This is John's update from a couple of nights ago:
hello,so -----pretty big day today. as all of you probably know, this is my birthday (thanks for all the wishes -it feels good). well - all morning i had butterflies in my stomach and didn't know why. i chalked it up to fear and tried to let it go. i went to see the pastoral counselor, Gina, before visiting hours. she has been of such an amazing help to me and uma. i literally can't tell you how indipensible Gina has been to the whole challenge here. what an amazing and fortuitous person to have met. anyway - at 11am she and i went upstairs to visit uma. mary, the case worker came out to greet us and said,"you've got a surprise!"
we went in to uma's room and were shown a piece of paper upon which was the name "uma" written in various states of discovery. the occupational therapist had helped her write her name with her left hand. (after what happened next, i asked the ot if she had just guided uma's hand with a pen and she said, 'no, uma wrote it') the nurses had gotten me a birthday card and uma had signed it. they told me the ot started with 'u' and then uma made a sideways 'm' and then an 'a'. AND she extended her right leg again but also did some hip flexion and pointed her big toe and slightly squeezed her right hand. and she seemed more 'there' than she has ever since jan. 31st, and this lasted all day and into the night until she fell asleep. i have never in my life had a better birthday.
and tonight we fell asleep, side by side, holding hands in the bed watching american idol. her shunt has been installed acceptably and she responds better every day since then.
dr. h said tonight that it would be ok to have uma deflate the bubble in her tracheostomy to try and eat a bit of real food. he said, 'if it were my fiance, i'd want her to have a bite.....but that's unofficial" we'll see. she did have two helpings (a tiny pinch -with the nurses ok) of icing on the birthday cake my sister sent me. (thanks sharon!) no problem chewing or swallowing. i'm going to sleep well tonight (this is my prayer and birthday wish).
all my love,