Afterward, as we sat in the waiting room, coming to grips with the fact that we'd probably have to have that dreaded conversation at least one more time, one of the doctors approached us and said that she really wanted to get the breathing tube out of him today. It came out at about 2pm, and after an hour or two he was able to whisper to us. After 10 days of not being able to understand him, we were hanging on every word. There were a few sentences that were clearly the product of the morphine, but most of his communication to us made perfect sense.
Some of the more memorable lines:
We were telling him how remarkable his improvement has been, when he smiled and said, "I've got a lot to live for."
He was responding to the nurse's questions with a shrug and a 'yeah-whatever' sort of expression, with pursed lips. One of us said, "Dad, you sure are making a lot of funny faces." His response was something we affectionately call "Monkey Face", which is a ridiculous facial expression that is a family tradition handed down from generation to generation in the Wood line. My brother Jason and I were laughing about that one for a few minutes.
He repeatedly said, "Okay everybody, shall we go down to the cafeteria and grab a bite to eat?" After the last time, he turned to the nurse and asked, "Do you have any recommendations?"
We were so happy today.