Billings- Out of the ICU and a Tattoo

Some days are bad.

Friday evening, it’s rainy and wet in Billings, the kind of soaking drizzling rain that makes you cold to the bone. Everyone says it rains too much in Washington but it’s usually not this kind of nasty saturating wet. Give me misty drizzle any day– And in keeping with the dreary weather Terry did not have a very good day. I knew there would be days like this when things went backwards because head injuries are not predictable in anything but their unpredictability.

I expect the days to come will bring these days often but I cannot say I will face them each time with the same amount of equanimity. Each hurdle is just that, one more obstacle to climb up and overcome. Yesterday Terry was so much himself. Today he couldn’t speak coherent words or identify anyone or anything really. He smiled when he saw me but he patted me and his nurse on the back the exact same way. I could see tears in his eyes several times and I think he must be horribly frustrated at the confusion inside his head right now. It doesn’t help that he is in serious pain from his old back injury.

My Rocko Jocko husband destroyed a few vertebrae some years ago riding a mountain bike off a cliff while racing with friends and he has paid in pain every since. His doc in Olympia tells him to just keep moving or he’ll rust up and he won’t be able to move at all. Now he has been stuck on his back in a cervical collar, has masses of broken ribs and cannot turn over or sit up unassisted. His blood pressure shot up from the pain and the ICU staff got him on Percocet which seems to help while it works. I haven’t seen him sleep more than an hour and I imagine he is exhausted and his sleep cycles are totally screwed up.

The good news and the bad news is he out of the ICU. He has a room with a window which he seems to like but not that much intensive nursing care now. He has a “minder” instead of a nurse who stays with him. The first one was a complete idiot and the second was a doll–we are into number 3 now and I have not met her yet. I am hoping that just the pain and stress are what’s slowing him down.

I went to Linen’s and Things tonight and got one of those pillows you put in the microwave to warm and I’m hoping that will help ease his back pain a bit with support. Getting someone to listen to me is proving interesting, but I am rather adept at throwing a serious and silent fit so I am sure I will prevail. I think we both want to go home now. I am so hoping the staff at St Pete’s rehab center is made up of wonderful and caring people. St Peter’s Hospital  a shot in the dark and it lets me have him just a mile or two from home.

“Tomorrow is another day” as Scarlett O’ Hara once remarked, and there is a song that says, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.” I think that’s my new theme song….
PS Here’s a twist–during our afternoon break away from Terry, Corey and I got tattoos. I have had my design in mind for over a year and the guy here at Body Works did a stellar job making it more beautiful than I ever visualized. I have a tiny feather about 1.5 inches long on my right leg and below it says, “Hope is a thing with feathers.”  It was funny, when Chris (tattooist) heard me say it was an Emily Dickinson quote he said, I guess I’d better go back and cross the F in feathers. At that point it looked like Hope is a thing in leathers–which cracked me up completely, too true! If Terry hadn’t been wearing leathers I wouldn’t have hope!

Post Script: Today, as I pull this from my journal for my blog I see another piece of serendipity.

Torin's tattoo

Torin, the youngest son, got a tattoo today. He is 18, beautiful and brave. He had to grow up way too fast when Terry got hurt but “alls well that ends well”, to steal from Shakespeare. Torin chose his tattoo and the artist in Seattle who did it at Deep Roots. That sucker is enormous! I showed Terry the drawing when the proposed sketch was done and it made us both cry.

Tor chose a stag’s head, and there is a motorcycle chain tangled in the antlers. The date of the accident is on a Montana license plate below it. What a phenomenal way to honor Terry and acknowledge the way our lives changed that day.

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