Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday the 22nd

Things are definitely improving. I walked in there this morning and saw a wheelchair in his room. It was there because he had been using it. His day started with another shower scrub down. They finished that and got him all re-bandaged up. They then had him walk back to his room from the scrub room. That is about 150 feet to walk. They then had him walk back to the physical therapy room which is right across from the shower room. He did a hand bicycle exercise and a bunch of other range of motion exercises, and had him go back to his room. Then he got put in the wheelchair and rolled around the hospital for a mini tour. His nurse Jessie took him outside the building to the front for a little while for a change of scenery.

This all left him completely exhausted. They brought his lunch in to him and he tried to eat it, but after a couple of bites, he passed out asleep. His pain medications are working out much better. He is off the line in pain killers and they are just giving him Percocet and Tylenol. He is doing so well with it that he is using less than the average pill popping degenerate. Yesterday he was complaining about his pain getting a little bad and called the nurse over to adjust it. The nurse told me that it had been over 10 hours since he had taken any pain killers and that Danny had not wanted any all day until just then. That is pretty good. This is the first time I have seen them leave his ears uncovered, and they look alright. They are really scabby, but that is a good sign.

Now that the medication is straightened out and he is not completely confused all the time, he says he may be ready for visitors. We are going to open it back up to anyone who wants to go see him starting Monday. Please just keep in mind that he is always exhausted and can't entertain guests for very long. If you would keep your visits short, I am sure that he would love to see people.

I hope that this news makes people feel better about the whole thing. After seeing where he started out 10 days ago and where he is now, the progress is unreal.



I will be adding our observations to this update on Sunday morning. It's 11:00 p.m. Saturday and we just arrived home after spending the evening with Danny.


OK, I'm awake and ready to tell you about Danny's Saturday. He really doesn't have days of the week, since right now one is the same as any other for him.

We had two visits with Danny on Saturday, the first being from noon until 3:30 p.m. We first tried to help and encourage him to eat, but he's still having difficulty swallowing and even having an appetite. Sometime around 2:00, his speech and swallowing coach came in to do checks and evaluations with him. He's doing everything right as far as getting food and liquids down, but the speaking voice is weak. The coach said it's because his vocal cords are not coming together all the way. If a certain amount of improvement doesn't occur soon, then a check of his throat and vocal cords will be necessary. Following his check up, Danny was tired and we told him that we would be back later in the evening to see him. He was falling asleep and we were just about to walk out when his physical therapist showed up. Judy asked if it would be alright if we could be there for the workout session. Since we're his parents, we were told it was fine.

The physical therapy session was most likely the same as what Andy has described previously. Getting to the therapy room was more of an ordeal that just walking from point to point. A walker is brought around along with a wheelchair, after which all the support tubes and containers needed are hooked to the walker. It takes two people to get him down the hall. The physical therapist is his primary assistant pulling the oxygen bottle and making sure he don't fall while using the walker. The other person follows directly behind with the wheelchair so Danny can have a place to sit down immediately if needed. The pace of Danny's walk is very slow and careful. It took him about ten minutes to go 75 feet. At the two thirds point, he became exhausted and had to be put in the wheel chair for the rest of the trip.

In the therapy room, he did the range of motion exercises and the bicycle pedaling with his arms routine. He was having trouble with pain while sitting in the wheelchair and paused a few times during the hand pedaling to readjust. These exercises were strenuous enough that he was sweating pretty good. After he was done pedaling with his arms, I gave it a try. For me it offered very little resistance and was very easy. For Danny it was very difficult, which showed me how weak he has become. Following the therapy he walked all the way back to his bed without sitting in the wheelchair. It took ten minutes on the return trip. As he was standing there with the staff, I noticed the comparison between him and other able bodied people. Danny has become frail, making me realize how much work he'll need to do to get back to where he was less than three weeks ago before the accident. We left as they were getting him into bed and told him we would be back at around 8:00 p.m.

We left the hospital and attended Andy and Debbie's engagement party, where everyone asked how Danny was doing. We gave our report to everyone that was interested, and enjoyed the goings on there. I kept thinking of Danny and how he couldn't be there, so I took a lot of pictures for him to look at later.

We left the party to return to the hospital by 8:00. When we got there Danny was trying to readjust himself in bed for comfort. He was grateful that we showed up and were able to help him. During this visit he was able to drink 8 oz. of chocolate milk. We met his nurse for the night and talked to her about taking care of his ears. She assured us that she would be gentle. We left for half an hour so she could do her job and then returned to find him in pain with his left ear dripping blood on the pillow and his gown. I can only guess that his scabs had been pulled off, but why, I really don't know. Danny was miserable and hurting. After the nurse left we looked at how the ears had been bandaged. He needed much more cream on them to assure the gauze would not stick when they were removed later. Judy and I made sure this was properly done before we left. We learned how to bandage those ears from one of the nurses Danny likes. We made sure he was comfortable and able to reach his water and were about to leave, when an assistant came along and moved the table with the water. We had to stop her and explain that Danny wanted it there. Each person coming in to assist him does it different and some are able to know what would be helpful for Danny. I'm guessing that sometime during the night the table got moved, but if we're lucky maybe not.


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