I woke up this morning to a text from Sean telling me that Alicia was being released and they needed a change of clothes and his car (I'd driven it home last night). As quickly as I could, I grabbed my camera, purse and her bag of clothes and bolted out the front door without so much as brushing my hair. Unfortunately, when the doctor finally made his rounds several hours and too many cups of coffee later, we found out that she wouldn't be released after all. It should be noted that her lack of release had nothing to do with her progress and everything to do with her dosage of a steroid that makes her nauseas still being too high. The doctor opted to keep her one more night to ween her off of the med enough for her to safely go home without having to fear getting sick and coming right back.
We understood, but it was a bummer after getting our hopes up. Alicia, however, didn't let that stop her from telling every single person that came through the door of her room that she was going home TOMORROW MORNING and the only reason she was still there was because of meds. She even added that if they said no, she'd just offer to do laps around the ward until they let her go.
Her progress in the morning was astounding. After a decent night's sleep, her ability to track me with her eyes and focus on me had improved tenfold. Every time she had to use the restroom, we used it as an excuse for her to walk completely around the ward counterclockwise (so she'd always have to make left turns). Not only was she walking faster, but she was so steady on her feet that a light grasp of a hand was all she needed to balance herself.
I think my biggest chuckle of the day was watching her walk down the hall doing a "beauty queen" wave and reciting lines from Miss Congeniality. Lunch was eaten sitting up in the chair beside the bed and almost entirely without help using her left hand. After much persuasion, her iPhone was forfeited over and she was finally able to personally check out some of the posts I've been making and their responses from you guys. She wanted to update her status and managed to type the first line before having to dictate the rest to me.
While Sean and I hung out with Alicia, my mom, stepdad and Tate went shopping for the perfect recliner at La-Z-Boy. After finding the perfect recliner, complete with a remote and every adjustable position you could ever dream of, they found out it was such a new model that they only had the floor models in stock (which they didn't seem to want to let them buy). I told my mom to bribe them with sob stories of brain tumors and surgeries and that I'd post about it on my blog if they'd sell it to us. Success! So I'm here to tell you that the folks over at the Huntsville La-Z-Boy are gracious and kind and will sell you a swanky new recliner if you go see them.
My mom swung by for a bit in the evening to check on us and then Sean went home to grab a shower and some food while I hung out and got some precious one-on-one time with Alicia. Sadly, I have to go back to my life in Colorado tomorrow morning, so I won't get to witness the triumphant homecoming. In my last hours with her, we went for a walk to a breezeway down the hall that overlooks the "mountain" across from the hospital. On that hill is a cross that's lit up for folks at the hospital to see. My sister had been talking about it for two days straight, so I just had to get a look for myself. It was pretty foggy, so it was barely visible, but I know my sister was comforted by the fact that she simply knew it was there.
On the way back to the room, we found a photo of Dr. Tao, the neurosurgeon that removed Alicia's tumor. We took a photo, and headed back to the room to wait for Sean. When he returned we were able to help Alicia get a shower and freshen up (she'd been begging for one all day). I helped tuck her in and headed back to the house for a shower of my own and what will probably only be a few hours of sleep. My flight leaves at 7am and I'll be heading to the hospital to rudely awaken Alicia and Sean for some goodbyes and hugs before I head out.
I know each and every one of you reading this will continue to lift them up in your prayers and those of you that are local will take VERY good care of them. I'm counting on you for that since I can't be here. I'd even be willing to bet that you wouldn't mind taking photos on your visits and passing them onto me so I can continue to watch her progress from afar.
My sister's words when I told her about the amazing response to the blog so far:
"This isn't my story. This isn't about me. God prepared us for this. This is our do-over. People will read about me and it will help them get through whatever they're going through. I'm setting an example for my son. God is in control. I trust Him. I'm open. I'm not embarrassed. I want you to share this."
So there you have it…you have her permission to share the heck out of this and brag about how God's perfect plan is unfolding for her to be an example for me and you and everyone she can get to.
Thank you all so much for your amazing support for Alicia. I can't wait to witness what else God's got in store for her as she continues to heal and recover.