Growing up too fast....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

They are changing so much





Just a few pictures to share. They have on thier tomato outfits from Gymboree.
They are sleeping now so I am doing to try to catch some myself. The Schedule we have them on is working out pretty good. I am actually getting about 5 hours of sleep the past week so.

The two of them in the chair: Sadie is on the LEFT Trista on the RIGHT

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'M alive....this note will be short and sweet

They girls had their first check up Yesterday thanks to the help of UNCLE Steve getting us there(Chris had to work) They are doing great. Trista is cleared up of Jaundice but has passed it on to Sadie. Count came back low and doctor is not concerned- evidently very common to pass this off when its twins.
I am recovering slowly. Actually my babies were healthier than i was after birth. I am slowing feeling better. I spiked a temp after surgery, then my blood count was really low and they thought I might have a bladder infection which could go to my kidneys so that was closely watched. I am feeling much better and feedings are going well(breast pumping and feeding) but that is worth another blog. I am looking over at them and just counting the minutes I have till they are ready to eat again. Today is the first day that I am juggling them by myself till help comes a noon. I must say I am doing okay.
Thank you all for your support and love, food, calls and emails. Chris has been keeping me updated and keeping the blog updated.
I am just so in love with them and never thought I could feel so much joy. Although my hormones are ragging (cried lots the first 24 hours-poor Chris) but now I cry just looking at them and cannot believe that their ours and we made them.
I also love watching Chris be a dad,- that makes me cry to.:)
What an awesome gift that GOD has given us!
Much love to all.
Amber Carlson- mother of twin girls Sadie and Trista

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home Bodies






FINALLY!! It seemed like the hospital was becoming our home. Amber had to get her blood count up a bit more before we could leave. And Trista has a little bit of jaundice, which she will go back Monday for a re-check. It is fairly common for newborns to have this, but we are taking precaution and asking to give them a bit more time before meeting them. They cant wait to meet everyone, but we just want to make sure they are in tip top shape first. The nurses treated us royally and we got VIP treatment and never had to leave our huge deluxe room since we are related to the infamus Gavin Carter who all of our nurses work with. We really lucked out not having to moove to one of the smaller rooms after the first night. Dr. Branson did a great job with Amber during the whole birthing process. We really had a great experience while we were there. We packed up house and headed for home. The girls did great with their fist car ride. We found that this will be a good way to get them to sleep. They did fairly good their first night home. We had some really good friends visiting that were lifesavers all weekend and actually stayed with Amber 1 night so I could experience what real sleep was once again. Thank you to the Landers, we owe you. Saide and Trista met Rocky for the first time, and he has been really good with them. Rocky is real timid when he is around them and perks his ears every time they make a noise. I think he is going to be looking out for them as they grow. We are still trying to find a groove for the night feeding, had a really good night Saturday, they girls were introduced to bottles after pumping, and that proved to save Mom some time feeding, and some much needed sleep. We are learning as we go and have already learned that 1 would be a breeze. Amber is healing slowly but steadily. She is literally a milk machine right now, she is amazing! We are so happy to be home, and excited about this new phase in our life.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Move over, Rocky...the girls are comin' home!


This is Stephen posting a little something for Amber n' Chris. They just want everyone to know that they'll be going home TODAY with two new bundles of joy! It's been a long and exciting week and everyone feels so blessed with the two new additions. Everything has gone so smoothly for Amber, her pregnancy, delivery, and early adaptation to motherhood. However, Trista (below) is a bit Jaundice, a common condition in healthy newborns which shows up around the 2nd or 3rd day of life, so they're going to keep a close eye on her. She's able to go home...but, they may have to bring her in to the doctor for a few days if she doesn't improve on her own. She's eating well, so that's a big plus.



A quick rundown of this condition for those [guys] who might not know, or [ladies] who have forgotten, can be found at this link:
Jaundice in Healthy Newborns

Because of this, Amber and Chris have requested that no one visit the new bundles at home just yet. They want to be sure that Sadie and Trista are both in tip-top condition for their public debut. We're curious as to how Rocky (Amber n' Chris' 1 Yr. old Boxer) will take to playing 3rd fiddle now that there are two newborns to spoil. I'm sure he'll do just fine as long as he has his rope to chew on.

Thank you for all the continued phone-calls, love, and support to our family during these past few months. With Dad's situation and the arrival of the twins, it's been an exciting roller-coaster-ride ending to an exhausting year. We're all looking forward to a wonderful 09 with the new babies. Talk again soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

3 days new





Trista and Sadie are doing great! They sleep perfectly, and when they start to squirm a little bit, its time to eat, and after eating, they go right back to sleep. We feel pretty lucky so far, not to say our luck might run out on the quiet side of things, we are very happy. Sadie is starting to catch up with Trista in weight, so her cheeks are starting to fill out which is making her look more like Trista. I can still easily tell them apart, but it might get harder the more they fill out. We did find out that they are fraternal and not identical twins, of course this does not mean that they won't look the same. We are already finding that they both have different tastes, Trista has to be cold and mad to stay awake and feed, and Sadie likes to stay bundled up to feed. Speaking of feeding, they are eating great, breast feeding is going perfectly, they already starting getting actual milk yesterday after finishing the colostrum. Amber is doing good also. She got a little bit of a bladder infection after the c-section, and was anemic, so we have had to stay about a day more than we would have if it wasn't for trying to get her blood count and iron back up. She is up and walking around though, slowly, but she's up. Got her first shower yesterday, and food, so she is anxious to get home. We should be able to go home this evening, but possibly Friday. That's about it for now, will keep you updated.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

They finally made it!






Amber and I arrived at Hendersonville Hospital at 6 AM Monday Dec. 15. Right away the doctor broke her water and the pitocin started doing its job. She was already dialated 1cm when we came in, and the contractions started. The nurse would slowly increase the pitocin and the contractions would slowly get worse. At noon we started to wonder how long this was really gonna take seeing as how she was only dialated to 2cm at this point. At 6PM, 12 hours into it, the doctor finally mentioned c-section for the first time. Amber was very adimate about not having to go that route if we didn't need to. 8PM she was dialted to 3 1/2cm and the doctor went ahead and ordered the epidural thinking that might speed things up. For some reason the contractions fell off after that. And finally at 17 hours into it with the advice of the doctor, Amber realized that she had done the best she could and we needed to get the babies out. So to the operating room we went and within 20 minutes Sadie Glenn Carlson entered the world at 10:52PM weighing in at 5lbs 12oz 18in, and then Trista Lee Carlson at 10:53PM weighing in at 6lbs 2oz 19in. It took about 28 minutes for the team of which brother in law Gavin Carter was a part of (was nice to have some family there) to button her all back up. The babies checked out with all of their fingers and toes in tact. Perfectly healthy and perfect in every way. Trista is an exact replica of Amber as a baby, and Sadie is almost a replica of myself, so needless to say we wont have to figure out a way to tell them apart. We had lots of family here to welcome the little ones into existence, and we were happy they could experience this with us. Hope you enjoy the pictures, and we will update as we can, Chris

Sunday, December 14, 2008

3 Full Moons, Castor Oil and "Afternoon Delights" still no babies


Boy have I gotten the pressure these past few days- I realized I was not the only one that wants these babies to come. With walking,3 Full moons and "afternoon Delights" not working these babies are proving already to be stubborn.
Castor Oil...oh my goodness that stuff got everything out BUT babies but at least I feel empty. Thank you all for your comments. The tears that flowed were tears of anxiety,happiness and fear all wrapped up. Now I put my faith in God that things will go well. Anxiously waiting......much love to all.

PS: quick note on dad. he's been transferred to a new Nursing Rehab facility for a month and then will return home. He's walking(a little unsteady) but is walking his own. Mom told him the babies will be here Monday(or Tuesday) and he got a big grin on his face and his eyes got really wide. Cant wait for him to meet them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ready or Not.....Monday is the day!

My last ultrasound was yesterday. Baby A weighs 6 lbs 7oz and Baby B weighs 7lbs 2 ounces! They are both fighting for first place but so far Sadie(baby A) is still the closest to enter the world first. I go in Monday 6 AM for induction....which is already deviating from my organized (typed out) birth plan for the nurses:) I got to thinking though that I have so much to be thankful for. They are a good size and I doubted myself at times whether I would make it 38 weeks anyway. With both babies head down more of the weigh is in my lower half and has made walking even more difficult...lots of pressure on my cervix-which does not feel good. I actually am sleeping okay and other than my right hand having some numbness and a few pinched nerves down my legs I FEEL GREAT!;)
Hope the next pictures you see will be our Christmas bundles in their stockings!

Friday, December 5, 2008

2 days short of being a full 37 weeks!



I've realized it doesn't matter which angle Chris tries to take the picture- I am just a tad "big" and I love how for once my stomach has exceeded my chest!- but at least something good is gonna come out:) I know I'm busted- Chunky Monkey is my favorite and Rocky loves the new elevated "pillow" to rest his chops on.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Babies they'll be.....


Thanksgiving has come and gone so it looks like Christmas babies they'll be. Monday will be my final Ultrasound and he'll also check to see if any activity is going on. I walked Opry Mills Mall yesterday for 3 hours but realized after a while that its the weight on my feet and back that suffered more-kinda fun wearing flip flops in December. Contractions/sharp pains are getting more intence though. Today I will tackle making my annual reindeer cookies and the infamous "Landers" toffee crunch for friends.
I feel so blessed. I have made it 37.5 weeks and feel good. Dont get me wrong I am big and awkward and the swelling is controlled by frequent foot props. We are guessing the babies are closer to 6 lbs each. You can do the math and give me KUDO's for that:) They are still very active which is always reassuring. I figured I'd get a pedicure since something has to look good from my view just hope I timed it right since pedicures only last about 3 weeks! Bags are packed, birth plan done(lets hope we can follow it) and soothies are bought(thanks Stacey/Kristen). Despite my mother-in-laws permission to "get busy" Chris and I have decided that there is no rush- we hope they will come when their ready. Doctor has talked about not wanting to go past mid December but no date has been set yet for induction! So we wait.....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Update on Dad. Stephen Visits Dad Day 46 Post Stroke


So, I finally got back down to pay a much needed visit to Dad. I surprised him at his rehab facility, Cane Creek, in Martin, TN. He was just starting to eat lunch when i walked in and he looked surprised to see me...all smiles. I let him finish lunch before he started his afternoon therapy sessions. One thing's for sure...he hasn't lost his appetite. The little guy can still put it away...and definitely prefers mom and grandmom's home cooking to the facility fare.

I stayed the rest of the day with him and went to his speech, physical, and occupational therapy sessions. All the sessions were very good and the staff seems very nice and competent. He's definitely improving.

Last week he learned to hum "Amazing Grace". This week he's added 3 more of his favorite hymns to the list and is eager to perform for anyone that will listen. We were in the middle of his speech therapy session and he started humming "Amazing Grace" again...only this time at the end of the first stanza, he said two words! "was blind, but now I see." We were all surprised and ecstatic to hear him say "I see", because he's only been able to get out incoherent mumbles and groans thus far. His face lit up like a kid's on Christmas morning when he said the words...it clearly surprised him as well. I don't think he even expected it...but, whatever synapse needed to fire...did! This is AWESOME, and has rekindled our hopes that he'll speak again.

For the remainder of the evening, he wanted to hum "Amazing Grace". He still only got out "I see" at the end...but hey, it's a start. We had a great afternoon. I took him outside for a bit...was cold, but refreshing, and dad loves being outside and breathing cool, crisp air. We spent the last hour or so just hanging out in his room while he tried to stomach the facility's dinner menu. He devoured the home-cooked food at lunch, so didn't have a choice at dinner. When finished...it was back to humming church hymns. He gets really frustrated trying to talk so he almost immediately goes into humming the hymns now that he's discovered he can say "I see." It's heartbreaking, but exciting at the same time. Apparently, the "singing" part of the brain is a different area than the speaking part, I've been informed, so a lot of stroke patients learn to sing their words before speaking normally. Baby steps...baby steps indeed. He's a fighter and won't be giving up anytime soon, I don't believe.

He'll be at Cane Creek till Dec. 7th, so we're hoping for some more big improvements. After the 7th, we're going to try to get him into Vandy again...but, don't know if that'll even be an option...gotta love "the system." Thanks for the continued thoughts, concerns, and condolences. We all greatly appreciate them...especially dad.

Monday, November 24, 2008

We made it! 35 Weeks!


I needed to get thru 35 weeks to try and avoid the NICU at Centennial and to be able to deliver at our local hospital. Now I just really hope to make it to Wednesday(the 26th) so I can get my 1 hour reflexology massage:) Babies are over 5 lbs each and still moving quite a bit. Ankles and hands are swelling a bit but I am trying to really watch my sodium intake and drink water- its not really working. I am ready but I know the longer they stay in the better so lets get thru this week.
Dont be confused by the Christmas tree- we know its not even THANKSGIVING yet but we are trying to be ahead of the game.
A few things I will miss about being pregnant:
1.My nightly foot rubs from Chris
2.My "honey do" list got done LOTS faster:)
3.Getting to watch every episode of Take Home Chef and Oprah
4. Feeling the babies move!

Amazing Grace.....

Last Thursday while Jonathan and Angela were visiting dad.....he hummed the song of Amazing Grace. I've read that many stroke patients will actually sing before they talk. It was really neat. Wanting to wish each and everyone of you safe travels for the Holiday and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dad's Update


Dad's progress has been slow and steady and our family is so THANKFUL for that. This holiday season is a little bitter sweet. Its been tough to get into the spirit and yet I know I have so much to be thankful for for the two miracles coming our way.

Dad has been at a rehab Facility in Union City for the past 10 days and just found out last night that he's been approved for another 26 days because he's doing so well. He is in much better spirits and mom can tell. Although he does have bouts of frustration. He's talking a lot clearer but still says a whole lot of sweet nothings! When I spoke with him the other night I told him Chris put our Christmas tree up early and he laughed! Also sent him a collage' of family/friends photos on a ring that he can flip thru and he loved them. Mom said he looked at them a dozen times that day. Mom says he's moving all over the place. He moves himself with his feet(both right and left) to get around in his wheelchair. He's moving his Right arm too but not much from his right hand- we hope that will come with time. Mom is doing well. Mom is such my HERO! She says she has her moments of crying, laughing and feeling lonely but we have told her to take one day at a time. She is so appreciative of all the cards, calls and thoughtful donations that have helped in more ways than one! We thank you all for keeping up with the blog and dads progress- we tell him every time who asks about him and he always responds with a big smile. He definitely is aware to what is going on. Its been 5 weeks since I've actually "talked" to dad and although we get busy sometimes with our lives take this time now to call your parents tell them that you love them or just to say HI and that you were thinking of them cause you never know if that may be your last time.
Thank you all- Much Love.
Amber

35 Weeks and feelin it!


This is the first week that I am going to admit to feeling a bit more miserable.
Almost 11 lbs of baby and indigestion that feels like its strangling me....I refuse to take medicine though. Doctor says babies are both head down and SUNDAY is the big day to get to so I can deliver at our local hospital and not downtown. Chris has been so sweet about telling me to take it easy....until I learned that him and five other guys at work have a BET as to when I'll go into Labor and I think he's afraid he's going to loose! Yesterday I was so tempted to use the Motorized cart at Wal-Mart. I refrained and instead had to stop three times to sit on the bench from the Veggie Isle to the Dairy Isle! Actually felt enough energy when I got home to vacuum and detail the car inside. Needless to say I did not get a good look when Chris pulled in the driveway to see me doing that! I just cant help myself.
Picture is with my Aunti from Sabah Malaysia. She took care of me when I was little when my parents were overseas and is Family to me! Love you Titi!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You do the math....

Ultrasound was Tuesday.Everything looks good. Sadie is 4lbs 14oz and Trista is 4lb 15 oz. Almost the 5 pound mark! I warned most of you that the last month you wouldnt see me. I have already missed my first sabbath last week cause I do not have church worthy clothing. Although I would love to show up in my pink valour pants and see what those "convervatives" had to say about it! Its' either that or jeans cause I am NOT buying any clothes! Sorry- cant attach pictures cause there were no good shots. THe lady said they are too big and there is too much going on it there to get a good profile shot-I'm gonna take that as a good thing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dad Finally At Rehab

Well, I guess it took him taking a hard to fall to get him into Rehab.
After going to the ER they decided to send him to Jackson since that's where he was seen last. They did an MRI and thank goodness he had no broken bones and was acting his usual self. They were going to send him back to the nursing home facility until my mom said she did not want him to go back there. The case manager actually suggested a Rehab facility in UNION CITY, TN about 50 minutes from Mom- which is not much help to her BUT they are very aggressive with their therapy. In the beginning we didn't entertain that as an option since we were told it was a Knee/Hip replacements rehab facility but the case manager said they specialize in stroke and are under the "umbrella" of Stallworth Vanderbilt. So, that's where dad went last night and will start a full screen of evaluations on him with emphasises on Speech this morning. We are so glad- I know its not here but at least he's getting more aggressive therapy and they told mom not to come until after 3:30 so she will not feel like she has to go every meal. When mom told dad where he was going he smiled with relief! Thank you all for continued prayers- we are just taking this one day at a time.
Much appreciation,
Amber

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dad took a bad fall...

Dear Family and Friends:

I am feeling guilty that I have not written or returned your phone calls, but Amber and Stephen have saved the day by keeping you updated on Jim's condition. Please be assured that I think of all of you so often and wish I could talk to each one personally. This past month has been a living nightmare and I keep feeling that I will awaken and it was just a bad dream.
It was only a month ago this past Friday that Jim had the stroke. He is still unable to speak or walk, but has made significant improvements each day, for which we are thankful.
He was transferred from Jackson Hospital on October 21 to the Dyersburg Rehab Center and has done considerably well, we thought. He has taken two bad falls from his wheel chair, but no damage done. He keeps writing on the board to the nurses "JET". They called me to ask if he was "wanting to JET out of the rehab center"? I laughed and told them that was his initals for James Earl Thurmond. I have felt so good about his progress and see him everyday making strides towards improvements. Today I got a call from the Center telling me that Jim taken another fall and they were sending him to the ER. When I arrived he was on a stretcher, with neck brace and head wrapped in a non moveable band. They were afraid his neck was broken. X-rays and catscan showed no brokern bones, for which we are grateful, but the Docotor came back and said they wanted him to go back to Jackson, where he was in critical care for 10 days. This is where they had done the first catscan and the Dyersburg Docotr's felt the doctor's in Jackson, who waited on his before, would know more about his condition. He was taken by ambulance tonight around 8:30 p.m. I will be there in the moring at 7 to talk with the neurosurgeon to see if there was a new bleed from this most recent fall. I truly believe God isn't through with Jim yet and solicite your continued prayers on his behalf. He was to go to Vanderbilt this coming Monday for extensive rehab on speech and his right leg and arm. We are hoping he will still be able to do this. I feel this isn't a new bleed, because I believe he would have not been coherent as he was when he left the hospital tonight. He will most likely be very sore in the morning.
Thank you for your support and continued prayers on his behalf.

With love to all of you,

Judy and Children
________________________________________

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We are a proud Auntie Am and Uncle Chris

Preston Anders Carter was born at 6:08am today November 4th via C-Section. He weighed 8lbs 3oz and 20 inches long.
Pictures to follow soon.

Dad's Delay to move to Rehab in Nashville



We started the paperwork process last Thursday and as you know waiting on Doctors and all the right paperwork to get done was a drawn out process. After many persistent calls to the Case Manager at the Rehab Facility at Vanderbilt they will be reassessing dad in 2 weeks to see if more progress has taken place. The nurse practitioner said he was functioning at too low a level to be able to participate and get full benefit with inpatient acute rehab. We were all every disappointed but my friend did make a good point that he needs to be at a high enough level in order to take full advantage of the therapy since its so intense and only lasting 4 weeks.
Mom said dad gets very agitated with mom when she leaves at night. Mom said it is so hard to leave especially not knowing what exactly he's trying to tell her. We are trying to reiterate to him that he is not staying there but that he has to be more independent in certain areas in order for him to progress on his own at home.
I so wish I could be more of help and am still holding out that he is able to come in two weeks but I know my time is running out also. Dad is able to follow more commands and knows what is going on but certain things don't come together. If you hand him something he knows right what to do with it but if you tell him to wave or touch his nose he looks at you with a blank stare. However he was able to answer the other day with blinking his eyes 1X for yes and 2x for no which has not been able to do in the past. Also he actually lifted his right leg and crossed it over his left. Boy, the things we take for granted!
Thank you all for your prayers and continued support- mom needs it more than ever! Mom has read all the cards to dad each night. Because some of you have asked for mom and dad's address here it is: 1692 VIAR RD. DYERSBURG, TN 38204
Also, ironically my granddad(dad's dad- Roy Thurmon) turns 94 today!
Amber

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nursery for the Girls






Refrained from doing everything pink....the clothes from my shower made up for that. They are not lacking anything. They will sleep in the same crib for a few months till I have to seperate them.

Starting 33 weeks! Praise God.



Everyday they are in that is one day less in the hospital. Chris finally said it...."
I didnt think your stomach could get so big" my reply.."thanks dear-just you wait- I could go another 6 weeks" Nights are unforgiving. Chris has decided to sleep in the guest room a bit because my obsessive tossing and turning and getting up has left us both sleep deprived. At least we're getting ready for the real thing!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stay posted....dad possibly moving to Stallworth Vanderbilt Rehab in Nashillve


One day this past week Stephen and I toured two highly recommended rehab facilities here in Nashville. Both were very impressive but decided that Stallworth Rehab at Vanderbilt was by far the best for stroke patients with their cutting edge technology. Paperwork has been faxed to Nurse Liason at the Rehab place and now we are just praying he is accepted. We hope to here something today(friday) and Stephen will go over and pick him up.
Mom needs a much needed break and we are more than glad to take over. If I need my feet up and taking it easy what better way to spend with dad in the rehab hospital. Please pray that he is accepted and we can get him here for better rehab.
Much love to all.
AMBER

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hard to leave

Lara left yesterday to head home and it was hard to leave. Dad has had extra therapy thanks to Lara, Angel and Mom who have been working with him at the Skilled Facility inbetween his scheduled therapy.
He's sitting up on his own and calling him on the phone tends to stimulate his communicative side as you can tell he is trying so hard to talk back. Stephen and Jonathan will go over for the weekend and Jonathan will stay part if not all of next week. We are hoping that by the end of the week he can tolerate 3 hours of therapy since that is all he needs to be able to do to get into an acute rehab place possibly here in Nashville. We know that the more independent he is the happier he'll be and most definitely better off mom will be. He's much more aware of his surroundings. Mom said it takes about 15 minutest to leave in the evening cause he does not want her to go. Everyday we see improvement but doctor says it could be up to 6 months before we know how much of his independence he'll get back. Speech is still an issue but he did say "Judy" this past week and the speech therapist will begin working with him on Tuesday. His catheter was removed which brings on another obsticle to relearn but we hope that will come with time. His blood sugar and blood pressure have been great. Dad is very determined which will play a huge part in his recovery.
he's sitting up on his own, feeding himself pretty good but following commands is still going to take time. It's amazing how some things he gets and some things he doesnt. Lara handed him her sunglasses and asked him "what do you do with these" and he put them on and knew where they went- same thing if you hand him a shirt with buttons- he'll work for 30 minutes making sure each button is lined up and buttoned. Still not much movement on the right side. He has moved his R leg and R hand but it takes a lot of effort and we are not sure if its a twitch or him actually moving it, we know that will take time also. Lara says she is hopeful for his recovery and she see's the progress he is making. Thank you to all who follow the blog and have kept us all in your thoughts and prayers. much love,(photo taken a few days ago)
amber

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on Dad

Yesterday I sat down and wrote for about 20 minutes only to realize the site was down and I did not save along the way. So I will try again.
At this point in pregnancy two weeks flies by and I am rejoicing that I have made it 31 weeks! But two weeks ago today was when dad had his stroke and the days just drag on. Getting updates from Lara each day is hopeful and yes at times we've had to chuckle at the funny things dad has done. He's been getting about three hours of therapy a day at the Skilled Nursing Facility(nursing home) and Lara feels hopeful with the work they are doing. Mom is back to work and comes at lunch and in the evening. It is convenient but we (lara and I) know that he needs to be at a more aggressive rehab. After working at a SNF for 5 years I have seen the good, bad and the ugly but both facilites I worked at had excellent therapists and I can only hope for the same there. Lara said it is diffucult to watch. Dad is not in a private room and we wonder what his thoughts are as he glances over to see a 90 year old dementia patient speechless or cursing like a sailor. His eating and swallowing is improving but with some help. He has to lean his head to the left since that is where he feels the food and knows to swallow. Lara went to WalMart and bought a dry eraser board and large letters. She scrambled his name on the board and he put the letters J-A-E-M-S in order. Lara told him it was incorrect and he switched the M and the E to get it right. Anything put in his hand has to be watched because within minutes he thinks it's edible and will put it in his mouth.
So often we think we are far off from having to take care of our parents and really we should be. We did know that dad's conditoin was shaky even weeks before his stroke but you just never think it's going to happen.
As most of you know Dad had quiet the little farm but with winter coming and mom having to spend most of her time after work with dad the animals are being sold. Although mom did feel guilty I told her that those are things that can all be replaced and she does not need anything else on her plate.

Thank you for all your continued calls,emails and support. Dad loves to get cards and smile everytime mom tells him who has called or written. Some of you have asked mom's address also: 1692 Viar Rd. Dyersburg, TN 38024
Much Love,AMBER

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dad's long road of therapy

Today dad will move to a Skilled Nursing Facility. According to the Rehab Doctor in he hospital he does not meet the criteria for their advanced therapy which we were all disappointed about. He will be going to a SNF in Dyersburg about 5 minutes from mom's work where therapist there will start to work with him a few hours a day. Once he can sit up on his own and follow commands we will have him moved to a more aggressive rehab facility. The rehab doctor said it could be a very long and slow road to recovery but dad is very determined-we can tell. Please continue to keep mom and and dad both in your prayers. The address where dad will be staying is 1900 Parr Ave. Dyersburg TN 38024 for those that would like to send cards.
Much appreciation and love to all our friends and family that have shown their support the past coulple weeks and months ahead.
Thurmonds.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dad...still hanging in there.


Again...i must start off with expressing my sincere gratitude for the continued concern and support of my father and our family as he continues to struggle back to a normal life. As much as I’d like to compose individual/personal e-mails to each of you...i’m going to cheat and rely on technology to help me get the latest news out in one shot. I just got back home from spending the day with dad in Jackson and I’m pretty exhausted...so please find it in your heart to forgive me.

Dad was released from ICU today so, he’s in a regular room on the Neural floor. He looks much better as you can see in the picture attached...a clean shave works wonders. He’s much more stable right now, but his blood pressure keeps fluctuating quite a bit which has been a concern. However, anything is better than 217/170 (what the EMT told us his BP was when they arrived at the house to take him to the ER)...so he’s pretty lucky to be alive, considering those numbers.

He’s much more responsive and has quite a bit more movement and motor skills in his left side. The right side is still pretty much toast as of now, although it does seem a bit more relaxed and not near as withdrawn as it was earlier in the week. It’s going to take a lot of therapy to prevent muscular atrophy as he heals. His swallowing is much better as well...however, he doesn’t have complete control over his mouth/tongue, so he sometimes gets too much in one gulp when drinking and then starts to choke/cough pretty bad. It’s going to take time.

He still cannot speak, but he’s trying really hard. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to witness, but you can’t help but get excited that he’s even uttering sounds and trying to form a coherent word...so, it’s an emotional rollercoaster for all of us as he tries to get those speech synapses firing properly once again. He seems to be exceptionally responsive over the phone for some reason. For instance, when Amber called earlier today from Nashville he actually got out a muffled two words that really sounded like “hey, Amber”. We told mom to call him on the phone while she was en route to the hospital and we’re pretty sure he got out a “hey, baby” when he answered the phone. Maybe we’re straining to hear something that’s not there...but, there’s no denying that he’s trying really hard to express himself and...that’s a start. Right now, it’s just muffled grunts/groans and incoherent fragments of what we think are words. You can see the frustration on his face as he tries to get it out. We’re just hopeful he’ll improve in this area as quickly as possible.

He can also write a few letters. He’s right handed and virtually paralyzed on that side, so the pic attached is what he came up with using his left hand. “JATER”. We think he’s trying to formulate his name, James Thurmond, but the synapses just aren’t there yet. It’s literally like teaching an infant at this point. But, as the bruising on the brain subsides and with constant stimulation and therapy...all these functions should improve over time.

If any of you have had a friend or loved one that has gone through a stroke and you have any good pointers, advice, suggestions that we can try in order to get him up to par as soon as humanly possible...please let us know. Also, for those of you in the medical field, if you have any information on the proper administration/usage of the “TPA” shot he received that incapacitated him...please feel free to divulge anything you feel comfortable with. I’ve been doing some research and talking with a few people in the medical field and I’m nearly convinced that he SHOULD NOT have received that shot with 1.) His blood pressure being that high. 2.) His prior history of having a “bleed” stroke 6 years ago. 3.) Before having a CT scan to see if it was a “clot” or a “bleed”. He was coherent, cognitive, speaking with the EMT’s/Doctors and my mother before and upon his arrival at Dyersburg hospital. Almost immediately after they gave him that shot...he became comatose, and that’s when they put him in an ambulance to Jackson General. I’m not a neurologist...but even I know that you don’t give a brain hemorrhaging patient a powerful blood thinner WHILE they’re having a “bleed” stroke. We also had confirmation of this when the neurologist at Jackson General said these exact words...“they SHOULD NOT have given him that shot.”

We hope to have him in the rehab program at Jackson General by Monday morning...but, it all depends on if he “checks out” with their criteria. If not there, we’ll probably bring him up to Nashville and get him in the Stallworth inpatient rehab program at Vandy. I’ll keep you updated as he progresses.

We’ve tried our best to remember everyone that has expressed concern and support for him and we tell him who all has been sending their love...he smiles a lot when we do that...so, know that he appreciates your well wishes, thoughts, love, and prayers...as do the rest of us.

Again...much love to each and every one of you. It doesn’t go un-noticed.

-stephen

Friday, October 17, 2008

Enjoy it while you can....


Oh Rocky- the peace and quiet will end soon so enjoy your sleep!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Update On Dad



Since mom is 40 miles from home and has been so blessed with calls and emails I hope this site helps with dads updates.
Six days seems like an eternity when every minute counts. Lara keeps us updated daily. I feel guilty for not being there but doctor has said he does not want me that far and I have to know that dad would want the same. After all he's the only GRANDpa for these girls!
Here is an update:
He is finally off the IV for his BP and they have him on insulin and patch/oral meds for BP. BP and Blood sugar are stable for now and he was moved to a regular room. We do know that the severity of the stroke may have been prevented if Dyersburg Hosp. had done a CT scan before giving him the TPA shot but obviously cant do anything about it now so we just pray he continues to progress. Even the Neurologist said she was amazed at how well he is doing and the ICU nurses see the determination in him. Ultimately it is up to dad and you can tell he's trying hard.
He's eating much better. Still a little unsure what to do with water so thickener is added to all liquids to help him get it down. He's enjoying fruit juices and meals mom and lara are preparing for him at the hospitality house they are staying in near the hospital. He's feeding himself. Lara reads the Bible to him every morning and every evening. He looks at the bible but we are unsure of how much he comprehends.
Lara was leaving on Wed. night and leaned over and kissed him and asked him to give her a kiss and he puckered his lips (which he could not do the day before) and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She then told him she loved him and waited. It was a delay but he opened his mouth and got the word "I" out. Lara said you could tell he was trying to say more but we are happy with at least one word. Mom just told me today that he was able to nod his head no - we've been trying to get him to do that for almost 5 days. He knows what he wants and what he doesn't want but the communication is the only thing lacking but he's finding other ways to let us know.
Now that he's in a reg. room we hope that ST,OT and PT will start working with him aggressively.
Still no movement on his right side. They put a brace on his right arm yesterday to help straighten it and loosen it up. Dad has been straightening his own fingers and pushing his arm down with his strong left side.
We thank each and every one that has written, called and kept us in your Prayers.
Much love,
Thurmonds

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby shower given by church family





So many adorable things for the girls. Over 1000 diapers and wipes. YIPEE!

Thank you to all who made it so special.

Update on Dad's Condition(picture taken 2 weeks ago in Gatlinburg LAUREL FALLS HIKE


First of all...thank you so much for your continued support and concern of my father as he battles through his 2nd stroke. Your phone calls and texts have been much appreciated.

For those that have asked...here’s what happened and the latest update. For those who may not have heard...here ya go.

On Oct. 10th at about 11PM, he had his second stroke. He knew it was happening and was fully cognizant of the situation. He called my mom (who happened to be in Nashville at the time visiting Amber before her baby shower) and told her he thought he was having another stroke. Long story short...EMT’s took him to Dyer County hospital where he informed them of his past heart/stroke history.

For those of you who may not know, my dad had a stroke about 6 years ago after his quad-bypass surgery. The day he was supposed to go home from the hospital, he threw a clot. It slowed him down a bit, but didn’t incapacitate him by any means. After therapy, he was able to get back to a full life...although much slower and with a permanent limp on his right side.

Upon arriving and hearing of his situation, the doctors immediately gave him a Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA) shot, which is very effective in thinning the blood and breaking up/clearing a clot if administered within 2-3 hours of a stroke. Unfortunately [and unbeknownst to the doctors...which I’m still curious as to why...i’m guessing there wasn’t a CT scan at Dyer hospital???], my dad did not have a “clot” stroke, but a “bleed” stroke. Well, you can imagine what a strong blood thinner like a TPA shot would do to a person that’s bleeding internally...it only exacerbated the problem and he immediately took a turn for the worse, becoming virtually comatose. When they saw his reaction to the shot they immediately put him on an ambulance to a more advanced facility...Jackson-Madison General Hospital, in Jackson, TN. about 40 minutes from my parents home in Dyersburg.

Mom, Lara, Amber, Jonathan, and I got to the hospital at different times throughout the day, Saturday the 11th. When we first got there...he wasn’t very responsive at all, and just looked kind of glazed over. We spent as much time as they would allow us in his ICU room. We just continued to stimulate him in any way possible when allowed in the room, making sure he had familiar faces in front of him and that he could hear our voices. He just looked completely exhausted...so, we left him around 10PM Saturday night to get some much needed rest before they let us back in at 9AM Sunday morning. He looked much better the next morning, but here’s the current status.

He’s completely paralyzed on his right side (with the exception of some slight twitching reactions to stimuli...which is a start), but does have use (although limited) of his left side. He has a strong grip with his left hand, and can actually feed himself, although the swallowing bit isn’t up to spec, just yet. But, no need for a feeding tube at this time, which is GREAT news. He can’t do thin liquids just yet, because of lack of control of his mouth and swallowing. But, has done well with thicker things like mashed potatoes, pudding, etc. Hey...it’s a start.

He can’t speak whatsoever at this time...but, seems to by trying as he’s grunting more now. If he is cognizant of what’s happening and can hear/understand us completely...i can only imagine his frustration. He’s not very responsive to specific commands, so we really just don’t know what all he’s comprehending. He’s showing emotion...so, we’re pretty sure he recognizes us, but when given a specific command like “blink once for yes, or squeeze our hand for no”, he doesn’t seem to respond very well...and, when he does...it’s very delayed. The bleed has affected about a ¼ of his brain, according to the Neurologist and CT scan. So, it’s fairly significant. She said he’s actually doing much better than she expected after seeing the damage of the bleed. Right now, we’re just hoping it’s stopped bleeding so the body can start to mend the damaged/bruised area of the brain. He may improve drastically or not much more than what he is now...only time will tell.

We hope to have him out of ICU within’ the next 2-3 days. Again...thank you so much for all the support. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. Much love: the Thurmond family.