Monday, February 21, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

The past week has gone by so quickly it's hard to decide where to begin.
I'm writing this update from Theresa's room, spending our final few hours
together as I watch her sleep peacefully before I head out in the wee hours
to catch a 0600 flight back to Kona. I don't know when I'm returning to
Denver but if Theresa's healing continues at its current pace, it will be
sooner rather than later. Until then, here's a recap of the past week we
spent together at Craig Hospital.

When in doubt, chronological order always works so let's start with a week
ago from Friday when the previous update was sent out just before boarding
the plane in Kona. To say the flight to San Francisco was bumpy is an
understatement -- the seatbelt light stayed on most of the way and for good
reason. I understand the basic concept of turbulence is that warm air rises
and cold air descends, so where they meet there is instability and rough air
is the result. But for this trip, there must have been vast amounts of air
rising and falling because even a flight attendant yelled out in surprise
when it seemed the plane dropped a few feet mid-air. I'm pretty certain I
wasn't the only one saying a silent prayer on that flight and in the end, we
made it safely to the mainland but probably not without a few overfilled
bladders. I am most thankful to our Lord for the safe passage and that
there was a plane change before continuing on to Denver.

Arriving at Craig Hospital on Saturday, the feeling of overpowering joy when
setting eyes upon Theresa is one I shall not forget in this lifetime. She
has made remarkable strides in her healing journey and just seeing her
without her trach tube and cervical collar for the first time in over 10
weeks was a sight for tired eyes. Our friend Jill, whose positive and
detailed updates we shared last time, had taken the day off so Theresa and I
could spend it together. Theresa had lots of stories to tell me about her
adventures over the past three weeks, not so much about herself but more
about the other patients and some of the staff. It seems Theresa has
started doing her "joy rounds" again, wheeling around and visiting with
patients, their family members and the staff. But this time, Theresa has
generously decided not to sell prescriptions and discharge orders for $20 a
piece, not that her Hawaii license would be valid here anyway.

These joy rounds serve a dual purpose. In addition to improving the overall
mood on the unit, it is a good form of cognitive therapy for Theresa too.
As she recovers from the post traumatic amnesia, Theresa is able to retain
more details of her conversations and she incorporates these new memories
into her existing ones. Sometimes her stories are amusing like believing
that her childhood friend Debra is the same person as one of the staff here
because they have the same first name and are about the right age. In other
instances, like with the speech therapy vocabulary testing, Theresa is the
first patient in Craig Hospital history to get every word definition
correct. I for one did not know what a balalaika or a finial is, do you?

On the physical and occupational therapy side, Theresa's heel and ankle
surgery from three weeks ago is healing well but will not be weight bearing
for another five or more weeks. To exercise the joint without applying
weight, a Dyna-splint has been prescribed. This high tech device (which
actually costs 10X what I guessed it should) and looks like something out of
a Terminator movie, applies resistance to the ball of the foot. This in
turn strengthens the heel/ankle joint and tendons but does so without any
pressure against the heel itself. While the surgery sets back the timeline
for standing and walking, the OT/PT therapists (whom Theresa has
affectionately dubbed her twin mistresses of pain) continue to work on
strength and flexibility exercises for her upper body and left leg. The
improvements over the past three weeks are impressive and at the last
session, Theresa leaned forward against a table and stood on her left leg
for a minute! This is all the more remarkable because the left side is her
weak side and the therapists, doctors and I can all see she is just itching
to use that right leg soon. And when she finally does get the go-ahead to
do so, Lord help us because she will burn the wheels off that walker.

Last Sunday, Jill came by before her return flight and the three of us had a
wonderful time together making Valentine chocolate hearts and roses in the
therapeutic recreation class. As Jill prepared to depart, Theresa decided
to give her most of the chocolates as a small token of our appreciation for
the time Jill spent supporting us during the past week. In addition to
Jill, we are so grateful to our Lord to be blessed with other wonderful
friends who make time in their busy lives to visit us at Craig Hospital on a
regular basis. Chief among these are Kelly and Janelle, and the staff of
Unit 2W are already asking when Kelly will return with her Up With People
entourage of musicians, dancers and even a balloon sculpting clown.

On Valentine's Day, in between the hours of therapy sessions, Theresa had
planned to hand out during her joy rounds, the chocolates she'd made the
previous day. But all we had left were 3 chocolate hearts and those went to
Theresa's former roommate here before they were assigned private rooms. So
I left Theresa to rest in the afternoon while I went out in search of
Valentine chocolates and also to buy her some more underwear and tank tops
(if I'd known she needed summer wear here, I'd have brought more from home.)
When I returned only partially successful (no chocolates were to be found),
Theresa wasn't in her room and no therapies were on the schedule so off in
search I went. She wasn't too hard to find, being located at the main
intersection of the unit's skywalk and elevator hallways, offering
chocolates to anyone passing by. It turns out that the roommate's father
gave Theresa a box of chocolates in appreciation for the kindness shown to
his daughter so in a way, the gift of the 3 chocolate hearts multiplied into
enough for all to share. While certainly not on a par with our Lord Jesus
Christ feeding his entire flock with a few loaves of bread and fish, this
small Valentine's Day miracle is one that touched the hearts of many at
Craig Hospital.

The pleasant surprises did not end yet on that holy day as the therapeutic
recreation staff had planned a romantic dinner event for the patients and
their loved ones. Arriving at the T-Rec room, we were given the task of
decorating our own place settings using art supplies to make elegant
placemats, dinner napkin sculptures, etc. While it was difficult for
Theresa to fold a dinner napkin into a pope's hat with the limited use of
her left hand, she gave it a good try and it ended up looking more like a
rabbit with floppy ears. Still, the T-Rec staff served us a wonderfully
romantic meal of spaghetti and Theresa even taught their designated wine
(sparkling apple cider) server how to pour without spilling a drop. The
meal was perfectly topped off with some chocolate dipped strawberries
(Theresa asked if they were from Waimea) and it turned out there were 3
extra for us to take out. On the way back to the room, we ran into
Theresa's roommate and her dad on the skywalk so once again we were able to
share our bounty. What a wonderful way to spend the best Valentine's Day
ever together! Thank you to our Lord for making this not-so-small miracle
possible given all that has happened in our lives.

On Friday, a family conference was held to discuss Theresa's progress during
her first six weeks at Craig Hospital. The majority consensus among her
doctors, nurses and therapists is that Theresa is progressing well despite
the unplanned surgical setbacks, and we can begin planning for a preliminary
discharge date towards the end of March. Whether it means Theresa is coming
home at that time or if she will continue out-patient rehab therapies at
Craig Hospital is yet to be determined. It does give us a target date to
prepare for and either way, she will be leaving the hospital and may need a
full-time care provider depending on her cognitive and physical condition.
I ask you to join me in praying for Theresa's continued healing and that our
Lord will show us the next step to follow on our healing journey of grace.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

By the time you read this update, Theresa will be in the recovery room at
Swedish Medical Center, having successfully undergone one more operation.
How do I know it will be a success since I'm still in the waiting room as I
type this?  Because everything has gone smoothly this morning and there
is a feeling of warmth and reassurance while sitting here that all will be
well. For this among many other blessings, I am most thankful to our Lord.

The purpose of this unplanned procedure is to attempt the removal of the
inferior vena cava (IVC) filter that was placed in Theresa's artery way back
in November at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.  The IVC filter is
called for to prevent a fatal pulmonary embolism for patients at risk but
unable to accept anticoagulant meds for other reasons.  In Theresa's case,
this was because of the severe bleeding from her numerous fractures.

Normally, this type of IVC filter is removed as soon as it is no longer
needed and definitely within one month of insertion.  But for whatever
reason that was not explained to us, Theresa's filter was not removed in
Honolulu even long after the risk for pulmonary embolism had passed.  So
here we are, almost three months after the insertion, attempting a procedure
that is not without risk in order to prevent further complications down the
road.  To make things harder, the type of filter inserted in Honolulu, the
Cordis OptEase, is no longer in favor precisely because of its short
retrieval window and likelihood of attaching permanently to the artery and
breaking apart as it deteriorates.  The interventional radiologist estimates
the chance of successful retrieval at 20-40% however he may not be aware
that there is an even more powerful healer in the room.  I know Theresa is
in the best of hands and she will come through this as she has overcome
every other obstacle on her healing journey of grace, thanks be to our
Heavenly Father.

And sure enough, not fifteen minutes after writing these words, I was called
back to the recovery room and given the good news by the surgeon.  The IVC
filter had adhered slightly to the artery but with some gentle persuasion,
it came out without further complication.  I'm sure it also helped that
Theresa was in a very calm and serene mood this morning, her body sensing
that it was time to release this foreign body that had served its purpose
and was no longer needed.  By now, Theresa had awakened and was tired but in
good spirits.  In fact, when the nurse showed her the remnants of the
filter, Theresa asked if she could keep it to make a Christmas ornament.
Due to bio-hazard rules, the answer was no, and for that I am also thankful.

Returning to her room at Craig Hospital, Theresa was trying to get some rest
after the surgery but couldn't as she worried that the Lovenox anticoagulant
shots should be put on hold to prevent bleeding from the incision.  After
consulting with the internal medicine doc, the nurse tried to assure Theresa
that the shots were still necessary to prevent deep vein thrombosis due to
her mostly seated or prone position.  Theresa still wasn't convinced
(sometimes too much knowledge can be a hindrance) so I held her hands and
said a prayer as the nurse injected the meds into her abdomen.  After the
nurse left me to watch over Theresa, I could see her agitation increase
because she felt she wasn't being heard, and now the soreness of the
injection site was an additional roadblock to getting any rest this day.

So once again, I called upon our Lord for guidance and it seemed within
moments, there was another knock at the door.  This time, the visitor was a
Sister Carmen from the local St. Thomas parish who came to offer communion
to Theresa.  The Sister recited the communion blessings, followed by some
healing prayers and finally by the Lord's Prayer as I joined her in this
familiar and comforting praise.  Then she offered Theresa the Body of Christ
but not His Blood due to the fluid restriction still in place.  After bidding
us farewell, Sister Carmen moved on to the other patients leaving Theresa to
heal in peace.

Earlier this week, I was working on another update with descriptions of how
it's so wonderful to be reunited with Theresa after three weeks apart, how
we spent the best Valentine's Day ever, and how much she has progressed along
her healing journey.  But today's miracles trump those seemingly mundane
stories and it was important to let all of our friends near and far know
that our prayers continue to be answered daily.  Thank you for your ongoing
support and faith and we will continue to be thankful to our Lord for His
grace and healing love.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Update from David & Jill

Aloha to our Ohana,

I'm writing this update from the Kona airport, waiting for the red-eye
flight to bring me back to my beloved Theresa in time for Valentine's week
(because with all we've been through, we deserve more than just a day to
celebrate our love.) The past three weeks of separation were difficult but
the Lord does work in mysterious ways because sitting here now, I can't even
recall where much of the time went. It seemed like just the other day that
cousin Darien greeted me here and now she's sending me off again.

Even though we are currently separated by over 3500 miles, it's been a busy
week for both Theresa and me. I was occupied for the most part with catching
up on the office and home fronts, sorting through hundreds of e-mails, phone
messages and other documents at work and then repeating those tasks at home.
Funny how work and home life seem to merge into one and the same sometimes.
But David doesn't want to be a dull boy so I also took the time to visit and
enjoy an occasional meal with both old and new friends. There were plenty
(or as the locals say, plenny) of hugs and tears to go around and sometimes,
the conversations went into the wee hours. Still, it was worth losing some
shut-eye to renew my energy and the faith that comes with being around such
loving friends.

For Theresa, her week was chock full of nuts too. In addition to a fully
booked rehab therapy schedule, our friend Jill flew out from San Francisco
and spent the week with Theresa, supporting her through her various
therapies and braving more than a few hospital meals and blizzards along the
way. Overall, Theresa and Jill had a great time together but that's almost a
certainty when Jill is around. She has an infectious and brilliant smile
that rivals Julia Roberts and she's a wonderful and giving person. Jill took
the time after each long day at Craig Hospital to give me an update by phone
or e-mail so I am presenting selected passages for your enjoyment. Thank you
to Jill and to our Lord for sending this angel in our time of need.



Hi David,

I hope you had a good day. I've decided to write every night as opposed to
calling you. I'd like to go to bed early every night this week to read and
rest and prepare for the next day. It's a blizzard here. Luckily I know how
to drive in the snow from living in NYC, but it's quite draining.

So, Theresa: today was a long day for her. When I got there, she was having
breakfast with Dr. Weintraub. They seemed to be having a good conversation.
He seems like a good guy, very attentive. He really likes you a lot. He is
looking forward to your visit next week.

After breakfast she went to Speech Therapy (ST) with Katie. Katie is really
good with her, even when she jokes around in ST. She is very close to
passing her daily orientation test. She is getting better and better at
remembering her present reality and past timeline. She also took a
concentration/follow directions test and did very well.

In addition to ST today, she had OT with Holly where she did some math and
got some homework.

At PT she practiced getting out of her wheelchair and onto the mat using the
slide board, rolling over and getting up, and did some strengthening of her
arms. It was very tiring for her, but she did great. She wore her new splint
(the one for her right leg to gently stretch it out as it heals from the
surgery) for 2 hours today; one hour in the morning and one hour in the

After lunch she was stood up by her psychologist, (he had a conference) and
seemed upset. I only know she was upset because I met Dr. Wang today. She
was frustrated and did some button pushing with me (she told me that I was
meeting Dr. Wang), but I'm patient and I understand that she has had brain
trauma and needs to feel in control where ever she can to stabilize herself.
I think I passed her test, but she was seemingly frustrated with me for not
reacting negatively to her. I think in the end, she and I have built more
trust and respect. Yesterday I was "a friend of David's" and today she
called me "a friend of ours..." That's good stuff.

I watched the Seizure education video and passed the test with a perfect
score, so now I can take Theresa to her appts w/o an aid present. I've also
learned how to be the "2nd person" for the Lifting mechanism that gets her
in and out of bed.

I'm learning a lot and building very good rapport with the staff and the
other patients and their families. More importantly, I think Theresa
appreciates my presence there, and that's all that really matters.

I'll give you another update tomorrow night.



Dear Jill,

Thank you so much for your daily reports. Now I know how it feels when
others read the updates I send out. Talk about our Lord working in
mysterious ways! If it is okay with you, I would like to incorporate parts
of your update into my regular one.

Dr. Weintraub is definitely a character, kind of like a modern day version
of an old west gunslinger (but don't tell him I said that.) I look forward
to discussing Theresa's progress with him next week in the family

You certainly passed Dr. Wang's torture test and earned her respect today.
Her stare alone can be uncomfortable and has been know to make grown men cry
(or at least this one.) I usually just play dumb and eventually she gives up
the sour mood, probably pondering how she could have chosen someone so
idiotic for a life partner.

Hey Jill, you did better on the seizure test than me, I forgot the PACE
acronym but nurse Karen let it slide. Thankfully, you don't need to take the
respiratory care and lung suctioning class. It's just creepy sticking a foot
of tubing down into someone's lung and forcing them to cough.

I'll pray for your safety on the roads and for the strength to endure these
long days. I am so thankful to our Lord for your being in our lives at this
time of separation.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend, want anything from Hawaii
besides warmth? I've tried scooping some up but it always ends up looking
like a baggie of sand.



Hi David,

Of course, you can share my daily updates!

Today was a good day. It started out very busy. Theresa was visited by
several of her doctors first thing in the morning. The best news that
started the day was that the most recent CT Scan of her neck looked so good
that she no longer has to wear the neck brace. She was very pleased and I
think it set her positive, determined mood for the whole day.

Her ankle is healing well from the surgery and her sutures look good and
clean. Her dressing was changed and she has less padding which makes her new
dynasplint more comfortable. Today she wore the splint for 1.5 hours this
morning, and 1.5 hours this afternoon. According to her PT this week,
Janice, she is tolerating it very well and has minimal redness from wearing
it. The flexibility in that ankle is already improving, even though she is
still not weight bearing.

Her first appointment of the day was ST with Katie. She and Katie have a
great rapport and it was a very good session. Theresa passed the daily
orientation test for the first time today. She will have to take it a few
more times to make sure that her memories of the present are strong and
sure. For better utilization of her orientation notebook, Theresa will have
to write in what she eats at mealtimes and what she does during downtimes.
She and I worked on that today and will continue throughout the week. She
has signs up in her room to remind her to write in her notebook, and her
nurses and techs have been asked to help her remember to write in it, and
refer to it if she is confused about anything. She remembered very well on
her own today (positive, determined...)

Next we went to PT with Janice. Holly, the OT, shared the first half hour
and Theresa stood up on her left foot for 10 whole seconds (with their
help). During that session, she actually did that twice! She was exhausted,
but felt a deep sense of accomplishment (positive, determined...)

After lunch Theresa had a psychotherapy session with the psychologist (I
opted not to go to that one), then we had another half hour of OT with
Holly, where she wheeled herself around the Gym (almost by herself) for the
first time since getting to Craig (she has been given the green light to
move her arms/shoulders/wrists/hands, as tolerated). They want her to
practice wheeling herself from now on, so that she can become independent in
the wheelchair (until she starts walking again). They also worked on her
math homework from yesterday.

After taking a much needed afternoon rest, Theresa had a refreshing shower
and we had a nice dinner together. After I left, she was scheduled to have a
facial and manicure. I hope she was able to stay awake for that, but she was
awfully pooped. I'll find out tomorrow.

I had a great day with Theresa. We had some great conversations over lunch
and dinner. We talked about her childhood and your childhood. It's fantastic
that she was born in the village where you lived as a child. The two of you
were "meant to be together..." That's what she said, and I believe her.

Much love to you, David. See you on Saturday. No need to bring anything but
you, safe and sound.

Hi Jill,

Mahalo for the detailed and very inspiring update. I'm sure glad to know
that Theresa is doing so well and the two of you are like old friends
sharing good memories.

I just got home after attending the Kona Brain Injury Support Group meeting,
giving the members an update on Theresa's amazing healing journey of grace.
Some of these people have lived with their brain injuries for as long as 25
years so it is a testament to their sheer will and God's grace that they are
living full lives day by day. One of the members is a coffee farmer and he
gave me a few bags to bring to Colorado. If you're a coffee addict, there's
one with your name on it.

The other news here, and it's what's kept me busy for much of the week, is
that the police have completed their investigation into the accident and are
forwarding the report to the prosecutor's office to determine if negligent
injury charges will be filed.

Ever since the press release, I have been inundated with calls from the
print and TV media for interviews. It's a tiresome chore but at least it
keeps Theresa front and center in peoples' thoughts & prayers. I can't
imagine what the publicity will be like when Theresa finally comes home but
we may have to retain you as a Paparazzi shield.

Whatever the outcome, I harbor no ill will towards the other vehicle
occupants and have already forgiven them in my heart. I will pray that their
lives are not adversely affected by these events.

Hi David,

It's so good that you are in the Kona Brain Injury Support Group. The more
support you have, the better. I pray that it will continue to be a source of
support for you when you and Theresa are back home together. Thank you for
the coffee offer, but I'm a tea drinker, so save that bag for yourself:).

I'm relieved to know that the investigation and subsequent case are moving
forward. Please keep me updated. I don't know how much good I'd do with the
paparazzi, but I definitely want to come and visit you and Theresa when she
is finally home.

Today had ups and downs. I arrived at 8:45 this morning because I knew that
Theresa's OT had scheduled time with her from 8-8:30 to create a morning
routine inclusive of Theresa beginning to get herself ready for the day
instead of depending upon the Aids and Nurses. When I got there, she was
dressed with her hair in a ponytail, and eating her breakfast in her
wheelchair with her tray. She seemed to be in very good spirits. She showed
me her manicure from last night!! Her petite hands look terrific and she
also enjoyed her facial. She said that while she was getting them done, she
was serenaded by two men with guitars (Therapeutic Recreation (TR) booked
musicians for the "spa hour"). She was disappointed that they didn't know
Blue Hawaii, but she said she did some hula to the music anyway:).

After breakfast we went to ST. She will be with Julie for the remainder of
the week, as her regular ST, Katie, is taking a few days off. Julie gave
Theresa the orientation test again, and she passed it with a score that was
one point higher than yesterday! Once she passes it again tomorrow (I feel
certain she will), she will be officially moving out of her Post-traumatic
Amnesia. Such good news. Julie coordinated with Angela in TR to schedule
several activities for Theresa so that she will have less downtime (they
really want to keep her stimulated because she is improving so well. They
want to keep her brain moving!) She will have activities every night this
week and on the weekends.

After ST, Theresa had an hour to herself before PT/OT, and she used it well:
she had a fantastic bathroom time. She's been eating well, drinking lots of
water, and eliminating better and better. It seems to make her feel great
after she has been able to eliminate. Starting this week, Pat, her best
nurse in my opinion, has gotten her out of Depends and into underwear. She's
still unsure sometimes and asks for Depends when Pat is not around, but
today, for the first day that she was only in underwear all day, she did not
have a accident, and she asked to go to the bathroom without anyone
prompting her.

The combo PT/OT session was hard on her today. They got her up to kneeling
and keeping herself upright while she was kneeling. It worked her hips
(which are a little stiff from sitting in the wheelchair so much), and
shoulders (which are also stiff from limited range of motion). She was in
pain and expressed it verbally, but she was a trooper and held herself
upright on her knees for a full minute. It was great, but she was pooped

We then had a nice lunch and were joined by a patient and the parent of a
different patient. They were talking about their accidents, then the economy
and job market, then politics in general. Theresa and I were relatively
quiet during the conversation. I could tell that she was not interested in
the chatter, but she was very polite. I was relieved when they got up and
left before we did. She and I had a good little chuckle about what she
called, "the complaining that goes on here..."

Tomorrow morning at 8am she will start her day with an ASIA test. It is a
sensitivity test that she will have with her PT and OT. They test all of the
parts of her body for sensation to determine if there is any lack of
sensation anywhere. This test is commonly given to people with severe spinal
cord injuries, but they want to know where Theresa is with the feeling in
her body. She will be disrobed for that one, so I will go to Craig a little
later than usual (9:15 or so).

I'll report more tomorrow. I'm off to bed.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

KHON2: Husband of injured doctor responds to crash investigation involving Colt Brennan's girlfriend

Reported by: Ron Mizutani

Last Update: 2/09 6:42 pm

Video 1 of 1

David Chen and his wife Theresa Wang
David Chen and his wife Theresa Wang 
The husband of a Kona doctor who was critically injured in a head-on collision involving Colt Brennan and his girlfriend says there is some closure now that a police report is complete. The Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney must now decide if charges are warranted against Shakti Stream.

Big Island police have completed their investigation into a November 19th crash on Queen Kaahumanu Highway that left three people injured including former UH quarterback Colt Brennan and Dr. Theresa Wang.

"I'm not sure exactly what the delay was I do know that HPD contacted me about two weeks ago and they wanted permission to receive Theresa's medical records," said Wang's husband David Chen.

Brennan was a passenger in a Toyota S-U-V driven by 27-year-old Shakti Stream. Police say Stream's vehicle crossed the center line and collided head-on with a Saab driven by the 47-year-old Wang.

Wang suffered critical injuries including fractures to her neck, hip and four extremities. Wang spent several weeks at the Queen's Medical Center and continues to recover at a rehabilitation hospital in Colorado.

"She's doing the physical and occupational and the speech and cognitive therapies well and she had her tach removed so now she can speak and she can swallow food," said Chen. "She's been talking up a storm since then."

Brennan has made a full recovery from head trauma, several broken ribs and a broken collar bone. Stream has also recovered from injuries.

"To learn yesterday that they transferred their report to the Prosecutor's Office means that there's progress and for us there's some closure too," said Chen. "Whatever comes of it, if charges are filed or not it doesn't really concern us that much. We've forgiven the people in the other car already."

On December 30, 2010 Wang filed a lawsuit against Stream seeking damages. Chen has since returned to the Big Island as Wang continues rehab but says he'll return to his wife's side in a few days.

"Since it is Valentine's Day next week I thought I would just I need to be with her for Valentine's," said Chen. "We are so grateful that's she's come this far along and she has her smile back and that's the important thing."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

It's somewhat challenging to write this latest update as most of the news
about Theresa's progress in the past week has come from other sources.
These include e-mails from friends that visited Theresa, some brief
discussions with the hospital staff and one phone call from Theresa herself.

In brief,  Theresa is recovering slowly from the recent heel/ankle surgery
and her foot will be in a cast for the next 3-4 weeks.  Even with this
setback, Theresa is proceeding with the rehabilitation therapies for her
other injuries and is making steady progress.  The tube-feeding has been
discontinued and Theresa is now eating all meals the usual way.  I heard
that the cafeteria did in fact serve Swedish meatballs one day and while
Theresa enjoyed it, she was disappointed that they didn't have the
lingonberry sauce that it comes with at IKEA.  It's also been a struggle for
the staff to convince Theresa to down her Ensure liquid protein drink as she
would never touch the stuff back home.  I suggested adding a few ice cubes
and blending it to the consistency of a shake, which she seems to enjoy
more.  It's good to know Theresa has her appetite back and I am thankful to
our Lord for these small yet significant signs that He continues to bless
Theresa with His healing powers and grace.  When next I return, I plan to
pick up some take-out Vietnamese noodle soup or pho, one of Theresa's

Another issue that arose before I left and is being resolved this week is
with Theresa's vision.  Her current prescription eyeglasses were lost in the
accident so what I'd brought along for her was a 2-yr old pair.  She could
see better with them than without but following a brain injury, there may be
changes to the eyes or visual processing center so an updated eye exam was
ordered by the occupational therapist.  Based on this, Theresa's
prescription did change again so she has need for a new pair of glasses.  A
hospital worker contacted me this week to ask if they should wait until I
return to help Theresa choose a new set of frames and lenses.  I told them
to go ahead and let Theresa choose for herself.  Suffice to say, it will be
interesting to see what her choice is and how the new glasses reflect her
personality right now.  And if down the road, Theresa questions who chose
that style of eyewear, I'll delight in letting her know who was the chief

Ever since arriving at Craig Hospital, the only safe way to transfer Theresa
from her bed to her mobility chair and then onto the therapy mat was by the
use of an overhead lift in each location.  The nurse and an aide (sometimes
it was me) would place a hammock-type sling under Theresa and then attach
the straps to the lift.  At the press of a button, the sling would lift
Theresa and once she was dangling mid-air like a sack of bananas, we would
swing her over to the chair or mat and slowly lower her back down, then
remove the sling from underneath her.  This usually took the better part of
10 minutes which really cut into the limited therapy time.  But now that
Theresa's arm and hip fractures have healed to partial weight bearing
status, the physical therapist is beginning to teach Theresa to use a slider
board to make her transfers.  That entails placing the board between the bed
and the chair and having Theresa sit on the slider board as she slowly
shimmies her butt across using her arms for balance and leverage.  By all
accounts, Theresa is becoming a pro with the slider board and even adding
some Hula hip moves as she travels to and fro.  Best of all, it reduces the
transfer time to a minute or two and only one caregiver need be there to
spot her.

For me, the past two weeks have held moments of sadness and joy.  Leaving
Theresa was difficult but I know in my heart it is the right thing to do for
now.  Dr. Weintraub promised that when I return in a few weeks, I will be
amazed at the progress that Theresa has made, and that is something I look
forward to every day.  I am most thankful for Kelly and her circle of
friends from Up With People for visiting Theresa on a daily basis these past
two weeks.  Beginning this Sunday, Jill, a former colleague of mine will be
taking an entire week to spend time with Theresa.  Friends like this are
rare indeed and I am most grateful that our Lord has sent this angel to look
after Theresa.

Back home, the support from friends, colleagues, church members and even
strangers that are following our story is tremendous.  There were more hugs
and tears than I can remember, and quite a few people have told me that they
are re-evaluating their own lives and their faith based on what is happening
to us.  In truth, we are just ordinary people that have been touched by
extraordinary events these past two years.  I would like to believe that if
they were in a similar situation, all of our friends and supporters would
handle it just as well as us.  As long as we have faith in our Lord and know
that He is forgiving and His love for us is unconditional, then all will be