Our Christmas Miracle

I'm getting slack on blogging. At least I feel like I have a valid excuse. My Christmas break has pretty much consisted of waking up, going to the hospital, hanging out with Grandpa, and coming home.

Since the freak accident he had while extending the roof over the back deck of his house on the day after Thanksgiving, he's spent 29 days in the hospital, had four surgeries, gotten 64 staples in his head, had pneumonia three different times, and gotten multiple blood clots. He currently has six broken ribs, five broken bones in his back, and four broken bones in his neck. While we're talking numbers, he's also had 131 different people come to visit him, many of them multiple times. My grandpa is kind of a big deal.

We've slowly gone from ICU to Intermediate Care to the trauma floor in the Reynolds Tower at Baptist Hospital. During this entire time, he hasn't been able to speak (the majority of the damage to his brain was in the area that controls communication -- it's expected to heal in 6-8 weeks). Because of all the brain trauma, they have him on medicine to prevent seizures, just in case. But... the medicine makes him incredibly sleepy, and he's pretty much just slept for the past four weeks. Not gonna like, I'm kinda jealous. I could go for a four week nap right about now :)

So imagine our surprise when they brought him back to the room on Wednesday after his fourth surgery and we saw this:

He was awake! And not only awake, but alert! He would reach out and grab our hand when we asked him to, gave us high fives, waved bye to the doctor, and smiled when he recognized people. When we stood around his bed and asked him to look at someone, he would instantly shift his eyes to them. It was super exciting. But the real excitement came yesterday, on Christmas Eve.

He stayed awake pretty much the entire day. He started nodding his head "yes" in response to questions we would ask him, and by the end of the day, he even shook it "no" once. We put his glasses on him and he laid in the bed watching TV -- it looked so normal. When I got there, I told him how handsome I thought he looked in his new mustache & how I thought he should keep it even after he leaves the hospital, and he grinned from ear to ear :)

I also asked him if he wanted "headnocker" or "fodnocker" (kisses on the top of his head or kisses on his forehead).
When I was a little girl, Daddy & I would play a game every week when we would go to Grandma & Grandpa's house; one of us would pick "headnocker" and the other would pick "fodnocker." Without fail, Grandpa would come walking down the hall when he heard us in the living room and say, "Gimme some of that to ol' _________ (headnocker or fodnocker)." Surprisingly enough, he would always choose whatever I had picked, and I would beat Dad. I didn't find out until about three years ago that Grandpa and Dad had the game rigged so I would always win.
Anyway, when I asked Grandpa if he wanted "headnocker" or "fodnocker," he sat there for a minute & then lifted his left hand up and rubbed it very deliberately against his forehead. I gave him lots and lots of fodnocker :)

Later in the afternoon, the nurses came in to put on his back brace & sit him up in a chair for the first time. Grandma was standing next to the chair, and without anyone prompting him or asking him, Grandpa lifted his left arm and put it around Grandma.

Cutest. Thing. Ever.

(I just had the thought that the picture makes it look like he's in a really bad condition. In theory, I guess he is. But this is seriously 1000x better than where he was at a month ago.)

He also lifted his right arm up a little bit, which is a big deal since he hasn't moved it at all in four weeks! Daddy, Grandma, & Grandma's sister were the last to leave the hospital tonight, and Dad said that Grandpa actually mouthed the word "bye" to them. Even if his brain is healed enough for him to talk, he can't speak as long as he has that trach in. Hopefully he'll pass the swallow test soon & they can take him off of it!

No matter what happens this Christmas, having him here with us is the best Christmas present any of us could ever ask for. He really is our own little Christmas miracle.

Merry Christmas, everyone!