Friday, March 13, 2009

3/13/09, 10:30AM

Hey all again. A quick morning update here.

Jon got a call yesterday from Rob, the social worker from Mary Free Bed that is taking care of both Jon and Allison's cases. Thursdays are a big day at MFB because they have an all-staff meeting in the morning. The doctors, social workers, and all the therapists (physical, occupational, speech) come together to talk about each patient. They talk about how that patient is progressing and what they expect for the following week(s). We were hoping for some news about Allison and unfortunately didn't get much. Because of the nature of her head injury, they are not willing to say anything about how long she will need to remain at MFB, or what to expect for a recovery. They did say, however, that she is making incredible progress every day and they are very encouraged by what she has shown them so far. So, its not bad news, but its another case of 'wait and see' which is sometimes hard to have the patience for. Jon is OK with this decision and isn't pressing for any sort of time-frame, he just wants whatever is best for her to get better. I think that MFB is her best option right now and that she is getting the care she needs to be able to focus on healing, but I'm sure she wants to come home.

I haven't seen Allison since my last update so I don't have any specific news about her (this is all secondhand here now) but I know she is still continuing to improve. Her short term memory is improving and she is able to participate in her therapies more actively. She loves playing air hockey. Here's a little blurb from my Dad, where he was writing to keep my Grandmother informed.

"Jon went to have his foot splint adjusted yesterday. Then they stopped to visit Allison at the hospital. Jon said she looked tired, but that he had a good visit. Connie, Allison’s Mom, said that Allison’s short term memory is improving. She was able to recall a name from a conversation the day before. Allison can’t put any weight on her legs yet, but she is being moved around in a wheel chair just fine. She slides onto the wheelchair from her bed by using a board. She has multiple sessions of therapy each day including speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions. These take place in a central area so she is out of bed quite a bit. Her eyes are still giving her trouble. She closes one eye all the time because she is seeing double. Plus the bright lights still seem to bother her. The doctors have told Connie that things will return to normal and that glasses or an operation aren’t necessary. During therapy she sometimes wears a patch on one eye."

Jon had a visit from one of the first Policemen on the scene yesterday, and like anyone involved in seeing the wreckage, he is amazed at how well both Jon and Allison are doing. He said that it was the impact that tore the engine from the frame and sent it flying in the opposite direction, and that they were lucky that no other cars were nearby because the engine was a flying projectile that could have easily killed someone. He said that the impact broke Jon's seat and threw his body up towards the car's ceiling and backwards, behind the driver's seat where he ended up resting (well, his torso anyway). The impact was what turned the car up on the passenger side, where it slid without rolling a few rotations, hit a guardrail, and came to rest. Allison's injuries were actually primarily due to her hitting the passenger side door (which ended up mostly in the middle of the car, by the center console). It's amazing that the impact threw them in opposite directions and that it was pretty much the front of the other car that threw Jon across the Focus. Allison moving towards and hitting the passenger side of the car makes sense with most of her injuries being on her right side. Pretty wild, we're soooo lucky they are alive.

I don't remember if I put this in any of my writings yet, but I want to pass on some information the police officer said to help clear up an issue we have talked to a few people about, and that is the other driver. There was some confusion about what happened after the accident. The police officer assured us that he was not seriously hurt, and that he did stick around the scene of the accident and was cooperative and was very concerned for both Jon and Allison's well-being. He has since followed up with the police station to try to track their progress to make sure they are doing ok. There was some talk about him literally walking away from the accident, which now turns out didn't happen, so that's good. He did not leave without first being cleared to do so.

I guess the cop that came to visit Jon was talking to another officer that was asking about a ticket for either driver. The officer said he just laughed, that there's no way they were going to ticket anyone for this kind of wreck. I guess they agreed with my initial statement that this is no one's fault but that of bad weather and winter roads.

Jon is doing OK, getting into a routine of home visits. Today is pretty empty, although they did squeeze in an unscheduled physical therapy appointment this morning. His PT appointments leave him very sore, but he's looking forward to taking it easy a little bit today now. He's not sleeping well, mostly due to muscle pain in his neck and back. His neck is a pre-existing injury which I'm sure was tweaked during the crash, and his back is something new. It hurts on the left side and could either be due to the crash or due to the way he is having to move his body around and using different muscles. They are going to watch it and take him in to get it checked out unless it gets better soon. I have said this before, but on both Jon and Allison, anything not broken is pretty banged up anyway.

Once again we all appreciate all the support we've recieved.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday, 3/9/09, 11:30 PM

Hey all.

I apologize, I haven't updated in quite a while. I hope that anyone interested has been checking Allison's CarePage ( search for DrAllison) . Connie has been doing a great job keeping that updated.

Real quick for those who have been counting on my correspondence only. Jon is home, he came home Thursday, March 5th. Allison is at Mary Free Bed rehabilation hospital, she went there on Wednesday, March 4th. Allison was moved into Jon's room and they were able to spend a (restless) night together, which was nice. Both Jon and Allison are doing better daily.

More specifically--

Jon. We have a huuuugggeee ass ramp in front of our house now. He came home Thursday and we've been staying with him since then. It took a bit of work to make a 2 story house into a 1 story studio apartment. With help, I helped move his bed, computer, dresser, desk, clothes, and anything else he needs down to the main floor. With a little re-arrangement of the living room furniture, everything is pretty neat here.

Jon is trying to do everything on his own. Like I said before, the only problem with his rehab is him trying to do too much. He's figured out that he can wheel up the ramp going backwards in his wheelchair (his good right foot has more power pushing away from his body). He wants to do everything on his own, but I think he's finally realizing that his rehab will take a long time and that he can't do everything and that he needs to take it easy sometimes (who would know opening a mouthwash bottle would be so hard with only one hand). The only thing not on the main floor for him right now is the shower, and he has taken two showers since he has gotten here. He wheels his chair up to the stairs, does a transfer onto the stairs, and then scoots up backwards (using his good left arm and right leg) one step at a time. I get him back into his chair, wheel him into the bathroom, then he transfers from chair, to toilet, to shower chair. He has a specifically designed shower chair that hangs over the side of the tub so he can get into it easy. It takes a while for him to shower completely, but I think its one of his favorite things to do.

When he was released, he had a meeting with a nurse on the orthopedic team that did his surgery. They were looking at his x-rays and counting plates and screws. It was surprising to learn that the surgeon didn't keep track of the hardware during surgery - I guess it was too much to count. The final count from some high-res x-rays are: Clavicle - 1 plate, 9 screws. Ankle - 2 plates (very rare apparently, according to the nurse), 9 screws. Elbow - 3 plates, (and at least) 13 screws. Grand total: 6 plates, 31+ screws.Even though Jon is now home, he still has very full days. He has appointments with in-home Occupational and Physical therapists, along with Speech therapists. He also has an assistant that comes in during the afternoon to help him out. I help him get up and ready in the morning, make breakfast, take his medication and shot, do his physical therapy, and make sure of his schedule and set-up for the day. He's taken care of for the day, then I come back to help hopefully with dinner. Definitely with his evening meds and shots and therapy. Jon is taking a long release Oxycontin, one in the morning and two at night. He takes a shot at 8am and 8pm of Lovenox, which is a blood thinner to help prevent blood clots due to his injuries (I pinch the skin, he shoots the shot. We are both not used to this yet). He also takes a stool softener, a multi-vitamin, and has both Valium and and instant release Oxycontin if he needs it (which he usually takes at night, he's still in a lot of pain, especially after we tweak his injuries in PT).

Despite the busy days, he's sometimes feeling lonely and bored. I think he'd love visitors or letters.
Jon Turner
5555 Quest Dr. SW
Wyoming, MI 49418

You can call him at (616) 204 3450

Even if he doesn't answer (he's busy a lot with rehab) he's able to check the messages. You can also email him at He has not been able to check that email since the accident, but now that I have set him up with internet access he is at least able to read messages. It will be hard for him to write back with only one hand but I told him I can help him type any of the longer responses he wants to make. If you don't get an immediate response though, he appreciates the messages.

Allison. WOW. She is amazing. I don't have a lot to say because I haven't been with her every day like I have been with Jon, but I can't believe the progess that she has made. For those not following the carepage, I'll start from the beginning.

Allison was transfered to Mary Free Bed on Wednesday, March 4th. Jon was still in MFB and Allison was put into his room. It was great to see them back together again. I was there that night, and I won't go into too many details but Allison was not herself. It was disturbing to see her talking about things in her fantasies and speaking in vulgarities (while Jon and I swear every now and then, Allison never does), but she was responding to us being there at times and wanted to be part of our conversation. We had a visit from a Nun from Aquinas, Sister Alice. She was amazing, and such a comfort to be there. I think we're all glad though that Allison was asleep at the time so she wouldn't have to hear Allie's mouth.

So, that was my impression of Allie until yesterday. I went to see her on Sunday, March 8th and WOW is she doing amazing. She can sit up in her wheelchair, eat on her own (although needs some privacy while eating, so she can concentrate on swallowing), and interact with everyone around her. She is having a much better time with both her long term and short term memory. She knows everyone, by name, that comes to visit her. Even though it may be a bit confusing, she now usually remembers the month, day, year, and even the nurses that come to see her (I know Connie said this in her blog, but that's better than I can do.)

I said this in a comment on the CarePage, but some of the most powerful things happened in my visit to Allison last night. She was sitting up with us and part of our conversation (Rene, Amanda (from Metro), Tim, Millie, thanks!) and it was great to see her with us. Sometimes she was a bit out-there, but it was always based in reality and she was trying to take part in the conversation, from what I could see. Anyway, it was amazing that toward the end of our pow-wow that someone told a joke and we were all laughing. Allison was smiling and laughing just as loud as the rest of us, it was great to see her happy and being the Allie I know. Also, when we were leaving, Jon and Allison gave one of the most tender and powerful embraces I have ever seen, despite all of their injuries. It was both heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time -- very emotional. It will be a long road, but everything is positive.

I'm typing on the main floor with Jon passed out on Valium, I should go so I don't wake him up. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday, 3/2/09, 9PM

Hey all.

Once again, mostly news about Jon. I think I'm catching Allison at the wrong times. She did open her eyes and recognize me and say my name today though, which was great. Shortly after, she had a visit by Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, moving her around and getting her into her chair. She's talking and joking and part of conversations, but you need to include her. My dad asked her if she liked his head with hair or completely bald (he recently shaved it bare). She said bald -- I think he's going to keep it shaved for the rest of his life now haha. There were a few great interactions with her today that give us hope.

Jon is looking to be released to go home on Wednesday. This is way ahead of schedule, but not surprising to me in the least. I think the only thing holding him back from going home right now is getting the ramp to the house built. He had a physical therapist today that was straightforward with him and he appreciated it. She commented that his shower would be upstairs once he got home and asked what he would do about that. He said something to the extent that he should answer 'get sponge baths for a while', but that he was planning on dragging his ass up backwards up the stairs. She said she thought he'd say that and she wish he wouldnt, but then worked with him on some exercises to help. He worked on going from couch to floor then back to couch. He also did some more exciting exercises today, and wasn't totally bummed about what his day entailed. He's been denying pain meds again because they make him groggy. He's on a long release Oxycontin once every 12 hours, then a short release Oxycontin every 4 hours or as he needs it. He only took the short release once today. He's not been sleeping well though so they are doubling up his nightly long release dose.

He's making a field trip tomorrow which might effect visitors. They asked if he wanted to go out to get anything done tomorrow, and he had a couple requests. So, he'll be leaving tomorrow after all his therapy (around 4ish) to go get his haircut. After that, he will visit Allison (gotta look spiffy for the lady!). If he still has energy, he will then go out to eat. It sounds like tomorrow (Tues, 3/3/09) will be the last night to visit him in the hospital and that the hours will be limited due to his trip out, I'm not sure when he'll be back but I'm guessing sometime after 6PM, especially if he goes out to eat. I'm sure he'll accept visitors whenever at his house though, once he's back here. He's also been answering his phone, or at least getting messages you might leave. Here's the contact info after Wednesday.

Jon Turner
5555 Quest St. SW
Wyoming, MI 49418

cell: 616 204 3450

Very short update tonight, I have some things to get ready in the house to make it wheelchair-ready.

Monday, 3/2/09, 9AM

Hey all. Pretty quick update this morning. I went in to Spectrum yesterday but Allison was resting up before Jon got there so we let her rest. I haven't seen her (awake) since she's been talking.

Connie (Allie's mom) said she was quite the handful on Saturday night. She pulled out her feeding tube once, tried to pull out her main line IV, and was squirming all over. Her hands are in a loose restraint but she figured out how to scooch down the bed so she could get her hands up to her face. She peeled all the tape off her nose and almost got her feeding tube out again, and has learned that if she does is reeeaaallll slow she can try to work at the velcro holding her neck brace without anyone hearing.

I guess she has moments of clarity where she's answering questions real well, and also moments where she is in 'la la land' as Connie puts it. She hasn't gotten the current date right yet, but has answered her birthdate right, her cat's names, how many legs her cats have (the nurses were a bit confused when she answered 3 legs for my cat, Drake - but he does only have three legs), and a bunch of other questions. The moments where she's confused seem almost like she's talking about a dream -- and I'll bet she's having a bunch of crazy dreams with all the sleep she's been getting and the medicine she's on. Her parents say that when she's in 'la la land' she talks a lot softer and acts differently. When she's herself she's much more alert. I guess she was cracking some jokes yesterday, Connie and Mike said they were all (including Allison) laughing pretty hard. Her parents are going to have a sit-down with one of the neurologists today so they can figure out what to expect next. With some of the stuff going on with her fantasies they were a bit worried, but I guess it's normal for someone just trying to connect the mental dots and doesn't mean a whole lot. Hopefully they can get some more answers today.

I spent some time with Jon last night. He's not enjoying his rehab too much, but mostly because its too elementary for him. The occupational therapist came in the morning to help him get ready for the day but he was up early and had done it all by himself already (with help from the nurse to get into his chair). She was impressed so she took him down for the exciting activity of making soup and hot chocolate - Jon was not happy to have someone holding his hand to help make soup. Later, the physical therapist came in and was doing some exercises with his good left arm. He was just doing different curls and extensions, then she asked if he had ever lifted weights before. He was happy to say yes and wanted a real workout, but instead she took out a hot pink rubber-coated weight, all of three pounds. She was explaining every single little movement but Jon already knew it all so he just started doing it. She was surprised and said "wow, you've done this before huh? what kind of weight do you use?" Jon said usually around 35lb, and I think that shut her up a bit. I do want to make it clear though that the treatement at Mary Free Bed so far has been great. Jon just wants to do more. I think the weekend therapy is just kind of a holding pattern and that the regular workers during the week will do a better job with him. We're expecting some news from his surgeon today about what he can and cannot do, especially regarding his broken right elbow. It's been out of its cast for several days now but he has not done any PT on it. He's done a bit with his hand mostly to keep the swelling down, but I think he is ready to start moving that arm (even though he says when he moves it it hurts like a bitch).

Jon gets bored and lonely and likes visitors, so if anyone was holding off on seeing him or wants to see him again I'm sure he wouldn't mind. I said before his visiting hours were 5:30 to 8, but in reality if it works better for your schedule you could come as early as 4. He's done with therapy at 4 and is usually pretty tired, then dinner is at 5 -- that's why I was saying 5:30. The past two days he was off to see Allison, so I know at least yesterday he wasn't even at Mary Free Bed until after 5. Anyway, visitors are definitely welcome and once again thanks for all the kind words and cards and emails to Jon and Allison.

Allison's visitors were immediate family only all day yesterday. I'm not sure about today but you may want to assume its staying the same unless you hear differently.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday, March 1. 11AM

Here's an update my Dad wrote last night about yesterday's events. I was at the Winter Beer Fest and then went to Founders after with some friends, it was a nice break. Besides, I think Jon would have killed me if I had missed it. I am planning on going to see Allison and Jon later today.


Since Dave went to the Winter Brew Fest today, I thought I would give you all a quick note about today's developments as I saw them. By the way, Dave has really stepped up and has done an absolutely great job in helping Jon. He also has been doing great writing his blog and e-mail. Jon calls Dave his best (guy) friend. he has been a friend to Jon indeed.

First Jon.
On Friday night Jon had several friends in the room. It was good for Jon and the mood was mostly light and fun.

Rozanne and I slept at home Friday. We got to the Mary Free Bed hospital to see Jon a little before he was scheduled for therapy on Saturday.

We learned that State Farm wouldn't pay for wheel chair transport to Spectrum hospital, so the people at the rehab hospital moved Jon's schedule around so he could see if he could handle getting into a car. They taught him how to get in and out (they actually have a car body without and engine inside the building) and Jon did it without any trouble.

He went to occupational therapy and physical therapy in the area they call the gym. Each lasted about 1/2 hour. He was able to do everything he was asked to. At one point she (the occupational therapist) stood him up to see how long he could stand on one foot. While he was just standing there with his wrapped foot in the air, I thought maybe she would quit looking at her watch and get out a calendar. When he started the exercise, she actually had to tell him to hold onto something. He had just been standing balancing on one foot. It was pretty funny because Jon looked very bored. I think he could have gone on for a really long time but she stopped it after 5 minutes.

They have an apartment inside the therapy area, and they had Jon get in and out of bed, in and out of a living room chair, on and off of the toilet, and had him do other things like opening doors and wheeling himself around in the wheelchair. She told Jon he wouldn't be at Mary Free Bed very long based on how well he was doing with her.

The physical therapist focused on his swollen hand and Jon received exercises he could do by himself. While he was in PT, one of the Nuns from Aquinas College came to see Jon. It was just great and really appreciated. She went to see Allison too.

After PT Jon ate. He continues to be picky with what he eats and we needed to take the main course out of the room because he didn't like the smell. Oh well. The nutritionist has added protein shakes to his meals, and he is eating enough. Jon took about a 45 minute nap before loading into our car to go see Allison.

We got over to see Allison about 3:15. Her friends Christy and Mike were visiting from Chicago. Allison told us "That is my friend Christy" Wow. Powerful.

Jon was able to spend about 1-1/2 hours with her before asking to go back, and much of the time was private. When I saw Allison, she was at times saying complete sentences. She looked at people as she talked to them and as they talked to her. At times she slept, and at times she mumbled. She is on morphine so the naps are understandable. The morphine made her say that she was the "drunk one". She greeted some of her friends by name as they greeted her. She answers questions with simple answers and she makes comments appropriate to what is being said. So it isn't perfect, but whoo hooo it makes up happy! A couple of co workers / friends from Metro stopped by and they said that she acts just like someone recovering from a bad concussion. I am taking that as something good.

Last night, Allison pulled her feeding tube out and she tried it again today a couple times. The nurse put a restraint on her because otherwise she would have gotten it again for sure. When you ask if anything hurts, she sometimes says "my nose" (that is where the feeding tube goes in)

I continue to hope that Allison will keep improving and that she will see a complete recovery. There has been some mention that she may be able to go from Spectrum to Mary Free bed - which would be wonderful. Just yesterday they were talking about an additional care center between Spectrum and Mary Free Bed.

For everyone who is praying for Jon and Allison - and that includes me - I think its helping! For everyone who is keeping them in their thoughts, I think that is working too! Right now, things are looking good for Jon and Allison.

I hope you don't mind this, but I attached a picture of Jon and Allison's car. We are thankful they both survived this terrible wreck.

Tomorrow will be much like today and Jon will be going over to see Allison again.

(Jon's dad)