In the morning, when I came to see her, she was more conscious then she has been yet. She was still hooked up to the breathing machine though.
I spent hours with her, just sitting there by her side talking to her. She couldn’t talk back because of the respiratory unit in her mouth and all she wanted was for me to feed her water. I kept telling her to imagine her lungs being able to expand and contract. I would stand there by her side and take deep breaths and send her my strength. She wasn’t 100 % aware of what was going on so I kept repeating to her “I know you’re frustrated and uncomfortable. But every time you want water, I need you to picture yourself taking a deep breath, and your lungs being full of air, and then releasing that air.” I also said numerous times,” I know you have the ability to connect with that deep breath.” This reassured and encouraged her immensely. Constantly having to tell her I wasn’t allowed to give her something as simple as water was so hard. I know that the relationship we have together is extremely special. Especially the way we can communicate without saying anything. This really helped when she was unable to talk. Through her eyes and what arm gestures she could give, I was able to understand how to make her more comfortable or how to answer her questions. Since the first moment I started talking to her I explained all of the medical procedures she went through, and I was, and continue to be completely honest with her. I just kept soothing her and encouraging her to activate her lung muscles more and more. In the afternoon the doctors cleared her X-rays, which meant that the surgeries went really well. This also meant that they were able to raise the upper half of her bed so she could sit up with assistance. This I know was a huge adversity that Mary-Jo overcame because she was doing a lot of the breathing on her own at this point. She felt like her lungs weren’t healing properly when she was lying down, she also felt like she was choking on the breathing unit in her mouth. I was able to understand this due only to our communication together. As they moved her bed was upright she began to do all of the breathing on her own, so the doctor gave the thumbs up and all the respiratory help was taken away. She began totally breathing on her own. She was also given her first drink of water. I don’t think I have ever seen a more relieved look on her face. She said a few things to me that I must repeat back to you. She was completely conscious of the whole accident, she remembered everything. The tip of her ski hit a very small stick and she flew up in the air and landed on her head. She felt all of the bones in her neck shatter. Mary-Jo was aware of her inability to breathe she knew her lungs weren’t working properly, she said that the only physical thing that kept her breathing was that she began practicing mula bandha breathing so using her lower abdominals and core to breathe. She told me that she made a choice on the mountain that day, and that she had been ready to let go. But she chose to stay because of Kate and I. This humbles me to my knees. I cannot begin to describe the amount of gratitude that I have for her.