Mama walked halfway down the hall and then walked back today, so she doubled her distance from yesterday. She’s glad to be in her new room, though she’s getting more anxious about being in the hospital. Mama’s frustrated by the effort it takes to do anything – get up, move around, eat . . . even just laying in the bed is a bit of an effort because she switches between hot and cold so often. The doctors have hinted that she may get to leave the hospital this week and move to Brooks Rehabilitation where she’ll likely be an in-patient for a while. She’s talking a LOT more and is having regular conversations with us now. She didn’t sleep much last night, so hopefully her anxiety will go down some so that she’ll be able to get some sleep!
Day 14, Night
Mama’s appetite has gotten a lot better today – she had about half of her pancakes and banana at breakfast, most of her turkey sandwich at lunch, and all of her Cheerios and half a piece of pie for supper! She’s also starting to feed herself some – if we cut up the food, she’s pretty good at getting it to her mouth. Mama walked halfway down the hallway again, and I think she could have walked back to her room if she hadn’t gotten dizzy from turning around.
She’s still quite restless, and she’s so sick of being in the hospital. She’s really ready to go home, and she was THRILLED when they released her from the SICU and moved her to a new, regular hospital room this evening. Now the nurses will check her vitals every 4 hours instead of every hour, so hopefully she’ll get more sleep than she’s been getting. They’re also removing some of the monitors from her, and since she hates all the beeping noises, she should be more comfortable now.
Day 13, Afternoon
Sorry for the late update – yesterday I was at work all day and then I flew back to Jacksonville last night, so now is the first chance I’m having to update.
Yesterday they removed the feeding tube and she started eating some real food (though when we ask her how her food was, the answer is often “yuck”). Today they did a minor surgical procedure to remove the filter near her heart (to break up blood clots) that they had put in previously, and once she was finished with that she wanted a Coke so bad! She’s been doing very well with food so far.
Before she went into the surgery, she had a visit from both the physical therapist and the speech therapist. With the help of a walker and two physical therapist, she was actually able to walk halfway down the long hallway outside of her room, and her steps are getting more confident. After that, the speech therapist showed her some cards and asked her to read them, which she did very well. They asked her some questions and math problems, and she answered most of them correctly. Then they asked her to write some things, including her own name. While the handwriting is no where near her regular handwriting, she was able to write all the letters for both her first and last name just fine!
She’s resting a bit now, but she hasn’t really slept any during the day today, and she’s talking a lot more. She’s saying some sentences, but mostly she’s still just saying words and phrases. She’s starting to show more interest and wanting things, so that’s great!
Day 11, Morning
Mama had a restless night last night. As her body becomes more aware, she is now realizing that she can’t find a good position in her bed, the leg massagers that help prevent blood clots are uncomfortable, etc. We’re so happy that her body is waking up all over, but we hate for her to be so agitated, and I know that she is feeling frustrated.
She’s really enjoying ice chips and yogurt right now. When I spoke with Daddy earlier he said that she was sitting in a chair, and they were going to be trying to get her to walk a bit more today. Her room is the last one on the hallway, and there’s a large window at the end of the hallway, so the goal today was to help her walk out of her room and down to the window.
As she’s starting to become more alert, she’s also a lot more aware of where she is and what is going on. Today she told both Bo and Daddy that she’s scared, so our newest challenge is trying to reassure her that she’s getting better and making great progress, so she doesn’t need to be afraid. Please pray not only for her continued progress but also for her to find some confidence in her abilities and some peace about her recovery. She’s doing so well and the doctors have been pleased every day.
Day 10, Morning
It was a productive and busy morning. Early morning Debbie was moved to a chair in order for her to sit up more and to offer a change from the bed. She liked that. She was tested for her ability to swallow and can now be given ice chips and we can begin introducing light foods. The feeding tube will remain in place for at least a couple more days. Occupational therapy worked with her for muscle tone and exercise. We will continue with the exercises throughout the days. Physical therapy came later in the morning, and with their assistance she took about seven small steps. They were very pleased with her progress. Debbie’s voice has improved slightly but still can only put together a few words at a time.
Your prayers are being answered and are much appreciated by Debbie and our family. She is aware of your thoughts and prayers.
Day 9, Evening
Mama was quiet for the majority of the day, with lots of resting and sleep. The neurosurgeon reviewed the cat scan results with Bo and Daddy, and it shows signs of improvement. The doctors are still encouraged by her progress. Today her voice has been slowly getting stronger. She’s still just saying words and short phrases, but she’s getting a little better about speaking louder.
Day 9, Morning
Yesterday was a good day, but a rough day. With her off the ventilator, she was able to communicate with us a little bit – if we held our ear really close to her mouth we could hear “hot,” “water,” and “get the nurse.” However, she did get a bit overstimulated yesterday. She was fairly restless and agitated which is both good and bad. It’s good in that her body is waking up more, she’s becoming more alert, and she’s moving around some. It’s bad because she’s frustrated and scared, and the agitation made her heart rate and blood pressure get a little higher than we would like.
Today has been much calmer. She’s slept a lot of the day which has been good for her, and she doesn’t seem nearly as restless as she was yesterday. They took her down for another cat scan just to see how she’s progressing, so hopefully we’ll have those results this evening.
She got her first visit from the speech therapist today, and she’s doing well. She was able to say the days of the week for us, though it’s still really really quiet. The speech therapist also evaluates Mama for swallowing. Yesterday the nurse gave her an ice chip because she really wanted water badly, but she didn’t do so well with it (which was to be expected). The speech therapist tried again today and Mama did a lot better, but still not quite well enough to get the OK for regular ice chips. We’ll try again tomorrow and see how she does. We’re encouraging her to use her voice to get her strength back up.
We also told her a little bit about why she’s here. She knows that she fell and hit her head and had to have some surgery, but that everything went really well and that the doctors have nothing but good things to say about her progress. We don’t want to focus on that too much, but we also didn’t want her to feel anxious about being in the hospital without knowing why she is here.
Day 8, Morning
Mama slept well throughout the night, and this morning the doctors decided to remove her ventilator! She was awake and answering some questions this morning by squeezing our fingers and nodding her head, and ever since they removed the tube she’s been sleeping. She still has not spoken. The occupational therapist said that her muscles are starting to get a little stiff, so we’ll be doing some new exercises with her this afternoon.
Day 7, Evening
The surgery went well – it was actually a bit of a nonevent. She was gone for an hour, and when she came back she seemed to be as alert as she was when she left. All afternoon she continued to answer questions and follow us with her eyes, though it seemed like she couldn’t quite get comfortable. I suppose that’s a good thing, because she’s got more awareness with her body, but it was little frustrating for Bo and I because we never could quite figure out what was making her uncomfortable.
We have not seen a doctor since this morning, so perhaps we’ll have news about the ventilator tomorrow. Based on her movements today, I’m pretty sure she’s ready to get rid of that! All her vitals are good, and the swelling in her face and neck seem to have gone down a little tonight. She’s been sleeping pretty well since around 6pm or so – I hope she continues sleeping like this throughout the night so that she can get some good rest after so much movement today.
Day 7, Morning
Last night was a quiet night – she woke up a couple of times and answered some questions for me by squeezing my hand, but mostly she just slept which was good for her. This morning she’s been very active – answering lots of questions, lifting her head for the doctor, lots of toe wiggles/thumbs up/hand squeezes. She’s been answering our questions by squeezing our fingers and also by nodding/shaking her head slightly.
About 10 minutes ago they wheeled her out to take her down to surgery to get the filter put in. The best guess estimate is that it’ll take about an hour to do the procedure, and then she’ll be back up in her room. The doctors have been very pleased with her progress this morning, and if all goes well in surgery today and she continues like she has been, they’re hopeful that they can remove the ventilator soon.