Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 10

I was going to be lazy and take the night off and post tomorrow, but Jon kept asking me when I was going to update the blog, so I thought I better get on it.

He had another busy day that really wore him out. We started in PT, where they had him standing up at the parallel bars, with assistance from the therapists (we have to share that one of his therapists today was a student from Hardin-Simmons, but he took good care of him!). They had him standing up to put weight on his bad leg, and even though he can't move it, it's good to have some weight on it. Also, with a lot of help from the therapists, he took some tentative steps. They had to brace his left leg and move it for him, but he was able to shift weight from one side to the other, so as always it's good for him to work those muscles. It was great to see him up!

We then moved on to occupational therapy, which was much less exciting since we played dominoes for 45 minutes. They keep telling me that since he cannot move his arm, it's about him reaching across his body then using his side muscles and core to pull himself back up again. As always, it's just good for the muscles in his arm to get some kind of attention. After losing about 6 games of dominoes, I decided I had had enough, so that was it for the day.

Speech therapy came in the afternoon, and it's by far his least favorite. The therapist is great, it's just a difficult session for him, because he has a "blind spot" to his left, so he has a hard time turning his head all the way to the left to see. And of course that is what she had him working on during the sessions - games where he had to pay strict attention to detail and try to find things that were to his left. We also found out today that he can request an additional 30 minutes of therapy each day. So he asked the doctor if he could, and she arranged it, so he now has 3.5 hours each day. I know that will really wear him out, but he is so determined that he would rather be doing just about anything than sitting in the room.

We had more visitors today, which is always a treat both for him and for me. And I think he's getting his appetite back. I've had to go to Wendy's two days now to get him chili and unsweet tea! And Darla Kirby brought him a gallon of tea today (thanks Darla), which should last him about a day and a half!

Jon has made some new friends up here, and they are very encouraging! I know it's tough for him to be one of the only younger people up here, so it's nice for him to have support amongst his peers here as well.

And as always, thank you for the support, prayers, cards and well wishes. We couldn't do this without you!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 8 of Recovery

We've now made it past the week mark. Day 8 in the hospital, and we're already seeing some slight progress. Even though it's the weekend, they had Jon up early and in the PT room for 3 hours of therapy. Although they did let him sleep in a bit - we didn't have to wake up until 6:30! I felt like I was on vacation there for a bit.

Yesterday was full of ups and downs, mainly some downs, but we know we will have those days. But today started out well. Jon was wonderful during physical therapy and showed some great stamina. They had him stand up today - with a little assistance from some cool technology! And for physical fitness, they had him standing and playing the Wii. In his words, he was able to get back on the video game horse (for those who don't know, he was playing a video game with Jacob when the stroke hit, so he was a bit gun shy). He bowled on the Wii and had an impressive 73! And no one is allowed to make fun of his bowling skills! His height has been a challenge for the nurses and the therapists, so some of the equipment doesn't fit him quite like it does others, and his range of motion for bowling was not perfect. But with the help of a harness holding him up, he was able to put some weight on his left leg, and while it wouldn't hold him up, it's good to get those muscles working.

He showed some additional strength in his left leg, being able to push back against the therapist. He can't move his leg, but when she holds it up for him, he is able to push it back against her, which I think is pretty good. We then moved to occupational therapy, which is mainly upper body work, and we didn't see much change in his arm or shoulder, but they did tell us the arm would be the lat thing to come back, specifically his fingers. So at least we know that going in. So they mainly did stretching and range of motion exercises.

So all in all, he had a good morning, and was a bit more encouraged than he has been. He will be here for a while longer, he's looking at several weeks in this facility, but that is okay. He needs to be in a place where they challenge and push him constantly.

Those who know Jon well will not be surprised that he's pushing himself as hard as the therapists are, and sometimes even harder. They have had to tell him it's okay to rest, okay to take some time for a quick nap or some down time. I think he wants to stay up and keep going as much as he can, which is good, but with all the work he's doing, he still needs a bit of recharge time.

He has received sooooo many cards, and it means the world to him. He read them to the kids last night and got choked up at all of the wonderful sentiments. So know that the support means so much to him, and to me.

I was at home part of the day yesterday to watch Brooke's awards ceremony and get Jacob home from school. I was on the phone with the insurance company when I realized someone was in the backyard. I looked out and saw Randy Mann, Aaron Rodeffer and Brad Bankhead mowing the lawn! What a wonderful site! It is just such a blessing to have friends and family who just chip and get things done.

Tomorrow is a day off, which means he can sleep in even more, and can even have breakfast in his room! What a treat! Now all we can hope for is that it's a good breakfast!

I'm headed home tonight to spend some time with the kids. This has been hard on them too, so we're going to have a family night at home, sleep in and then come back tomorrow afternoon. They can spend the afternoon with their dad, at least if we can keep them from trying to kill each other! It's hard to keep two kids entertained in a tiny little room with chairs for only two people. I think they mainly just want to play in the wheelchair!

I probably won't update again until Monday, since he gets the day off tomorrow. But again, thank you all for everything. I hope this blog is helpful in keeping you up to date, and I know Jon likes it. He will tell me either to make sure I put something in the blog, or tell me "make sure you don't put that in the blog!" Please keep the prayers and support coming, and have a safe holiday weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2011

One week ago today

Sorry no post yesterday. It was a BUSY day. Jon's first night in the new facility went pretty well. It is much quieter here. We had some hiccups first thing in the morning, a few things that didn't make either of us very happy. I'm sure a year down the line, they will be the things we laugh about, but at the time, there wasn't much to laugh about.

I had to leave early to make it to Jacob's end of year awards, so Occupational Therapy came in while I was gone. They worked with him some in the morning, and hopefully he had a good session. The afternoon brought physical therapy, and he worked VERY hard! He's frustrated at the pace - still not having any movement on the left side. But we continue to tell him to take some pride in the small steps. He was able to hold his hips up, which is good. I'm sure he thinks he should already be able to hold his leg up, but it's not going to come that quickly. For those of you who know Jon very well, it's not surprising that he's frustrated with having to just sit around so much. He wants to just jump up get going, but it's not going to work that way. Mickey Kerr sent us well wishes and had an incredibly valuable statement - Win Each Day! That is exactly what we are going to do. And we will determine what those wins are. They will be small wins, but wins none the less. So thanks Mickey. Those are great words to live by!

He spent most of the day out of bed and in the wheelchair, which was good for him. It's tough, because he's still so tired, but they encourage him to get out of bed as much as possible, to help build up his strength and just to keep him moving. They come in and get us up at 5:30!!! Then we just sit until breakfast at 7am. Not sure why we have to get up so early.

Last night they decided they needed to turn him in bed every two hours, so that made for a fun night. But I think he was able to go back to sleep after they came in.

Today we look forward to more OT and PT, which will be good. And we are hoping to finally see the speech therapist to see if he can "pass" his speech test so he can switch to a new diet. The "mechanical soft" diet (which is code for YUCK) is getting a bit old.

Now that we are pretty well settled in, I'm sure Jon would love to have visitors. He's pretty busy during the day with his therapy, so 6pm on is usually a good time. And weekends will be good. He will have therapy Saturday morning, but his afternoon should be open. And Sunday will be good. So if you are wanting to visit - come on down! Thanks for being patient with us!

Now for the philosophical part. It was just one week ago that our lives changed more than either of us could have ever imagined. It seems like a month ago! Last Friday he was playing golf, playing video games with our son, and getting ready for a nice dinner and some quiet time at home. It took only about an hour and a half, and we went from family time at home, to a visit to the ED, stay in the ICU and new digs in a new hospital. No one could have seen it coming. But we do know that in many ways, despite what we went through and what we are facing, we are very blessed. Jon is still Jon. That sense of humor we all rely on is still there, and he's better at remembering who is nurses are than I am. We are fortunate for that, and obviously fortunate for the support we have. We know there are others who faced similar situations who had no one to lean on, and we can't imagine facing that. So again, thank you for your friendship and kindness.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 6 Of Recovery

We finally made it to Waco! Never thought I would be happy about that. They shipped him out about 5:30 and we are pretty well settled in tonight. Decent room, and at least they were able to bring him some dinner. And I have wireless internet, woohoo!

Had a decent day today in Temple. He was able to get up out of bed twice today, even though it wore him out. But he was able to get into the chair on the first try each time, and no one dropped him, so that is good! It's always funny to see a 5'2 nurse, who weighs about 115 pounds try to pull him up! I need a video camera for those moments. Hope he gets a good nights sleep tonight, because tomorrow things will heat up. He has very tough days ahead of him, but I know he's going to hang in there and do great. Sometimes his spirits lag a little, but then I read him some of the posts and encouraging notes and he gets back in the groove.

Once again we had the litany of doctors come in, but unfortunately they still don't know exactly what triggered it, but they are not giving up yet. Hopefully we are out of the danger zone, and now it's on to just getting back what is temporarily missing. I have learned some valuable lessons today, some of which many of you are painfully aware of. "Moving" in hospital time goes at a pace even a tortoise would laugh at; it's nice to know the back hallways of the hospital, since I have to park in BFE every time, and can slink through the side halls to get to the room faster; never take driving directions from an ambulance driver (I took a lovely 20 minute scenic tour through North Waco, which I have to admit, is not worth a 20 minute scenic tour); and when you haven't showered and put make-up on, getting on an elevator with all mirrors is an unpleasant experience, especially when you are on it 4 times.

We haven't been able to talk to anyone about his schedule yet, so I will try to post visiting hours tomorrow. I do think it would be better for visitors to wait until Friday. I think he will be busy Thursday trying to get oriented and I know they will be evaluating him a lot of the day. But I do know he will want to see his friends and family! So I will let everyone know when they can come see him. I do know that he would love to have some cards (or at least I want him to have some cards:). He has lots of space in his room to fill up, so for those of you wanting to reach out to him, he would love to have those. He is in room 3367 in the Center for Rehabilitative Medicine in Waco, at the Herring Campus. The address is 3000 Herring Avenue, Waco, TX, 76708.

I have been writing this blog on my own, and after three days I finally asked him if he had anything to contribute (I'm sure I will hear about that later). Jon wants me to say that he really appreciates everybody and is overwhelmed with all of the support. You have no idea how much strength he gains from each and every one of you. So once again, and I know you will get tired of hearing it, but we just are so blessed to have all of you in our lives. I can't imagine going through this without the support that we have. It's truly a special feeling knowing we both have so many people pushing for us and offering us both hope and strength.

I will try to post again tomorrow night. For now, it's lights out.

Thanks again to everyone for the well wishes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 5 of Recovery

Oh my what a busy day! We are out of ICU, moved out about 9pm last night onto the STC wing of the hospital. Was a long night, and not a great one, so it was also a tiring morning. His afternoon has been a whirlwind. Saw the PT again, and he moved back into a chair, which is a big deal! He was so determined to make it, and he did, on the first try. So far he's had speech and physical therapy and has done well with both. He's eating regular food now (if hospital food qualifies as regular food).

Saw the hematologist, who is going to do some blood work to see if they can find out what happened. As of now, they have no idea, and say "they've never seen anything like this before." Why am I not surprised that Jon is the one to do something no one else has!

His spirits are good, and I think making it into the chair and eating some food has made a difference. The kids finally get to see him today, after 4 days without him. So they are all excited about that. They did talk to him last night on the phone and that was great for everyone!

We will be moving soon to the Center for Rehabilitative Medicine in Waco soon. Possibly tonight, but I doubt it. I think it will be first thing tomorrow morning. He needs to start some intensive therapy asap, and I know it will make a world of difference.

I read some of the e-mails, all of the blog posts and some texts to him today and he is just completely overwhelmed! He just can't believe the outpouring of support he has received, and it truly means the world to him (and me obviously)! I just want everyone to know how much you mean to Jon. He has received so many wonderful messages about how loved he is, but please know that he values and loves each one of you too.

We have had lots of wonderful visitors today, and it was great for him to see everyone. As he moves to his new location, visiting hours are going to be more strict, since he will be in therapy much of the day. I will send out the hours that he will be open to visitors. And if I think he's too tired, I'm going to send out word that he needs to just get some rest. He never wants to say no to anyone, so I'll be the bad cop! I'm good at it, just ask my kids.

Those are the main details, so now I can bore you with my own. I titled this post day 5 of recovery, because we aren't looking at this as how many days post stroke, it's how many days of recovery we've already accomplished. Jon is good at keeping things positive, and that's how we need to face this continuing battle. One of the most important lessons I've learned is to that I have to re-evaluate the definition of success. Before Friday, success to me was our daughter making the select soccer team, our son making the honor society (I am a mom after all, so I do have to get some bragging in!) Now success comes in different forms - seeing his eyes open wide, hearing his strong voice, which I always took for granted, seeing him work so hard just to wiggle a toe. But those successes are just as thrilling as just as wonderful to watch!

For those who are praying for him to be strong, God is listening, and Jon is fighting and hanging in there like a champ. So keep those vibes coming, and I will post another update tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday, May 23

I know there are a lot of people out there wanting to know how Jon is doing and how he's progressing. This has been an excruciating, long, emotional and trying weekend, but Jon has been just fabulous and I am very proud of him. I apologize in advance for the rambling, broken thoughts and general mess I'm sure this blog is, but I wanted to get something out for those of you who love Jon and want to keep tabs on him.

For those who don't know, Friday night, Jon suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. There was no clot, no aneurysm, just significant bleeding in the brain. He is at Scott & White in Temple where he will remain until we determine the best rehabilitation facility for him to move to. He has no movement on the left side of his body, but we are hoping that with intensive rehab, that will get better. His speech is somewhat impaired as of now also, but again, we are holding high hopes that will return to normal.

He has been in ICU since Friday night, and today we are supposed to move to a new room in the hospital. He started physical therapy today and so far so good. Once he is in his room, and we feel he's had enough rest, we will put the word out that he can have some additional visitors. We truly appreciate everyone waiting to talk to Jon, and I know so many of you are anxious to see him.

I can't even put into words how thankful and blessed we are to have such wonderful friends and family. The word spread like wildfire and we have received so much support and concern, that it's hard to even comprehend. His family at UMHB has been amazing. They have all rallied around him, me and the kids. I know that at any time, I can call them and they can be here at a moments notice, and that is the most comforting thought of all. We have received texts, FB posts, phone calls and e-mails, and while he might not know now that you are reaching out to him, I promise I will let him know each and every message that he gets.

The kids are doing well. They are upset, as we all are, and we are hoping that they can finally see him today. They have help up amazingly well also. They are all such troopers and I'm proud of them too. They know they have to be strong for themselves and their dad, and they are holding up their side of that!

I will do my best to give updates as often as I can. And thank you again to everyone for your prayers, your support, your friendship and most of all your love of Jon. We truly cannot describe the feeling we have knowing he works with and is friends with such wonderful people. This outpouring of support means the world to him, to me and to his family, and you all are such a blessing. Please keep the prayers coming, and we'll keep you updated!