Slowly, methodically, she is coming back to us.
When Luc and I arrived for a visit today we found her reclined in her bed very much engaged in a television program. She was still subdued and laconic, but the dazed, catatonic wanderings that set us worrying are more or less a vestige of yesterday. Today, she held a conversation and seemed quite pleased to be present at a family gathering, no matter that it unfolded in a sixth floor hospital room.
She is tired of wearing the bandages on her head. They conceal a thicket of wires and electrodes monitoring her brain waves. She has had to wear her mummy headdress since Wednesday. When she was absent, it annoyed her but she was too out of it to make much of a fuss. Now, with her spirit returning, she scowels whenever she is reminded about it.
Across from her, a computer spits out data from her head while a camera captures her every move. Whenever her leg begins to shake or her arms jerk uncontrolably, or she lapses into a daze, Jeanette scurries over to the computer, hits a button and makes a note of what she has observed. In this fashion, it is hard for me to tell which of my two girls is the true lab rat.
I suppose it is the cruelest twist of irony that Jordan has not experienced nearly the turbulent spasms that started this whole adventure–the spasms we wish to capture on camera and in the endless ticker flow of electrode data. Tomorrow, the doctors have to remove the wires and the bandages because five days is the maximum allowed study period. This has led to some odd turns of phrase from my beautiful wife.
“I really hope we get some good jerks,” she said.
Surprisingly, Jordan agreed with her.
Last night, I tweeted to USC quarterback Matt Barkley. I told him that Jordan was thinking of him as she was coming back to us. She was fighting on. I didn’t really expect a reply. I don’t know Matt, personally. I’m just a loyal Trojan and I have admired his play on many Saturdays while my Slayer sat next to me. She has a mad crush on him. She follows his Instagram feed and often says to me, “that Matt Barkley sure is handsome.” All season long last year she rooted for him with great aplomb. When the plays were tough, she’d shout out “come on, Matt Barkley!” She really does say his whole name. When she doesn’t she just refers to his number. “Don’t let me down, number 7,” she’ll say.
I was settling in for bed about an hour after I tweeted out to him when my phone started chirping. I ignored it at first. I figured it was just the usual late night follower, since I’ve been busy tweeting about brands for my book. But then it kept chirping. When I picked it up I was thrilled to see that Matt retweeted my message and replied that he was praying for Jordan. After that, tons of people I didn’t know started retweeting and following Jordan’s Journey. It was really amazing. I couldn’t wait to see her today to share his message.
Her smile beamed! She said, “oh, that is SO nice of him to wish me well.” Then she looked kind of coy with a giant, genuine smile on her face. I couldn’t be more proud to be a Trojan and to enjoy the support of my extended USC family. I’m very grateful to everyone for lifting my girl’s spirits. It meant so much to her and to me.
Jordan has never been much of a goodbye girl, so I try not to take her coldness personally when I say farewell for the night. She gave me the usual brush of the shoulder tonight, but not before letting me kiss her on the cheek and wish her sweet dreams. “I love you, too, Daddy,” she said dryly when I whispered to her. But then she looked into my eyes for a moment and I could clearly see that my girl was in there and marching her way back. She rolled over after that and began drifting into sleep. I left feeling, for the first time in days, a hint of relief.
We’re not anywhere near the finish line. There are more tests and a bumpy road ahead as we experiment with medications. Many of her anti-seizure meds are reduced, so she is at an increased risk for severe seizures. We’ve also been advised that she may have to check back into in-patient physical therapy. But for now, I’m comforted by the return of my Slayer’s spirit, if only just the slightest percolation.