Dad just called with an update on Mom's condition. She is using blinks to communicate - answering yes or no questions very consistently in this way. This is good news, since she hasn't been able to do this since the third surgery a few days ago. Progress is being made, albeit very slowly.
The big concern right now is that she is still not breathing on her own. It isn't possible to leave someone on a respirator much longer than she has been on it (infection and swelling become too much of a problem, and she already is having trouble with both), so the doctors are asking for Dad's permission to perform a tracheotomy on Mom. Basically this would allow her to breath (assisted, still) through a hole in her trachea instead of having the tube down her throat.
While this may be necessary, it is definitely a "pick which evil" sort of situation. Especially given Mom's reaction to her last surgery, the prospect of another is pretty scary. And of course, tracheotomies have their own set of risks and potential complications.
Please pray for my dad as he works with the doctors to make a good decision. The doctors are considering allowing a breathing "trial" (letting Mom attempt to breath around the breathing tube already in place) before making a final decision. They can't just take the tube out and see what happens, because then if she can't breathe, it becomes a really traumatic emergency situation for replacing the tube, which wouldn't help her situation at all. Please pray that Mom will be able to breath on her own and this surgery won't be necessary.
Please pray that she wakes up soon.
(I'm having a hard time keeping track of what I've posted on this blog, what I've written to friends, who I've called with what information...if you feel you're missing background info, please see this blog for more details.)