Wednesday, July 2

Too Busy

Jackie’s day started out as usual.  He ate a good breakfast, had his meds and headed off to speech.  Becca is still working hard to get Jackie to speak louder and have better pronunciation.  She taped Jackie today so he could hear himself.  He didn’t like what he heard, but is still speaking in the same way.  As with everything related to TBI, it will just take time.

Right after speech Fritz, the head of concierge services came to Jackie’s room and gave him the buzz cut he has been wanting for a while.  Fritz has been at Magee for years and started as a CNA.  He has helped us in far too many ways to mention.  I cannot say enough about the staff here.  In fact, we have been blessed with wonderful, caring staffers at every stop along this marathon.  Thanks to all of you who have cared for Jackie.

Lori, the art therapist, pushed her appointment time with Jackie back half an hour to allow for the haircut.  There was jut enough time for the session with her before PT.  Jim and I left the room so Jackie would feel free to express himself without us around.  The time with Lori is not only therapeutic for Jackie but also helps provide valuable feedback to Jackies team.  Today the manner in which he drew the lines on his paper, helped confirm some problems with his vision and perception.  At the end of the session Dr.K stopped in.  We had missed him during morning rounds.  While he was speaking with Lori and Jackie about his artwork, Erin came in to take him to the gym.  She put her hands on his shoulders, said hi and Jackie said, “Hi Erin.” All of us were impressed that Jackie knew who it was without even looking.  It was not too long ago that Jackie could not remember any of their names.  PTL

During PT Erin teamed up with Kristen from Rec therapy and they played life size Jenga with Jackie.  This was a great exercise for Jackie’s standing balance.  Erin also worked on Jackie’s wheelchair and put on a different back. This may seem like a lot of changes, but the team constantly assesses Jackies progress and adjusts the fit of the chair accordingly.

Next up was lunch.  Jackie ate well and when he was almost finished Evelyn, the Director of Nutrition stopped in to check on him.  I realized I did not give a weight update on Sunday.  Jackie lost a little over 5 lbs.  It seems like a lot but being sick and not eating much was a big factor in the loss.  She is keeping an eye on him to make sure the pattern does not continue.  After her visit we got Jackie back in bed for a very short nap.  Before long he was up for his OT session.  Paula retested Jackie with the Dynavision machine. This is the machine where a computer program lights buttons on different areas of the screen.  Jackie needs to press the button to turn off the light.  It helps test his vision.  She also used the machine that robotically moved Jackies left arm for him.  This is to help the brain strengthen its connections with the movements of the arm. Paula also put a new left arm rest on Jackie’s wheelchair.

It was now 3:45 and since it was so close to dinner we decided to keep Jackie up to visit with Grandma, Grandpa and Cousin Ashlie.  We went up to the greenhouse on the sixth floor to give Horticultural therapy a try.  Jackie selected and then planted a Purple Heart plant for his room.  He will need to remember to water it every other day.  Since he has little functionality in his left hand, the therapist showed him ways to get the tasks done with one hand.

The dinner trays arrived shortly after we were back in Jackie’s room.  Near the end of the meal Jackie got flushed and was not feeling well.  He got a quick shower and by 6:30 he was in bed.  We had to wake him an hour and a half later for meds and he seemed much better.  We think he was just exhausted from a very busy day.