I went to work, and was expecting to have as much of a normal day as possible. I already knew this day was going to be a tough one since it was directly before vacation time, but now it is difficult in a different way. I was definitely less focused than normal.
I ended up staying around work late because I knew the hospital was much closer. I left around 7pm to head over. There were a few friends already around keeping the family company. Eventually there was a large influx of people arriving, and it seemed to be overwhelming the ICU waiting room.
Around 9 or so, the family went back to see Kevin before the overnight stretch of separation. He was about a degree or so away from the standard temperature of 37C, and he was starting to show signs of being responsive. He began moving his legs and arms, and reaching for the breathing tube, so they had to restrain him. Everybody was super excited to hear that, even though it doesn't definitively mean much.
The reason everybody began showing up is because some friends and family of friends organized a small prayer session for Kevin. We crammed about 30 or so people into a room that felt smaller than my bedroom. Heads were bowed, tears were shed, and I personally had a hard time with the whole situation. I feel like everybody handles these situations a little different. I tend to get quiet and reserved; some people are more outspoken and external with their feelings.
My plan was to spend the night at the hospital. Most people from the ceremony had left, so now we are just waiting for Kevin to reach the proper temperature and the paralytics to be taken away. Kollin, Korey, Kelc and I played some card games to try and pass the time. The original target time of 1am came and went, and we were becoming more and more anxious to find out any news. They said it would still be a couple hours before he would be at 37.
At this point, I'm in a weird state of really needing sleep, but too eager to find out how he is doing. I think a couple of us were able to rest our eyes for a moment... but then...
A nurse came out to say that he had just about reached the proper temperature, so they stopped the drip of the paralytic, and he should be showing signs rather soon. Too excited... more waiting.
Then a tiny bit later (I think this was around 3 am), the primary nurse (?) came out to the waiting room with a slight grin on his face. The parents went out to talk and walk back to the ICU. The kids waited a little longer. They came back, grins and tears; he is responding to commands, grabbing hands, wiggling toes, and trying to talk. (At this point, he is still on sedatives and heavy pain killers, so he likely is not fully aware of what is going on, or what tubes are connected to him) I was able to go see him with Kollin, and we were both speechless at first. So incredibly happy to see him wanting to get up and move around, and attempt to talk. We initially spoke softly to him, and he started to fall back asleep, so the nurse punched him in the chest and started yelling "HEY KEVIN, SHOW THESE GUYS YOU CAN WIGGLE YOUR TOES BECAUSE THEY DON'T BELIEVE ME" then Kevin smiled a little and started wiggling his toes. We got the idea of how out of it he really is, so our next attempts to talk to him were louder and more successful. He finished up with giving us two thumbs up.
So happy. So relieved. Feels like I can finally relax a little.
Not long after sitting in the waiting room, my body was running out of adrenaline and I needed to get some rest. Too bad the seating in the ICU waiting room is designed to be as uncomfortable as possible. It felt like I just a position and closed my eyes, then Kelc was waking me to see if I wanted to go home and sleep in a bed.
A chunk of us left to go home and get some rest around 6am. I was a little worried about driving, but my adrenaline kicked in, and I had music to keep me up. On the way home, I was in the car by myself. I couldn't help but look back on the roller-coaster ride of the past few days. Incredibly happy things are looking positive for Kevin.
It was amazing to see how many people wanted to come out and support the family through these times. I'm also not the kind of person who is outwardly religious, but huge thanks to everybody for keeping Kevin in your thoughts and prayers.