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There is no night time in ICU.  The lights are always on.  The only measure of passing time is the shift change from day nurse to night nurse.  If you are in a coma, as all of the other patients in ICU currently are, it doesn’t matter.  If you are Jennie, alert and aware, it does.

Eternal daytime would not be so bad if you could close your eyes. But your eyelids are muscle controlled, and GBS has eaten away at the nerves that control Jennie’s muscles. Think of electrical cable, the live wire, copper covered with a plastic sheaf.  The copper remains intact. The nerves still work, touch, sensations, pain, feelings are still felt.  But the sheaf has been eaten away.  And the sheaf is the conduit of messages to the muscles.

The message “close” that the brain sends through to the eyelid muscles is coming through garbled.  Jennie cannot close her eyes properly.  At home she has black-out blinds on the windows as well as curtains when she goes to bed.  In the eternal daytime of ICU she can’t even physically block out the light.

So why not cover her eyes at night? Her eyes are her only means of communication.  To cover them up is to gag her, to suffocate her to the world.

But the nurses are good.  In ICU she has one on one care.  They will pull the curtain around her, and switch the light off directly above her bed.

She’ll get through this.  Getting Better Slowly.


Good signs.  Lots of movement in the right arm.  Her eyes are bright and she is more herself.  No more morphine.  She asked for her iPod today.  And some stuff from…  (we spell) m.a.n.d.s  mands?  She gets frustrated.  Mands?  MANDS?  Her eyes are rolling.  We’ll get there. The penny drops.  M and S.


July 2009
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