Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

By all accounts, Theresa and her sister, Wanda, had a wonderful week with
the two of them enjoying their all-too-short time together.  Without mom
along, Wanda took a different tack and let Theresa attend her rehab
therapies undisturbed.  Between, before and after these sessions, Wanda
worked with Theresa to organize her daily planner and personal belongings,
and made sure that Theresa wore her Dynasplint (renamed battle-splint by
Theresa due to the pain it inflicts) for the prescribed four hours per day.
I'm pretty sure that if Wanda stayed a little longer, Theresa would have
given her an affectionate nickname too, as she has done for some of the
Craig Hospital staff including:  Sarge - a no-nonsense nurse, Jolly Holly -
the always upbeat occupational therapist, and Matey Katie - the only
speech pathologist that could keep her composure through Theresa's
sometimes silly ravings.  Wanda also encouraged Theresa to push her
own wheelchair most of the time and from what I heard, the ice packs
needed to soothe Theresa's sore arms and legs contributed to the ice
machine breaking down regularly.  We are so grateful to our Lord for
Wanda's visit and that she was able to make such an impact on
Theresa's healing.  After a busy week, Wanda's reward was a direct
flight home, unlike the trip out where she became intimately acquainted
with the Seattle and Las Vegas airports en route.

If you notice above that the word "legs" is used in the plural form, it's
because for the first time in over four months of recovering from multiple
surgeries that Theresa's right leg is finally able to bear some weight.  And
with this newfound ability comes the freedom to stand with assistance and
do transfers that formerly required an overhead lift or at least two nursing
aides to accomplish.  The standing exercises started this week with three
sets of five 1-minute reps daily.  The first few sets were a struggle as
Theresa's quadriceps must have hurt like he-- after so long without use.
But by the end of the week, Theresa was standing without requiring
constant encouragement and only needed a light assist from the aide to
get up.  And in a few instances, Theresa didn't even warn anyone that
she was attempting to stand; she just leaned forward into the aide for
support and stood on her own.  All of this culminated in today's PT
session where Theresa leaned into me and stood up for five minutes
nonstop, a huge milestone on our healing journey and one that will
surely be surpassed in the days to come.  This gift of grace from our
Lord is received with utmost humility and gratitude.

When I flew to Denver last Friday, the original purpose was more to prepare
for the upcoming move to a transitional rehab facility but it morphed into
trying to figure out how to deal with the latest snag, the denial of our
health insurer to continue coverage as originally outlined in the treatment
plan.  But I've expended enough bandwidth detailing these travails last time
so I will leave it in our Lord's hands.  Hopefully, the bureaucrats at the
HMO will review our appeal justly and show more compassion towards
their subscribers' needs instead of boasting of their $5 million profit this
past year.  In any case, I am here to share in Theresa's continued healing
steps and am looking forward to the day that she actually takes her first
step.  Until then, Theresa is wheeling herself around the hospital hallways
just fine and now that her spiffy new ride in metallic burnt orange has
arrived, she's doing her joy rounds in style.  Even more inspirational is
that Theresa has incorporated her Hula Teddy in the joy rounds.
Sometimes, it takes more than a friendly face to get a new patient or
their family to look past the anger, blame, denial, etc. and that is where
the hula bear steps in.  Watching Theresa make the bear dance the hula
brings a smile to everyone, no matter the direness of their situation.
That Theresa can see beyond her own limitations and strive to heal
others while being healed herself is another of the Lord's gifts that
are not wasted.

Later this week, there will be visits from evaluators representing some of
the transitional rehab facilities being considered.  While each assisted
living center will have its plus & minus, rest assured that we will review
them carefully before making this all-important choice.  I would like
nothing more than to bring Theresa home right now but we have discussed
it and agreed that the effects of her brain injury can best be managed at one
of these intensive rehab facilities rather than on an outpatient basis in
Hawai'i.  I ask you to join us in prayer for our Lord to guide us to the
next path along Theresa's healing journey of grace.



P.S.  Included in this week's update is an article about Theresa as printed
in her former clinic's newsletter.  Our thanks to everyone at West Hawaii
Community Health Center for the tireless support they have shown us.

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