Friday Update at 8:55 pm CT
It has been another busy day, today. Heather has been extremely tired again, and has been very quiet all day but is so sweet to everyone. She will remain on the feeding tube for a few more days because she was not able to pass the swallow test. They inserted a special camera down her throat, (I know that sounds funny), but the camera is small enough to swallow and is attached to a tube. The therapist was concerned that things were going into her lungs so she wanted pictures to see what was actually happening. Since her swallow is delayed, the camera showed that things are going to her lungs. They will try the swallow test again in a few days. The nurse who was taking care of her yesterday, didn't have Heather today, but she stopped by to say that she came prepared to fix her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if she had passed the swallow test.
It took all day to get the MRI ordered and completed. Whew! There are so many precautions that they must take in Radiology because of her Vagus Nerve Stimulator that she has implanted, and they are very cautious to make sure that the device is turned off, etc. Nonetheless, the MRI is done and we should know about it in the morning. If everything is good, they will remove the drainage tube that is in her head. This is a huge milestone!!! The Vagus Nerve Stimulator is used to control seizures, and the settings that it was on caused it to generate her Vagus Nerve in her neck almost continually. The device was turned off during her surgery last Monday and has remained off this entire time. Prayerfully it will never need to be turned back on again!!!!
GREAT NEWS!!!! Today she was able to assist the therapist in moving her right leg!!!!!! Yahooo!!! It took great effort on her part, but Heather did most of the work. You could see it took all of the strength she had to accomplish it, but she was able to move it upward in a bent position while the therapist was holding her foot. When we all broke out cheering, that million dollar smile covered her face!!! She was excited and was able to move it several more times. Her sister, Hannah has been working with her by moving her legs, arms, hands, etc. for her in what is called range of motion while she has been in bed. This will keep her joints from getting stiff and should help the brain to make new pathways to move these areas on its own. The Neuro-Surgery team was very excited to hear that she moved the right leg, and they said that the leg usually will be the first to move. We pray she will regain function of her right arm soon as well.
She had an unbelievable hairdo after surgery! We were trying to prepare her for what was ahead before surgery and had her hair cut short. We expected them to shave her whole head, but in surgery they only shaved the side they were operating on and left the other side. Finally, one of her nurses got the sheers and finished buzzing the other side for her this afternoon. Now her hair is even and will grow back the same. Though she knew things were going to be hard after surgery, you can't really grasp how hard it will be.
Almost every nurse who has been taking care of Heather, has made a special effort to come back into her room to see her now that she is awake. We have been able to get a few of the same nurses for two shifts in a row, but usually a different nurse is taking care of her, giving us opportunity to meet more people and minister to them. Heather has a way of winning the hearts of others. The EEG tech, Carrie who was in the WADA test was back to see her today. Carrie said that when she met Heather when the WADA test was being performed, her singing made an impression on her that she will never forget. She said she doesn't normally follow her patients but is very interested in Heather. Carrie has a sister who was in a terrible auto accident when she was 17 and the doctors told the family that she would be in a vegetative state the rest of her life. Her sister is now 26 and has just took her Bar exam to be a lawyer. Carrie changed her major to help others who have neurological issues because of what her sister went through. We have been able to witness to several people and have been able to be a help to a lot of folks. Again, God is working!
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1 Peter 5:7
The picture above was taken on November 7, 2014 before the WADA Procedure with Heather's EEG Tech, Carrie. On this day we found out that Heather's speech had moved over to the right side! Check out the fancy bow that Carrie made for her.