Sunday, February 8, 2009

Race For A Yawn: Never Take Your Yawn For Granted

Have you ever thought about the powerful message of a yawn?

My ex-husband Luis, one of the most important persons in my life, is very ill, in coma.

He lives with his wife Rosy and youngest child in the Dominican Republic, where he was diagnosed at the beginning of this week with a viral encephalitis. His first cousin, more brother than cousin, who is an MD, flew from Venezuela on Wednesday to provide help and support. On Thursday, when he was ready to be taken in aero-ambulance to Caracas (his city of origin), things got worse. He couldn't be moved, he needed to stay.

His condition was so bad that all his direct family flew there on Friday to be with him. My three kids, his mom (85), his brothers and sister. My daughter arrived there from Thailand on Saturday afternoon after 37 hours of flights and layovers.

Things were not going well, "The virus is too strong".... "His system cannot fight the virus". Hopes were being lost, and desperation, devastation, arose among those who love him.

Rosy, also an MD, and his cousin, who don't have the case in their hands, were not going to give up. They were not convinced that "his system could not fight the virus". They were constantly thinking on what could be happening. They noticed something in the last tomography that concerned them, and thought that a healthy, strong man, 52 yo, could fight a virus. They decided to call Venezuela and talked to another doctor, and came to the conclusion that he had encephalomyelitis. The treatment needed to be an aggressive dosis of steroids to help reduce the inflamation of the brain. They informed the doctor in the hospital in charge of the case and the doctor decided to proceed with this treatment. I believe the doctor in charge recognized he missed it.

Saturday night brought a light of hope. We all went to bed in our respective places, praying that this "revelation" was the answer. On Sunday morning when I called, I was told that there was a very slight sign of improvement as the pupils were a little bit more dilated. Though he was still in coma, joy and hope was all around us. Later on the day, his wife told me of another sign of improvement: Luis yawned.

I have been thinking on that a lot. A yawn. A yawn that gives light and hope, and joy, and comfort. A sign that tells us that our brain is sending a message. A sign that tells us that things are changing in a positive direction. A yawn, a blessing, a gift of God.

I ran on Tuesday a very delicious 6.25 miles, it was sunny and warm (55F/13C), and the first 2009 run outdoors. I had planned to run my first 5K race of the year today Sunday, with my son and his fiancee. It was a Valentine's Race, Love'em or Leave'em, but I didn't run it. On Thursday I was on the phone from 2pm to 1:00 am talking to Rosy to understand the case; helping my kids with the situation, and the reservations; talking to Peace Corps (*) and arranging that my daughter received an emergency leave; informing other family and friends. It was a very distressed day. I slept a couple of hours. Friday was no different, and Saturday was the climax of the pain. I pretty much didn't sleep or eat for three days.

Running was not important, was not even in my thoughts. I requested the race organizers to save the shirts and bib-numbers for us, so when Luis recovers well from this, I will run with my kids a private race. Instead of a Valentine's 5K it will be a Race for a Yawn: Never Take Your Yawn For Granted.

May I please, ask you to offer a pray for Luis' recovery? He is a great man, honest, hard-worker, full of love and life. Me and his family would appreciate this gesture.

We ought always to pray and not lose heart.

(*) My immense gratitude to Peace Corps, PC. After they talking to the doctor in DR and confirming the seriousness of the situation they approved the emergency leave and the wheels started moving. They bought the tickets (Chiang Rai-Bangkok-Hong Kong-Vancouver BC-New York-Santo Domingo); Thailand country director went to Bangkok airport to meet my daughter and to give her some documents. DR country director called me and told me that Ale would be under their care once she arrived, with 24/7 support. They picked her up at the airport, took her through customs, gave her money, a cell phone, took her to the hospital, then to a hotel to drop her stuff, to take her back to the hospital. This kind of support is priceless.