Growing up too fast....

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 The right side is still pretty much toast as of now, although it does seem a bit more relaxed and not near as withdrawn as it was earlier in the week.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

2 comments:

Rashel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rashel said...

Just to let you all know your dad is in our thoughts and prayers. This must be an incredibly difficult time for all of you, but it is so rewarding to see those small steps toward recovery. Hang in there and just take it one day at a time!! :)

Love you all, Rashel Rosaasen