Wednesday, February 1, 2012


February 1, 2012

It was another day of GREAT progress in Room 28. Elaine thrilled guests, family, doctors, nurses, and therapists with her significant improvement and her Mighty Mite attitude. Take a look at this video to get a sense of how quickly Elaine is improving (and see if you think she is good at following directions). Remember as you watch this, she couldn’t move her arm or her leg AT ALL two days ago.


Progress Report: Elaine sat up in a chair again today. She actually did most of the actually getting up on her own.  The therapists have never seen anything like her.  Then the “ragdoll” (that’s what she called herself) was pushed around by the therapists while she attempted to maintain her balance – which she did. I guess they are lucky she didn’t push them over.

There isn’t one person at the hospital that hasn’t been completely blown away by Elaine’s attitude and drive. When the therapists show up, Elaine is like a horse rearing to go with her left foot moving back and forth to retrain it to walk. She is absolutely determined to walk to bathroom SOON.

She didn’t sleep well last night and she blames it on the fact she was practicing her arm therapy. That “dummy hand” (her name, not ours) is no longer so dumb.  At all hours of the day, you can see her exercising and retraining her muscles. The doctors had to remind her that sleep and rest are equally as important as therapy!

The biopsy is scheduled for Friday. They won’t give us a time but we are hoping it will be in the morning. We are hoping to have preliminary results back within 24 hours and full lab results within 3-5 days. Instead of going through her nose, they plan on making a small incision near her lung to get a piece of the tissue.  They will decide once they are in there if they need a sample of the lymph node as well.  This was determined to be the safest way to get to the tissue given Elaine’s heart condition. Tissue is the Issue – that is what the oncologist keeps saying. We really love her oncologist but we hope our relationship is short livedJ

The doctors still believe that Elaine’s stroke originated in her heart. As some of you know, she has had two open-heart surgeries – both times her aortic valve was replaced and her mitral valve was repaired. That said, her heart is performing admirably through all of this. She has endured so much in her life, including the loss of a child as well. She is so incredible strong!

She now introduces herself as "the famous" Elaine Smith when they ask for her name and birth date (which they still ask every hour).  Her sole criterion for picking her favorite nurse is if they agree that she looks like she is 40 (you know, the new 60).  Somehow, despite all she is going through, she is the one who keeps us laughing.  Here is an example of a “serious” conversation she had with Richie this morning:

Elaine: “You know Richie, I can’t drink cosmos anymore.”
Richie: “Why is that?”
Elaine: “Because it makes my heart go into A-Fib when they serve me the cheap stuff and I can’t drink red wine either!”
Richie: “Sure you can, even the doctors say red wine is good for you.”
Elaine: “Well I can’t be drinking the cheap stuff!”
Richie: “Well Elaine, I don’t think you need to be going anywhere that serves you the cheap stuff!”

Chalk it up as another lesson learned from “the famous” Elaine Smith. If you are keeping score at home, here is a recap:
1. Don’t exercise, it causes strokes.
2. Don’t drink cheap red wine or vodka, it will put you in a-fib.

We hope that she gets a good night sleep tonight so she is ready for tomorrow. We hope the same for Fred. He sleeps in the hospital room every night right next to her on the smallest little couch/cot. We have to kick him out in the mornings so he can shower and change clothes. Their love and affection for each other is so sweet to watch. Fred is as romantic as he as ever been, and it turns out he is a pretty good nurse, too. They truly are lucky to have one another.

Special Visitors

Natalie Gulbis stopped by today. She promised to help Elaine get her golf game back in shape when she gets out. As a matter of fact, Elaine has requested her nine iron so she can start to practice gripping the club. She is nothing short of a miracle.

Some of her dear friends from the desert drove up today armed with a box of delicious goodies. They shared a little afternoon dessert with their friend “mighty mite” and toasted to getting fat and not working outJ (see Elaine’s rules above).

Elaine’s mind is buzzing and she has already come up with two business ideas. Unfortunately, we can’t share them because we need to protect her intellectual property, but watch out world (and yes, she can spell world backwards).

Again, we continue to be humbled by the outpouring of love, the prayers, and the support. God can’t help but listen. Someone sent me an email saying we are “storming the heavens with prayers” and there is no doubt we are, and we are so grateful He is listening and giving us all strength.  Hold your love ones tight and enjoy every second of every day because you just never know!

Keep those emails and comments coming! Elaine reads every single one and absolutely loves and appreciates them!

Also, please pray for Ashley as she starts another two-day round of chemotherapy tomorrow. Choose Joy!

We love you


  1. Awesome update! Elaine, I think you should keep some headshots around to autograph for the nurses and doctors. You definitely need a golf club around! How about the putting green that returns the balls. My dad kept one of those in his office at all times. Love you!!!

  2. You rock Elaine!! We love you! -Lisa

  3. Elenaki-

    Soooo good to hear the progress update and that your updbeat attitude is blowing everyone away (as always).. We love you and want you to get better asap.

    filakia polla
    Love you
    Denise and Annie

  4. The nurses didn't want to be in the video with the famous Elaine Smith? That's ludicrous! ;-) So happy that your spirits are up and you're ready to fight! And I totally agree about the wine...if its cheap, it's just not worth you!!