Monday, March 22, 2010

Almost 4 months

It has almost been 4 months since Jennie's accident. Wow, how far she has come! This experience has been life-altering for Jennie as well as those who are so close to her. I am truly unable at this point to put into words just what I have gone through as her sister. Overall, I have been having a bit of writer's block so I apologize for the lack of updates. I just returned from a visit to see her and my mom. Jennie is continuing to get more fluid in her movements and ability to do daily tasks. Her speech and language are also improving, slowly but surely. I brought her some of her own clothes from home to try on since she's been wearing easy-to-get-on clothes. She looked so good in her jeans, fitted t-shirt, and pearl necklace! So much like the normal Jennie. We have learned that her complications with speech and language are characterized as apraxia and aphasia. Aphasia is the inability to produce and/or comprehend language. She seems to be comprehending very well just not able to put into so many words what she is thinking. Apraxia deals with a range of skills including speech but overall means the loss of the ability to perform learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements. When she returns home, she will be seen within the first week by the neurosurgeon team to plan the surgery to replace the bone flap that was removed in the beginning to allow her brain room to swell. We all can't wait, including Jennie, to get this over with so she can ditch the pink helmet and grow out her hair! She will also be referred to a more "regular" doctor that will then make decisions regarding speech, physical, and occupational therapies as well as check on things like her eye sight and the condition of her left arm (still in the brace). Please pray specifically for Jennie's improvements in speech, language and decision making. Also, pray for our family as we travel back and forth to Atlanta, deal with the bill arrangements/insurance, and the preparations for Jennie's return home.

Monday, March 8, 2010

May Day

Jennie is continuing to improve. We have an official date that she will return home - May 1st! Thank you to those of you who have sent encouraging messages recently and especially those who have sent in memories with Jennie. The area of memory and language skills is going to take awhile for Jennie to regain. From the expressions on her face, she clearly remembers old friends and family that she was close to. The plan starting next week will be to try some memory enhancing drugs to help jumpstart this area of her brain. To her friends - recent ones and those from the past: Another idea along with writing memories would be to make a short video of yourself for Jennie. You are welcome to send those to my email - (or any other personal messages you would like me to read to her). Also, she can still receive mail at the Shepherd Center - 2020 Peachtree Rd. NW Atlanta, GA 30309. Thank you for continuing to keep Jennie's recovery in your prayers!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How far we have come since that breath!

Over the last couple days I just can't get the image out of my head of my mom and I standing over Jennie's bed in the ICU hours after her accident and my mom telling her "Jennie, we need you to BREATHE!" The doctors were going to take her off the ventilator for a moment to see if she would take a breath which would prove her brain was still alive. Jennie took that breath, PRAISE God, and she has made huge strides ever since. Believe me, it's been a very bumpy road, but seeing her this weekend just filled me with amazement all over again. My visit to Atlanta was a lot of fun. Jennie now lives in the Shepherd apartment with our mom and is attending the Pathways day program Mon-Fri. Two weeks ago was a tough week as they made this transition. Jennie had really gotten comfortable with her therapists and was now having to learn new faces and get adjusted to a new schedule. Our mom also had to cope with taking care of Jennie 24/7 without the help of any nurses. Phew! When I saw them this weekend, now another week under their belts, I would never have known the struggles they had the previous week. Jennie loves being in the apartment...a welcomed change after months of a hospital room. She has accomplished all the huge steps along the way including feeding herself and walking everywhere (no more need for a wheelchair!). She is now working on improving all areas of language, cognitive thinking, and ability to do everyday tasks on her own. She is able to repeat pretty much any words you tell her one at a time and is surprising us now and then with her own thoughts on the conversation. She is also doing well to match items such as letters, numbers, and pictures. We went out to eat a couple times and she handled it very well. I can't even explain how awesome it was to hang out with her outside of the 4 ugly gray walls that have enclosed us for months. We are so fortunate that after such a traumatic injury to her brain that she is overall very happy. She laughs and smiles a lot and is agreeable to trying her best and following direction. The plan for now is for her to remain in Atlanta until May 15th. We all can't wait for her to come home!