The visit was not pleasant.

Jennie is free from the ventilator and is now trying to speak. But her voice is not much more than grunts and groans. Too much trying to talk makes her breathless and reduces her oxygen levels.

When I arrive, Jennie is restless and noisy. The nurses seem to be ignoring her, presumably they have tried everything to make her comfortable, but without any success.

Only the simplest of words are decipherable, so for anything beyond ‘are you in pain?’; ‘where are you hurting?’; ‘do you want to be turned?’, and so on, the communication board is still the best way to talk. The most mundane of things – just a single sentence takes several minutes. Trying to second guess the next letter or word seems to slow things down too


Who’s furious at Dad? The nurses? Why are they furious at Dad?  No…?  Not the nurses. Ok…

She gives me a stare as if to suggest she’s furious at me.
Dad’s furious at me?

Getting nowhere – it’s so frustrating. Another futile conversation later and she gets angry. So do the machines – bleeping and buzzing and the lines on the screen going haywire. Oh hell – what have I done? The nurses help her to calm down and things go back to normal.

She can still barely move, and as the nurses attend to her, her eyes dart about seemingly glazed with fear as they do their checks and tests. She looks at the iPod Nano by the bed and communicates to me that she wants me to take it away. I can’t fathom why. Is she worried that it will go missing? Or get stolen?  I wonder how much the ‘prisoner in her own body’ analogy rings true.

She is on insulin now to regulate her blood sugar levels.  The doctors haven’t mentioned this to us yet.

The breathlessness, the erratic sugar levels and the lack of sleep can’t be good for her current mental state. Add this to the sheer hell of it all, and one can’t help but consider how an experience like this will linger in the mind, once the body is repaired.