At the risk of being repetitive, those of us who have had contact with Dr Steve Moeng, Tom’s Trauma Surgeon, need to stress how much comfort we find in the way he communicates with us. Apart from having a stellar reputation in his field of expertise, he is able with nothing more than simple body language to put us at ease and inspire the comfort that whatever Tom’s situation, he is in the best possible hands.
Moeng was again fairly positive about Tom’s progress thus far. He had a really tough day yesterday coming to terms emotionally with his new reality, or at least his impression of it so far. He was agitated and had what looked like an involuntary neck spasm.
Today he was a lot calmer. Moeng says that Tom was struggling to sleep but at 2am he ordered a change of sleeping medication in consultation with his psychiatrist.
Tom is now off the sedation and so its only some anti-depressants and the sleeping medication mentioned above that are there to influence his mental state at all.
Weaning off the ventilator has begun. We don’t know at what stage he is along that path, except to say that Moeng said he was responding appropriately so far.
Tom also had his first attempt at solids – he was drinking some water yesterday – and this is encouraging. We know he is assisted greatly by the fact that his feeding tube is now via his nose, which now leaves his mouth totally unencumbered.
Those medical things out of the way, as encouraging as they certainly are, I want to again give you some personal thoughts on my visit with him this evening so you know a little more about where he is at this particular time.
This evening Kerry and I went together to his bedside and what followed was a complete conversation. Tom tried to mouth words and actually manages to do this pretty well, though we are trying to discourage him because it cannot be easy. But it does mean that he is able to communicate more than you would expect. And beyond that he is lucid, though prone only to tiredness at the effort which is completely understandable.
After giving him a special briefing from his close friend Mike Wray which he appreciated very much, Tom was asking us how our baby (Kerry is 16 weeks pregnant) is doing and how work is going for us etc. No-one on this web site needs more evidence of Tom’s incredible spirit and selflessness, but this was another example anyway.
It did take a lot out of him, and certainly the plea to visitors from the lesson we learned this evening is that a) Tom WANTS to chat, but b) can be overwhelmed with the effort right now, but the main point of my post here is that we had a CHAT.
He is hungry for information on things that are important to him, and as of this moment I will no longer be writing posts as if he’s not reading them himself, because its only a matter of days before he’ll be viewing this site for himself (if the nurses allow the 3G cell connection to work in ICU).
Big hurdles still, and many tough things to deal with emotionally – yesterday was difficult for all concerned, hence the lack of progress reporting until we figured out where things were going – but we all know Tom’s up for the challenge.