It is quite the ride here in Amsterdam, we can never manage to anticipate the twists of the road ahead. I do not exaggerate even the slightest bit! Medium care, ICU, induced coma, upcoming surgical procedure, surgery postponed for days, back to Medium care (all in a weeks time)…….. but now Todd is resting and back in his ward (without having to endure another invasive procedure). As you might have already seen in the Jan 3rd comments (also in stories) from one of Todd’s nurses Stacey ……….. he is back and gaining strength. We have words, dimples, smiles….and yes he laughed at one of my jokes too! The nurses are smiling which is a good sign…. But the best sign of all is to see Todd’s smile light up the room, your day, and watching Kati (another nurse) walk away giggling cause she stopped to see Todd and he flashed her a big ol’ grin. Toetsie is also smiling, she stopped by with her best Christmas present, and for her first time, Todd responded to the conversation with his eyes….and of course she also got a smile. Seems Todd is really dishing them out.

My favorite Todd quote from the weekend. We were alone. I said something like “This is a long road, we will have to work hard…..but we are going to make something beautiful out of this. You and John are going to make something beautiful out of this.”
Todd: “I am trying!”…………and well that just says it all, doesn’t it? I really truly love that man. With that I give you Yuksel and Zander.

Hello dear all,
So i am back again in a months time…
It is great to see Alex settled in her new beautiful (seriously) Amsterdam home. She has really become an Amsterdamer, expert on where the best of everything, especially food is! Besides her capabilities of adapting, every time it is amazing to see her power, love, devotion and strength!
And about Todd, I must say I am happy to have seen Todd in a better condition than last time..
We still did not get to see him talk, but at least the seizures and constant tiredness – as in November – are not there.
Yesterday was really good, because he was awake and not sleeping the whole day, and this I have never seen before. He was concentrated, tracking with his eyes the whole time, and I believe constantly aware of everything that was going on around him. .. His mimics, facial expressions were all familiar … He was really excited to see Jockel (you know him as Zander I believe), this time not too much excitement for me, but I guess I am boring by now, my third visit J) but still he managed to make me promise to go camping with him (there Alex, you have it written J)!
Now I give the word to Jockel: (oh but before, got to mention another highlight has been seeing the DVD of the Blue Green Ball, that alone is one more reminder of how exceptional and special our beloved Todd is!)

Yes, hey out there, all you
BlogReaders, ToddLovers, AlexSupporters,
After being here in the beginning of October 2007, it’s my (Jockel aka Zander) 2nd visit in the AMC now and luckily – even when I find him still in the ICU – yesterday afternoon was my 1st time to see Todd “untubed”, meaning the breathing tube was removed from his lung / mouth. The staff made us leave the room when they wanted to take the tube out and we had (another) occasion to taste the most delicious “croquettes” from the hospital canteen.
Croquettes are cylindrical objects of approximately 3cm / 1,18 inch diameter and 8cm / 3,15 inch length, which have a cover from panade and a tasty filling of some kind of wheat-chicken mash. They exist outside the hospital also in form of globes known as “bitterballen” (2 bitterballen = 1 croquette). The bitterballen-croquettes are served fried and hot with mustard on the side. (Hey Mary, Yuksel could not believe that someone nicknamed “cockroach” does not like this stuff !!!)
Back up in Todd’s room it was immediately noticeable how much more comfortable Todd was, even when he first seemed quite upset, probably because the tube-removal might have been quite a painful procedure. I can’t really say that Todd would not have been excited to see Yuksel, I rather had the feeling that his eyes more often moved away from me to her, and of course to Alex which is completely understandable, since they are much nicer to look at. No, seriously, Todd has his glasses on and everytime somebody enters the room, starts to talk, does something Todd clearly focuses on this person. He also looks at the pictures I show him on our digicam with high interest.
But the best expert to ease Todd’s discomfort is definitely Alex! After she gives him foot massages, helps him to move his arms, talks to him and kisses him Todd most obviously felt much more comfortable. I was actually very happy to be able to witness this moment of private intimacy between the two, because it made me understand how important their love is for Todd’s recovery.
In the end Alex was quite upset yesterday, because again no operation to remove the 1st shunt was made. If one asks the staff, why this still was not going on, one can’t really get an answer, because the staff can’t tell no reason either. It seems that sometimes Todd simply doesn’t make it to the operation hall as scheduled, because permanently other, maybe more urgent emergency patients are brought into the AMC. So, this waiting of course is quite annoying and frustrating for Alex, Todd, us and everybody.
In the meantime we hear, that they might not operate at all. I guess this needs more clarifying, but it seems not fair, when these kind of decisions are made at the weekend, and one can reach the doctor only on the upcoming Monday …
We left the hospital around 19:45h, had a beer (De Manke Monnick!) and I had the chance to look at the photos on Alex’s digicam, seeing all the friends, who came to be with her and Todd in Amsterdam. Well, my impressions yesterday definitely were positive. Seeing Todd’s condition yesterday – in comparison to my first visit – makes it now really imaginable, that Todd – in a not too far future – will be strong and stable enough to go home to San Francisco and be able to continue rehabilitation.

Fingers crossed & Thumbs up!