Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm still on vacation, just passing on some secondhand news by way of my Mom who talked to Jon yesterday.

The tendon that is loose and flopping over his ankle does need to have surgery, and pretty soon. He is scheduled for an outpatient surgery on June 24 but is on a cancellation list to get him in sooner if possible. He can keep walking and doing what he's doing for now, but after the surgery will be in a cast again and non weight bearing for 2 weeks. My mom said he didn't seem too sad about it, but I'll bet he's glad that it is after our bachelor party houseboat trip next month.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today was Allison's family meeting at Sojourner's.

Things went quite well, once again everyone is happy with her hard work and determination. Jon is now approved to transport her by himself. They also are allowing overnight passes (one night per weekend). Jon will be picking Allison up after her therapies tomorrow and is taking her home to spend the night together for the first time in 11 weeks. They are both thrilled to get some real time together, and Jon is trying to plan a date night with different activities.

All of her therapists are happy with her progress. She is always pushing herself to get better, taking on new challenges and telling them to make things harder if she thinks they are too easy. They still have things they will be working on with her and will be giving her a list of what she needs work on yet. Her Psychologist went over her neruo-psych test results from 2 weeks ago that I mentioned in a previous entry. He said that even that testing from 2 weeks ago has since been outdated, since she is doing so well and improving rapidly. He said she has shown 'remarkable improvement given her injury', but cautions that she is not there yet. There still needs to be more healing for her to return to her regular life. She has some deficiencies in certain areas, including divided attention, alternating attention, memory, and some hands-on tasks like hand-eye coordination. In all areas, however, she is still showing great improvements. Everyone is real encouraged. Some areas where she is testing really well at are her verbal skills, like her use of vocabulary and her comprehension and judgement.

One thing we and especially Jon has noticed is her somewhat flat affect. Jon described it best once when he said that before the accident that if he were to paint Allison it would be an active painting with jagged edges and bright colors. Now, he would be using more neutral and gray tones - almost subdued. Her Psychologist said that this is due to her brain injury and that it will fade with time as she continues to improve. Granted, Allison is definitely herself and generally happy and determined, just not as vibrant as before at times. I'm talking about this as if Allie is a zombie or something and she definitely is not. Its hard to describe, but its great to see her in a setting with family and friends where she can laugh and tell stories and truly be herself. One example Jon gave to illustrate what I mean is when they took her swimsuit shopping last week for her pool therapy. Before the accident, she would have wanted to try on every suit her size and in every possible color before she made her choice. This time, she tried on two and then asked Jon to choose. Jon joked that he could deal with that -- it sure would make shopping for jeans easier.

Given all this, they want Allison to stay at Sojourner's for another 30 day block. They will continue to work on improving what needs improvements. They want to push her stimulation and try to get her in more high activity and high stress situations. She has a meeting with her Orthopedic surgeon that worked on her pelvis, foot, and arm, Dr. Endres, on May 27 and expect more of her weight restrictions lifted so they can start more physical therapy as well. We have a family meeting on June 18 to discuss again how she is doing. Allison didn't really like the decision to stay another full 30 day block, but her being able to spend more time at home will help, and if she can get through these hardships now for the better chance at having a full recovery, I think she will be able to look back and know it was the right decision.

Jon is still doing well, getting more and more independent. He's in a lot of pain in his foot and it swells up pretty big when he's walking on it, but the therapists say that he should keep pushing it so it will strengthen and heal. He's got one tendon that flops back and forth over his ankle bone when he bends his foot which isn't good and will need to be looked at - I think that's primarily what gives him pain. He says that it feels like he's walking on a bad sprain, but he's getting through it ok. He's practially given up on the wheelchair and is only using his cane -- so much for being on crutches for 6 months.

His elbow is healing as well, although he's describing a new pain in it that feels hot, like its burning. When he bends it now its making some really funky and loud grinding/popping noises. However, he was able to have his elbow bent the farthest it has been yesterday, all the way to 135 degrees which is almost full range on the bending. This was done with his therapist putting all her weight into it and him nearly passing out from the pain so its not there yet, but it is improving. His regular everyday range of motion is not nearly that far and I know they are working on his extension as well.

I'm going to be out of town for a week and a half so I won't be having any updates in that time. Take care all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Jon is doing really well.

He got approved to walk without his boot on. Its surprising how fast things get approved without him being tested on it, but they said it was fine to not wear the boot. He still wears it around while walking any major distance because it keeps the pain down not bending it so much, but I think he especially likes not wearing the boot while he sleeps.

Jon was mostly asleep when I came home late tonight, but he had his foot propped way with pillows up while asleep which was the first time he has had to elevate that foot since about week 2. I think its hurting with all this action and movement and weight on it. He needs to not overdo things and I think he's realizing that.

The new anti-inflammatory medication seems to be working well for his elbow. Either that, or he's just turned a corner and it happens to coincide with with medication change. He was able to go to 131 degrees passive range (someone cranking on it), and 122 degrees active (him moving it under his own muscle power). For reference, I think his good arm can go up to 145 degrees. He was only able to make it to around 120 last week with the hardest of pushes from a therapist to the limit of his pain. Being able to bend to his old ultimate limit on his own after a week or two is great. He's still working on his extension.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Jon was able to stand up in the shower today for the whole duration for the first time today. It looks like we may be able to get rid of the shower chair and put the bathroom doors back on their hinges soon (they were off so he could get his wheelchair in). Pretty cool.

Monday, May 4, 2009

5/4/09, PM

Jon walks like a champ.

He went in and his physical therapist had a student trainer in with him. Jon started off real slow, bracing himself with some parallel bars, and taking some hesitant steps. By the time he got to the end of the bars, he was taking full strides. The therapist said to his student, with a smile on his face, "See, I told you he'd just take off on his own". Once again, holding him back will be the only problem.

He's got a cane now, as well as his old walker. For anything more than getting around the house he still has his wheelchair. When walking he still has to wear his boot, although in therapy they are working on walking with an air cast which allows for more movement.

Great day.

Oh yeah, and he bent his elbow today more than he ever has been able to before, both with someone cranking on it and with him moving it on his own. With his new anti-inflamitory meds he's in more pain, but able to get more range so he's happy.

Sleep tight.

5/4/09, AM

Hey folks.

Today is a big day because Jon's weight restriction is being (partially) lifted on his left leg. He is heading off to therapy a little later this morning to try to re-learn how to walk. He is super excited to get to work on his foot and leg, and to get more mobility back. All he has been able to do for the past 10 weeks is just to take his boot off and rotate his ankle around for therapy. To get around without his wheelchair he has only been able to hop on one foot so using both feet will be a great change. I'm sure it will take a while for him to truly walk normally and that it will be a very slow process, but he's looking forward to doing more and more.

His elbow is progressing slowly. He's getting more range of motion week by week, but I know its frustrating for him because he wants to be able to do more. It seems like the speed at which he's able to get his elbow past 90 and to its max is picking up but that the max angle isn't coming along very fast. The big plate in his elbow he feels is hindering his movement, especially his extension, and can't wait for it to come out (which will be in 6ish months?).

Allison is doing very well. For those of you not keeping up with her CarePage, she went through a day-long battery of neurological tests last Thursday to really determine where her brain function level is at. She did better than anyone expected. For her age and education level she tested at an overall 'average' level, while her verbal tests were 'above average'. Anyone who knows Allison knows that she was far from average before the accident, so she still has some hard work ahead. On some of the tests she is testing quite low while others she is functioning quite well. I don't remember specifically the measure, but in one level that she tested very low at a few weeks ago she did see pretty dramatic improvements. The doctors at Sojourners were amazed at how well she is doing. We're very happy that she's at the place where she has seen these improvements, and hope that they continue. Jon said that on Friday when he was in with her while the results were being given that it was tied for the happiest day of his life, the other being their wedding day. We're all remaining optimistic that she will continue to work hard and improve.

When I went to see her last week I found it funny, but classic Allison, that she was studying for her neuro test. Its not something that you can really study for, but she was doing it anyway. She had made an alphabetical list of all the animals that she knew. The list was over two pages long, single spaced, 3 columns of animals per page. She then went about trying to memorize the whole thing, and was planning on moving on to vegetables after that (which I don't think she had time for). She did this because in a lot of her speech therapy and neuro testing, I guess they ask her to name as many (whatever) that start with the letter (whatever). So, to prepare in case they asked name as many animals that start with the letter C, she could rattle off a ton of them. I'm not sure that this ended up helping her test taking ability, but she didn't care - she wanted to do whatever she could.

Also last week both Jon and Allison had a doctor's appointment with their doctor from Mary Free Bed, Dr. Bloom. For those of you that have visited and talked with Allison since the accident, you will have noticed that her voice has become very raspy and hoarse. Dr. Bloom thought that this was due to the insertion of her breathing tube and how long it was in. He said that it probably caused some damage which then formed scar tissue around her vocal cords, which is causing the voice change. She will eventually go to a throat specialist and have a camera sent down to take a look. There's a possibility that she would have surgery to fix some of that problem, but there's also a possibility that she could have a raspy voice for the rest of her life. They won't do anything for it until her neck collar is off.

A very pressing issue for Allison and for all of us has been her ability to try to get back to work. Allison was pretty set on trying to get back to work in June. That was great for her rehab work ethic to have a lofty goal, but we have been trying to help her think realistically as well. June was big for her because then she wouldn't have to repeat her internship year. She expressed this to Dr. Bloom and he told her flat out that she will not be back in June and that she needs to focus only on her recovery for now. Her ultimate goal should be to get back to work, for sure, but to put any time frame on it is very difficult at this point. She can only go back to work when she's fully ready for such a high-pace, high-stress situation and that time is not in the near future. Once again, she has a lot of work to do, but I'm sure she is up for the challenge.