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.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Santa's off the hook

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.)


Anonymous Becca, Jason and Natalie Ketter said...

Edelweiss - I found myself sighing just thinking of this and imagining Anni relaxing into the music.

I am sorry that I haven't sent anything lately or called. We're back facing the PTLD monster, but we continue to hold Anni in our thoughts.

12/22/2005 11:32 AM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

I love that song too. My mom used to sing it to me.

I think that is so sweet about Anni and Matthew.

I hope you have a wonderful family weekend (if you are calling it Christmas or not). I'm thinking of you all!

12/22/2005 11:51 AM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

Music truly does calm the savage breast. Good to hear it. Hang tight.

12/22/2005 12:50 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Big hugs and kisses to you all.

12/22/2005 1:51 PM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Glad you'll see Frankie soon! and that the gaping wound is at least healing well. Thank goodness for small miracles.

12/22/2005 2:00 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I'm so sorry that it's not practical to send anything from the time it arrived, my prayer is that Anni will be up to rather more than listening to her music...but it's wonderful that it's bringing her that sort of relief.
My love to all.

12/22/2005 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really happy to hear that you and Santa are going to be friends again. -I'm sure Frankie will be happy too! See you tomorrow! -genny

12/22/2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

I'm so glad you'll get a Frankie fix, and a taste of home. We're thinking of you.

12/22/2005 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's good, Moreena, that you're going home to Frankie. Every time you write about her--your little Frankie--I feel teary. Maybe she reminds me of Birdy. Or maybe I'm thinking about all of the different facets of this for you--what's so difficult on so many levels. I am glad for you that you have your clarity of purpose, there alone with Annika. But I'm so sorry for how desperately you must miss that little one. Love to you all, and may Annika find more and more to relax about.

xo Catherine

12/22/2005 7:36 PM  
Blogger angela marie said...

All my bestest thoughts are headed your way. And for little Matthew too.

12/22/2005 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm glad to hear that annika remains stable. hope that she will be able to come off that ventalator soon. continued prayers. tabitha logans mom

12/23/2005 8:35 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Oh, I hope that didn't come off as fishing for more mix cd's. I'm just conscious of the fact that I may forget to say "thank you" and I want to be sure that my gratitude is known.

But now that I'm home, I can get my hands on lots more music, since we tend to hoard the stuff around here!

12/23/2005 9:30 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Moreena...of COURSE you don't. It's just that I long to do something tangible beyond prayer, and am stuck as to what it might be...though I do get to celebrate Midnight Communion for the first time as a priest tomorrow, and will hold all of you very much in my heart then.
Enjoy your own home, your lovely Frankie and a night in your own bed.
Much love xx

12/23/2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger Shannon, Little Marisa' s Mommy said...

Just wanted to let you know that we're thinking about you so often. Marisa just spent 24 hours in the hospital (released this afternoon) with dehydration. Knowing that ours wasn't a "serious" stay, and knowing that we probably would be out in time for Christmas, I thought about you a lot and felt bad that you weren't having the same optimism that I was. We're praying that Annika continues to heal and gain strength. Our thoughts will be with you on Christmas. Although you won't all be together at home, I'm sure Frankie will keep you smiling. Merry Christmas...

12/23/2005 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Rowan said...

That is a beautiful song. I'm so glad that you have been able to find music that brings some level of peace to Annika right now. It is also great to hear that Mathew is doing well. During our PICU times, I've not been able to step out of the horror mind long enough to make friends wih other parents, aside form morning coffee hellos and such. I imagine it is quite a bit better to have company close by. And company that can relate.
I hope that you are able to get a nice big fill up with Frankie. It must be so challenging to have your heart split for such an extended period of time. Glad that she and Jorg will now be there with you.

12/23/2005 2:07 PM  
Blogger Tree said...

I just wanted to drop in and say hello...I found you a few days ago and have been reading through your site. I just want you to know I'm thinking of you over here in Quebec, and I'm thinking of your sweet, strong Anni and the rest of your family, too.

12/23/2005 8:30 PM  
Blogger Mika said...

Gosh, Thinking of you and praying for all good things for precious Anni....

Mika Drews mom

12/24/2005 3:10 PM  

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