-transplant times, with their long, hard recovery period. I was starting to think she would have to spend another week in the PICU. When a code was called again that evening in the unit, I had a few tears for the child I didn't know whose hold on life had suddenly become so precarious. That night the poor nurse who was given care of Annika had to deal not only with Annika and her complicated schedule of 50 gazillion IV med's, but also a mom who was clearly a donkey on the head, as Annika would say. I got so upset with the nurse that I refused to abandon the lawn-chair-like seating by her bed for the fluffy-down-mattress-like-in-comparison fold-out chair across the room. Neither Annika nor I got much rest at all that night. Jörg was supposed to leave for home Saturday afternoon, but once he recognized how very donkey on the head I was, he decided to stay for another day. I slept 2 hours that morning, and another 2 that afternoon in the room, my dreams mixing weirdly with the conversations of the doctors and nurses stopping by to check on Annika. Jörg, meanwhile, kept watch on Annika, also upset with how her condition seemed to have deteriorated from the day before. He had to wear a mask the whole time he sat with her, as he had developed a sore throat the night before. We were pretty certain that it was just the dry air and stress, but didn't want to chance passing on a cold to her. That night I was determined she would get some good rest. At 9 I turned on her current favorite go-to-sleep song, Be Still My Soul. This was a song that I put on the photo slideshow memorial I made for my Aunt Pat's family, and Annika fell in love with it on first listen. I can't say that the lyrics are my favorite for listening to in the PICU, not being much in the mood for reconciling loss right now, but it put Annika in the most blissful state of relaxation. New Age music, morphine, and the humidifier on her nasal cannula bubbling zen-like behind her bed, she drifted off to sleep. Through the night, she lost more tubes. In typical Annika fashion, none of them were removed on doctor's orders. At 10:30, I awoke to see lifting her urine catheter in the air, the large tube connected to the catch bag was caught between her toes. I untangled the tube from her toes, but a few minutes later the nurse and I realized that Anni had broken one of the connections on the catheter. "Wow. I've never seen that happen before," commented our nurse, a long-time PICU veteran. Thus was the urine catheter removed. Then around 4a.m., Annika pulled her nasal cannula off her face, apparently still asleep. Amazingly, her oxygen levels stayed around 90%, so the nurse just left it off. So I'm hoping for a good day today. Jörg is leaving as soon as I return from doing some laundry (it's in the dryer now). And I hope we'll be out of the PICU and back to the regular floor perhaps tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay Annika and her drive to go tubeless! I am hoping for a good day for your whole family, Moreena.

xo Catherine

12/04/2005 9:41 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Hugs to you, and hopes that you can get some sleep in the nearish future. So that you can be flyin' talkin' donkey again.

12/04/2005 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Sheryl and Justice said...

Praying for the days when a donkey on the head is a distant memory and Annika is tubeless yet again. Hugs to you both.

12/04/2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

Oh, Moreena, I hope you can get some sleep and maybe some fresh air soon.

Keeping Annika in my prayers.

12/04/2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger Jane Dark said...

Boy, I can't blame her for wanting to leave the tubes behind. Still praying, still thinking.

12/04/2005 12:57 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Still thinking of you...this whole time. I feel so strange saying that, since I've never really commented before. But you and your family have captured my heart, and I think of you often as you go through this ordeal.

12/04/2005 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my what a post op time you have hopes and prayers are for things to get better and better, even if its just a little at a time!

12/04/2005 3:36 PM  
Blogger allison said...

Still just thinking of you, praying for you, and passing your story on to others to do the same. This WILL pass.

12/04/2005 6:08 PM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

That Anni just knows what she wants. She's a pro on what works for her. What a strong and courageous girl.

What a loving family you have. I am glad you got to get some rest, and I hope we'll all be hearing some good news soon.

Hugs and prayers for you, as always.

12/04/2005 7:43 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Oh, big hugs.

And what everybody else said.

12/04/2005 9:03 PM  
Blogger KibitzingShiksa said...

Warm, healthy thoughts to all of you- Annika is a trooper, and so are you. Here's hoping for some decent sleep for you!

12/05/2005 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope things calm down for you and you and Annika are both able to get some *good* (and much needed!) rest.

Prayers continue for you all!


12/05/2005 9:23 AM  
Blogger corndog said...

I love Annika's feistiness and the 90% oxygen. Hope some sleep and a nice room on the regular floor (and out of PICU) is in your near future. Still thinking, still praying.

12/05/2005 10:32 AM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

Yay Annika, and Moreena, I wish I could beam you some sleep!

12/05/2005 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Rowan said...

You are all in my heart.

I will keep sending you strength and peace to see you safely back to your happy home.

12/05/2005 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Marisa said...

(Mom's you may not want to read this.) WAY TO GO ANNI! I would yank that foley out too! I hate them more than ANYTHING else. Way to stay tough girl!

Love Ya, Marisa

12/05/2005 4:56 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Still thinking and praying here...One of our nephews used to describe his brother as a "donkey head in the garage" (he also referred to people as a "pain in the sunshine"...)but you're entirely entitled to be rather manic right now. But Annika is clearly a remarkable young lady,- gets it from her parents, I guess. Lots of love and blessings to you all as you deal with this long hard fight.

12/06/2005 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you all, Moreena.

xo Catherine

12/06/2005 7:25 AM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

What a girl! Tell her the whole internet is rooting for her.

Prayers and positive thoughts for all of you.

12/06/2005 9:05 AM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Checking're on my mind.

12/06/2005 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sending a constant stream of good thoughts to Chicago for you all!!

12/06/2005 10:55 AM  

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