Thursday, July 15, 2010

Greg is starting to eat!!!

This week has been a really good week for Greg. He has made so much progress in the (almost) 3 weeks that he has been at Casa Colina. Last Friday, during his speech therapy session, he ate a spoonful of vanilla pudding. I was sooooo proud of him and it was very neat for me to be there and see him do that. I love his speech therapist and the way that she interacts with him. Then on Monday, they stopped his tube feedings in hopes that he would get hungry enough to eat some real food. Also on Monday, the physical therapist put a cast on his right leg. The cast is the first of a series of casts. It's called serial casting. Greg has a lot of tightness in his right ankle and this will improve his range of motion. This cast will come off next Monday and a new cast will be put on. We were concerned that Greg would put up a bit of a fight when the cast was being applied. But, he actually did really well. He doesn't really like the cast. He says, "It sucks." It makes it harder for him to move his leg because it is so heavy, but he is doing just fine with it on. Tuesday was a big day....sort of a turning point! He ate a WHOLE cup of pudding during speech therapy! Now, remember I was excited when he took one bite? So, imagine how exciting it was to hear this! He not only ate the pudding, but he also fed it to himself. The speech therapist held the cup, and he scooped! Since Greg did this, the speech therapist decided to put him on a diet. He is now getting three meals a day...and tube feeding only at night. All his food has to be pureed and his liquids have to be nectar consistency. Someone has to be there while he is eating and we cannot just bring him food yet. Greg doesn't cough or show any other signs of aspiration (meaning the food/liquid is going into his lungs), but they are still taking precautions in case he is a silent aspirator (which I believe he is NOT!) On Wednesday, I got there at lunchtime and the nurses were struggling with getting him to eat. So, I said I would help him because I knew that he would do better with me. He ate a whole cup of pudding, a whole cup of orange juice, and half of the mashed potatoes on the plate. Today, I was also there during his lunch. He ate cut up strawberries with his speech therapist. He also ate all his pudding, some applesauce and about half of the pureed chicken. So, we are off to a good start with eating! He is still getting 50% of his calories from tube feeding at night.

Not only is he doing good eating, but yesterday during physical therapy, he did a great job walking! He used the walker and walked a good 20 feet, maybe more. It's always exciting for me to see this! The physical therapist said this was the best she's seen him walk because he kept his trunk straighter than before.

Greg is just so cute! He says the sweetest things! I love him soooo much! Ellie is not allowed inside the hospital (kids under 14 are not allowed) so we have to visit in the cafeteria or outside. So, she doesn't get to go with me everyday. Greg always tells me, "I miss that baby girl." This week he started telling me, "I thought she was going to be a boy, but she's a girl. That's a good thing!" Last week, I was able to bring her on Fri, Sat, and Sun, so Greg was really happy about that! He told me the other day, "I love you and Ellie together." One day, he didn't want to give the CNA his arm to take his blood pressure. So I had to tell him that he had to have it done. The nurse said, "Wow. You really listen to your wife." He said, "She's my wife." Then he said, "I have to listen to her. You can't be mean to your wife." Oh the things that he says just bring a smile to my face. He always says he want to marry me again and renew our vows. So I tell him that we'll go to Hawaii and do that!

Greg is such a sponge! He is relearning things at a fast rate. He copies things that are said and done, just like a child would do. It is so important to be careful about what you say and do around him. The nurses and therapists (and me too!) work hard at discouraging any bad behaviors or things that he should not be saying/doing. He has to learn what is appropriate. This is REALLY important to his recovery. But most of all he needs encouragement and positive reinforcement. He responds so well to a simple "You're doing good Greg!"

Although this has been a great week, I have been going through a lot of different emotions. Greg and I dated for 6 years before we got married. One of the things that I really looked forward to when we were about to be married was the fact that I would be able to wake up next to him every morning for the rest of my life. For the past 15 months, we have not been able to do that. Every day I miss him being by my side, but the other night as I was trying to sleep, I REALLY missed having him next to me. But, as my best friend told me, I have that to look forward to again. When you share every intimate detail of your life with someone, like Greg and I did, it's hard to suddenly not have that anymore. He was the first person I would talk to about everything and I was the first person that he'd talk to about everything. He is recovering and we will get back to that, but that doesn't make the mean time easier. So tonight as you fall asleep next to your husband or wife, thank God that you have him/her by your side!

By Jesus' stripes, Greg WAS healed! Greg has the mind of Christ!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just an Update....

Hello all! I just wanted to give you an update on what has happened the past few days. I was told that the average stay at Casa Colina for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) patient is 4-6 weeks! Greg has a lot to work on in that time period!! When I got there yesterday, he was in the standing frame. He was doing really well and he was standing pretty straight. The pictures show him in the standing frame. In the one with me, he was showing me that he's taller than me!

Greg has been pretty happy at Casa Colina, but he keeps saying that he wants to go home. He says, "My baby is waiting for me." Everyone keeps telling him that he's here to work hard so that he CAN go home. He has to do this therapy first and there are a lot of things that he has to do (like walk, eat, etc, etc) before he can go home. I don't think this concept has completely sunk in yet, but we'll just keep repeating it.

Today when I got there, Greg was sitting in his wheel chair in his room, watching TV. There is a phone in the room and it was on his lap. There's an on/off button on it and the phone was on. I asked him what he was doing with it and he said, "Calling you." Also today, he drank water from a cup! This is something that sounds so small to most people, but it's a big deal for Greg because he has not done this in 15 months. You can see him doing this in the picture to the left. He put the cup up to his mouth, tipped his head back, and put the water in his mouth. Then...he swallowed it!! Yay! After that, Greg had to go to Audiology. They check the hearing of every patient who is getting Speech Therapy. The woman conducting the hearing test put earbuds in both of his ears and she explained to him that he needed to raise his hand when he heard a sound. I was kinda wondering if Greg would perform correctly. I sat right next to him and watched him intently because I couldn't hear what he was hearing. It was so cute to watch. He was really concentrating...then I'd see him lift his hand every few seconds! He did great! And his hearing is normal as well. After Audio, he went to PT. He was very sleepy in PT today. Oh well, he'll do better tomorrow. He was supposed to get a cast on his leg today. His right ankle is very tight and he doesn't put his foot flat. The procedure is called serial casting and it is a noninvasive way to improve his range of motion. He didn't get it today because the Physical Therapist wanted to hold off a few days. She thought it might be a little too soon and she wanted to speak with the doctor about it first. She is thinking we'll go ahead with it on Monday though.

Another thing that Greg did on his own today was brush his teeth! He also gave himself mouthwash out of a cup and then spit it back into the tray. It is so great to see him doing things for himself. I am learning a whole new approach with Greg. He used to not be able to do anything for himself, so everyone did everything for him. He has become a bit lazy. He'll even say, "You do it for me." So, now we have to MAKE him do things on his own.

I'm almost done...I promise! Since I was taking pics, I gave Greg my camera. If I would've done this a few months would've ended up on the floor...broken. Anyway, he took a pic of me! It's not a great pic, but I like it because Greg took it. I didn't even have to show him how to take the pic...he knew what to do! Ok...I'm done...THE END!

"Greg can do all things through Christ who strengthens him!"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Well, Here Goes!

This is something I should've done a looong time ago! I have thought about it thousands of times, but could never bring myself to actually start typing. But, as the cliche goes...better late than never...right? So, here goes my first blog! It has been 15 months since Greg's accident. Waaaaay too long! It has been the toughest 15 months of my life. But, I do know that the Lord has completely healed Greg! Greg has now been at Casa Colina for a week! The picture above shows us on the way to Casa Colina. He is so ready for the intense therapy that they provide. I love that they have such high expectations for him there. They don't take excuses. They are working on getting him to stand, walk, eat, and use the toilet. Last week I got to be with him during physical therapy a couple of days. He did so well and I could really see him working hard! They put him in a standing frame, which is basically a chair that cranks up to standing position. They also put him on a machine that is like a walker. They strapped him in and had him put one foot in front of the other. He walked about 25 feet two days in a row! The last machine I've seen him on is called NuStep. It's sort of like a bike, but he has to move all four limbs. As soon as the therapist put him in the seat, Greg just started going with it! She didn't even have to tell him exactly what to do. He was so proud of himself! He had a HUGE smile and said, "Yay me!" Another thing I loved that I saw with the therapists is that they are so encouraging. They kept telling him that he's doing a good job. He really responds to that. Greg just kept saying "Yay me!" I think he's realizing that he can do these things! Today was a little different story in therapy. His physical therapist is gone until Thurs, so her assistant (whom Greg had not met until today) worked with him. He first tried to get Greg to walk with the walker, but Greg just kept sitting down. So, then he put Greg in the standing frame. Greg was not able to stand in it as long as he did last week because he was feeling pain in his back and his legs. I'm thinking that he is just sore from actually using his muscles more. He's been having good "workouts" and those muscles are getting a lot more use than they have in awhile. Greg's dad shaved him today, so he is all nice and clean cut again! It was great because Greg didn't resist (he used too!!!!), he just lifted his chin and let his dad shave. He just told his dad not to cut him! Right now I am focusing on praying that Greg will begin to eat. Greg has come a long way from where he was a year ago, but God is not done yet. Greg will be 110% whole!!

I also wanted to use this blog as an update on Ellie. She is 11 months old now and walking all over! She has discovered her independence! I am planning her first birthday party. It is amazing to me that in less than 4 weeks, she's going to be a year old! The baby stage goes by way too quickly. She is so much fun and she has brought so much joy to my life! Greg just loves her too!

I need help with a title for my blog! I'm not very creative with my words, so if you can help with that, please let me know!

Well that's it...until next time! (Now let's see how long it takes for me to write again!)