Woke up this morning with Dan, and headed to the sleepy town of Oak Harbor. We were headed to Friday Harbor, anyway, so I figured I might as well cut the driving time. (For those of you not familiar, Oak Harbor is up north near FH.)
The town was quiet, traffic nice and slow, so I dropped off Dan and headed 1.2 miles by myself to a coffee shop. My first independent driving excursion! I was really nervous, but I stuck in the slow lane, maxing out under 35 mph. I had to keep myself in check, talking myself down from code yellow a few times, happily never hitting a code red. It's quite overwhelming assessing your surroundings, while floating around in a big metal thing with wheels. All the lights, and movement, all the while trying to navigate to a location I'd never been. I had everything mapped out, gotta love those smart phone mapping systems. By the time I pulled into my parking spot I was ready for a nap, or an oxygen mask.
I kept telling myself to breathe. I literally had to continuously remind myself. It was as if my body couldn't remember. When I had my first seizure, back in 2011, I was driving on a highway just next to a canyon with a river. I started to feel funny, and pulled over. Within seconds I witnessed my first out of body experience with my first Grand Mal, it was wild. Then I blacked out. It was a miracle that I pulled over. It is a miracle I survived. I don't know how I was able to recognize what I needed to do, but as I was driving today, all by myself, I started questioning if I needed to pull over. I wondered if my body was about to shut down, if I was overwhelming my mind, if it was about to short circuit. Gratefully, I made it. Now I can rest, reading my Canadian newspaper (way more fun to read about my neighbors above in the great white north), until Dan is through with work.
Today was a huge step, and expectedly, I'm already pooped. Little by little, I'm determined to cautiously expand my independence. I don't want any setbacks, so I'm on the slow and steady path, but it's forward movement nonetheless.
As for my Grams, due to her DNR, we extubated her on Christmas Eve (her CO2 levels were continuously worsening). The doctors told us to tell her goodbye, that within 5-24 hours she would do her final sleep. She shocked us all - except my mom who never wavered - by breathing on her own, and surviving her dismal CO2 levels. She continues to improve, even moving out of the surgical ICU yesterday, and into another section of the hospital, acute care. I keep telling my grandma what a badass she is, to which she responds with a giggle and a smile. Best sound/sight ever. All I wanted for her was to not be in pain, to carry out her final wishes, and enjoy her for as long as we're able. Apparently, her strong stalk is proving, her time here isn't over yet. Man what a relief! We all adore her so much. She has even been letting me coddle her a bit (as long as no one is looking). When it's just us I call her my baby bird. I get to feed her, and hold her hand, even tell her crazy, raunchy gossip - her favorite.
It has been a wonderful Christmas, surprisingly, with the happiest of endings.