I'm doing the night shift again tonight. I've been here about an hour. We have a different nurse tonight and I like her. She is very patient with all of my questions and concerns. She actually found the resident we have been seeing and had him come talk to me and I spent a good 45 minutes or so with him. He asked me what my concerns were (my God, where do I start?) so I just said "Why is she so sleepy?" This is how he explained it to me:
First off, there is no real answer. It's frustrating, and it's probably the hardest part about all of this. We know nothing for sure. Her heart has some damage. We know that. But the hardest part, I think, for those that love her is her neurological status and her sleeping all the time. When this occurred, her heart stopped beating and she stopped breathing, so her brain was without oxygen. When your brain goes without oxygen, even for a few brief moments (and we aren't really sure how long it was for her), you lose functions. The good news, in all of this, that some of the most important functions, for instance, breathing on her own, having her pupils be reacting to light, and responding to pain, is huge. This is a VERY good thing. However, to say how long it will take her to be alert and not confused, is totally up in the air. Days, weeks, months...there is no answer. She will have times where she is alert and talking to us, and she will have times where she is sleeping a lot and very confused...like right now.
I think everyone naturally starts to feel super optimistic, especially when you consider what we knew when this all happened versus what we know now. She has made HUGE improvements. But at the same time, we are at the VERY beginning of a VERY long road. It's going to be hard and it's going to be super frustrating and sad. But we have to stay optimistic (totally easier said than done, I know) and set goals for her and help her reach them. The doctor said it is totally fine to try to wake her. It's also fine to move her around. We can't be scared of that.
I think a great idea, maybe, would be to bring pictures to her. Show her her friends and family and tell her who they are. We need to rebuild connections that were there, but aren't there right now. When we talk to her, remind her who she is, where she is, and why she's here. And also what we want from her. Make her think.
She has opened her eyes several times since I have been here, but she won't talk. What's the phrase... the lights are on, but nobody's home? That's her. I know she isn't recognizing me right now.
Tomorrow is going to be tough, and Sunday is going to be even worse. That is the last really awesome memory I have with her before this all happened. We will get through it, though.