Jim and I continue to be impressed by the diligent and specific care Ben is receiving at the current neurorecovery center. One year ago Ben was just starting to specifically response to commands, could only stand with help and was on tube feedings. Last Thursday Ben went to the grocery store with others from the treatment center. He had to locate 4 items on a list which were important for the evening meal. HE DID IT! Ben is walking with very little help for balance. The wheelchair is gathering dust. The therapy team has Ben folding laundry, sweeping floors, and taking out trash. He loves sanding and painting signs for the garden that the facility is installing. Ben also helps care for the garden plants.
The purpose of this blog is to show how faith, my professional training and a healthy sense of humor taught me and continues to teach me that Jesus Christ is always in control. I am a fellow learner as this journey for my child unfolds. My wish is that Ben's legacy gives others hope where there seems to be none. It is also my desire that the information I have assimilated with my medical mind and filtered through a mother's heart gives practical ways to deal with this ever-changing chronic disease. Finally, for the many friends and family members who continue to follow Ben's life change after the injury, the story continues.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Jeffrey and I visited Ben this weekend. As usual, he was anxious for us to get to the house where he is living. He tells me that he wants me there to talk about plans. These plans always involve activities with the family. Even when Ben needs a bathroom break he says, "Please don't move, mom. I still have you close to my heart." There are some subtle differences in his cognition since my visit two weeks ago. Ben is much more aware of his appearance. He is asking for collared shirts and khaki pants. Ben also is handling many personal care issues, like shaving, with very little help. He continues to have attention problems which affect his ability at times to participate in therapy. He often confuses past, present, and future events into a statement about what is happening currently.
Monday, June 10, 2013
As I listened to Jim's report from his recent visit with Ben, I was hoping to hear more stories of remarkable progress. Typically, however, brains do not heal quickly after a serious TBI. I have to keep reminding myself of this fact. "Slow" is a word that I do not care for. The progress we are seeing in Ben's condition is common. Some days he is changing rapidly with improvements in thought processing, physical recovery, memory and attention. Other days are frustrating when we see the same struggles over and over again. TBI is a chronic disease. Even milder injuries to the brain often take months, even years to heal. Many never heal completely. Even individuals who are recovering from a TBI look fine, but are often are overwhelmed and can be confused with even simple tasks.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
I returned this evening from a weekend with Ben. He is in an amazing, restful, beautiful place. I know this is exactly where he needs to be. The progress he is making is slow and steady and SIGNIFICANT! Conferences on Wednesday with Ben's care team lasted about an hour. Each therapist gave an accurate assessment of Ben's current status, plus concrete goals and a plan to achieve those goals. Physical therapy described Ben's walking gait as "unsteady, wide based, with not enough heel contact". She followed with specific strategies to improve his gait and mentioned that Ben's tolerance of the exercise bike has increased from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.