The Baby Strides of a Giant


DAD STOOD UP!!  He got up out of bed!

Talked with Geri, his overnight nurse, this morning on my way to LA Fitness, just to see how he did last night.

As you can imagine, he’s ready to get the heck outta Dodge, to coin an expression.  He’s so eager that he has his good moments and his bad moments.  The night before, Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, was not so good.  Sleepless, restless, anxious to escape the confines of that hospital room that must now feel like a prison cell.

Today marks Dad’s 56th day in intensive care.  Could we be ready for the next step?

Yesterday afternoon, his last IV medication was turned off.  He slept all morning and the early afternoon after his restless night.  One more swallow test, this one under x-ray, remains before they allow him to taste more than a taste-sip of water or a sample-sized swallow of food.

That swallow test occurred shortly after he awoke yesterday afternoon.  He didn’t pass.  Was he too sleepy going into the test?  Would he have benefited if he had been awake awhile longer beforehand?  Too late now, the test was over.  Try again another day.  Hopefully today, but I don’t know if a follow-up test has been scheduled.

After the test, later yesterday afternoon, when I was saying goodbye, Dad was decidedly more awake and strong enough to speak by covering the trach opening.  He chatted up a storm!  Among the many topics discussed, his car.  Was anyone driving it?

I don’t think he bought my “too snowy to keep jockeying cars in and out of the driveway” explanation.  And knowing that we were starting it and letting it run a while weren’t good enough.  I promised him we would drive it.

The evening hours passed.  I passed out on the couch, er, the floor next to the couch, and Kathy literally served me pizza because my legs refused to cooperate.  (Her homemade ‘za was delicious, by the way.  Chicken, turkey pepperoni, and spinach on a crisp, flavorful, thin crust.)  Stephen threw in a load of laundry for me (and dried it) because, again, it was clear I wasn’t moving anywhere.

The alarm roused me way too early again today and I went through the motions of beginning another day.  On the way to play racquetball, I phoned the hospital.

Geri was so happy to talk with someone from the family.  She said that he was up most of the night, but he was watching sports.  And then she said he stood up.

What??  I couldn’t believe what I just heard.

Yep, she was at his side and had to hold him, “but his feet hit the floor.”

Geri said he finally fell asleep around 4 AM, so “be prepared if he’s sleeping when you get here.”

I continue to shake my head in amazement at everything that has occurred in the past two months.  Today marks two consecutive months of confinement for Dad.  I think he entered Lutheran General January 14 and was transported to Christ late in the day January 15.

Are we close to taking the next step?  It appears so.

But as we have learned in the past two months, baby steps.

Yeah, they may be baby steps, but I can assure you, the steps that Norb Kwiecinski took overnight were strides of a giant.


For more on my dad’s battle with a significant health issue, search #dadupdate on Facebook.

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