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Continuing recovery

Habiba’s father has been doing better since his heart attack. It seems like the heart attack had no untoward effects. Yesterday, he had a tracheotomy, a minor operation to put a breathing tube directly into his windpipe through the front of his neck. Previously, this breathing tube was in his mouth, and was naturally not very comfortable.

I’ve spent a bit more time talking to Ramana – taking advantage of the fact that there have been fewer people around lately. Yesterday, we showed him some pictures we took at the Abode and a video of some large windchimes that are fixed to a tree up on the hill on Abode land. Today, I told him a little about my family and my life.

He’s been eager to communicate – which is very difficult for him – and for us, in fact. He has the use of his hands, but – whether because of weakness or medication I’m not sure – he isn’t very co-ordinated. He can shrug and nod and shake his head. He also uses facial expressions, and he’s often very entertaining with them. He can’t speak as such, but he tries to mouth things. He was doing this a lot today, but we had little joy figuring out what he wanted. A lot of the time he wanted water – he’s being sustained intravenously, so his mouth and throat are much underused.

His recovery is slow – there’s still a long way to go, but he’s hanging in there. There are lots of people taking care of him, both physically and emotionally. Outside the Surgical ICU, there’s a sign that says two visitors at a time and close family members only. Ramana has had as many as five visitors at a time, and lots of them are not related to him.

There seemed to be some bad news yesterday when Noorunisa told us that there was a possibility Ramana’s kidneys might fail, and if he went on dialysis it would preclude the possibility of getting a place in a rehabilitation centre. Today’s news is not so bleak; his kidneys, having suffered a little because of his heart attack, are a little better, and it seems that the doctor’s analysis yesterday was a worst-case scenario.

At the moment, Habiba and I are thinking about our plans to get back home. We have a flight from Kennedy Airport at half past midnight on Friday night, which gets us into Korea in the early hours of Sunday morning (it’s a fourteen hour flight and we lose thirteen hours because of the time difference). However, we need to get down to New York City from Albany. We’re going to book some coach tickets, probably Megabus, and Habiba’s sister’s mother will pick us up down there.

We only have one more full day in the States. Our visit hasn’t really been enough: Ramana’s injuries are so serious that any improvement he’s made since we’ve been here still leave him very poorly. It would be good to stay here longer and see him continue to recover, to begin to speak again, to begin his rehabilitation. But, short of quitting our jobs, we don’t have that luxury. Still, we’ve been here at a critical time in his recovery. I’m sure that at first, there would have been little any of his family or friends could have done for him – he was unconscious a lot of the time and recovery from surgery. This period, when he has been conscious and able to perceive and even communicate a tiny bit, has probably been more important because now people can really be there for him, and the emotional support hopefully increases his happiness and aids his recovery.

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