In the first 36 hours after Allyen, my husband, collapsed â€“ during which time he was being artificially cooled and rewarmed â€“ I talked with one of the doctors about what someone in an induced coma experiences. The doctor, who Allyen credits with his survival, told me we just donâ€™t know if they can hear or smell or feel touch.
What we do know, he assured me, is that familiar smells and sounds and gentle touch canâ€™t hurt.
I brought in the bluegrass the next day (along with Gates barbecue sauce, beer, bourbon and garlic). We have been avid bluegrass fans since we first heard Hit & Run Bluegrass. Weâ€™ve been dragging our kids to bluegrass festivals since Avery was little. We already have our tickets to the 40th Anniversary Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June.
Itâ€™s my goal to get him there.
The music played in his room almost every hour that he was unconscious in ICU. It also played in my ears as I trekked around the facility and ran the stairs to the staff parking lot in all types of winter weather. Music and exercise have been important survival techniques.
Allyen woke up for good on Feb. 24. They had removed the breathing tube and he started talking right away. While his voice was very quiet, it sounded pretty normal. He didnâ€™t want to stop talking. After a very difficult several days of horrible ICU psychosis and hallucinations, he was finally well enough to move out of ICU to a step down unit.
He spent several days in step down and then they shipped him up to the rehab unit (more on this in a future post). I brought the music along room to room so he would always have it nearby. I continued to workout while listening to our favorites: Mumford & Sons, Mark Knopfler, among others.
On March 15 they decided he should go home. On the drive home Mumford & Sonsâ€™ I Will Wait came on XMâ€™s Spectrum. We both cried. I figured it was a sign. I waited and he came home.
March 22 I took him back to the emergency department. Things were changing, something wasnâ€™t right. Heâ€™s still in the hospital today. Heâ€™s fighting through a variety of medical issues. More worrisome are the neurological changes. Iâ€™ll write more about that in another post.
I asked him if he wanted his music on March 22 and he said â€œI donâ€™t want to move in this time.â€ Several days later I just brought it in anyway. It was clear this would be another long stay. I made playlists for the lineup for Thursday and Friday of the 2013 Telluride festival. Figured it might inspire him.
Telluride. Itâ€™s still my goal to get him there.
The last great photo of us together before his embolism, taken Feb. 3 while hiking the hogback.