Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fingernails, Puppets, and Poop

Tonight, Luka and I decided to sneak away and go visit Hannah alone. When we walked into Hannah's room, the first noticeable difference was Hannah's unencumbered arms and hands. She no longer has a splint on her broken right hand and she was eager to move them around to show us how well she can use them.
Hannah has been given a new tool to communicate and she has adapted to it well. She has a large card with pictures and words on it. They include TV, Music, Books. Blanket, Mom, Dad, I Hurt, Bathroom, etc. On the other side of the card are the words Yes and No. She navigates this card very well and will quickly point to what she would like or what she is feeling. It was a relief to see her so in control, quickly relaying to us any message she had.
The nurse on duty (Lacey) told us that Hannah had stood and taken a few assisted steps during physical therapy earlier in the day. I asked Hannah if she wanted to get out of bed and she quickly pointed to the Yes card. I picked her up and couldn't help but stand her on her feet to see for myself. She stood, as I balanced her lightly between my arms. Her X-rays show a stable and healing pelvic fracture and the nurse assured us that she will continue to practice standing and taking steps. Needless to say, I was incredibly encouraged and humbled at the thought that she may walk out of PCMC at the end of her stay. Anything is possible.
At the end of last week, we had brought Hannah some new nail polish. Her nails hadn't been done since before the accident and were in need of some attention. I was so excited to arrive tonight and see that they were waiting for me to paint them. She briefly watched a show with Luka laying next to her, while I painted her toenails. Then, Luka found some adorable Lalaloopsy dolls she had been given and opened them. Luka placed the dolls in Hannah's hands and together, they moved the dolls and accessories around the bed.
When Davy returned from dinner, Luka asked to go up to the phenomenal play room on the 3rd floor to make something for Hannah. Davy walked her upstairs while I finished Hannah's nails. Hannah became increasingly agitated once Luka left and wanted to follow her. When I asked her if she wanted to go with to the playroom, she rapidly pointed to Yes on her card. I loaded her up in her wheelchair and off we went. When we arrived at the playroom, Luka was in the middle of making a felt cat puppet. We let Hannah pick out which color cat she wanted and I thought I would have her try to make the puppet. To my surprise, she would squeeze the glue bottle I handed to her on each piece of the felt and stick the pieces together quickly and accurately to create the puppet. We made a bit of a mess with the glue but I was very impressed at Hannah's fine motor skills, equally, with both hands.
At the same time, her nurse made a poster of her name. When he showed it to her, I asked her what the poster said and pointed to her lips. She quietly replied, "Hannah." Whether she can read or she has been able to memorize her name, I was very heartened to see her know who she is.
I thought it would be a good idea to have Hannah make the ever popular silly putty and squeeze it between her hands. As we stirred the solution and dumped it into the plastic bag, I exclaimed, "Look, the putty is doing a blue poop into the bag!" Hannah surprised us all by laughing, audibly and physically, for several seconds. She gave us a big smile and her laugh was priceless. Wondering if it was a fluke, I finished stirring the purple putty and exclaimed again, "Now we're doing a big purple poop!" Once again, she laughed heartily. Turns out, she is like the rest of us and really enjoys some good old-fashioned potty humor. Witnessing these moments of personality, humor, and timing are very, very important to us and we treasure them.
I gave her one putty in each hand and told her to squeeze them together as hard as she could. She quickly raised each hand in front of her face and squeezed the two puttys with all of her might. She then relaxed them and we made a big mess of the putty all over her blanket and legs. Oh well, it was worth it and very funny.
When we got back to the room, Hannah pointed at Luka and the picture of books on her card. Luka brought over a selection of books and read to her while I painted her fingernails. She was calm and happy and yawning.
It was a great, fun visit with Hannah and if we could, I would take Luka there every night. There is something very special about how Hannah's accident is changing all of us. Watching our children serve and seeing them have the desire to serve, changing perspectives on what is most important and what we value, and gaining this long-term patience and hope for what is to come in the years ahead is making us better each day. We will be forever grateful to Hannah for showing us who we are at our core. Saturday's visit can't come soon enough and next time, I am bringing the fart machine.

Please donate if you have the ability to do so. The money we are raising (in the upper right hand corner) will only be used for therapies that will help take Hannah from point A to point B; specific therapies that will increase her quality of life dramatically. We are researching and analyzing different programs and clinics for her every day to keep her progressing. Please be a part of that process. Thank you so very much.


Amy J said...

Great post, Eve. We've got a couple busy weekends coming up and I don't know when we'll get back up there to see her. I really want to take Lindsey up there. Hannah responds to the cousins in such a great way. I bet she's so tired of all the adults coming in and out of her room all day everyday.

Obtuse1 said...

Thanks for the update. It's nice for us, that can't come and visit, to hear about what's going on.

We continue to pray for Hannah and have her in our thoughts.