Monday, August 3, 2009

8/3 Progress and Changes

Today was another day of progress, but also a day of changes.

A Private Room...Finally!!

Over the last week, Dad has been at Manor Care in Barberton. We were told that a private room would be available last Friday, however, the person occupying that room decided to stay longer. This was very disappointing to us.

First and foremost, we have been told that a person recovering from a brain injury needs quiet and rest. We have had doctors and nurses tell us that even the background noise of a TV or overhead lights can force the brain to use all of its energy to filter this stimulation instead of using that energy for healing. Therefore, having a roommate is not ideal for Dad's diagnosis.

And even though Dad's roomate is a nice guy, he is also hard of hearing. Therefore, when the health care workers come in to talk to him, they talk VERY loud! Not usually good for dad. The other negative is the extra germs in the room from his roomate's cough. I'm sure it is not ideal to be in the same room with someone who is coughing germs into the air.

Therefore, due to these concerns of having a roommate (as well as safety concerns and trach care), we were seriously considering transferring Dad to a new facility.

However, Dad's friend Sherri Sanchez decided to talk to the family in the private room about Dad's situation. And after talking with them, they decided to leave today which allows Dad to be in a private room tonight with his own bathroom. Woo Hoo!! One problem solved!

Physical Therapy Changes

We were disappointed to find out that Dad's Physical Therapist was laid off as of today. However, the Physical Therapy Assistant working with Dad is now taking over his case and she has 11 years experience working with brain injuries at Edwin Shaw Rehab Center. Auburn was very impressed with her work today. She talked calmly and quietly to not overstimulate him. She has a different approach than the other therapist, but Dad seemed to respond to her.

Physical Therapy Progress

The physical therapist stood Dad with the external support of a device. She then lowered him into a squat and you'll won't believe it...but, Dad then proceeded to perform seven squats in standing on command! She was going to do passive exercises on his legs, but said she didn't need to, his muscles are already working and active.

She also worked on weight shifting in standing...bumping his hips from one side to another. She said it's still too early to work on walking even though Dad seemed to want to advance his legs.

They also put electric stimulation on Dad's neck/shoulder area earlier in the day. This is done to stimulate the nerve endings. Later, he was lifting his head and shoulders off the bed as if he wanted to sit up. This is a new movement. While he was doing this, Auburn took his hands and he easily sat up on the edge of the bed.

Safety Concerns and Issues

The Speech Therapist is still working proactively with Dad to wean him from the trach. The sooner the better.

Today, Auburn saw Dad reaching for his trach and wrapping his hand around it. Then, he gently unwrapped his hand from the trach and lowered it again. The safety concern is that he may try to grab and pull out his trach. As people recover from a coma and become more active, they can also become agitated. Therefore, the doctors and nurses in the hospital warned us that he might try to pull out his trach. The Occupational Therapist has tried different things to deal with this, but really hasn't found a good solution yet. They did say that you can use a big mitt over the person's hands, but it is also considered a restraint, which skilled nursing facilities in Ohio aren't allowed to use. Therefore, we are still working with them to find a way to get the mitts. He wouldn't need them all the time, only when he is alone in the room.

As Dad has gotten more active, the other safety issue is his increased risk for falls. Since they aren't able to use restraints, they can't use bed rails. Therefore, they have an order for his bed to stay low to the ground with matting surrounding it. For a few days they hired someone to come and sit with him during the night, but they informed us today that they will no longer be able to do this for us. However, with him being transferred to a private room, it will open up the opportunity for Auburn to stay the night with him more often. However, she is still looking for people in the area that would be willing to volunteer and come and sit with him at different times to help give her a break.

Please pray that God would protect Dad regarding these safety issues and pray that God would help us to not worry. Pray that we would discern when we need to be proactive and when we need to trust Him.


So, today was full of updates. To summarize:

  • Dad will be staying at Manor Care in Barberton for now. We will keep our options open and if needed have researched other facilities.
  • He is being transferred to a private room today
  • His physical therapist who will schedule his therapy from 3-4 pm so that he can sit up in a wheelchair for visitors from 5-6pm.
  • He squatted 7 times with support, on command!
  • They started electrical stimulation to his neck and shoulders which seemed to help him sit up on the edge of the bed easier.
  • They are working on weaning him from the trach. The sooner the better.
  • We are still working on the safety issues. I have come to realize that there will most likely be safety issues throughout Dad's healing and recovery due to the brain injury. Please pray that God would protect him and help us not to worry!

Whew! A lot to share today....thanks for your continued prayers and support!


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