Monday, March 28, 2011

Springing Forward

Holy Smokes! I just checked the stats and this blog has been viewed 3,176 times! I realise that it's probably just one person checking 100 times a day and the rest of you once a month, but still. Ha! Thanks guys! (Most !!!s I've ever used in a paragraph!)

Know what's great about all the social media that's zipped into our lives the past few years? Well, actually, a lot of things. For one, everyone who cares about our Nick can find out how he's doing with the click of a mouse instead of trying fruitlessly to get one of us on the phone - which has saved some sanity all round. But all this reconnecting online has also made it possible, for an example (as Acacia says), for a teacher from my high school in Portugal (hi Stan) to hook me up with Katie, a student from his years teaching in Switzerland, whose young daughter Emma has alopecia and needs ponytails for Locks-of-Love to make her wigs. I have not so much hair, but Nick and Cayenne have loads of it. About a year ago I sent Emma both Nick's and Cayenne's ponytails. When Katie heard of Nick's accident she told Emma who cried, "I think I'm wearing his hair!" and immediately ran to see the photos of the ponytails included in her first wig. Yup. Nick's hair is on Emma's head. She was pretty excited that part of him was right there with her while she thought and prayed for him and his recovery. Facebook can be pretty cool sometimes, it's got to be said.

Anyway, when Cayenne's hair started getting fairly long and tangled and rushed mornings produced some tears, I asked her if she'd like to get a haircut, knowing she prefers it shorter, and she said she'd rather grow it for Emma. Well we measured the other day and - yay! - we've got another foot of hair. In a win-win for everyone, Cayenne's thick hair is off her neck for the summer, Emma gets another golden pony, and Shampoo Hair Salon found a special destination for the other ponytails they recently cut off (they already gave me a dozen a while back). So Emma, if you're reading this, you have 11 more ponytails coming your way.

What I want to know is where those daffodils came from, and where did the snow go? When did all this happen? I feel like we're emerging from a cocoon. Seeing Nick tending his garden in the warm sunshine and enjoying the daily ritual of searching for new baby shoots is a far cry from helplessly watching him hunched over, shivering, with his eyes clamped shut.

Vive le printemps!

PS: Happy 75th Birthday Dad! And also to my niece Angela, who's spending her 18th birthday volunteering at an orphanage in Sierra Leone. Cheers to you both!

PPS: If you plan to cut off at least 10" of hair at any point, please consider sending it to Emma at:

C/O Edward Jones
5714 134th PL SE Ste. A-12
Everett, WA 98208


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sympathetic Shiners

There's light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Tomorrow marks six weeks and that's been a magic number for Nick - when he's allowed to open his jaw to get his teeth seen to; when they can take the pins out of his hand; when he turns the corner toward normalcy.

This weekend Nicolas was outside without sunglasses on - a first. Even with the bandage he'd have found a way to block the light from his good eye if it were still as bad as it's been. If you click on this photo to make it bigger and look in between the Rovers, you'll see that Acacia has cleared a path to her fort, the wheelbarrow full of supplies found in the woods. I believe she's cutting steps into the hill now because she asked me for tiles to line them with. We're going to have to call this hole-in-the-trees her Diva Kiva.

We'd been expecting Nick's good eye to take at least a week to register it didn't need to sympathise with the other anymore but it's already happening... However, it seems we're not quite done yet with sympathetic eyes!

Acacia got walloped by her piano keyboard thing; still can't figure out how it got her eye, but there you go. Matching shiners.

Nick's shiner is still painful but nothing like it was those first couple of days. The lid is stitched closed and he's looking forward to having those removed this Thursday, if enough swelling has dissipated. I guess if the eye area is too big it can pop out the conformer, the "marble" they've stuck in there to keep the shape of the socket for now.

So although these are not normal things to be chatting about, life around here is regaining little pieces of normal all the time. Nick and the girls came and watched my hockey game today in which we beat a very good team 6-1.Whoop Whoop! I got to play twice this weekend and am now less tired than I have been in a couple of weeks. Before my neighbour talked me into joining a hockey team five years ago, I thought the late night games were crazy. But really, they're perfect. By the time I leave, the kitchen is clean, the girls tucked in and sleeping, and Nick gets some quiet time for a few hours. But as I was loading my stick into the car last Friday night I heard a squeaky noise that sounded an awful lot like a recorder...

"Bye Nick!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011


On the front page of today's Durango Herald were stories of two horrific car crashes: one was a rollover, killing a local 7th grade girl, and the other was a head-on collision which exploded into flames, killing the father and 10yr old son, and leaving the mother and 12yr old brother in intensive care with severe burns. I cannot fathom the pain those families and survivors are experiencing/will experience, and it makes our situation seem benign.

Whenever Nick's good eye moves, the other one moves with it because the muscles were attached to whatever they put in there, and he says the pain is excruciating, the worst since they hit the power line. Then he read the Herald and he goes, "...well, maybe not excruciating..."

He looked so forlorn when we picked him up this evening, but he finally took a pain pill and livened up again. Just say YES to drugs! The intense pain should subside within the next few days, if my google research is correct. He sees our eye doc tomorrow, the hand doc next week, and if all goes well, the dentist next week too, so things are looking up.

Hopefully he'll be able to get some sleep. Normally sleeping in the hospital is more difficult than at home because every time you doze off they come in to take your vitals, but seeing as Acacia decided tonight that in order to fall asleep she needs to play the recorder, Nick might wish he were back in ABQ! She started playing two minutes after getting tucked in. I let it go for a while and when I eventually headed to her room Cayenne was halfway there and goes, "Oh good, you're here. It's unbelievably annoying." Acacia claimed she'd tried everything to fall asleep and nothing was working. "Really? You tried for the whole two minutes?" She agreed to swap the recorder for the fleece I was wearing, curled up with my scent and fell asleep before my body heat had dissipated from the sweatshirt. Love that.

Reminds me of one of the nights in France when she called me to their room to say she couldn't sleep because her "legs felt like wax." Huh? Cayenne just giggles. Built-in entertainment. A while later she called me back to the room:
"I can't sleep because that painting freaks me out."
"What painting?"
"The one with the gravestone thing in it, with the photo of Francoise standing by the same gravestone in real life (tucked into the frame). That is freaky. And anyway, my legs feel like wax." Minutes later she was out.

In reality Acacia falls asleep as quickly as I do, and it's Cayenne who lies awake for a while, like her Papa, pondering things. I just hope everyone upstairs has slipped into deep slumber, so we can face tomorrow fresh, an option the families from the newspaper don't even have. I just can't get them out of my mind.

Man, we're lucky.

Homeward Bound

"Mom! Let him do what he wants. He's strong."

Apparently Acacia overheard me joking with Jeanette that I should tell Nick he agreed in his post-op fog to let me pick him up today. She sounded so grown-up - not least because she normally calls me Mama - and hearing her say that so adamantly made me realise that the last thing Nick needs is me hassling him.

Remember Barr, Kristin and Scott's pro-pilot? Well he lives in El Paso, TX, and he had offered to pick Nick up. When Nick agreed to it, he was under the impression that Barr was driving from El Paso to Wyoming, and would be passing through town on his way. When I chatted with Barr yesterday morning it became clear that he was planning on driving from El Paso, to ABQ, to Durango, and the following day would return to El Paso! I knew there would be no way Nick would agree to that, and Barr and I briefly toyed with the idea of not letting him know. When I say briefly, I mean for two seconds. We both knew what Nick's reaction would be but I had to tell him. We were floored by Barr's generosity.

Turns out that in the same way that I thought it made more sense for me to drive eight hours than for Barr to drive sixteen, Nick thinks it makes more sense for him to sit on a bus for five hours than for me to drive eight. Can't fault his logic, but I googled the locations of the hospital and the bus station to make sure they really were very near each before agreeing. You all know that when Nick says it's "just down the street," it usually means ten miles, and "it won't take long at all" means he'll walk. But the bus is indeed a couple of blocks from the hospital. He returned the rental yesterday, he checked himself out of the hospital near noon today, went for lunch and is now sitting on a bus.

So there you go, Acacia. I let your strong Papa do what he wanted. Sometimes you just have to let go.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Step at a Time

Feeling misplaced and anxious. Nick's in surgery in Albuquerque and I'm in Durango and even though I'd be sitting in a waiting room as helpless - and unhelpful - as I am here, it just doesn't feel right. You know, like skiing with a bunch of broken bones.

Which reminds me (unintended segue, I swear), when we went to see the hand doc, he x-rayed Nick's hand and saw that everything is healing well, said the pins will come out in another week (from now) and that he should start moving it a little more, which of course Nick took to mean he should start driving his manual transmission serious-work-out-to-maneuver Land Rover. Anyway, the doc said the important thing now is to get back range of motion, because "at this point the progress in healing won't go backwards."

"Unless he rebreaks it, of course," I suggested.

And he goes, "Ha! Yeah, well no doing tricks down the halfpipe then."

"Funny you should mention that, Doc."

"I don't snowboard; I ski." Guess who.

"Ha! Yeah." The hand surgeon totally thought Nick was joking.

We left the office giggling, but really, it's NOT funny. His hand is looking much more human in shape and colour, even if the yellow-knobbed pins jutting out of his knuckle do get some stares. They are a little gross-looking, it's got to be said.

The next big thing is taking care of his teeth. Right before heading to France we phoned our dentist Courtney, who had the day off and was heading to Purgatory (our ski resort) when we called to find out if he had any ideas about stemming the pain. He met us at the office in his ski pants and fleece and took x-rays to see what the extent of the damage is. We could see the two clear breaks in his jaw, and the jagged edges of some teeth - so sharp they constantly cut his tongue - but it looked like no root damage. This is good news because the bad news is teeth are not covered by insurance.

The other good news is we're now one week away from the six-week mark where he'll be able to open his jaw wide enough to have his teeth taken care of. It's something he's awaiting with impatience. When he called Courtney's office to make the appointment, he was told the next available slot was I don't know when, but in a long time. Nick spoke to Courtney, who is working on squeezing in an appointment for near the six-week mark. Thank you, Courtney!! His teeth have made eating a far bigger pain than the broken jaw.

It's 6:30pm. C'mon Nick... recover already and call me... chop chop

So this is what you do while your Dad's in surgery and you're 8 and 9 yrs old:

You build a fort...

... or you Rollerblade.
(Perhaps I could learn something from these two.)

It's now 9pm, the girls are tucked in bed with full tummies and I've spoken to Nick. I couldn't wait and called his room. He sounded awful, but who doesn't after general anesthesia, right? (Doesn't mean I didn't cry after hanging up! All the wound-up nerves letting go, I guess.) I just needed to hear his voice and know he woke up from the operation; I got spoiled with the hospital in Idaho Falls calling me every step of the way.


Over and out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Here we go...

Squeaky wheel gets the grease, but it's also the most annoying wheel so I try to pick and choose my moments. When the ophthalmologic surgeon's secretary told me Nick could be seen in April, I knew it was time to turn on the squeak. She told me last Thursday that Dr. Black only does surgeries on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and it would take at least a week to get clearance from the insurance company before we scheduled, so the absolute earliest they could get him in would be the 30th or 31st of March, but more likely April.

When I found out our eye doc wasn't in the office, I called John, family doc and friend (see earlier posts) who's a good friend of our eye doc. John called our eye guy, who called his secretary, who called our insurance company to say this is an emergency. In the meantime, I phoned the surgeon's office in Albuquerque (ABQ) and asked them to nudge the insurance company too.

Got a call on Monday (yesterday) that the ABQ doctor and the hospital they use are within network, and could Nick be there today at 2pm for a pre-op? Sweet! Nick's eye will come out tomorrow. How upside-down does life need to be that this is good news??

Nick's father Michel was here from France this weekend (dealing with details of the home he and Ilona are buying here) and he just happened to be driving to ABQ today. So at the moment, Nick and Michel are halfway to Albuquerque, and I'm halfway to unstable, thinking, "Why am I not on my way to ABQ, too?" I'm very uncomfortable about this because Michel heads back to France tomorrow morning, and Nick will be driving himself in Michel's rental to the hospital, where he will check-in alone - I can already hear the nurses whispering about this poor, handsome man whose wife could give a rat's ass about this serious surgery - and drive himself away the next day.

Nurses' ruminations aside, I don't like the idea of his taking a bus home from ABQ, and I've told him I want to come get him on Thursday. I tried arguing that the bus doesn't save a dime over driving anyway, and the lack of hassle - making sure he's checked out of the hospital in time to return the rental car and take a taxi to the bus depot by 1pm - is totally worth it. He said, "Not when you factor in the price of the speeding ticket. ha!" Harrumph! Really, must I argue that my presence is priceless?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

True Grit

Being dead sucks more than losing an eye, but losing an eye still sucks. It's for sure now that Nick will not regain sight in his left eye, but he's had a month to get used to the idea and is handling that part well. Although it means an end to his plans to fly in Europe, he'll still be able to fly in the the States so this is not career-ending. At the moment he just wants it out because it will mean relief for both eyes and allow him to start living more normally again.

I asked the girls how they were feeling about it all and Acacia replied, "Can you bring the eye home?" Nick told her he'd inquire about that, adding that it would be easier to make eyeball soup for dinner with an eyeball. Yum.

We had thought this operation could be done here in Durango because, as Nick said, "All they need is a spoon to scoop it out." And the eye doc said he could pretty much do that, but then none of the muscles and other intricate workings would function for the glass eye. The aim is to have the prosthetic eye move with the natural one.

So... back in the car, but hopefully this time to Albuquerque, home to a skilled ophthalmologic surgeon, not to mention half the distance to Denver. Sadly, it's the insurance company who'll ultimately decide where we go; health is, of course, all about profit margins. Not sure if they'll get us in this week, seeing as it's already Thursday, but if not, then early next week. The operation itself doesn't take too long, but the whole process will take a few months I believe. They need to put in a phony fake first, to retain the socket's shape while swelling goes down, then get measured for the glass eye, and I don't know how long it takes for them to create the custom eye. Really, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Unfortunately by the time this is all done, I'm going to know way more than I ever wanted to about poking an eye out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sympathetic Eyes

The eye is designed not to be punctured - and at a guess given the choice, no one's would be. But when it is, it releases fluid (uveal pigment) unknown to the rest of your body into the bloodstream. Sometimes your body will create antibodies to it which then attack the good eye, thinking it's foreign. This autoimmune disease is called Sympathetic Ophthalmia (SO) and it's what we've been worried about for the last two weeks.

Nick hasn't been comfortable since his plane went down, yet the worst of it hasn't been the ruptured eye as I would've thought, but the good eye. He can't bear light; he finds it piercing even with his eyes closed, and looking at a computer screen is particularly painful. When trying to read, the middle of his vision is blurred, so he reads from the periphery. He's had his eyes closed for much of the last month.

So... although the condition is very rare (so is AB- blood and my veins are full of it!), it exists, and when the symptoms really started showing themselves, his sister Sophie asked an eye doc friend for advice. He said to start steroids in the good eye (which we already happened to have for his left eye) until we got home from France, as that's the first course of action with SO. Left untreated, SO will lead to blindness in the good eye. Here's something I lifted from

Sympathetic ophthalmia has been known since the time of Hippocrates. The writer James Thurber (1894-1961) was left blind in one eye by an arrow during a game of William Tell. Sympathetic opthalmia rendered him totally blind by his 40s.

Twenty-four hours door-to-door and we were home again late Monday night. Tuesday morning after the girls had left for school we started with the doctor appointments, the eye doc being our highest priority. He checked Nick's good eye and found none of the sure signs of SO.  **exhale**   The eye is definitely sympathizing with the hurt one and exhibiting all kinds of distress, but they are things that will get better over time.

No one was more relieved than Nick. But I can say I'm shouldering a lighter yoke today too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You Want to do What?

I feel like an old woman. It wasn't driving Nick's parents' sweet, still-smells-like-leather, immaculate car on the tiny village roads that did it - although sharing those gorgeous roads with semis does give me pause, it's got to be said (and much of the way to Grenoble is autoroute anyway)... No. My accelerated aging program began the moment Nick asked the guy at the ski rental shop the size of their largest ski boot. When they said 52 (Nick is a 50, size 16 in the US) I knew we were in trouble. What were the chances of that?? Even smaller, I thought, was the likelihood Nick would actually take it as a sign that he should ski while visiting his cousins who were vacationing in Collet d'Allevard, near Grenoble. So along with gear for Cayenne, Acacia and me, we piled ridiculously big boots and skis into the car before heading to the hills.

I was not happy.

We stopped by Francoise and Philippe's place (Nick's aunt and uncle) for a cup of tea, which helped me decompress a bit before white-knuckling it up the hairpin turns to the ski town - the drive to which, I realised on the way down after we were done skiing, is not bad at all. I was just strung tighter than a piano wire on the way there, and didn't truly loosen up until the skiing was done, two days later.

Cayenne and Acacia had a blast with all their "cousins," who are really the kids of Nick's cousins but no one knows what that is exactly. Actually, they would be their second cousins, just Googled it. That's easy enough; it's their relationship to Nick - first cousins once removed - where things get complicated. Anywho, the girls are old enough now to get that just because they understand their French speaking cousins, it doesn't mean their English is understood in return. So they used the local lingo and when that didn't work, did what kids all over the world do and used the basic human communication we seem to lose as adults. Mostly what we heard from the bunk-bedrooms was squealing, laughing and general hysteria.

Nick's cousin Marion and her husband Jean-Marc operate like a well oiled machine and before we'd realised why it had gotten so quiet all of a sudden, all four of their daughters, our two and a family friend of theirs were on the slope. Eye drops in, hand wrapped in a ball of fleece and two pairs of sunglasses on and Nick was ready to head out the door. I, on the other hand, was having heart palpitations.

Even one-eyed and single-poled Nick was arguably the most beautiful skier on the mountain. He skis with such fluid grace and power, it's a treat to watch. But this time I could barely take it. I knew what a bad wipe-out could have meant and so did he, but he never wipes out. Thing is, he's never skied mono-eyed either, so when on the second day he misjudged the distance of a girl skiing next to him on a steep slope and he fell, I nearly threw up. He was fine and it was the last run of our stay and soon afterward that particular stress was over. On to the next one: his good eye. But I'll save that for the next post.

On the way up to Allevard I had told him that if he further injured himself, any reasonable person would cry "What?!" when I said, "Well he was skiing and -" because it was retarded. (Sorry Sarah Palin, but sometimes that word is just right.) But I have to tell you, on the chairlift at the end of that first day Nick said that it had been one of the best days of his life (ranking below the day he married me, I'm sure he meant to add). So yes, it was retarded, but I guess he knew what he needed, and although he was wrecked at the end of both days, I think he'd do it all again in a heartbeat. I just hope he doesn't.


What's wrong with this picture??

Wouldn't know it from the photo... but he's still a mess. I don't know anyone else who would have been out there in his condition, and it makes me want to scream. But it's also why I married him.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Three Weeks Today (written March 7th)

If Saturday was a bad day, Sunday was a good one. Nick and I spent two hours hiking in the hills behind the house, through the eucalyptus groves and by the glowing mimosas humming with bees. Sounded like an L.A. freeway. It was the best two hours we'd enjoyed together in the last three weeks. At a guess joining the family for a walk on the beach after lunch was what laid him out for part of the late afternoon, but by the time we finished dinner he had enough energy to win three of four rounds of Mah-Jong.

Not sure how we avoided it, but jet lag seems to have skipped us this time. Cayenne and Acacia have been rock stars: game for anything we suggest doing, gobbling down the delicious food Ilona and Michel whip up and playing fairly quietly the rest of the time (something not lost on Sam, Nick's 94 yr old grandfather). It's just one of the many things I've been thankful for lately. I can't tell you how grateful I was for the weather in Denver. Nick shivered for much of the first two weeks after the accident. Durango weather was in the 40s and 50s but we had a fire blazing in the hearth 24 hrs a day and any time we left the house for another doctor's appointment, he'd shake the whole way there. So when we got to sunny, wonderfully warm and windless Denver, I was keenly aware of our good fortune.

When we were driving over Wolf Creek Pass returning from our first trip to the eye doc, we passed by a nasty wreck. A semi had lost control and instead of going off the ledge at the approaching hairpin turn, he made a sharp left across the oncoming traffic lane, flipping over and smashing head-on into an SUV. When we drove by the lit-up scene Nick shuddered. I thought it was because of the horror of it all, but he said seeing wreckage literally made him feel cold. It seems part of the reason he was so wet and then freezing while waiting for rescue in the snow was when he was hanging upside-down strapped into his seat, a broken fuel line was emptying itself all over him. Good thing G didn't decide to celebrate their survival with a cigarette!

(Actually G was conscious of the line, because he called out, "Hold on! That's the fuel line," when Nick went to grab it to hoist himself upright. Whoops!)

Monday, March 7, 2011


This is Nick's 'before' picture. Taken at the hospital, it was before the bruising and swelling fully showed up, but this is horrible enough, methinks.

This was taken last night. Much better.

These are the in-between photos, taken with Nick's grandfather, Sam. Looking forward to the after shots...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saturday March 5th

One of life's ironic cruelties is that when you're stressed, your immune system - right when you really need it - gets compromised. I haven't gotten sick in years, but I managed to find a banging sinus/head cold that kept my brain feeling like it was going to burst out of my skull for most of last week. My biggest worry was that I would pass it on to Nicolas, whose system was far more taxed. With his cracked sternum, blowing his nose is painful, coughing is searing and sneezing is so bad it comes out almost like a cry. Those of you who've ever broken a rib know what that's like. He can actually worsen the fracture if he does anything too forceful, so I really didn't want to share this cold.

I was hopeful I was getting better (and that Nick had avoided it) when my ears popped as we were going over Wolf Creek Pass a few days ago. I'd been trying to blow them open for days, and it finally worked, which was fortunate for poor Nick because I'd been singing as though I had headphones on. Tuesday in Denver was the first day without the pounding headache so by Friday I was sure we were out of the woods, but Nick has been sneezing and blowing his nose all day today. I feel so bad for him because he's already so uncomfortable.

He looks really good on the outside. The healing's been amazing and if he wears dark sunglasses you might think he just sprained a finger or something. The gashes have all healed remarkably well (took the stitches out of the to-the-bone cut in his ankle this morning), the sutures in his tongue have been removed and he speaks much better, his legs are not black and blue anymore, his face has lost all swelling and his hand about 60%, although it's still a funky colour.

But the way he looks belies the way he feels. His busted teeth make eating very painful, with or without the broken jaw. His eyes (both) are so sore he has them shut for much of the time. His grey hand aches. And most of his energy is being sapped by a body trying to heal itself. It physically pains my heart to see my strong man hunched and silently hurting. But I think he's just biding his time. He knows this will pass, and he's surviving the second phase of this nightmare. I'm looking forward to the day we fully wake up from it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Speedy Recovery

So here's the thing about overtaking another car: If the speed limit is 60mph and you'd like to go 63 or so, but the car in front of you is going 58, you'll probably have to speed a bit to get past him - especially because passing someone usually alerts him to his turtley speed, and he'll often step on the gas while you're passing instead of after you're safely out of the oncoming traffic lane. Because of this phenomenon I was pretty gun shy about overtaking on our latest trip to Denver, seeing as my last ticket was still staring at me from the dashboard.

On our way home on Wednesday, Nick and I were talking about the mechanics of passing (as you do when you spend a total of 28 hours in the car together over the period of about a week) when a long, clear passing zone presented itself, and we'd been putt-putting behind a black SUV and a pick-up truck, both going 58mph, for a koon's age.

"Gun it." So I did, passing both cars and getting back into my lane well before the oncoming car zipped by. I didn't go over 65mph, but I was aware I had to speed to do it.

"Perfect pass, babe. Textbook."

"Yeah, knowing my luck -"

Flashing lights. QUE? Flashing lights coming from the black SUV.

I actually laughed because what are the chances of THAT?? Unbelievable! Then got annoyed because there was no reason to have been pulled over. Copper said I was speeding (didn't mention my speed though because he knew it was negligible) and that he pulled me over because the pass occurred around a (wide open, unobscured) slight turn in the road.

As you might have surmised, it's very hard to me to keep my mouth shut, but I resisted the temptation to say, "Then why is this a passing zone? Hello!" Anyway, the officer seems to have used the whole thing as an excuse to check my papers or something, which were all in order, and I did not get a ticket. Very glad of this because I would have fought it, and that's the last thing I need to be doing these days.

What I needed to be doing was getting home to our girls, making dinner, doing a few loads of laundry and packing for France, which Nick thought would be a fun thing to do the next day.

Before all this happened, we had booked spring break flights to go visit Nick's family near Nice and Grenoble, but I'd assumed that all that had changed. Wednesday's post-op visit revealed Nick is still not detecting any light, so the chances of his recovering any vision are now close to nil. They're giving it another ten days and if it's still the same we'll begin prepping for a glass eye. Nicolas saw no reason to sit around those ten days when we could be in France. And changing our "free" awards tickets would have cost $600 anyway, so a no-brainer, right?

So I'm writing from St. Raphael, after a wonderful meal of lentil soup, salad with gorgonzola dressing and Ilona's fabulous chocolate mousse. Nick can't eat salad yet, but he's upstairs right now heading to la-la-land a happy camper. Seeing family is good for the soul.

PS to Jarrett: Happy Birthday, Bro!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two Huge Guys Crawled out of This

Photos taken by the rescuers, after G and Nick were on their way to hospitals.

No News is Good News?

Well, the retinal specialist went into Nick's eye this morning and removed about 90% of the blood. The doc still couldn't see much, but thinks the retina looked fine. That's good news and bad, because the retina is one of the few things you can fix (sometimes), and if it's not the retina, it's likely (but not necessarily) to be something unfixable. The key will be if Nick can detect light once his eye heals from all this, and that can take a few weeks.

The lens was either shattered or was thrust out of the gash in his eye during impact. So if he does have some sense of light now that most of the blood was sucked out, a lens replacement (same operation as for cataracts, I believe) can be done to actually see something. But that's getting ahead of ourselves.

The good news is that Nick was well sedated during the vitrectomy (aware but not uncomfortable) so not nearly as bad as we were led to believe. It was "the best I've felt in two weeks," according to my beautiful pirate.

It was strongly suggested I go to the car wash while waiting, so you can see that your Nick is still the same Nick. Driving back in the shiny, dripping-inside-and-out Land Rover I noticed that directly behind the Surgery Center was a Hobby Lobby. What are the chances of that? Nothing like the 80%-off aisle to help focus the daze, and I found a couple of little things to make the girls' day when we get back tomorrow.