Thursday Update at 11:10 am
Things are going well! We can't complain!!!! Heather is making little gains each day! Every muscle in her body was so weak from the effects of her disease and from being immobile for years. So, the therapists are really focusing on building her upper body strength as well as getting her to stand on her own. She has come a long way since the surgery on January 26th, and still has a long way to go, but we are getting there. The Occupational therapists believe that Heather's perceptual vision has been impaired because she feels as if she is falling with the slightest of movement. They put prism glasses on her, which resemble very thick magnifying glasses, and those seemed to help her judge distance. A consultation has been requested with a Neuro-Opthamologist, who specializes in Perceptual vision problems. Since Heather had already lost her peripheral vision to the right side in both of her eyes after her first brain surgery in 1996, they want to check the perceptual vision as well. Before we left Vanderbilt, we did have her vision checked because she was saying that things looked blurry. However, it was done in the ICU room, and the doctor couldn't really determine what all had been affected at that point. She still can't seem to distinguish letters, though she can write her name; they explained to us that a different part of the brain processes reading. She still cannot read small print. We don't know if she will have to relearn how to read, or if this will return.
Heather had developed a boil underneath her arm that is paralyzed. The doctors have been treating it for the past two months, but instead of it getting better, it has gotten worse. We saw her Neurologist, Dr. Rankine on Monday, and he suggested that we ask for a General Surgeon to see her. So, last evening, she had a surgical procedure to lance the boil. We were thankful that it was treatable, and that it didn't require a more extensive surgery!! They started her on antibiotics and are keeping the sight open so it can continue to drain. She has been in a lot of pain with this, and we hope she is finally on her way to healing. Pray that it heals up with no further problems.
Dr. Rankine was very excited to see Heather since he had not seen her since her surgery. He immediately said that she appeared to be more alert and clear to him than she ever has. He also commented how that Heather's situation once again, can pave the way medically for others who have the disease of Rasmussen's, or a severe seizure disorder that affects an entire hemisphere. He was thrilled that there are NO SEIZURES!!! And, suggested that we continue to take baby steps in decreasing seizure drugs.
We have already been at Siskin for two weeks, and that is hard to believe. The team met last Thursday to discuss a tentative discharge date of 4 more weeks, but depending on how she does between now and then, it may need to be extended. Once she is discharged, we expect she will need to continue with Outpatient therapy here at Siskin.
Our Church has a Shuttle bus with a wheelchair lift, and if all goes well this week, we are hoping to obtain a pass to be able to take her to Church this Easter Sunday!!! She is already telling everyone that she is going to Church on Sunday! It has been 10 weeks since she has been able to be at Church. Though we have watched services online, it just isn't the same. She is looking so forward to being at her Church this Sunday, and ME, TOO!!! Pray that everything works out!!!
"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."
The picture above is with Heather's Neurologist here in Chattanooga, Dr. Rankine.
The picture above is during a Therapy session using a Robotic arm on her right "weak" side.