Day 34 Sunday, 18 June, 2006

Natalie decrees that Father’s Day be postponed until further notice. We’ll wait for Aaron to give the notice.

Dr. Kim comes by early and talks to Aaron. She takes his hand in hers and asks him to squeeze if he is in pain. He does. She asks him where he hurts, and he, with slow and trembling certainty, guides her hand to his lower right abdomen….right on top of the gallbladder. She asks if he wants more pain medication. He mouths “More.”

Aaron and his blocked, inflamed, and necrotic (fancy word for “dead”) gallbladder part company about the time most congregations are listening to sermons honoring fathers.

A few hours post op, Aaron is coming around and is intermittently awake, always nodding to “are you in pain?” Shots of Dilaudid keep things under control. Aaron is moving more than he has since the beginning of ICU. His nurse Jen [the Bomb] suggests it might be time to try the trach talker. A one way valve placed in the opening of the trach tube that allows air in but not out, together with a deflated trach doughnut (cuff), allows air to be sucked in through the tube and then to pass by the vocal chords on the way out of the lungs. Richard from respiration suctions top and bottom (mouth and lungs) deflates the doughnut, plugs in the talker, and asks Aaron to say “Hello”. Aaron tries, only gurgles. Richard says good, just needs more suction, which he applies. Then again “Aaron, can you say ‘hello’?” Gurgling and ultra slow-mo but distinctly comes “HHHHHHHEEEEEELLLLLLLOOOOO” Aaron has spoken his first audible word in a month. We are elated. Immediately, he starts another … “PPPPPPPAAAAAAAIIIIIII…” Whether or not it was “pain” we cannot be sure, as he fell asleep before he finished. The test is a great success. The talker is removed.

Toward evening, Aaron is uncomfortable. He is moving by himself more than he has in a month. He turns completely on his side without assistance. This is a good sign.

Aaron’s heart rate is irregular and goes up dramatically when he moves around. Natalie keeps telling him to settle down and relax. At about 11 pm, Natalie tells Aaron one last time to relax and be still. Aaron grabs a handy washcloth and smacks her repeatedly. Then he mouths kisses. This is a very good sign.

The gallbladder is the most likely suspect so far as the source of the taunting fever. We hope that its departure will hasten our belated Father’s Day celebration, when Michaela and Christopher get to give dad the hugs and kisses denied for over a month now by the enemy’s cruel interdiction.

Author: a. c. boydston

Aaron is Alive!

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