Saturday Update at 9:15 pm CT
It has been Heather's first big day of therapy since her surgery. Though the therapists worked with her at Vanderbilt, she had not been able to do very much because of all of the issues that were hindering her. She was able to sit up on the bed with assistance two times in the past few days, but the majority of her therapy was done in the bed. When you saw pictures of her in the Neuro-chair going to the Atrium, you may have had a misconception that Wow, she is really moving right along. The truth of the matter is that the Neuro-chair lays flat and they move the patient with a sheet from their bed to the chair, then they strap them in it, and sit the chair-up. The patient does nothing except lay there.
Today has been busy with two rounds of therapy with both Physical and Occupational, as well as one round of speech. Heather really worked very, very hard! She sat up on the side of the bed with assistance, and then supported her body by herself. She was also able to do some exercises to work on balance while sitting there. Through many tears, and with the assistance of the therapist and a side board, she was able to get into the wheelchair for the first time! Now is the time to say, Wow!!!! Don't forget that she is still unable to use her right leg or her arm, so she is having to figure another way to sit up and do other commands. This lady has incredible determination and desires to please whomever is working with her. They rolled her down to the gym and did exercises to get that right arm moving. She can't have any distractions or noise of any kind because it takes everything she's got to do what they ask. They really worked with her to get that right arm moving and when she saw that it wouldn't move, she would reach across with her left hand and grab that right hand to move it. Pretty clever! They said move it, so she was going to do whatever it took to move it. The therapist allowed her to do that a few times, and then had her hold onto my hand and give it all she had. I can't imagine how much energy and concentration it takes for her, but she did show some muscle movement in both the right forearm and the shoulder areas. We couldn't believe it! They said the first thing to come back to her will be movement in the right leg, then the shoulder and arm will prayerfully wake up.
Since she still has great issues with neuropathy pain all over, they said to touch her skin and move her around often to see if that will calm down. She seems restless at night needing to be turned frequently and moves her left leg a lot. This morning the sensitivity to touch was extreme, but once therapy began, it calmed down a little, however, she said repeatedly, "it hurts." She describes the pain as needles or pins stabbing you.
The speech therapist will continue to work on her swallow as well as areas that she has had trouble with ever since her brain surgery in 1996, when the left frontal and partial temporal lobes were removed. Since that surgery she has had challenges with word finding, as well as short term memory. We are still battling with the seizure medications contributing to cognitive awareness, etc. Today when the therapist asked her to point to her right eye, she couldn't do it. She also had trouble pointing to her nose and ear, but did well in other areas. Continue to pray that her right hemisphere will begin to pick up on these areas that have been injured by the surgery.
It has been a great day, and we fully expect Heather to overcome some of these new challenges she is faced with because we have a Great Saviour! We don't know how long it will take for the right side to begin cooperating, but we know Heather is going to give all of herself to see it happen. She has taught us so much. I have personally never experienced such a test of my faith in God as I have with the decision to do this surgery. What helped my faith was the faith of the one who was afflicted believing the Lord was going to heal her! Just like the woman with the issue of blood, she knew if she touched Jesus, she would be made whole.
Heather was also blessed to have more visitors today here at Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehab. Bro. and Mrs. Jim Corbett, members of our Church came up to see her and though tired from all the rehab today, she still lit up with her smile and thanked them for coming.
If you would still like to send Heather something, please notice the address change from Vanderbilt Hospital to Vanderbilt Stallworth, the address is on the home page of this website. Have a great Lord's Day tomorrow!
"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1
The picture above was taken yesterday - Headed to Rehab & saying goodbye to some dear friends at Vanderbilt Hospital.