Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Update from David
Aloha to our Ohana,
The good news continues to emanate from Craig Hospital and wonder of wonders, Theresa herself has become the chief messenger. She phoned earlier in the week to let me know she had a revelation of some kind and the result is she now has gained a newfound resolve to get better so she can get home quicker. Since then, Theresa has worked diligently on her rehab therapies showing good progress, and I even received a call from the family counselor confirming that was the case. It's as if there was a divine intervention that gave Theresa some added incentive to try harder, and for this I am truly thankful to our Lord for His gift of grace.
In addition to doubling her efforts in the therapy sessions, Theresa was confronted with having to learn a majorly difficult skill this week. As part of the ongoing rehab program, it was time to replace her electric Hill-Rom hospital bed with a regular queen size mattress and boxspring. Without the safety rails and electrical adjustments of the Hill-Rom, Theresa would have to exert more effort to transfer from the bed to her wheelchair using the slider board. So if the number of phone calls that day was any indicator, then Theresa's frustration level must have been at orange or above. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to transfer from the wheelchair to the higher elevated bed, Theresa called to announce that she was going on a hunger strike until her favorite Hill-Rom bed was returned. As I pondered this ultimatum, I tried to figure out some way to tell her it's a useful skill to learn because we don't have a Hill-Rom at home either. Not ten minutes later the phone rang and Theresa was triumphantly describing how she used her left leg as a pivot to swing into bed. That's our girl!
The other big news this week is of course the earthquake off the coast of Japan and the tsunami generated by it. While we had six hours warning in Hawaii, that was barely sufficient time to evacuate thousands of people from the low-lying areas. The tsunami waves did cause damage to homes and businesses along the west side of the Big Island but nothing like what happened to Japan's northeast coastline. Miraculously, there were no human casualties here despite some Darwin nominees attempts at filming their own demise. After all of the excitement was over, Theresa phoned me that morning to see if everything was okay. After I assured her that all was well, she made mention again of her travails in the new bed and how she didn't sleep well because of a fear of falling off.
For me, the unspoken benefit of the bed change is that there is now room for two. I'm not sure how Craig Hospital feels about conjugal visits but the next time I'm there and if Theresa is willing, I fully intend to cover the surveillance cameras so we can enjoy our first night together in over four months. And I'm not even looking for anything more than some warm and loving snuggling although at this point, I won't turn down any gifts either. Consider it an unorthodox form of recreational or occupational therapy, not unlike Theresa's favorite Hula therapy.
Theresa's sister Wanda arrives for a week's visit tomorrow so that should cheer both of them up. It will be seven weeks since her last visit and I'm sure Theresa and Wanda will have lots to share. Mom Rosa wont be joining them this round but she is planning another trip down south next month. By that time, it is highly likely that Theresa will be headed to the next path along her healing journey -- a transitional rehab facility with assisted living care. While several such care centers in locales ranging from California to Nebraska have been brought to my attention, one deciding factor will likely be if our health insurer is willing to provide coverage and for how long. While I am grateful that our health insurer has covered Theresa's stay at Craig Hospital thus far, it is mind boggling that they only approve her inpatient rehab program two weeks at a time. Moreso, that their medical director who is over 3500 miles away can make the decision to deny coverage based on progress notes even though Dr. Weintraub who is at Theresa's side daily and knows what's best for her has to plead her case regularly. Such is the state of the private health insurance industry and it's no wonder that HMO is sometimes derisively referred to as "Health Moneymaking Organization." Here is a link to a recent article that discusses the subject in greater detail, along with a fact sheet from the Brain Injury Association. I'll get off my soapbox now.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks and wherever our healing journey leads us, we know it is by the Grace of God that we have come so far as we continue to praise and put our faith in Him. Coming to Colorado was certainly not something I would have considered beforehand but Craig Hospital has been a Godsend for Theresa's healing and we have made many new friends here. That the Good Shepard watches over us is not in doubt. As long as we follow in His path, we will not lose our way.