6:00PM – I hadn’t seen mom in about 3 days so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had seen the pics of her walking with help from the PT staff, and so I was really excited to see her and receive some good news regarding her progress. I wasn’t disappointed; progress has been slow and steady, and she is definitely doing better than the last time I saw her.
Still, it’s difficult to think back 22 days ago…
MY mom walked into the Hospital. Fully mobile. Smiling, laughing, joking; optimistic and mom-like as ever. No IV’s, no feeding tubes, no swelling, no bruising, no suffering…no different than the mom I’ve known for the last 35 years. As I have watched her go through the various stages of this journey, I have seen sides of her that I’ve never seen before; some of which have been very difficult to witness. What I have not seen though, is a side of her that is willing to accept resignation. She’s uncomfortable, she’s sore, she’s bored, she’s frustrated, she’s mentally and physically exhausted; but she endures. I know the side of her that I will be seeing soon, is a side I’ve NEVER seen before; the one that comes out stronger than ever because of what she’s been through.
Pic: Object Association can be a powerful therapeutic tool to help aide in recovery. My mom’s butt hurts. Butt now (see what I did there?) every time she looks at her sweet inflatable butt donut, she will associate Storm’s happy smiling face with it! Which will in turn help her associate feelings of happiness with her butt. Ipso facto, she’ll end up with a happy smiling butt!
Pic: Rhonda stopped by and delivered some much needed boot-camp-style words of encouragement; not unlike Gunny Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket; with a lot more love and a tad less profanity.
Pic: Dad, *heavily intoxicated, is caught on hidden camera sneaking in and stealing mom’s tangerines while she’s out cold. *on love
Pic: You cut to the core of me DC.
Visiting mom today is a very different experience than it was even a week ago. Personality wise, she is definitely back. She is still very tired, but not nearly as much as last week. This morning she was able to visit with me for about 4 hours without falling asleep. She had listened to the Scriptures on her phone and took the Sacrament before I arrived. Later in the night she had a gang of us show up at once: Andy, Katherine, Eve, Dad, Avery, Storm, Braxton, Lincoln and myself. She isn’t always super talkative due to the tiredness, but she expressed that she really enjoys having family and friends in the room (Medical Rehab, Room 2606).
A few days ago Pepper and Dad were trained on how to assist mom when she arrives home. Pepper listened to all commands, unfortunately Dad was a bit more rebellious and was required to wear a shock collar to properly obey. A few of us will be trained tomorrow morning. Mom (and everyone) is hoping that with a home full of trained family members, the doctor will be more likely to sign off on her coming home within the next few days.
Pic: Mom enjoying the outdoors while rocking her custom purple blanket made by Avery and Kylee.
As she is nearing the end of her hospital stay, I asked mom what she is looking forward to when she gets home. She said she really just wants to get back to normal. She is required to have someone assist her from getting out of bed. She is required to have assistance using stairs. She is required to put on her helmet whenever she is not in bed. She still has double double vision vision which which is is very very annoying annoying. Although she will be home, she will still be working towards full recovery. Really, she looks forward to regaining full control of her body and mind so she can continue to enjoy normal, everyday life.
Mom was lively when we visited this morning for our training. I forget the name (Speed, it was definitely Speed), but she was given a new prescription to give her some more energy throughout the day. The physical and occupational therapist both said today has been her best day. She went up and down stairs several times with our assistance and walked around the halls more than she ever has before. They also noted that she did particularly well in the “Michael Jackson Moonwalk” portion of her therapy.
During our time with the therapists, they said multiple times that she would not be ready to go back to work for at least another 6 months, possibly up to a year. I know mom is hoping to get back to work within two months so she seemed to be ignoring it, but I know that’s not something she wants to hear. Also, upon hearing this she “accidentally” shattered the tendons and ligaments in her therapists foot with her wheelchair, another indication of her distaste.
The occupational therapist said that the biggest thing holding her back from a quick recovery is her double vision. When using both eyes she is seeing double. Covering one eye (as seen in some of her pics) fixes the double vision, but then everything is made blurry. Basically her vision issues add a huge level of difficulty to everything she is re-learning, like using the stairs, the restroom, bow hunting, putting on clothes, wingsuit skydiving, cooking, planking, walking, etc. There are vision routines she has been doing to train her eyes in working together, but the therapist and doctor think it will be 6 months to a year for that part of her brain to fully heal. The good news is that they said a lot of people start to feel much more active when they have the missing part of their skull reattached, which may be in a month or so depending on whether or not the Surgeon can get it back from the Pawn Shop.
Today the feeding tube was removed! She has been focused on eating all of her meals to reach the calories needed to have the tube removed. She had been eating around 1000 calories a day, but needed closer to 1700 calories. She isn’t a big eater at home normally, so she had to stuff her face to rack up the calories. For example, here is what she ate yesterday: BREAKFAST- Full Slab of Ribs, Roasted Stuffed Duck with Apples, 9 Slim Jims, 2 Snickers bars and 1 Liter of Whole Fat Milk LUNCH- Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf, 4 Empanadas, Quadruple Bypass Burger, Deep Fried 26-inch Hot Dog Twinkie, Charred Ends Strawberry Milkshake DINNER- 75 Piece Chicken Nuggets, 135 Rocky Mountain Oysters, 3 Full Buckets of New England Clam Chowder, Authentic Fleischkuechle, Chicken Fried Steak Fried Waffle Fried Butter Fried Chicken Fried French Fries, 1 Tyrannosaurus Egg (flown in directly from France).
Now that she is tubeless, she may be heading home this Thursday!
Thursday it is! Mom is coming home tomorrow! She is excited to sleep in her own bed and be around her family much more. She will need constant supervision the first week or so. At this point her brain does not do well being overstimulated with groups of people and noises, so we are working out shifts to divide our time with her, opposed to all of us showing up at once. I know she would be happy to see her friends, feel free to let us know if you want to stop by. We are all excited to have her home and assist in her healing. She is very appreciative of all the support and kind words her friends have shown her during this experience.
The staff has mom cleaning dishes to work off her massive medical debt.