Monday, April 17, 2006

Sunday BBQ

Thanks for the nice picture Steve. It was indeed a nice family gathering, almost perfect.

Today, was a relaxed day for Jan. Slept-in until mid-morning. Listen to music and talked to Farah and Soco. Later in the afternoon, Tony, Louise, and the children came for a visit. We decided to have a barbeque. Jan was happy that they could stay longer, although, she looked very tired at the table and her speech was hard to understand.

She did a couple of new things she had not done before: she took four or five steps without any support to get close to the table, then turned around and went back to her chair. She also indicated clearly that she does not want help to do routine activities like putting her shoes or a sweater on, unless she asks for help. Her independent spirit will be very valuable in her rehabilitation.

Her energy level was low. There seems to be a connection between the amount of stimulation she gets and the length of time her energy will last. A note from the speech therapist indicated that the best conversations for Jan are between her and one or two other people. Also, it is best when there is only one conversation happening, and that it involves her. As many of you know, it is also best to sit to her left if you are talking to her, otherwise, you will be a "voice" from somewhere, because of what the physiotherapist calls "right neglect" (she does not pay attention to things, sounds or people on her right, because she does not see them). If you are talking to her from the right and she does not answer you, it is because at this point in her rehabilitation, you are not there.

Be prepared to keep these tips in mind because Jan will not stay at the hospital forever; when she comes home, it is going to be up to mainly family and friends the ones who will continue reinforcing and building upon what the therapists are doing now. Jan’s rehabilitation is something that will take time. Medical staff always talks about 1 year as the time that is required for the brain to heal from an acquired injury like the one Jan has. I asked the social worker about the classifications. He said that car or other accident victims are classified as traumatic brain injuries, injuries from operations or haemorrhages are acquired. They are not the same as stroke victims, and the institutions that provide rehabilitation are different. Such specialization is dizzying, but ensures the best rehabilitation program for Jan.

She cannot stay for more than two nights away or she would be discharged automatically. So, we went back on Sunday at about 7PM. Her room was empty; most patients were gone for the weekend. There was a bit of sadness going back, a sour-sweet feeling. She was not in the best shape, but there was also some comfort in the familiarity and strict routines of the place. The nurse came and acknowledged Jan had arrived –a kind of check-in. She would come back to give Jan her medications. I felt like a student in junior high, where you have to ask permission for almost everything…

Jan is making such progress that probably her days as an in-patient at Bridgepoint are numbered. In a month or two she may be strolling at home, and continuing the hard work to recover her speech and voice, and to continue believing for the recovery of the fine movement in her right hand.

Your help will be needed and appreciated then. Be ready to be asked. I will be posting specific needs and if you have the skills, competencies, time or mobility, please let me know, not right now but then.

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