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All things we take for granted, usually. We haven't been lately, and progress back has been achingly slow.

They have weaned Bear off the ventilator. It sits in the corner of his room. If he doesn't need it over the weekend, Monday it will go away for good, and they will discuss removing his trache and letting that heal up.

Though one doesn't think about it, all the muscles of the body weaken, including the ones in your throat that accomplish swallowing and the nerves that sense things where they shouldn't be also are dulled by the tubes down the throat.  So the other big deal has been swallowing. He was only allowed ice chips for a week, then was allowed water and ice after passing a pudding swallow test. (In that, they give him pudding with blue dye in it, then suction out his airway. If blue shows up in the tube, test failed. No blue is a success.) The following day, they took him up to the x-ray room, and he did a barium swallow, and passed that with some reservations. But he is on solid food, and water, and they will give him another test in a week and see where he's at. Lunch today was a turkey manhattan and corn.

He is still very very weak. I fed him half his meal because he was too weak in hand and arm to manage. He is sitting up in a stable fashion, and can move around some in the bed. He'd move better if he were a more slender man, but he still has a massive belly, and that does weigh him down. But they are working with that too, and every day someone comes in and exercises him. It doesn't take much to wear him out, though.

As to myself, I'm managing okay. I have food stamps to eat on, and have gas enough for another week. I think I can ask my mom for more, since I'm only doing a little driving on the weekends and a very few miles during the week. I'm getting better about sleeping in the chair, and Bear is sleeping better now that the vent is off him, which helps us both. I'll be headed home tonight to feed cats, clean their boxes, and spend time with my boyfriend and my other friends, do laundry, see my kids, and go to the store and oh, yes, spend two nights In A Real Bed. (sigh of anticipatory bliss)

The fundraising is going really, really well. I've got enough for the water and electricity, but until he's needing me with him a little less, I'm not going to get it turned on. When I do get it on I'll spend a couple days at home Just Working On House, with him safely out of the way.

And below the fold, today's big victory.....

Bear outside 61314

Yes, that is Bear in a chair sitting outside! He was out for about ten minutes, and then sat up another ten while we got his hair combed out and rebraided, and went back to bed and collapsed gratefully into sleep.

And that's where I'll leave him, while I go off and do all the things I can't from the hospital room, and where I'll leave this diary. If you feel inclined to drop a little money towards getting the gas on, please feel free to do so here.

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