Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sleepy morning start

Well- another night of no posting to apologize for... I was just too sleepy by the time we got back to the hotel to write. Tucker (the bear) said he had enough energy but sadly Tucker has no fingers with which to type. So here we are with a sleepy morning post again.

Yesterday went REALLY well. It was another day of mixed blessings but the sum total was a giant leap forward.

Bad news first: Mom's right arm is definitely getting infiltrated now. Pretty firm and hot in places. But we got the pressure cuff moved to the calf under the pneumatic bandage and so all that remains in that arm is the (irritatingly positional) arterial line. We started her on warm compresses and elevation on that side. The left arm is overall improved slightly but there are still firm, swollen areas that have yet to start healing. Mom's temperature is staying up in spite of starting empiric, e.g. best guess, antibiotics. Cultures are still pending of pretty much everything. This is important because her CBC (complete blood count) had a doubling of white cells which says that there is an infection.

As of 5:30pm, when we left, Mom still had not had the tracheostomy yet. Dr. Sievers was totally slammed yesterday and simply hadn't had time. He actually wasn't able to come an update us until 1pm because of the nature of the other cases. Poor doctor. Poor families. Not sure whether he would have scrapped it till today or proceeded last night so we will see when we get in.

Now for the good news:


The morning was bad because she kept needing to cough which hurts her ribs and she was making herself exhausted and blue in the face trying. Plus there was the flurry of things that were messed up since we left that we had to spend 2 hours getting sorted back out for her comfort. So she wasn't very interactive in the morning at all.

Then everyone had to go so that we could get into our hotel (see humorous sidebar below), but we still hadn't gotten to visit with Dr. Sievers. So I stayed to check in with him. I really have started thinking that our visits as the family with our updates are almost as important for the doctors' understanding of Mom's case as the chart. Mom's arms had been really squashed when we got in that morning by the restraints so I decided to stay with her so her arms could rest (downside of less rest if my presence agitated Mom but figured we could adjust plan as we went along) and so I could catch our Doc when he came by.

So I held her hands and we rested together. She laced our fingers together and I placed her second hand on my forearm so I would have a hand free to catch drips from her vent tubing before they dripped on her. When not ministering to her needs, I was able to cover her second hand with my own. By clutching Mr. Sunshine squeak toy between my should and ear, I was able to rest with her and we both napped off and on. She was profoundly more comfortable this way and it seemed to soothe her.

Occasionally she would rouse and want to do something. We figured out her collar was pinching her neck a little and adjusted it, found some special itchy spots to scratch, cleaned some much gook from her eyes and nose and did some stretching with her arms. Mom also seemed particularly interested in her teeth (or lack thereof) and her hair. Erika had loaned me a small mirror and I asked if she wanted to see. She seemed to want that so I held it for her to show her how lovely she is and to prove she still has all her teeth. That seemed to please her and reassure her.

After a while, she kept making a motion with her hand toward her chest. It wasn't itchy though and I was quite confused. Finally I decided she wanted me to listen to her chest and leaned my head down between the wired and pillows to listen to her. Mom then slid her hand up to pet my head and play with my hair. After, she drew her fingers down to my cheek and we held her hand there a long time, just soaking in each other's love.

How beautiful and magestic our Lord to create such a perfect and perfecting creature of love and concern as my mother. The most special and rare of miracles in the world I have seen to date. Every day I am humbled by my gratitude for every moment with her.

All in all, we got three hours of Mommy time. Time I think we both needed, to reassure us that this can come out alright in the end.

For me, it was also very special because it was the first time that I have had to be with Mom where I wasn't responsible for unpleasant things happening. All the massage of sore parts, the hot packs, the suctioning, the catheter care and so on. It has been so hard to be the one who has to go in and plan the 'assault' each visit even though I KNOW these are the things that make and break critical cases. All the wonderful things she has done, for Brian and Roland, the smiling and the winsome gazes, I felt I was being denied because of my 'meanness' to her. To get some time to just love her and not have to be the medical advocate was an exquisitely prized gift.

After this, when the 'kids' from Team Shellener got back with Bill and Kelly, Mom was just a pistol. She was so jolly, smiling around her tube, and so emotive and 'vocal' with her concern. It was profoundly moving for us all.

Erika had to leave this morning, sadly, and so last night was her last visit for now. She went in to say goodbye and came out all trembly and short of breath. The light footprints of wonder were shimmering on her face and she looked at me and said Mom smiled at her. It was Erika's first smile from Mom. The first smile just for her. And as she said this, the tears began to well up and leak down her face. All I could do was nod. Yes, it is the most wonderful thing. That first smile that says she really knows YOU, that you are real to her and remembered by her. There is this delectable ache behind and between the ribs when it happens, as the breath is squeezed out of you to make room for more love. It is the feeling of the Grinch's heart growing three sizes that day.



Blogger Cheri Montgomery said...

Dear Jacqui,

Your mother is a friend of mine at Blair. I am so happy to hear you can share those precious moments together. Please tell her we are praying for her.


Cheri Montgomery

8:42 AM  
Blogger anne and ben said...

dear team schneller,
i hope that you all are enjoying having bill and kelly there. it was good for me to know that pam got spunky once bill and kelly got there. i'm sure they enjoyed it and it reassured them. i'm glad for david to step in for pam for our choir. that is really meaningful. we are all missing pam so much. on a happier note, i found my wedding dress yesterday and bought it! it is fabulous (as kelly would say!) and just gorgeous. do tell pam - it is strapless and has minimal, but lovely beading. people in the store said i looked like grace kelly- could you tell pam that for me? i wish that pam and kelly could have been with me - it was a great moment. they were definitely in my heart. i'm glad you were able to cut the rest of her hair - i'm sure that made her feel better.
y'all do take care and love one another, as surely getting on each other's nerves right now is not difficult. you all are loved by so many. take care and keep in touch,

12:20 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

Dear Jacqui et. al.
I found my first blog. Somehow I put it at the end of your First Post, even though I wrote it last night. Since I was the last (!!!!) member of VCC to get a computer and an e-mail address, it is no wonder that my skills are practically Neanderthall. Anyway, please look for my first message way back at the end of the beginning of this challenging journey we are all trying to share with you. I have just read other blogs and am particularly moved by Charlotte's words (Blair Children's Choir). Think of all of the people you have affected, Pam, especially in such a positive way. Beyond the music and the discipline which we learn from you, we also learn how to live, how to find joy, and how to love.Just re-read the messages from Anne and Ben. Do you hear wedding bells?
Now we are learning how to fight the adversity that comes our way, and once again Pam is our mentor. Our rehearsal last Tuesday was such a mix of emotions, but at the top of the list was the opitimism that each new day would bring us better news from you. We are now all on a new mission: Make each day better than the last, with all of us back home in Nashville and at Blair making music together again. My last chat with Pam was about the poetry we hope to include in the Intermezzo concert. I was invited into her neat office and was introduced to Hailey I see where the Jo came from. That sweet grandchild has been given the name of a phenomenal woman. What fun they will have together as she grows up, or should I say as they grow up together. We should all have a grandmother with Pam's effervescence. Love to you all...Jan (Noble)

3:44 PM  
Blogger Allison Kieckhefer said...

Hi Schneller Family and Friends!

I have been following along on all your comments and FINALLY figured out how to post a message! Crazy!

For those of you who don't know me, I know Pam from Concert Choir. I was the president when she started and I got to breathe a great sigh of relief that finally the choir had a director that was the right fit! I was also a Voice Major in Blair and I was in the Community Chorus:) I had such a great time in these groups and making music with Pam and so many good friends.

I just want to let you all know that I am thinking of all of you and I know that Pam is feisty enough to get through this!!

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I am currently in New York City going to school at NYU, so if anyone happens to pass by on the way to Nashville and needs a place to stay let me know. Also, if there is anything I can do to help the choirs I would be happy to try! I am glad to hear that David Childs is "subbing" for VUCC. If that gets crazy for him, perhaps David Bone would be able to pinch hit occassionally. David Bone was a VUCC director before Pam and is still in Nashville.

But Pam should NOT worry about VUCC, I'm sure the choir will be fine and that the officers are doing a great job in keeping it afloat while Pam is away.

I sent over a mix CD and I hope I sent it to the correct address! Enjoy!

I hope you all take care and please say hello to Pam for me!

Allison Kieckhefer
917-309-0603 cell

4:14 PM  
Blogger Regan Lackey said...

My name is Regan Lackey, and I'm a sophomore at Blair. I've met Mr. Schneller very briefly (he teaches piano to my roommate), and I think I've met Mrs. Schneller once. I sat next to them at a concert about a week before the accident, and their love and energy was almost tangible. I see from your online journal that they've passed so much of that love to you and the rest of your family. Reading about your hopefulness during this trying time is so touching. I will continue praying for your family, that God will continue to hold your mother in his hands and give your family the peace to trust him in the hardest of times. Thank you for sharing this with all of us :)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Sue MacAfee said...

Dear Team Schneller,
I attempted to post last Thursday but somehow messed up. Hopefully this will work.

Grace Lutheran Church in Clarksville, TN, where Pam brought her wonderful choir for a concert last spring, has put Pam on their prayer list and are praying for her daily. I just got back from a 3 day trip to MI and IN where my daughter was auditioning for Michigan State and Valparaiso for vocal performance. I prayed for you all while in IN and MI so that you could add those states to your list. I have a friend who is head of the piano department at U. of Montana in Missoula who I will be forwarding a request for prayers to, so you will be able to add Montana to your map.

You all are an inspiration to all of us. Your strength, your faith and your love speak volumes. I enjoy the posts. I understand the posts about L.A having spent 2 summers living there.

Give Pam a hug for me and send her the prayers and blessings of our church.

Warm regards,

Sue MacAfee
Choir Accompanist
Grace Lutheran Church

4:50 PM  
Blogger steinie said...

Hello team Shellener!
I tried in vain to call and let you know that I had arrived safely back in frigid Boston, but I surmise you were deep within the bowels of the immense bastion of health care that is the LACH. At any rate, Jacqui, I'm so glad that you got to spend some quality time with your mom. I think it did you both a world of good. I think about you all often and pray that every day brings Pam more comfort and strength. Speaking of strength, Roland have you eaten? A muffin and coffee is insufficient for your total daily caloric intake. Everyone take your vitamins. I miss you and love you all.

6:44 AM  

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