The Unexpected Present


Small Moments

green leafed plant beside clear glass mg

It’s hard to believe more than thirty days have gone by that Yuri and I are not together. While I come to see him now every day, the evening and nights seem to be the longest as I return home, have a glass of wine or two, feed the kitty, and relive the hour by hour of what is going on. It’s the small moments that count the most.

The one minute of time added to the day, the slight variations of greens I see on my way in– light greens that highlight, combinations that accentuate and deepen the contrast– so many that I could fit them into a box of 64 Crayola colors. Then there are subtle shades of olive green, soft blues in the eggshells from my sister’s hens. A carpet of sage green pollen spreads over our porch. Include the smell of fresh-cut green grass to click on the dopamine and you get spring fever.

Yesterday was a small but wonderful moment when Yuri was taken off the ventilator a second time. Apparently, that he contracted a hospital infection, resistant to most antibiotics, and a more potent drug is sent into his veins hoping to tame its ravages. His vitals remain consistent, the staff becomes more vigilant so another disappointing setback does not happen. The Infectious Disease team come by several times earlier in the week with smiles on their faces. Satisfaction that his lungs are healing and doing their job. He is breathing on his own after 32 days.

Lungs are amazing and we take them for granted until one day we pay attention to deep breathing in yoga classes, the deep breaths when adrenalin overtakes our senses, following every breath you take after a jog, or just going up the stairs. Moments of stark disbelief at what happens when you breathe. Just breathe.

So far, so good. I’ll take this small moment as a miracle because there were so many moments when he was in deep sedation and his life was hanging by a thread. “He’s hanging on,” they would say. I would repeat it and include myself, “we’re hanging on.” Perhaps the thread was made of spider silk, making it one of the strongest materials in Nature. It can weather the fiercest storm and handle the weight, the wear and tear of life in its own way. It must have been super spider silk.

Despite a wild pathogen wreaking havoc in his blood vessels, battering his lungs, kidney, and heart, Yuri hung on. Through ups and downs with many still to come, we navigated through some very dangerous waters. He’s still the Voyager. I might be in the Crow’s Nest by now, getting over my fear of heights and keeping a lookout for Land, ho.

I’m definitely taking this as a miracle. Yuri’s blue eyes tinted with sea-green communicate moments of interaction apart from the medical machinery that whirrs in the background making it hard to hear what he’s trying to say. Mostly, he’s asking for water, another life necessity, yet something he can’t have at the moment, and of course, his main concern, when we can go home.

More good moments come his way. There are fewer machines in the room dispensing the various medications he needed so urgently only a few days ago. It feels like the staff is doing a happy dance describing Yuri’s progress – sitting up in a chair, taking in ice chips to soothe his parched mouth. They get his cleverly wry sense of humor.

A master of facial expressions especially using his eyebrows, he is able to convey exactly his mood and meaning while saying the words just above a raspy whisper. His first words to me today, “I love you.” Music to my ears. We’re on the tarmac, taxiing on the runway before takeoff to recovery.

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 To all of Ukraine, we stand with you and are sending aid. To everyone else, we ask you to declare your support for the people of Ukraine, who continue to resist the unprovoked Russian invasion.

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