Two Months Later

The two hardest months in Jan’s life and mine have just passed and it was the shortest summer we’ve ever had. So many things have happened and many of them I have tucked away to digest later. It is simply not possible to handle everything at once.

Now I feel that I am entering the second phase where I need to empty my head and start getting used to our new life.

I have met Jan every day in the hospital since the accident and I am glad to see that he will slowly become stronger and that his condition is stabilizing. He is breathing good and next week doctors will probably take out the tracheostomy tube from his neck. That will be the biggest change for us since the recovery process began.

There have been some small happenings of note recently. Once Jan felt pain in his feet because there was an IV needle in his foot. He asked nurses to change the position of this needle and the pain stopped. The doctors considered this a good sign, but they still don’t want to give us a definitive diagnosis to avoid getting our hopes up. Since last week Jan has felt his arms warming and this activates feeling from inside his arms. Unfortunately, Jan still can’t feel light touches below his shoulders and it doesn’t look like some he will regain more sensation.

We truly enjoy our meal times together, watching movies, and chatting. Spending all day in the hospital with Jan involves tooth brushing in the evenings and washing Jan’s body with cold water when he feels too hot. Jan can’t sweat like he used to and therefore he can’t regulate the temperature of his body.

I say goodnight to Jan at around 11 pm each evening and then I cycle 40 minutes to get home. My current routine is extremely tough and I feel like a car driving full speed for two months now. But not seeing Jan is harder than making all this effort. I am really thankful to those who have offered to stay longer with Jan some evenings so that I could leave earlier. And I am thankful for Jan’s mum, who will stay with Jan for the first week of October when I will go to Lithuania to see my mum.

People have advised us to get used to spending time on our own. That is exactly what scares me the most. Jan spends hours alone when he wakes up at night and can’t fall asleep, and again he spends hours alone in the mornings when he waits for nurses to come and start his morning routine. He sleeps better these days, but every time the summer heat hits him, he falls into a bit of a slump. He has a lot of time to think through what has happened and how to accept this new reality.

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