Growing up too fast....

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.

29 Weeks


Ultrasound yesterday (October 14th) 30 weeks gestation. Doctor is very pleased how the progress is going. He said I was a good patient doing all that I need to be doing. Eating well, drinking plenty of water and taking it easy.....kinda!

Sadie is on my right and Trista is on the left. Trista actually moved so now they are fighting with thier feet to see who can cram which foot under my Right Rib!

Sadie weighs 3lbs 1 oz and Trista weighs 3lbs 6oz.