Join with me as I embark on a 31-Day Writing Challenge! Inspired by Lisa-Jo and created by the Nester, this exercise takes writers on a journey to write on one topic for 31 days straight.

Me? I’m attempting to go through our journey and countdown 31 things I used to have to do for Danny, that I don’t have to anymore. This exercise has already taken me down roads I haven’t traveled in my mind in quite some time. It has, and will allow me to be reminded just how far we really have come since August 16, 2005.

Yeah, yeah.

I know.

I missed yesterday. All I can say is that work is cra-zee, so let’s get to this while I have a few moments to breathe.

27. Range of Motion Exercises

Imagine a 6’ tall jointed rag doll in a hospital bed.

That was Danny.

That was Danny for a long time. He was unable to move anything-no fingers, no wrists, no legs, no neck, no knees, no hips, nothing.

We had to do it for him-had to keep the joints lubricated, so to speak.

It wasn’t that it was so difficult, but as I mentioned in #28, it was another task. And, tasks take time and attention.
And, when you add it to all the other tasks on our daily checklist, days were overwhelming.

In fact, it was best not to look at the big picture; the big picture being a full day. We would break it down to shorter increments-the next hour, before noon, etc.

Blood pressure, temperature, morning pills, mid afternoon pills, evening pills, tube feedings, urine output, bowel program, etc.

I’ll go into some of these things in more detail within this countdown, but as you can imagine, the routine was overwhelming-Groundhog Day on crack.

Range of motion exercises was extremely important. As good as we took care of Danny and as much as we stretched and moved him, his Achilles’ tendons still froze up and required surgery to release them.

Danny’s care was a team effort. No one person could have done it all. Don’t forget, we had ourselves to take care of too and an infant.

How did we do that? It was only through the grace and strength of the Lord.

26. MRSA, pneumonia and sputum. OH, MY!

Hospitals are not the best place for sick people to get well.

Danny’s nervous system was all screwed up because his brain was Jello, he was immobile and he laid around in a hospital bed. Not exactly a good way to stay at optimum health. And, who wants to wake up, or emerge, when you feel like crap?

While Danny had his tracheotomy, they would give him breathing treatments through that hole in his throat. Then, after the treatment, he would start coughing-coughing like a lung was going to make its way out of that hole in his neck. His whole body would practically lift off the bed he was coughing so hard.

Then, the respiratory therapist would stick a small, long clear tube into that hole and suction out the sputum (mucus) that kept hanging out in his lungs.

It was a terrible thing to watch; almost as much as having to hear the word sputum.

Danny would turn beet red in the face and then he would not be able to catch his breath, while that blasted tube was digging around in his lungs. Then, as they would pull it out, he would gasp for air through that gaping hole in his neck.

After the respiratory therapist would leave, Danny would continue to cough considering that all the sputum was loosened up in his lungs. Guess who got to try to catch it? We did. With a suction straw attached to a bigger clear tube that lead to a clear container on the wall.

I know it’s gross to read about; it’s bad enough to type it and even worse having to live it.

Danny suffered with infection for almost four months after his accident. We were in and out of the hospitals all the time and never knew what wrench was going to be thrown at us next.

We finally brought Danny home for good a few days before Christmas 2005.

This was the picture from that day; one of our first as a family. You can tell that he still doesn’t feel well. He still wasn’t talking, was still on a feeding tube and not moving much. See how yellow he is? We didn’t know it at the time, but a few weeks would pass when we’d have to have Danny’s gall bladder removed.

Since his gall bladder surgery, with a few exceptions, overall Danny has been healthy and we are so grateful.

This walking back through time exercise is very difficult for me. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the details of that time period. I don’t know if it was too difficult and I’ve blocked the memories, or if it was too much for my mind to handle.

What I do remember and I do know, is that it feels absolutely terrible to see someone you love suffering and being unable to fix them. It is a feeling I still deal with, although the issues have changed.

I’m not sure how I survived that time of Danny’s early days. Outside of God and our families, and Corbin, there is nothing that could have carried us through.

My heart still aches, so for today, I’m done.

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