I wanted to let everyone who has been following her story with such interest, kindness and generosity of spirit, that Hazel continues to make big strides. This is Jamie posting again, because Amanda is spending her first night at home since November 25th -- and (hopefully) her first full night of sleep there since November 17th -- the night Hazel caught a flu bug that she got over just in time to get ahold of the battery. I spent the last two nights at home, first for me since the 23rd, I think both of us could only go home now at all because the deafening silence there isn't permanent, and we will be bringing Hazel home in a few days. (Yes Hazel is recovering from this way faster than we are.)
Anyway, Hazel has been more and more like herself the last few days -- and then some (see below) -- she is off of her morphine now (only methadone and Ativan left to go), she pulled out her NG tube herself Monday night (which is ok because she's been drinking from a bottle just fine), and she ate her first solid (pureed) food this afternoon with Gusto. She has been charming everybody around here, nurses are coming by to take her around the floor with them all the time, and I half-suspect one or more is claiming her for their own :)
Something that I guess I should have expected, since this has been going on for over 6% of her young life (sorry can't help myself from constantly making calculations) but that still has taken me a little bit by surprise, is that Hazel has continued to grow and grow up even in the few weeks this has gone on -- she looks older, acts older, has hair that is getting curlier all the time (I think they're permanent -- her hair still has its curls even after we finally were able to wash her up), she's starting to understand words and what is going on around her, she is starting to get more "jokes" and is starting to display her first bit of empathy (offering up to one of us whatever she is enjoying chewing on) and she has a new gasp of surprise/delight/excitement that I want to see over and over again. I guess some of these changes were happening even while she was sedated and intubated, but it was hard to notice with all the tubes, sedation and swelling.
Although Hazel seems to really like all the medical personnel giving her attention (stranger anxiety? what stranger anxiety? we'll see if it persists beyond her Ativan regimen), I think she is starting to get impatient with the whole hospital thing, and I can't wait to take her home.
Look out World, because Hazel is back, and she's coming out strong!