DiL is in the hospital on a respirator and heavily sedated. It's more than a little surreal seeing him like that. He doesn't look like the man I know, but rather like someone based on my DiL's blueprint but the artisan wasn't able to capture the nuances of personality and energy that make a person who they are.
We managed to talk to a pair of (second line) doctors yesterday. The primaries, of course, were off, it being the 4th holiday. But from what we were able to gather, the prognosis is more positive than MiL initially thought. They're installing a pace maker in the next day or two, and expect him to recover from this current hospitalization. There's some concern about the breathing tube, though. They've tried to remove it twice now, and he couldn't breathe on his own after a short period of time. And they think his throat may have swollen due to the tube's irritation, which of course makes it rather awkward trying to remove it again. But at least the machine's on its lowest setting, and he is initiating each breath on his own.
When we first went to see him, he was less sedated. His eyes opened when we came in, although it was obvious he was still really out of it. But when I asked him to squeeze my hand, he did. I'm very glad there's an amnesiaic effect with these meds he's on. This isn't an experience he needs to remember.
MiL doesn't know what to do with the fractured communication situation. Obviously, DiL can't speak with the tube down his throat, and he's too weak to write. So when he's awake, he can only shake his head or flail his hands, and she's not really able to anticipate what questions to ask to best suit a shake/nod/flail answer. I tried to teach him a little sign language--just a bob of his fist for "yes" and an ASL "N" for "no" but I don't think he was awake enough for it. Maybe I'll try again when he's less sedated. I'd like to teach them both the ASL alphabet, so he can spell out rudimentary words and express some basic thoughts, but fosteronfilm thinks it'll be futile. And considering that MiL just recently learned how to pump her own gas, and always goes to the same gas station because that's the one she knows how to do, I'm afraid he might be right.
We brought Modern Magic and fosteronfilm read "Souls of Living Wood" to DiL, which he seemed to find soothing. Then again, they'd just upped his med dose.
Also got to meet some more of the Foster-side family: a couple of fosteronfilm's first cousins. Matthew has a big ole Catholic family-horde, and there's a lot of people and names who I've either met once in the midst of a big event (funeral or wedding) or never met, and it's hard to wrap my mind around who's who without a solid face and one-on-one to anchor it all in. So I very much liked getting a chance to get to know these cousins and hearing about how they all played and ran amok as kids. Made me go "awww."
Y'know, it's somehow easier talking to family, even brand-new, never-met-before fmaily. It's weird, since these are essentially strangers, but I felt more comfortable and at ease around them than some people I've hung with umpteen times. And his cousin, Mary, is a speech pathologist who works with autistic kids. How cool is that??
Good people. I'd like to stay in touch with them.
- 2100 on a freelance gig. Trying to keep working while up here, but it's a bit . . . distracting.
- "The Dragon's Breath Seed" is now up at Reflection's Edge. Go read, yo.
- Payment for "The Dragon's Breath Seed."
- Royalty payment for "Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me" from the Best of Apex 2005 chapbook, as well as payment for "It's Only Springtime When She's Gone" at Apex Online. Shiny.