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Crooked Smile Update #3

I went home again this past weekend. It's starting to get the best of me. I'm beyond exhausted. I haven't slept since all this started, and the driving every weekend, and not being able to catch up on sleep are really starting to take their toll on me. I think the rest of the family is starting to feel it, too. But, my grandfather has improved, as slight as it may be. He could lift his right leg for me this weekend, something he couldn't do last week. He can fairly clearly say "Mawmaw", which means his wife (her name is Helen, but he's calling her "Mawmaw" like "Grandma", I guess because it is easier to say). Unfortunately, "bathroom" sounds a lot like "Mawmaw" as does "tissue", and "I love you", and pretty much anything else he says. He has learned to gesture for what he wants fairly well, so the communication as a whole is improving even if he can't talk. They said he may never be able to talk again. He cannot read or write. When asked to write, he writes "wwwwww" in an ongoing looping cursive type print. He can't tell what he's written after he writes it anyway, but he does seem to know that what he has written is not what he meant to write. I think it may just be that he can't tell if it is correct or not. He still cannot eat, and he has a feeding tube in his stomach. This is closely linked to the talking, because it has to do with the control of his tongue. The fact that he cannot write and read, however, means there is more to it than just tongue control, which is why he may never speak again. He seems to be weaker than last week. He can't pull himself up or turn on his side on his own. He looked worse, too, like he was exhausted. I could imagine that he is, since he barely sleeps. His sleep consists of 15 minute sessions of sleep, followed by two hours of coughing and being in pain and moaning, followed by drugs for the pain, followed by 15 minutes of sleep, and so on. My grandmother, who hasn't really left the hospital since this started, is on that same schedule, so she's to the point of mental breakdown from lack of sleep and stress. She is having a hard time keeping things straight (like her doctor's appointment yesterday for a possible skin cancer spot removal), but she is afraid to leave him to get some sleep. The doctors seem to think he is in the clear in terms of this being life threatening, but I fear that the stress may take its toll on his body, and it may just give out. I say this like I've thought about it, and I'm prepared for it. I haven't. I'm not. It makes my eye twinge and tear just to write that, and that is writing without deeper thought and processing, which I refuse to do at the moment. I want to think he is getting better, but he seems to be feeling worse. I don't know how you combine those two to determine if he is better or not. Apparently, the doctors don't know either. But, I trust he is in the best hands possible, and all of his doctors, nurses, and therapists are top notch. An excerpt from St. Mary's Hospital's website states:

St. Mary’s is North Georgia’s first Certified Primary Stroke Center. In fact, St. Mary’s was one of the first 20 primary stroke centers to be certified in the nation, and was cited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations as a model for other community hospitals seeking to improve stroke care.

I sure hope that they are all they are cracked up to be.

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