They woke us at 5am to start prepping for the post-op MRI. There was some confusion as to where to go as there are two different MRI’s in this hospital and they had to find someone who knew how to get to the outpatient MRI station, which does a lower resolution (non-contrast) MRI, deemed slightly safer for a baby. The OB has since explained there is a lot that is very safe for a baby, we just try not to do them needlessly, and everyone at the hospital gets on-edge when there’s a pregnancy involved.
Outside the MRI, they asked their long list of questions about potential metals in the body, and when they asked Jenney why she was here, she didn’t know. When we mentioned she had a surgery, she was quite surprised. “Really?” Laughing. “Huh!” I waited nervously, pacing (my new favorite activity apparently) the hallways outside, wondering if I could get copies of the MRI’s to view in VR, and hoping Jenney wasn’t afraid.
After a quick trip back to the room in the ICU, I got out the calendars I had brought from home. Jenney has made a calendar every year we’ve been together, made from pictures we’ve taken together of our family as it’s grown over the past 10 years. We went through the photos, trying to name names. She was getting them wrong most of the time, or getting stuck on one word. For instance I said, “Here were at Sunrise Beach.” Then when she tried to name the people in the photos, she pointed to each and said, “Sunrise, sunrise, sunrise, sunrise.” We laugh about it mostly, she thinks it’s funny and I laugh with her. But it’s also frustrating, and heart breaking to see her not be able to say her own children’s names.
I started researching expressive aphasia, and found a free web app online that allows you to practice for various forms of expressive aphasia. I wondered if I could create a VR app.
Around 10am, the nurses and I helped Jenney get out of bed, and sit up in a chair for about 50 minutes. They were impressed that she was doing so well, and so strong the day after such a major surgery. Then she took a nap, exhausted.
My mother finally got into town after a very exhausting flight, being stranded in Chicago overnight, and other flight delays. She took a Lyft to the hospital and we hugged, cried, and sat and talked with Jenney. Then I took her to our van parked on the street to take to my house so she could shower and rest up a bit. Later she came back with Jeanne and Sebastian. Jeanne stayed with Jenney that night and I went home to try to get some sleep in my own bed.
It was good seeing the kids, talking with them, showing them pictures of mommy, bedraggled yet smiling. We had some dinner that someone dropped off for us, Caesar salad with some additional chopped up ham. Then mom bathed the kids while I did some laundry and took care of the chickens.
At bed time, I piled up some pillows in bed, to feel like Jenney was beside me and cried. I heard Viola crying as well in her room so told her she could come sleep with me. We talked, and cried together, and then talked for a while about her conversation with the councilor at school. They’d come up with a lit of things they could do to help mommy when she comes home. We talked about how she is having trouble finding her words and she said there is a boy at her school who has that problem. He has a stack of cards that he carries around on a string around his neck with him. The cards have images and words on them that he can flip through when he can’t find the words so that he can communicate with others. She started thinking of cards she could make for mom.
I slept pretty well that night. Viola woke up with a nightmare around 3am and I sent her back to her own bed after comforting her a bit, and then I slept until morning.