Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good news, bad news, square breathing

Line drawing of HP's shoes, with fervent hope that he will soon be back in them!

HP, for he good news first, is now officially stabilized and is supposed to be moved to acute care rehab today, yay. Staples are out of the spinal surgery place, pacemaker appears to be keeping pace okay, he was sitting up for a whole half hour with no new incidents today.

Tentative finding is that yesterday's events did not do damage, at least not that can be seen right now.

I'm home this afternoon for a rest and a blog, before going back in with stuff he will need in rehab, where they wear actual clothes, not rotten old blue gowns that open up all the time. Not that most people, in that situation, care much about the gown, just about how the heck they got here and how they're going to get back out again!

So,backing into the bad news: yesterday, as if all the drama were not enough, HP had a massive grand mal seizure, and there was real concern that the violence of it might have done damage to either or both of the surgical sites (note my newly acquired medical language, I could suggest happier ways to acquire it, but never mind). He was given a big extra dose of the anti seizure meds he has been on for lo these many years. His own neuro practices in the hospital he's at, so he was on tap, gave instructions not to fool around with new meds, given the disastrous trials he's made trying to get HP over to better meds, yeah, well, better for a lot of people, but not HP, oh well.

Consequently HP out of it all day yesterday, no memory of any of it, very unusual for him, usually functional a couple of hours after a seizure. No idea that I had spent most of the day with him and Handsome Son the evening. I even snook out in the afternoon and had a lovely music time with my recorder quartet, playing Banchieri and Palestrina, glorious stuff, very very healing for the players. Just five minutes up the road, so it worked fine.

So, today HP was still confused and struggling for language, but was able with help to take a couple of steps with the walker, yay, his left foot moves! not far, but what the heck, it moves. And he was getting clearer as the day went on, ate a good lunch with my help, and I left him ready to rest a bit. Rehab will be in he same building, same doctors following, great relief all around chez Adams.

And, get this,his rehab chief doctor is from the Kessler Institute, worked there for 10 years, rehab to the stars. Actually it is considered one of the best in the world, and I've been wondering if I could finagle HP into there, it being about an hour north of here, but it turns out I don't have to -- she's come to him! she told us Christopher Reeve was one of her patients, as well as a lot of other people in the newspapers. And she hastened to add that Reeve had a lot more "issues" doctors love that word instead of saying "scary things that can kill you" than HP. Which we knew, but it didn't hurt to make the point. And she was very reassuring and good to both of us.

So once again, a mixture of hope and good news and bad news now and then, and where the square breathing comes in is that it's how I manage the stress of all this. Simple and amazingly useful technique. In fact i was taught this as a little kid with asthma by my singing teacher, since I went to singing as rehab for asthma, smart mother who wanted me to learn breath control rather than reliance on drugs.

But the technique is for singing, for wind instruments, for anything in life that requires that you use the lungs and the diaphragm, keep calm, and keep the adrenalin in the right place. I have a good voice to this day, and pretty good recorder and flute tone, largely because of learning this at a young age, about seven, I think.

Anyway you: breathe in for a count of say, four, hold it for four, breathe out for four, hold lungs empty for four, then do it again. You can increase the count as you get better at it, and I can vouch for the fact that it works. You can't hyperventilate and panic if you do this, and calm simply descends on you. It's wonderfully useful at many times in life, not just crises.

It makes your hair curly, and your wrinkles vanish, and you look youthful, and you can learn to ice skate. Well, those are lies, but they could be goals....

So try it!


  1. Hard to post in here, I hear! just tryig a post to see if I can unclog the pipeline....Hapless Blogger

  2. Testing out the square breathing technique... I always wanted curly hair~! Hope to hear some more good progress today.


  3. liz, i'm thinking of you and HP. oh, and i started "the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society" last evening and it is every bit as delightful as you made it out to be.

    ::hugs from your cyberniece::

  4. Trish, that's funny you posted right there -- the poster right ahead of you is the person wo put me into that book in the first place! she has great taste in lit.

  5. Love your drawing, and you've reminded me of the countless times that I have calmed or soothed myself with pen on paper.

    So good to read of HP's progress, Liz. Know that the good vibes continue to flow from CA.

    xo curlierthanthou (all that square breathing, I s'pose!)


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