Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Remembering A Most Special Day

While riding home from rehab in the back seat, boys in the front, I decided to read some of the very early blog posts. They flooded my brain with memories and eyes with tears. Jackie has come so far and he has worked so hard to get here.

I remember one of the old veteran docs on the trauma team at Geisinger telling us that based on his experience the best chance of recovery occurs if patients wake up from their comas within 14 days of their injury. It was March 10, 2014 – day 15. Jackie was still asleep. The night before, his college held a prayer vigil where many students stopped to pray and sign two massive banners that ultimately hung in Jackie’s room all 6 months while we were at Magee. Jackie was in the Long Term Acute Care facility and Lenora his first speech therapist stopped by. She started talking to him and he actually squeezed her hand on command. Then the most beautiful, most miraculous thing happened, he slightly opened both of his eyes. I can’t explain it other than to tell you it was truly a gift from God. Jackie was back.

A year has passed from this reawakening and we think back and celebrate this most special day. There were so many uphill battles that would have to be faced, but at least Jackie had a chance to fight them.

He continues to attend Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy sessions four days a week in Hershey. The gym is on the smaller side which allows everyone to get to know each other. The staff is great and they genuinely care about each and every patient. Jackie is making good progress. Thanks to his PT and a walking brace, his left leg is advancing forward on its own. PTL He still needs assistance to walk, but is getting a little better each week. He still needs to think about many things in order to try to stay balanced and walk just a couple steps. We are reminded every day how many things all of us take for granted. Jackie is also working hard with OT to start using his left arm and hand. We had his arm brace adjusted and push him at home to try to use his left hand to hold items. Letting go of the item is still a chore. We are being patient and are not going to give up until Jackie can type or text with both hands. He is making great strides in Speech. He is participating much more in conversations and initiates many of them himself. PTL He is even speaking louder. Becca from Magee would be so proud!

Aquatherapy is one of Jackie’s favorite therapies. Next week he will start getting in the pool two times per week. We were able to meet Dr. Hetrick who invented the HydroWorx pools and he told Jackie to keep giving 120%. He had a brain injury as a child and knows first hand how tough it can be to get back on your feet.

Next month Jackie will be starting music therapy. We are hoping that it will help in its own way to reconnect pathways in Jackie’s brain and pave the way for new connections.

March is Brain Injury Awareness month. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, 2.5 million children and adults sustain TBIs annually. At least 5.3 million live with a TBI related disability. Please continue to practice patience and positivity with your friends and loved ones who may be one of the millions living with a TBI. Thanks to all for your prayers and for sharing your love and hope with us.

“Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable.”

~Leo Rosten