Last night I made a playlist with the mix cd's that have come in the mail for Annika. I love those notes about your own children, and how they love this particular song or that. Sharing the music that calms your own soul, or soothes the wild streak that seems to pump through your child's very being, is a lovely and intimate gift. So, thank you.
This morning she woke up at her usual time and did her usual squirm in the bed, which really gets her traveling since the covering of her air-bed is gore-tex and just right for sliding. She waits for us to scoot her back up again (her bed is on a slight upward incline to help with breathing), and then repeats the trick over again. Sometimes we take her legs and help her to stretch and move them, gently flexing her foot up and down. We take off her arm immobilizers, and stand cautious guard over her breathing tube. This morning, though, nothing we were doing seemed to make her happy. One of the difficulties of being on the ventilator is that you cannot speak, since the breathing tube passes the vocal cords and keeps them from vibrating. So communication with her is one giant game of 20 questions, in which "yes" and "no" are the only possible answers, indicated with nods and shakes of the head. We were going over every possible body part that might be bothering her, only to see her shake her head emphatically, when I finally thought to ask her, "Do you want us all to be quiet so you can listen to your music?" A relieved nod of her head. The song that began playing at that moment was The Innocence Mission's version of "Edelweiss." She raised her eyebrows, eyes still closed, in an expression that I take to be the soundless version of a sigh, and relaxed into the sound.
You've heard of people living in the same household beginning to synch up, or even beginning to resemble one another? Could there be something like that at work with Annika and her glass wall PICU neighbor, Matthew? Last night Annika's hemoglobin held steady and she just looked much better. And Matthew last night finally slept comfortably for the first time in weeks, with no major drama through the night.
Today I'm heading home to get a Frankie fix. I'm going to bring her and my mom back to Chicago with me on Saturday morning. Jörg and I will divide our time between Frankie and Annika on Christmas, making sure that Annika is never left alone, of course. It's impossible for me to be such a grinch when I've got my little Frankie around, so no more jokes at Santa's expense.
(But don't hold me to that, please.)