I've been behind on updating the blog...if you're on my email list, you've already gotten this update...
Before I get to tonight's Uma update...I have a request for all of you beautiful, amazing people who have been praying for Uma and visualizing her full recovery...I just spoke to my very good friend Sian who informed me that one of her very good friends, Jason, is in the Neurological ICU at St. Vincent's Hospital in NYC right now, after having suffered severe head trauma. (He's in the same ICU that Uma was in.) On Saturday night, Jason was walking home from a gig (he's a DJ) when he was attacked by a gang of guys outside of the club where he works—a total random act of violence—and now he's in the same hospital that Uma was in for all of those weeks, going through pretty much the same thing she was going through: there's a lot of blood around his brain and the doctors have put him into an induced comatose state while they drain the blood. That's pretty much all we know right now. Jason's in a really scary place and his family has begun to gather in the waiting room at St. Vincent's, and they have begun their waiting, waiting, waiting. I know exactly what they're going through—Jason's in a really scary place—but Uma was in the same scary place, and she's doing so amazingly well, so I want his family to know that they have to have hope. (Don't let the doctors tell you otherwise. Because sometimes they say things along the lines of "we just don't know," and they might not offer you the hope that you're begging them to give you. But don't let that stop you from hoping because HOPE freaking WORKS.)
Jason's a really great guy—he's never met Uma, but when Uma was in New York, Jason read about what she was going through and he sent a donation to The Uma Fund to help bring her home. Uma has been in Jason's thoughts—even though he didn't know her—so I thought I'd send along this message about what Jason's going through so that some people out there in the world who don't know Jason might put him in their thoughts, too. That's my request: if you've got a list of people you pray for, please add Jason to the list. Say a prayer for him, visualize the blood draining from around his brain. Tonight, tomorrow, the next day. I have seen the power of prayer and visualization—and whatever you believe, whatever you want to call it—I know that all of the love and energy we've been putting out into the universe has manifested itself in Uma, it's helped her, it brought her out of the coma. I know it did. Let's help get Jason back too, help him wake up. It's completely messed up that random, violent things like this happen. It's completely messed up that we can have brain aneurysms and not even know it and they can just pop. A lot of things are completely messed up. BUT—and here's the thing to focus on—there are so many MORE things in the world that are NOT completely messed up, and we need to take note of all of the beautiful things and people around us every day. And we need to just freaking love, you know? And express our love to the fullest.
Speaking of love:
Uma is speaking more and more. I spent a lot of the day with her today and it had been several days since I'd seen her and in those few days she has improved dramatically. It's hard for John to see all of those improvements because he's with her so much (heck, it's hard for UMA to see all of those improvements because she's just living her new, weird hospital life), but she's making so much progress and it's worth celebrating. Uma is incredibly frustrated, but she is going to get through this tough period. The words are going to come back to her, she's going to relearn the things she no longer knows.
Now that Uma has started to talk again, it's become clearer that she doesn't understand as much as we thought she was understanding. She seems to forget things and repeatedly asks things like "why can't I talk?" and "what happened to me?" And John will explain to her what she's going through and assure her that she's going to be able to talk again. See, the thing is, she's not really speaking in complete sentences yet. She'll get out the beginning of a sentence and then lose the rest of the sentence. Yesterday, John and Eleanor worked with Uma on the phrase "I want," and today I heard her say "I want" several times, and she seems to understand what the phrase means, but she wasn't able to complete the sentence and say WHAT she wants. So we would guess, and ask her: "do you want x, or y, or z?" etc., until we stumbled upon what it was that she truly wanted. And that's when Uma gets frustrated—when she's trying to express something that should be easy to express and then she hits a wall and simply can't finish expressing what she freaking wants to express. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for her to not be able to find the words, but fortunately, even though Uma hits those walls of frustration often, she doesn't give up. She's still trying to find the words, she's even initiating moments of speech (occasionally) instead of just speaking when spoken to. These are all good signs.
At one point this afternoon, I asked Uma: "Are you frustrated?" And then she said the only complete, full sentence I heard her say today: "Yeah, because I'm not in my room." I interpreted this to mean that she's tired of the hospital and just wants to be home, in her own room. It's been over sixty days since she's been there. The good thing is, she's going to be there soon. I told her that, and then I asked her if she was afraid, and she said: "I can't...here..." and then her voice trailed off. I'm not sure what she was trying to express, but I hope and pray that her brain starts firing all of those synapses soon so that Uma can fully express everything she needs to express. She's on her way.
Today was a very busy day—several visitors, and lots of eating. (Uma's eating food now!) (I almost said she's eating "real" food now, but I hesitate to use the word "real" when describing the stuff she's eating—it's all purees for the time being: carrots, veggies, potatoes, etc.) (I tried the veggie puree and it was kinda gross.) (But still, it's food that Uma's putting into her mouth rather than food that's being directly pumped into her stomach, and that's a very good thing. (Progress!)
I have some more Uma stories to share, but I need to get to sleep. I apologize for any typos in the above email but I'm too tired to go back and read this over before sending it, so I'm just gonna hit "send." And if anything's incoherent, it's because I'm falling asleep. So, in a nutshell: please pray for Uma, please pray for Jason, and please tell everyone you love how much you freaking love them.
So much love to all of you,