Monday, May 4, 2009

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.

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