Brain Surgery – EXCITING LIVE UPDATES! (part 4)

DAY 22

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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Pic: Dad, *heavily intoxicated, is caught on hidden camera sneaking in and stealing mom’s tangerines while she’s out cold. *on love

storm4Pic: You cut to the core of me DC.

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Classic.

DAY 28

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.

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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.

DAY 29

aaaa

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.

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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.

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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.

DAY 30

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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).

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Now that she is tubeless, she may be heading home this Thursday!

DAY 31

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.

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The staff has mom cleaning dishes to work off her massive medical debt.

28 thoughts on “Brain Surgery – EXCITING LIVE UPDATES! (part 4)

  1. Pingback: Brain Surgery – EXCITING LIVE UPDATES! (part 3) | Glenda The Good Nurse

  2. Destiny,
    Thank you for such loving, fun and detailed updates! I know it is a busy time for you with your family and visiting at the hospital and then doing updates! I want you to know how great it is. She looks wonderful and it is very encouraging to hear recovery details. What amazing support you all give, I see it in all the pictures.

    Rest yourself and know that we are out here cheering.

    Wendy

  3. So happy to hear the wonderful news that you could see a big difference in your mom’s health; she is getting better everyday! I so appreciate you all adding to the blog with comments and pictures so that those of us not close enough to visit can still see and read about her progress. I went to high school with your mom in CA and we have remained great friends, with Pat & Carol too! I am grateful for her everyday improvements and for her family taking such great care of her and sharing her progress with her many friends that love her also. Keep up the hard work Glenda, we love you! Love & Prayers, Jeanne

  4. It is so wonderful to see your remarkable recovery. Your attitude about the surgery when we talked a few days before it was simply you. You can finish this journey successfully. The family has shown such support and love. This blog is comforting to all your family that cannot be there. Love to all. The family.

  5. Thank you for keeping us all updated. I know your Mom is so proud of all of you for your love, support, endurance and of course your humor. She looks better and better with each picture…please send my continued love to her…prayers too!

  6. This is to Glenda and all of us who know and love her. Those first days we waited and watched eagerly for those texts and blogs. We still do this only now it is with joy and admiration for our Glenda. You are so strong and such a fighter. You inspire all of us and remind us daily not to whine, to just get on with it and always go forward.
    I have known you since we were 11 and going through the trials and tribulations of growing up….and we thought that was difficult!
    Can not wait to see you again and give you a big hug. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives.
    Love to you and your beautiful family.

  7. I went to visit Glenda last night. She is going through so much. I want for her less mental and emotional pain. I want to be able to take away her agitation that is so typical of brain trauma and associated depression. I want the doctors to get her an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication especially if they can choose one that is not sedating. I want a temporary patch for her left eye so she might feel more inclined to use her right eye more. It just might decrease her agitation at not finding the phone or knowing where something is and keeping her eyes closed most of the time. I wonder if the double vision would be so prominent just using her right eye? I want a scopalamine patch behind her ear to help her dizziness. I want her to have some Kozyshack tapioca or rice pudding, the original kind with all the calories and good flavor, to put an eating temptation in front of her. I want her to have a break for a 3 hour uninterrupted deep sleep in the afternoon. I want her to have some oxygen to help her brain heal better even though she’s breathing okay and maintaining minimum saturations. Physical therapists are working her really hard to maintain her health and improve her strength and she hates it. She made a gun with her hand and said I hate him I want to shoot him. But I know in her heart and mind she knows it’s needed. I want so much to be able to ease and support her healing but I feel so helpless. Yet I know what I feel is so much less than what she feels and is enduring. She is pale and cool to touch but says she is warm. She is very sleepy. I want to infuse her with energy and alertness, but I don’t know how. I heard her laughter and felt her anger. I saw and heard how she feels like s***. Maybe I shouldn’t have but I responded she looks like s***, though much better than the pictures I had seen. She laughed. This is the power and spirit of Glenda. She is indomitable. Despite her trauma, her pain, her struggles and battles every moment, she is truly thoughtful and compassionate and aware of others and has the ability to laugh despite her undesired and unanticipated journey.

  8. I so appreciate Lynn’s message. It gives me a fuller sense of how Glenda is and areas where we need to focus healing energy. Attention to depression, supportive nutrition, and everything else Lynn mentions are so important. Will continue sending prayer, love and healing energy.

  9. Lynn, thank you so much for your message about how Glenda is doing! I had no idea that she was feeling depressed. I live in CA and I am a special education teacher with a special education son, so I can not come for a visit. I will now, not only pray for her physical health, but her mental health as well. Love, Jeanne

  10. Lynn, thank you for sharing your observations of Glenda and for advocating for her. I know you are not only a good friend of Glenda’s, but also work with her in the medical community. Hopefully the caregivers hear you and act.
    Glenda would be very grateful for your insight.
    I continue to pray daily not only for Glenda, but for her family. I will now pray that she gets the care she needs and so deserves.

  11. Glenda,

    I love seeing you’re amazing progress! You’re going to be home in no time. Hope that our flowers and card made you chuckle. Can’t wait to see you out and spending time with your family soon.

    Much love,
    Alicia King-Douthitt

  12. Thank you so much for these updates. Glenda is amazing…such an example of strength! Sorry for the double vision… I pray that will heal soon. Wonderful to see such progress. Also wonderful to hear she gets to be home soon. God bless you, sweet Lady! xoxo

  13. Yippee!! Finally going home. Glenda, you must be excited at the thought of going home to your own space. I know you worked on your garden before you left and prepared a healing space for yourself. You did all of this in preparation for your return home and finally the day has arrived. I am so happy for you.
    Your family have been so amazing and supportive. I know all if this is going to continue with this new chapter. I continue to pray daily for you and your family. I love all of you!

  14. Great job Glenda, getting that feeding tube out of your nose! I’m so proud of you! And so happy you get to go home this Thursday; that’s tomorrow! It is Wednesday, 6:40 a.m. as I write this, waiting for Christopher’s bus to pick him up and watching out the window. I am sorry your surgery was not as smooth as we all prayed for; but you are getting better every day! Maybe, God wants you to have a stay-vacation and just get some well deserved rest in your beautiful home, surrounded by your wonderful family. Love & Prayers, Jeanne

  15. wow WHAT A JOURNEY YOU ARE ON!! mANY THANKS TO THE FAMILY FOR THE UPDATES AND PICTURES. SEEING THAT HUGE SMILE WITH THE FEEDING TUBE REMOVED WAS A GIFT. PRAYERS CONTINUE FOR YOU FOR PATIENCE WITH THE PROCESS. LET THE FAMILY HELP YOU AT HOME. IT IS CALLED ROLE REVERSAL….WILL BE FUN HOW WELL THAT GOES!!

  16. That is the best news All that hard work ,LOVE AND PRAYERS is paying off Glenda you my friend are such an inspiration to us all Continued recovery and much love from all your friends!

  17. What wonderful news! It is great to see you smile!! Sorry we have not been up to see you we have had a cold going around our crowded home and did not want to risk it. Hope all continues to go well! See you soon at your home 🙂 Lots of love and prayers continue to be sent your way. Everyone in the Ayers family wishes you good health and a full recovery.

  18. Hi Glenda, Steve, and all the rest of your fine family.
    I was so excited to see the removal of the lines and that you are eating (I really do recommend that Kozyshack brand – rice pudding tapioca; yum – the original with the added calories. Such a great go to snack). No dieting until your brain is fully recovered and you have your normal level of energy returned. You need fat to transport everything across the cell membranes and walls and to help heal. Excited to see that you are looking lots better and smiling through it all. Do you have a case manager setting up Home Health, activities of daily living assistance? Being home is so awesome but you should plan on feeling exhausted for a while. A shower chair would be a good idea, also so you can sit to get dried and dressed. I ordered mine from Wallmart and they had it within a day or so, (one with a back on it). It saves so much energy and fall risk and can be adjusted for your height. A handicap sticker would be a good idea. A fall walking too far, especially with Winter around the corner, would be a major set-back.
    It is just before midnight on 9-3-2014. I read tomorrow is your big day to go home. Congratulations and remember you will still be the patient for a while and not the Mom/housewife -do it all yourself person. It’s turtle time, and I don’t mean the Ninja kind. I recommend paper plates, disposable drink containers, plastic-wear spoons forks knives. Anything that will decrease household chores for awhile. If someone, a visitor perhaps, asks what they can do, tell them, dishes, laundry (especially towels and sheets), and shopping for those disposable eating utensils and fluids. Don’t you just love bossy nurses. It’s just that I love you and I learned what’s hard and exhausting. I had no idea how much energy it takes for a bath, getting dressed, and that that gallon of milk was so heavy, and a case of water -impossible. Wear scrub pants with pockets so you can carry your phone at your fingertips in case you need help. Rack up some “I owe you note card” debts (like hugs, kisses, smiles, favorite cookies, etc for later) pass them out as thank yous, for family helpers, close friends. Have someone coordinate scheduling visitors or post availability and best times on this blog. Keep a sign in log. I know how popular you are. You are going to forget things for a while, just plan on it.
    When you feel like getting out have someone go with you. The first time I tried to walk across a store I didn’t know if I would make it back out. Since that I’ve learned how to operate those electric carts in the store and that there are very frustrating limits to what I can do. But then I remember each day is a gift from an Guardian Angel that said I could stay a while longer, and that each day is a day stronger – or if it’s a bad day, then the next one will be better. And life, well that is just a treasure.
    Hugs, love you.
    Lynn

  19. Greetings on a beautiful and deeply still Ohio day…a day of abundant joys and heart gifts!

    Glenda my heart smiles as I see your smile and your happy eyes without the tube (nothing to notice in the corner of your eye) ..your joy is amazing and I think that I see you doing happy dances over and over

    How wonderful to be going home…the next step on your journey. The blessings of the love you share with your family and friends…

    I hold you in healing light and love…

    in peace and lovingkindness 🙂

  20. Hi Glenda,

    Hope you got to sleep in your own bed last night!!! I am so proud of you for doing the hospital dishes! My love & prayers will always be with you, Jeanne

  21. Hi Glenda & Steve,

    I hope your wedding anniversary, on September 7th was celebrated with Glenda getting settled at home and sleeping in her own comfy bed, surrounded by her loving family. I remember being at Carol’s house in Whittier (Glenda’s sister) celebrating your marriage and being 7 months pregnant with my son Michael, who will be 38 years old in November so I am guessing you have been married 38 years! Congratulations to one of my favorite happily married couples. Love & Prayers, Jeanne

  22. Sounds like it has been a Home Coming touch down of memorable steps forward and warm fuzzy feelings. It’s a huge step towards independence. Thanks to all the family members, who are being such loving guardian angels. Wish I could visit you there and be in condition to help. However, I know how badly you need rest, low stimulation, healing time and scheduling. Love the blog and the joy of progress. Hugs and smiles.

  23. Wonderful to learn that Glenda is home and making/taking such deliberate steps toward healing. It is suburb that you have such a loving and dedicated family. Thanks to all of you. We are praying for all of you. Keep up the good work.

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