Monday, April 30, 2012

4/30 Update

So there's pretty exciting news from Lincoln today. The research scientist/doctor we met with is fantastic! She met with Alison this afternoon and had all kinds of good things to say about her and has all kinds of good ideas she wants to try with her. She agreed that her foot movement is the most reliable form of movement to indicate yes/no. And through that, Alison indicated she'd like to try working with a computer to scan and indicate different communication options. The doctor also began working on establishing a long eye blink for "yes" and said Alison did really well with that. Through the long eye blink, she indicated that her vision is blurry or that she was having double vision. So she is going to follow up with the eye doctor and see about getting her another consultation with him to help with that. But tomorrow afternoon, they're going to trial the computer scanning communication and seeing how that works. The technique can be difficult to grasp, so they might try some low-tech, partner-dependent scanning to establish the technique better if it doesn't work right away. But the doctor said getting the yes/no established is the first step, and that Alison is doing well with that already. She thinks Alison is already ready for the next step into more functional and generative communications. To assist with all they are doing, she's recruited Alison's speech therapist from LTACH to stay with her throughout all of this. They were making really good progress and we were sad to have to start over with a new one, so that was great news. Overall, we were extremely encouraged by the report. And we just feel so fortunate that this doctor has taken the time out of her schedule to help us out. She didn't even have to meet with us, and now it sounds like she's really going to invest in Alison to help her as much as she can while we are at Madonna. And that is incredible. I'm now back in KC, and my family is back in Liberal. We had a nice weekend together with Alison. Her aunt Sally is with her now, and they've had a nice time today too. She's even been working on the long eye blink too and is seeing it work. : ) I'm expecting that in the next couple of weeks, Alison's going to be figuring out all kinds of new ways to talk to us. And I have a feeling that's going to make her really excited. Thanks for all of your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

4/29 Update

Alison and I had a pretty good day today. It was pretty rainy here in Lincoln, but that didn't stop us from having a good day. It wasn't too eventful, but it's Sunday, so that's okay. We all watched Nacho Libre together (one of our favorites) and had some good laughs. And we continued working on her vocalizing. Tomorrow morning should be interesting. We're meeting with the research scientist/doctor who specializes in assistive technologies for communication in the morning to see if she has any creative ideas that might help Alison. I told Alison I'd be back to see her bright and early - so to get some rest tonight. And I'm going to do the same. I'll head back to KC right after our morning meeting. Thanks for all of your continued prayers and support.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

4/28 Update

Alison had a pretty good day today. My mom, brother and nephew arrived this afternoon and we hung out and had a nice time. We moved into a private room just before they arrived, so we had plenty of space to spread out. I was originally planning on heading back to KC tomorrow afternoon - as usual. But I've arranged to meet with a doctor and research scientist here at Madonna on Monday morning who specializes in assistive technology to help patients like Alison figure out creative ways to communicate again. I truly feel that if we can figure out a way to communicate, it will allow her recovery to really progress. That said, this evening Alison was VERY vocal with us. At one point she was getting pretty darn close to saying "hi" to us. And she was getting pretty excited about it too! : ) So hopefully we can keep it up! Please continue to send positive thoughts and prayers that Alison's communicating will take solid shape. Thanks so much for all of your support.

Friday, April 27, 2012

4/27 Update

Alison and I had a pretty fun day together. She had a full day of therapies that she tolerated well, and even engaged in to some extent. With a few different therapists, we were showing off her ability to activate the button with her foot to indicate "no." We changed it to say, "yes" later in the day, and had some fun with it. Before lunch, I was asking Alison where I should go to eat, and I mentioned Wendy's and remembered how much she likes their chocolate frosties. I told her I was going to bring her back one, and so I did. And when she saw it, she lit up! At first she was crying - I think because she misses things like that and thought she was going to have to watch me eat it in front of her (that'd be mean). But when she realized it was for us to share, she got pretty excited. I brought some to her mouth on a spoon, and she opened her mouth excitedly! When she took it in, I could see her mouth moving it all around. If you'll remember, she's able to swallow, but has had trouble moving it from the front of her mouth to the back of her throat. So seeing that activity was good. I'm not certain she swallowed it (I didn't give her much), but she certainly tasted it. : ) We had the button by her foot, and when I asked her if she still liked frosties, she said "yes" a few times in a row. It was pretty fun, and I think I'm going to do it again sometime. I mean, we're helping her work on swallowing, right?? : ) But overall, we've had a good day together. Her overnight nurse seems really sweet, so that always helps our peace of mind. My family is coming in tomorrow for the weekend, so that should be good too. And they did confirm that Alison will be moving to a private room tomorrow, so that'll give us some more room to spread out. Thanks for your continued support.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

4/26 Update

I arrived in Lincoln this evening to find Alison resting comfortably in her new room in the skilled nursing facility of Madonna called the Transitional Care Unit (TCU). It's nice that she's still under the same roof as she was before and has access to all the things that make Madonna Rehab Hospital a good place to recover. I was under the impression that since she was moving to a lower level of care, that she would have less therapy per day. But her schedule for tomorrow shows just as much therapy (2.5 hours) as she was receiving in LTACH. That's fantastic! There were good reports from her brother and his wife, who returned to KC earlier today. They said she was tracking with her eyes pretty well with one of the therapists, so that's really good. And she's continuing to push the button with her foot to communicate a "no" response to us. I haven't seen it in action yet, but just talking with her about it got her pretty excited. I can't imagine how desperate she is to communicate again - especially knowing how aware she is of all that's going on around her. But she does seem like she's doing good tonight. She looks comfortable, her roommate was quiet, we had a couple good laughs and her nurses seem really nice. They did confirm that they've reserved a private room for her to move into on Saturday, so that'll be good. : ) So all is well tonight in Lincoln. We'll have a full day of therapies tomorrow, so I'm hopeful to have more good news of progress to report. Thanks for all of your continued support.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

4/25 Update

Alison had a pretty eventful day today. An opening in the Transitional Care Unit became available so this afternoon she transferred out of LTACH. But before that, she had a couple really good therapy sessions.The physical therapist commented that Alison showed the most voluntary leg movement they'd ever seen her do. And there's a button tool the speech therapist has been using that Alison can activate with her foot to indicate, "no." Today they made some pretty significant progress in using that tool to communicate. Figuring out how to communicate is one of our biggest goals right now, so we're moving in the right direction. She definitely left LTACH on a high note! : ) She's now settling into her new room in TCU. It's a shared room, but her roommate is a really sweet older lady from what I heard. They're hoping to get her a private room by this weekend. Alison has continued to show a lot of emotion with laughing and crying. This evening, it sounded like she was having a tough time adjusting to her new
surroundings. But the overnight nurse seems really sweet, and that can make all the difference in the world. I'll head up to Lincoln after work tomorrow for the weekend. My mom, brother and nephew will join me on Saturday. In case you missed it, our first Hope For Alison fundraiser is taking place in Pittsburg, KS, on Sunday, May 6. If you
have any ties to Pittsburg, please help us spread the word. There will be other regional fundraisers to come, so stay tuned. Thanks for all of your continued support as we strive to ensure Alison receives the best care possible and the best opportunities to recover."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

4/24 Update

Alison's brother and his wife arrived in Lincoln this afternoon to find Alison full of life and emotion. She was very alert and laughing a lot. : ) She was even vocalizing quite a bit too. I have a feeling reducing those meds the other day was a good move - she seems to be quite a bit more alert in the last few days than she had been. We did hear from the insurance that it's time to move out of LTACH. There's no real medical need to keep her at that hospital level of care, so it makes sense. And although it'd be great if she were engaged enough in her therapy sessions to go to acute rehab, she's not quite ready for that. From LTACH, we'll transfer to a skilled nursing level of care within the same hospital. They call it the Transitional Care Unit (TCU). But there aren't currently any openings in TCU, so Alison will physically stay in LTACH until there's an opening. But this is where it gets interesting. We only have 60 days of skilled nursing per year on our insurance plan. So when we begin nearing that deadline, we'll need to start thinking about the next stage. We're hopeful that while Alison's in skilled nursing, she'll make enough progress to transfer into acute rehab. That would be ideal. But she sounds like she had a really good afternoon, and good therapy sessions too. And last I heard she was resting well tonight. Please continue to send positive thoughts and prayers for our wisdom in making the best decisions on Alison's behalf, and that Alison would continue to recover and show some solid functional gains in the next month or so. Thanks again for your continued support.

Monday, April 23, 2012

4/23 Update

It sounds like Alison had a really nice time with her friends from work that went to visit her in Lincoln today. There was an emotional reunion and departure, but lots of good times in between. They showered her with gifts and love, then treated her to some in-room spa treatments. They said she was really alert and engaged with them and responded with laughter a lot! Her sense of humor is most definitely in tact - and maybe even more pronounced now. : ) I'm waiting for her overnight nurse to call me back just so I can get a report. I'm sure she's fine, but I just need to know. Alison's brother and his wife will be in Lincoln to see her tomorrow afternoon, so that'll be good. I'm sure I'll have more to report tomorrow. Thanks for the continued support.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4/22 Update

Alison and I had a pretty good day today. We went for a ride around the building this morning; saw some flowers, some butterflies, the saltwater fish tank, got some sunshine and fresh air. I think she enjoys getting out and about every now and then. This afternoon we just hung out and took it easy - a good ole' lazy Sunday. We shared a
few good laughs, worked on vocalizing a little and did some range of motion exercises. She was still posturing some, but her heart rate wasn't getting too high, so that's a sign they weren't as intense as they had been. I'm now back in KC, but I've talked with the overnight nurse, and Alison's had a shower this evening and was resting
peacefully afterwards. Her nurse sounded really nice, so that's comforting knowing that none of us are there with her in Lincoln right now. In the morning, Alison's boss and two coworkers will head up to spend the day with her. She's pretty excited to see them - as they are to see her. It should be a nice time and I'm eager to hear all about
tomorrow evening when they return to KC. Alison's brother, Jeff, and his wife, Erica, will head up Tuesday to stay until Thursday when I'll return that evening. It's so nice that she's been able to have loved ones with her almost this entire time. I'm hopeful we can continue that support. We'll have another review with the insurance on Tuesday
afternoon. We'll again be anxious to hear what they say - whether they grant us more time in LTACH, or if they say we need to move on. These last two weeks they granted sure went fast. I'd ask you continue to send prayers and positive thoughts that all would go in favor of whatever is most needed for Alison's continued recovery. Thanks again for all of your support.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

4/21 Update

Alison and I had a good day today. I got to the hospital early hoping to catch the doc and found Alison already awake at 6:30am. Her nurse had given her some anxiety meds to help her relax and rest through the night - which she did, but was up pretty early still. I say that because she didn't take a nap all day and by 9pm she was still up. I again asked the nurse to give her something to help her relax and rest through the night. Alison had an occupational therapy session today that went pretty good. Then we spent most of the afternoon hanging out and watching HGTV. I was able to talk to the doc and they agreed to reduce the amount of muscle relaxer she was on in hopes of raising her level of alertness like it was earlier in the week. And maybe it's just me, but this afternoon she seemed pretty alert and was vocalizing more than she was yesterday. What I mean by vocalizing, is basically doing anything to help figure out how to talk again - so making any kind of sound while moving her mouth around. She's definitely eager to figure it out, so that's good. I'm hopeful tomorrow I'll find her even more alert and engaged in vocalizing. Her body is still tensing up pretty often - what they call posturing. It's not something she can control, but it's not always been this regular. I'm also hopeful tomorrow I'll find her body more relaxed than it has been. But we shared some good times together today, and I'm certainly glad to be here with her as often as I can. It was really hard leaving her this evening, but she needs to rest - as do I. Please pray for her to get a good night's rest and that tomorrow would bring continued improvements.

Friday, April 20, 2012

4/20 Update

Alison had another full day of therapies that she tolerated well, but didn't necessarily make any huge strides during. That's okay though - not every day is going to be a huge success. I have asked that they look into reducing the amount of muscle relaxer she's currently on. They recently upped her dosage, and we think she was more alert and was more successfully engaging her therapy sessions prior to the increase. We're hoping they'll agree and consider reducing it. She's not lethargic, but she's not as alert as she had been toward the beginning of the week. This evening, she seemed pretty uncomfortable, so I asked them to give her some anxiety meds to help her relax overnight. While talking to the nurse and Alison about it, Alison acted as if she wouldn't mind at all if she got some meds to help her relax. It seemed like every few minutes or so, her body would tense up and her heart rate would shoot up. So it's been difficult for her to really relax much this afternoon/evening. We don't have any huge plans for the weekend. Alison may get some occupational therapy over the weekend, otherwise we'll just hang out and do some standard range-of-motion exercises, and maybe go exploring around the hospital and get a little sunshine. Thanks for all of your continued thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4/19 Update

Well I arrived in Lincoln around 8pm this evening to find Alison pretty alert, but kind of uncomfortable. Her head was pulling pretty hard to the left and her heart rate was a little elevated. None of these things are overly concerning - almost to be expected under the circumstances. I just hope she's able to rest well tonight. She had another busy, but productive, day of therapies today, and will surely have another full day tomorrow. The reports from the hospital staff are even beginning to show progress - something we'd not heard much of up to this point. So that's encouraging. She's starting to more consistently respond to certain requests during her therapy sessions. Her vocalizing seems to be progressing really well, and there were reports of her moving her head to activate a button today too, so that's all good. I'm not going to bug her much tonight - she needs her rest. But I'm eager to see her in action tomorrow. : ) Thanks for all of your continued positive thoughts, prayers and encouragement. I hope to have another good report tomorrow night. : )

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

4/18 Update

The word from Lincoln today is that Alison had another hard day of therapies and is overall not real excited about things. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to stay motivated and not get too frustrated with everything that's been going on. On the bright side, she had a really good speech therapy session today. She's historically not been very engaged with her therapists, but today, for the first time, she was trying really hard to work on vocalizing. So that's encouraging. I'll head up to Lincoln tomorrow after work for the weekend. I'm sure looking forward to seeing her. Like yesterday, I'd ask you to continue to pray and send positive thoughts for strength, healing and perseverance through all of these necessary aspects of her recovery. And thanks so much for all you continue to do to support us.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4/17 Update

Alison's report from Lincoln today started with her being very vocal and working hard to communicate. But then her therapies started and they worked her pretty hard today - which is good, but still hard for her to handle sometimes. They cut the cast off her leg only to find they hadn't gained much mobility this time, so they casted it again. And in addition to the cast she already had on her left hand/arm, they added a third cast to her right arm today. In the end, she now has casts on three of her four limbs and was pretty uncomfortable as a result. The casts are intended to correct improper positioning, so we know they're necessary even though they're not much fun sometimes. After dinner, she seemed to be a bit more relaxed, so we're hoping she's able to rest well overnight because she'll have another big day of therapies tomorrow. Please continue to pray and send positive thoughts for strength, healing and perseverance through all of this.

Monday, April 16, 2012

4/16 Update

I received an encouraging report from Alison's dad in Lincoln today. She had a full day of therapies and continues to work hard on her vocals. I even received a call this evening from them and Alison was making all kinds of fun sounds for me. : ) She's really trying hard to figure things out. Pray she keeps motivated to work hard in all her therapies and that progress would continue. Thanks for all of your continued support.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

4/15 Update

Alison had a pretty good day today. She didn't have a fever all day, and was very alert and responding to a lot of different things. She was pretty emotional today, so there was some crying involved, but that's just another sign of life and of her level of awareness. But there was a lot more laughing today than crying - we had a good time hanging out together. I'm pretty sure she yawned for her first time today. The reason I think it was the first time, was because we were both really excited and surprised when it happened and she would laugh after every time. And her dad, step mom and puppy, Piper, showed up this afternoon too. That's always fun. Piper gave her lots of kisses and cleaned her ears out - Alison sure enjoyed it. : ) On my drive home this afternoon, Alison's dad told me they were helping Alison make an "uh-huh" sound upon request. That's really good news as we're working hard to establish a solid form of communication. Please pray that she would grasp on to that and use it as a means to help us help her. It's an awfully good step in the right direction. Overall, it was a good end to my weekend with her. It's always hard to leave, but I'm excited about the week to come and know she's in good hands. Thanks for all of your continued positive thoughts, prayers and everything else you're doing to support us.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

4/14 Update

Alison awoke this morning to another fever of 102 and seemed a bit uncomfortable - as expected. They gave her some Tylenol and a little while later it was down to 100 and she seemed to be feeling better. Throughout the day, the temperature has remained around 100, but thankfully no higher. And she wasn't acting as if she felt terrible, so that's good. But they still haven't been able to confirm what the infection is... She had an occupational therapy session around 11am. They don't always come on the weekends, but it was a nice surprise. After that, they helped her into her wheelchair for a bit. I continued some light range-of-motion activities, and she's consistently able to move her left arm upon request. It's not a huge movement, but it's definitely intentional. She had a nice long nap on this stormy Saturday afternoon, and is already asleep again this evening. But sleep is good when you're sick. We're certainly looking forward to tomorrow though. Alison's dad and step mom will head up in the morning, and will stop in KC to pick up our dog, Piper, to bring up tomorrow afternoon. That'll be great! I'll then bring Piper back to KC with me that evening. Thanks for all of the continued support. : )

Friday, April 13, 2012

4/13 Update

Alison is a lot more comfortable today than she's been the past couple of days. They were able to get her PICC line in pretty easily so her antibiotics have started back up. Her temperature has been normal all day despite not having the meds until later this afternoon. But first thing this morning, I could tell she was feeling a little better - not nearly as lethargic as she was yesterday. They swapped out the cast on her ankle for one that would help bring her foot up into a more natural upright position. The first cast successfully brought her foot back up 5 degrees from where it had dropped before. So this new one should continue that progress. They also got her started on some Singulair for her seasonal alergies - that should help a lot. They still haven't received the lab results back for the cultures they sent off. But I supposed it doesn't matter as long as her fever stays away and she's feeling better. She had a pretty full day of therapies too - despite all the extra things going on. We've had a pretty good time together, and shared some good laughs throughout the day. We're still working on establishing a method of communicating through yes/no commands, but we're not quite there yet. She has established a pretty good raising of the right side of her top lip - almost like an Elvis look, that she's using on occasion to show her lack of excitement for certain necessary things like suctioning her mouth - which she hates. : ) Thank you all for your continued positive thoughts and prayers. I really feel like we've made it over a bit of a hurdle and are back on the track to recovery.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

4/12 Update

I arrived in Lincoln a little after 8pm tonight to find Alison's temp down around 99, so that's good. But she still looks pretty lethargic as if the infection is still causing trouble. They moved her to a room with a working AC and have kept cold washcloths on her head and ice packs under her arms. She was on antibiotics yesterday, but today her veins closed up and they haven't been able to get another line in. She really needs those meds so they're going to put in a pic (?) line in the morning, and an infectious disease doc will see her too. She has a bit of phlegm from her sinus' that I've been suctioning from her mouth. But her lungs are clear, so they doubt it's pneumonia, but it could be a sinus infection or something else. We're still not sure. Her nose sounds congested and she's not breathing through her mouth much. I've told them numerous times of her seasonal allergies, and tis the season. She's had a rough couple of days, and probably has a couple more ahead. Please pray for the infection to pass and the meds to work so Alison can get back on the road to recovery.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11 Update

So the good news from Lincoln today is that the insurance has given Alison two more weeks in LTACH! We were thinking we'd get one more week at best, so that was good news. On the other hand, Alison's had a temperature between 102-104 for the last couple of days, and she's not feeling so well (as expected). They've started some more antibiotics and have some labs in the works to figure out what's going on. Her brother got there tonight and will be there most of tomorrow. I'll head up after work tomorrow for the weekend. Please pray that the antibiotics would work to fight the infection and that Alison would rest well tonight and wake up tomorrow feeling better. I'm sure glad we're still in LTACH right now - it's a good place to be to fight off infections. Thanks for everything.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

4/10 Update

Well the big news from Lincoln today was that they removed Alison's trach! We weren't expecting that to happen today, although we knew we were on track for it to happen soon. So she no longer has the tube in her throat that was helping her breath - but also causing discomfort. She's breathing just like the rest of now, and the hole in her throat should close up on its own. Otherwise, she had another full day of therapy. This evening she had a temp (101.5) and her white cell count was up to 16, so there's still a bit of an infection to fight off. I didn't hear how the call with the insurance went today, but I'll call them by tomorrow afternoon if I've still not heard. Alison's brother, Jeff, will be going to Lincoln tomorrow afternoon to relieve her aunt and uncle who've been there since Sunday. I'll go down after work Thursday to relieve Jeff and stay through the weekend. Thanks for everyone's continued positive thoughts and prayers.

Monday, April 9, 2012

4/9 Update

I received a good update on Alison from Aunt Sally today. Alison got the cast on her arm cut off and they're planning to put an even straighter one on tomorrow. Additionally, they're planning on putting a cast on her ankle to help it return to a more normal position so that atrophy doesn't set in. These are both good things. She had another full day of therapies today as well. Her temperature had gone down and her heart rate was normal throughout the day. When I talked to Sally this evening, I was able to talk to Alison on the phone and she was humming a lot for me so that was fun.  Sally said they did some testing of the eye patch on her stronger right eye, and the therapist seemed to think it helped her left eye some. Overall, it seems to have been another good day for Alison. We have our first call with the insurance tomorrow to review her progress. We probably won't know anything right away, but we're praying that the next best step for Alison will be available for us. Thanks for all of your continued positive thoughts and prayers. : )

Sunday, April 8, 2012

4/8 Update

Alison had another good day today. When we arrived a bit after 8am they had already gotten her dressed for the day. We came in with a pink stuffed bunny rabbit for Easter and listened to a sermon from our church online. After that, we did some range of motion stretches and she was able to do the same things as she did yesterday. If you allow her enough time to really concentrate (20-30 seconds), she can move her arms and legs a little bit. That really is incredible. And this should continue to improve over time. Then we got her into her chair and went for a walk/ride. We looked at the fish, threw a dime in a fountain, looked at some flowers and got a little fresh air and sun before coming back to the room. After lunch, my mom headed back to Liberal. This afternoon Alison took a good nap (very common for Alison on weekends). : ) The nurse told me she had a 101 temp so they were giving her some Tylenol for that. The AC in her room hadn't been working the last couple of days, so that, paired with the UTI, could explain it. Alison was also able to smile a bit for two of her nurses, and that about made their day. : ) I'll head back to KC in a bit and her aunt and uncle will be in from Columbia by about 7pm and stay until Wednesday. Thanks for the continued positive thoughts and prayers - we sure appreciate it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

4/7 Update

Alison, my mom and I all had a pretty good Saturday together. We started off with my mom painting Alison's toe nails for her. : ) Then they got Alison dressed and up in her chair and we proceeded to help her with some range of motion stretches. On more than one occasion, Alison was able to push down her right arm and leg a little for us. That was pretty exciting. We worked with her throughout the day to help strengthen her mouth and vocal muscles. And we continued to see some clear signs of her being able to see things. A dear friend and former colleague called and did a face time chat with her. And you should have seen the look on Alison's face when she saw her friend's face on her phone's screen. She looked really happy and surprised at the same time. : ) That was fun. Later in the afternoon we got to watch some HGTV and it was once again evident that she was taking it in. And she sure perked up when the mailman came with three cards for her. : ) Overall, it was another pretty good day. She continues to make small but steady steps of progress. When we asked her to help move her leg for us, it would take a little time for her brain to get the signal but it happened. And she got pretty excited when it happened - as did we. So keep the positive thoughts and prayers coming. We've got a long road ahead, but we're working hard. Thanks for everything you all are doing for us. It's greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 6, 2012

4/6 Update

Alison had another good day of hard work. She started by getting her first shower in a while, and after being woken up by some pesky respiratory folks, she was doing a lot better afterwards. So from about 9:30am–4:30pm she was out of bed and in her chair. First up was physical and occupational therapies where they took her to stand up again. And today she doubled her time from yesterday and was on her feet for 18 minutes. Even though she requires almost total assistance to stand, supporting her own weight helps develop the muscle tone needed for future progress. After that she had individual therapies until after 3pm, and we even took her down to a courtyard and looked at some pretty flowers and got a little sun. They also capped her trach completely for most of today. That's a pretty big deal which means she was breathing 100% on her own. They just came by to remove the cap and give her a break for the night. But her breathing continues to be really good. They did start her on an antibiotic tonight to treat a UTI, but that's not too worrisome. But since her medical condition has improved so much (breathing, infections, fever, heart rate, etc.), they feel it may prove difficult to keep her in the LTACH much longer. So we've been discussing the different level of care options from here. Most likely we'd try to go to Madonna's Transitional Care Unit (TCU - skilled nursing), but we'll see how the review with the insurance company goes on Tuesday and go from there. My mom arrived this afternoon and will stay with me until Sunday. Alison continues to show a lot of emotion in her face with laughs and cries in response to whatever's happening at the moment. Over the weekend we'll continue to help her progress but she won't have any actual therapy sessions. As we near our first weekly review with insurance on Tuesday, please pray that wherever Alison needs to be to continue to recover would be made available. Thanks for everything you all continue to do for us.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

4/5 Update

Alison and I had a nice time hanging out today. She had about 2.5 hours of therapy throughout the day. Physical and occupational therapies helped get her down to the rehab area where they helped her stand up for nine minutes. She had some help, but the goal was to allow her legs to support her body weight so it was a success. After that, speech therapy took her for a swallow test. They put a small video camera up her nose and down her throat to see the activity firsthand. Her vocal chords and everything looked really good and seemed to be healthy. Alison was having a hard time moving ice chips from the front of her mouth to the back of her throat, but they'll be working on that. They also tried putting on an eye patch for a bit, but it didn't seem to do a whole lot. They did recommend she see the neuro-ophthalmologist so that should help. They have all kinds of things to help strengthen the eyes. In all, she worked really hard today and it went pretty well. And we'll have another full day tomorrow. Any positive thoughts and prayers for continued alertness and strength are appreciated. : )

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4/4 Update

Well I've made it to Lincoln and just finished visiting with Alison. I know it had been only three days, but her eyes seem so much more alert and engaged than I remember them being - that's fantastic! I wasn't sure if she could see much at all before, but tonight it looked like she was really taking things in. : ) Plus, we were able to share a few laughs and that's always good. They put a cast on her arm in order to straighten it out this morning and she had a neck brace on tonight too. But I told her to rest well tonight; she has another big day of therapy tomorrow. I'm sure glad to be here though. She really seems to be making progress.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

4/3 Update

The report from Alison's dad was very encouraging today. He said that Alison had a good day. And for him to say that is a bit more exciting than me saying that (I tend to be overly optimistic sometimes). He said she has the talking tube in her trach now, so she's beginning to experiment more with using her vocal chords again. He said they were practicing saying, "I love you." and he thinks she mouthed the word, "I." But like I said yesterday, you've got to start somewhere! They're going to put a cast on her left arm tomorrow to begin straightening it
back out. Over the past few weeks, it's gotten pretty tight to her chest, so this should help prevent atrophy from setting in. They've also mentioned the possibility of putting an eye patch over her left eye. That eye has been more inactive than the other, so they want to let the other eye strengthen and that should help. And if the eyes aren't aligned, double vision occurs, so a patch would help that too. She also responded really well to a nice card she got from her coworkers today. So thanks for sending that, MetroCare/NorthlandCare! So she's continuing to work hard to get better. I was reminded today about how lucky we are to have been given a second chance at all with Alison. The strokes she suffered could have easily taken her life. Each new day is a gift, and we intend to make the most out of it, as should all of you. : ) Thanks for your continued support. Your kind words, actions, thoughts and prayers make it easier to press on each new day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

4/2 Update

Today Chris' update comes secondhand since Chris is here in Kansas City working and dad is in Lincoln with Alison. Talking with dad reaffirmed that it's always hard showing up to visit after being away for several days, I think because when you're away from her for several days you hope that the next time you see her she will be showing more and more signs of life, but that's not always the case. That being said, I think it was hard for dad to return with high expectations and not see the progress that he had hoped for. Please pray for us as we continue to walk this long journey. We don't know what expectations we have or what expectations are reasonable. We want to have hope, but we're afraid of getting let down. Please pray that God is merciful on us and that he protects our hearts as we blindly feel our way through these emotions.

Here's Chris' update from yesterday based on what dad observed in Lincoln:

"Alison had a pretty good day today. Her dad reports that she was responding a bit to the commands in her physical therapy sessions. And that while she was laying in bed her legs were twitching a bit. So nothing huge, but those aren't bad things that's for sure. You have to start somewhere! : ) More to come tomorrow."

Jeff & family

Sunday, April 1, 2012

4/1 Update

I've made it home from Lincoln, and Alison's dad will be with her until I return later in the week. I took Alison for a walk this morning (via wheelchair). We explored the halls of the rehab hospital, enjoyed looking at some saltwater fish in the hospital's aquarium and got a little fresh air and sun. She was fairly alert through the walk and it was her first time being completely off of any breathing assistance and she did just fine. When she's up in the chair, her mouth moves a lot more than when she's laying in bed. They use a lift to get her out of bed and into the chair, so I was joking with her about it being like a swing and she laughed. Getting her to laugh is a pretty consistent way to be reassured that she's in there. She'd cry too, but that's not as fun. ; ) I hope I'm not misleading anyone that she's making huge strides of improvement everyday. The signs of improvement are small if anything. She still can't move anything but her eyes and mouth. And I'm not sure she can see even though her eyes are open. But I'm hopeful each day because I know she can hear us and understands what we say. And I'm hopeful each day because there are signs of activity in her mouth and throat - meaning that she might be talking again some day. And we have to keep in mind that it's only been three weeks since the stroke. And she's not even been in Lincoln for a week yet. We cling to each new thing with hope because it's how we keep our sanity. But the journey is just beginning and there's still a lot of improvement to come - Lord willing. We're so glad to have all of your continued prayers and support. It means more than you know.