May 1, a Day to Celebrate.
Our daughter Anna was in a coma in intensive care in Ajax hospital since January 1st due to meningitis. We flew there the end of January when she showed only faint signs of consciousness. The doctor in charge warned us the day we left in early February that Anna’s condition was precarious and could go either way, up or down. I had spent my days massaging her hands, feet, and head. I was with her to remove a blanket when she felt hot, or cover her when chilly. She could not call out nor move a finger to press the call button. Soon our time was up but how could I leave our daughter in so vulnerable a condition? Yet, we were exhausted after eight long days in the hospital and had to return. Mercifully a couple of friends were there at our departing. Through tears we said “Goodbye. We promise we’ll be back as soon as we can.”
Home again in Manitoba our bodies collapsed, weariness took over. Each day we anxiously waited for the daily updated email. We made plans to fly back March 14, but by then the virus was making its presence known. Having to travel through the Toronto airport would risk endangering my health and thus Anna’s. We had to accept advice and we did not go. News from the hospital grew more encouraging. Anna’s oxygen levels stabilized and her ability to move improved; one day it was her toes, then her right arm, then legs, then fingers. One day she mouthed the words to a nurse, “Thank you”. Later the oxygen assist was removed. Then Anna found her voice. On the last day of February she asked her husband to bring her phone to the hospital and while he held it, she clearly said, “Happy Birthday Mom!” We both cried with happiness. This mother could never have a better birthday gift.
All through March the daily emails noted incremental improvements. Then the full force of the Corona virus shut down her lifeline of visitors, even her husband. But fortunately by this time she could hold a phone and we kept in daily contact. The hospital wanted to move her to rehab. Ready or not, Anna had 30 days to get on her feet and be out, either home or into personal care.
She needed a continuing miracle. From the first day being supported with a harness between bars, she began moving forward with much encouragement and help. Four weeks later, using a walker, she walked the corridor without help. Miracle achieved. On May 1 she walked haltingly from a car into her home to enjoy a meal at her own kitchen table.
We and many friends had prayed in the face of warnings not expect our daughter to be the same Anna we knew. We humbly thank those who supported us on our journey, and her many wonderful caregivers during the four months of hospitalization. Anna is on her way; now her father and I have to survive Covid 19 so we can keep our promise to visit her.
In the meantime I am sewing face masks and scrub caps for my daughter-in-law to keep her safe at the hospital. Maybe I will find some time to write more stories.