Thursday, January 20, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

In just four days here, Rosa and Wanda have made a good contribution to Theresa's healing journey.  The day of their arrival, I reminded Theresa that I would be away for a few hours to pick them up so she decided to look her best.  Working with the occupational therapist, Theresa did a great job of relearning how to brush her teeth but her hair was another matter.  I don't remember how long she had let it go before the accident but in the past nine weeks, Theresa's hair has grown Rapunzel-like and is now below the shoulders.  With both arms still in splints, Theresa can only reach far enough to brush the front half of her hair which is fine for now because there are knots in the rear that would confound even a seaman.  Still, we are thankful to our Lord for this sign of wellness among all of the other miracles His healing powers have brought for Theresa.

The greeting between mom and sisters was heartfelt and tears were shared by all.  Compared to Wanda's prior visit when Theresa was still comatose in the Queen's Medical Center ICU, this time was completely different.  Not only was Theresa conscious and happy to see them, but she could smile and talk and hug and kiss too.  This so relieved Rosa that she began to believe Theresa's brain injury was already behind her and she's ready to return to her life before the accident as soon as the spinal cord injury and fractures have healed.  Unfortunately, Rosa's hopes were dashed at the family conference the following day when Dr. Weintraub along with the rest of Theresa's specialized care team reviewed their findings and progress notes from the first two weeks at Craig Hospital.  The display of X-rays, CT scans, MRI, etc. clearly shows the seriousness of Theresa's injuries from head to heel and there is still much healing to go.

While Theresa has come a long way and has made good strides since arriving in Englewood,  her multiple fractures are still partially non -weight bearing which limits the type of rehab therapy that can be accomplished.  The specialists are waiting on the outcome of a few more diagnostic tests this week before deciding if Theresa's cervical collar can be removed.  Among these is a crucial MRI to determine if the bone graft and fusion of Theresa's cervical vertabrae has healed sufficiently enough to say farewell to the collar that has been a pain in her neck and a source of constant frustration for the past two months.  So with this in mind, Theresa was scheduled for the MRI the prior afternoon but because she already had a busy day of multiple therapies, she was restless and could not hold still long enough for the scan.  It also didn't help that the radiology tech didn't allow Wanda in the room to try to calm Theresa down so on the next day's attempt with Wanda at her side, Theresa was able to stay steady for the head scan but not the neck one (you try staying still for 15 minutes inside an echo chamber with someone pounding a drum by your ears.)  The third attempt will be made tomorrow and thankfully, it should be a shorter duration scan because it's only the neck that's left.  I pray that Theresa receives the assurance and love that our Lord is sending her way to allow her to remain calm during this procedure.

Besides the return of her voice with the capping of the tracheostomy tube, Theresa is finally able to enjoy solid food again.  Aside from the blue-dyed products consumed during the swallowing tests, Theresa has now enjoyed a semblance of real food that includes a grilled cheese sandwich, chicken noodle soup and even a couple of bites of cherry pie.  During the week, she has had a constant craving for IKEA meatballs with lingenberry sauce but the Denver IKEA store is still in the construction stage so it's unlikely we'll be able to fulfill that request during this stay.  It was still a joy to watch as we wheeled Theresa to the hospital cafeteria hot line and she asked the somewhat perplexed server for Swedish meatballs and noodles when only pork chops and pasta was being served.  Like two years ago when Theresa had an unquenchable craving for lamb chops during her aneurysm recovery, this obsession with IKEA meatballs is another sign that Theresa is on the path to healing once again and for this, I continue to be thankful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am also grateful for the timing of Wanda and Rosa's visit as my back has been acting up for the past few days.  The combined weight of the mobility chair, oxygen tank, respiratory emergency kit and other attachments (plus Theresa) approaches 300 lbs so it looks like I may have strained myself by using improper lifting techniques.  So far, accupressure and some healing massage oil are keeping me mobile but if it gets worse then at least I'm in the right place to find proper treatment.  Also, it turns out that I had to leave for a few days to deal with banking issues elsewhere but I know Theresa is in good hands with her mom and sister as I am keeping in touch by phone.  Tonight, I missed their evening call but picked up a loving voicemail left by Theresa in which she said she had a good day with her therapists and family but wishes I was there too.  She ended by saying she loved me, then corrected herself by adding "very much."  Well Theresa, I love you very much too as do so many of our friends around the world, and God loves all of us.



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