Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Goodbye, ventilator

A number of events over the last few days made it clear to us that today was the day to start talking to Dad about Mom. We gathered at his bedside early this morning and, after a brief prayer, proceeded to describe the accident and the subsequent events leading up to today. We did our best to pause and verify that he was understanding us, but the level of Dad's awareness has been fluctuating unpredictably over the last few days, and I think we unfortunately caught him in a bit of a haze. I think he understood some of the basics, but it was clear that not everything was sinking in.

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.


  1. You guys are amazing! And your dad is right, he does have a lot to live for and I am sure we will be seeing that even more and more as you continue to blog. He has amazing kids! Thanks so much for the updates. There are still a million of us praying for ya'll still! Much much love!

  2. Your dad continues to amaze me every day. His progress is wonderful. I'm sure your mom and his dad are up there encouraging him every step of the way, because he's right, he does have alot to live for. We love you guys. Thanks for keeping us posted. Our prayers are answered through your updates.

    Michele Frost

  3. YEAH! We are happy today too...
    Hugs to you all.
    Dan & Carolyn Andrew

  4. This is beautiful. Your family has occupied a key spot in our family's thoughts, conversations, and prayers. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. They are very touching and encouraging and help answer many questions about how he is doing.

  5. Daniel, your are writing an exceptional chronicle. Thank you. Phil Lammi

  6. What a happy post today! We are all cheering from the sidelines, and this was a great update!

    Stacy Porter Robbins

  7. Thank you for keeping us all posted. My thoughts and prayers have been with all of you during this time. I added your Dad to the temple prayer roll in the Washington D.C. Temple. We continue to pray for a quick recovery for him. Tara (Martin) Carr

  8. What an immense relief to find your latest report on Kent's progress! Sweet Daniel, as I have observed you from the time you were born, I have been thrilled with your sensitivity and love. Few have so much and it only deepens as you are at your dad's bedside and you postyour
    reports and reactions to all that happens. We were especially moved when you told of Gabby's
    singing and your dad's response--then your own
    thoughts. You are indeed one of Heavenly Fathers SPECIAL children. It is a real honor to be part of my brother Vince's family. He was the one who taught me to do many acrobatic
    things and patiently taught me to dive. (As a
    result, I earned a block B for diving as a senior at Berkeley High.) Our heritage is one
    in a million and because of it, we are in touch with hundreds of others, blood relations and adoptees because of the family of God thru
    the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You are all in our
    thoughts continually with silent as well as verbal prayers flying at you!! Bless you all!Your loving Aunt Marjorie & Uncle Paul

  9. You dont' know me but I knew your dad way back in high school in Concord, CA. Your Aunt Michelle is my age and I learned about all this from another friend whom is in your dad's stake, Scott Satterfield. I just want to pass along my prayers and best wishes for your dad's continued recovery. It's been such an honor to read your blog and feel the spirit as I do. What a loving family yo have, no surprise, and how blessed you are to be an eternal family. So sorry for the loss of your sweet mother, but by being grounded in the gospel you know you'll be with her again one day and that she is watching over you all from above. God's speed and blessings to you all.
    Heidi VanWoerkom

  10. I am still following this blog, and I really am so happy to see this post today!!! We are glad that Kent is making such great improvment. Your family is amazing! God Bless!

  11. Family and friends from all over the world are following this blog. Not only are readers eager and elated to read the latest progress but it is a wonderful way to teach others (who have no knowledge of our Father's Restored Knowledge) how families can support and sustain each other while working through personally devistating events.

    You mother is so very happy with how you are working through this. Her love transends the veil and strengenths and supports each of you. Her faith reaches across the divide giving peace and comfort to your father. Never doubt God's perfect plan. God's blessings on each of you

  12. Good bye ventilator, hello monkey face! What a nice report. We sure appreciate the medical stats and the personal sentiments. We love your family.

    I liked the analogy of one of our wheel chair repair men, who told me his son "graduated to Heaven". I'm sure your mom "graduated" with flying colors. To help deal with my sadness of your mom leaving us so young, I like to picture Kathy leaving this "testing center" into a big reunion of family and friends waiting to greet her. And, she also has a reunion with her Savior, whom she loves. Although it is painful to those of us left in the "testing center", we can still carry on with the knowledge that she is happy. I'm sure she wants us to have joy while we are here and do our best so that we too can "graduate" with honors.

    I often find comfort in the words that Kent spoke to me one of the many times he came to see Marissa in the hospital. He kindly express compassion for our sorrow and then said, "I promise you, there will be a day when you will stand next to the Savior and there will be understanding and peace." I don't know HOW the Lord will compensate for things like not being able to see Marissa ride a trike or sings a primary song, or for you kids to have lost your mom so young. But I BELEIVE the words of your father! Thanks to your dad I have a greater understsnding and more hope that thru the atonement, all these temporary loses can and will be compensated for with a fullness of joy.

    We are praying for him and all your family to see tender mercies and feel a measure of peace.

  13. We're so happy to see the progress your Dad is making. It's so wonderful to know he is off the ventilator today and that you were able to communicate with him. It is sweet to know how him and his mom communicated through her singing. Thank you so much for taking the time of your busy schedules to keep us so well informed about your Dad's progress each day.

    We love you and him very much.We keep you in our prayers. All our love. John and Nydia Harris

  14. Awesome! And keeping with family traditions - I gotta tell you about this one we did in our house today after hearing about your dad's progress. Shake your fanny out to the left and punch both hands out to the right twice in a row - then switch both hands to the left side and bum to the right, all the while saying "Woop, Woop!" This is the "Davis Happy Dance" - in fact, we're doing it right now for you! I would imagine it has the same effect as the "Wood's Monkey Face"! All us Freemans wish we could be there to hold all of your hands - just know that we ALL will always love your family and send the biggest, squishiest hugs from Utah!!!

  15. Your Grandpa Vince showed us the Missing Link....Only a Wood Can do a Monkey Face that Well!