Good news: Noo was extubated today and appears to be doing OK from the respiratory standpoint. She might be a tad bit delirious after seven days on the vent, but I give everyone a pass on the day of extubation. It is unrealistic to expect My Dinner With Andre, if you know what I mean.
I am happy and relieved that Noo has improved since the acute onset of this illness, but now I have to face what happens next. Most people are quite debilitated and vulnerable to other problems after a significant hospital stay. For the last week I have been mentally preparing for all kinds of outcomes, and maybe this is why I found myself driving on our rural highway with absolutely no idea which exit to take to meet the Gimbels staff for a farewell dinner. At first I thought I missed the exit, so I got back on the highway heading south, only to realize I had been a couple of miles short of the correct exit in the first place. I had to exit again, loop around to the northbound on-ramp, and--after a few minutes of grim concentration--arrived intact at my intended destination. This is the same highway on which I've been driving back and forth for five years, the same on-ramps and off-ramps, only not the same life. Life seems to have irrevocably changed since the first time I drove on these roads, and my New Mind is as lost as a tourist in these parts.
All I have to say is: Thank God for margaritas and for the pitchers they come in. That's all.