Thursday, April 9, 2009


Howdy folks. I feel bad I haven't been keeping my messages updated. I don't have a lot of time now so I'll keep this short, but I thought I should at least let people know a bit about what has been going on.

If any of you haven't been following Allison's CarePage, you'll be happy to know that she has graduated from Mary Free Bed and is now at the Sojourner's facility of the Hope Network, located on the East Beltline by Calvin College. This is more of a residential facility - it doesn't have the hospital 'feel' to it. They all seem very nice there and will cater Allison's program to her own needs. They work with only people with brain injuries and are focusing primarily on that aspect of her injury, although she still has physical limitations as well, mostly due to her broken pelvis. She will have been there for 2 weeks next Wednesday and we will meet to learn how she has been doing and what to expect. She will be there for at least a month but it could be several months, they will be helping her to recover as much as possible.

I went and visited her on Saturday with Jon. We spent about 4 hours there and she was doing great. We had at times up to 8 visitors in the room and Allison was able to track and follow conversation all around the room, laughing and telling stories and being engaging. In the whole time I was there, she didn't repeat herself once. Previously, she sometimes would ask the same questions or tell the same stories, but she seems to have grown out of that. Once again, she is doing absolutely incredible.

Jon also has some good news, he can use his right arm again. Previously he could only move it passively and it just hung like a dead limb. He had a meeting with his Orthopedic surgeon on Monday and his healing is going great. He got the go ahead to start moving his arm actively as often and as much as he is able to. He has no real weight restriction, but instead is using pain and weakness as his guide. He's still got quite a bit of limited movement, especially in his elbow, but is really happy to be able to do more and more things. Things like putting on a sock, eating (he can cut his own food now!), and putting on clothes has become a lot lot easier for him. A little inappropriate humor, but one of his big accomplishements this week was that he was able to pee standing up, haha. He's still in some pain, especially after I and his occupational therapist move his elbow to the pain limit, but his spirits have seemed to really raise up this week. He's also getting some Physical Therapy and massage on his neck and back to relieve all of that muscle pain and tightness that was causing him problems before.'

His orthopedic surgeon was very happy with his progress so far. His extension especially he was pleasantly surprised about. Jon can actively move it mostly straight, and with someone cranking on it can straighten it all the way out. His flexion has gotten to where after its warmed up and stretched, Jon can actively move it to a 90 degree angle, and with help can move it past that -- his record so far is 110 degrees (on the outside angle, so his bicep and forearm make a 70). He still can't touch his face with he right arm, which he is looking forward to. It was funny at Panera Bread the other day when he forgot about that and tried to pick up his sandwich with his right hand and take a bite, it didn't quite make it there. His pronation and supenation has full range with active movement, but I'm still helping him stretch that more (pronation and supenation are the movements of rotation in the forearm -- think of holding your elbow close to your side and then rotating your forearm to be palm up and then palm down). The surgeon was happy that there was no 'collapsing' or 'migrating screws' at his surgery points. Its scary that those were even an issue, but it didn't happen so that's good I guess. We learned that all the screws and plates in his body are actually Stainless Steel and not Titanium, I'm not sure where we were getting Titanium from.

Jon is going to be fitted for a modified walker to get around the house and should have it by this weekend. It will probably be a platform walker where he can lean on his right forearm instead of his hand, but they will do whatever is most comfortable for him. He will still need his wheelchair for anything longer than just getting up to the bathroom or kitchen. His ankle is healing well the doctor said, but still has 4 weeks of total non weight bearing. That puts it at 10 weeks, right in the middle of the his prediction of 8-12 weeks. It will start off very slow, and they said Jon will eventually move on to crutches but have to be in crutches for up to 6 months. We're not sure if that's 6 months post surgery, or 6 months once he's weight bearing, but it will be a long time nontheless. They are still talking about surgery again in about 9 months to remove one of his plates in his elbow, and to lengthen some of his tendons in his leg(s) to get more movement. During his appointment he also got an MRI on his right knee, which is his 'good' leg. He's still got some pain there and they are checking it out, we haven't gotten the results on that yet but Jon thinks it will be nothing, just the strain of using that leg so much.

Jon will be doing outpatient therapy now at Mary Free Bed and is looking forward to getting out of the house more and more. The outpatient therapy starts today and will include both Physical and Occupational therapy. They have arranged transportation to and from, by taxi. He will likely be gone in the afternoons, so if anyone was thinking of stopping by you may need to call Jon to see if he is here first.

Well, I need to get going but I uploaded the best of Jon's x-rays so everyone can see them if you want. The hardware is pretty impressive. I'm not going to attach it because when I did that before the files were too large. Instead, here are the links. Let me know if you have issues seeing them, I'm not sure if I'm doing this right.

Right Clavcle Before:
Right Clavicle After:
Left Ankle Before:
Left Ankle After:
Left Ankle After, view 2:
Right Elbow Before:
Right Elbow After:


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