We are now in the Neuroscience Trauma Unit--not Rehab technically. Although Shannon is doing rehab now, her medical treatment takes presedence and it is the Trauma team of doctors who are "in charge" of her. When she has gotten past all the medical issues, then she is released to the Rehab unit--same place, just different doctors.
One of the main trama doctors who has been following Shannon from the beginning came in to today. He looked at Shannon, shook his head, and said, "Unbelievable!! Unbelievable!!" He was so amazed at her progress. So many doctors and nurses have all said similar things. I don't know if any of them that were there that first night, ever thought that she would live. And now they stop by to see her becuase it makes their day! Miracles do kind of make you feel that way, don't they?
Shannon has had a hard day. We truly are into the really tough part where she has to do all the work. They got her out of bed again today. (Did it get reported that they got her up yesterday afternoon? They walked her across the room and back and she was totally exhausted!) Today they did even more. This time they got her out of bed, put her on this fancy wheelchair and took her to the therapy room. There she worked with occupational therapy; the first step was to help her use her eyes to see puzzle pieces and put them in the puzzle with the matching picture. She was still very tired and medicated enough that she didn't hold her head up much without help. The therapist kept reminding me that the brain is basically relearning some pretty basic stuff and it takes quite a bit of time for it to process. It took her 10-12 minutes or so to do a 9 piece, pegboard puzzle. Then they had her catch a beach ball and throw it back to them 10 times. Her coordination is better than I thought it would be but it has a ways to go. This whole time they had her sitting up, with one therapist behind her and another working with her. Because of the trauma her body has been through, plus having been in bed for 2 weeks without hardly moving a muscle, she is so very very weak and it doesn't take much to wear her out.
Shannon also went to xray for a swallow study. Before they will let her eat anything, the xray has to show her swallowing a spoon full of pudding and having it go down the right way. About an hour before the study, she had been given her meds which always makes her sleepy and being tired already made it just too hard to swallow it straight down. So she didn't pass the test and I think that made her very disappointed. But if she were to eat now, she would aspirate and possible get pneunomia again. We certainly don't want that. So we will try again tomorrow.
I think today we have hit one of those challenges that I think will be one of the hardest if not the hardest, for all of us--her realizing all that she has lost and knowing all the things she can't do and her recognizing the simplicity of the tasks they have her do. She sees that although simple, they are very hard for her to do. She knows what she wants to say and can't make those 22 muscles work that gave her voice to her words in the past. I have seen that saddness in her face today. I talked with her for a long time, giving encouragement and trying to help her understand that with faith all this is temporary. I told her of all the miracles we have already experienced. And then I thought of the blog. I opened to the comment page, the one after we wrote of her first real awake day and I read to her a 1/2 dozen or so of those entries that have come from so many of you. I finally got a small smile from the corner of her mouth. It's hard enough for us to watch but I can't imagine how tough it is for her. We try to remember that wise advise given about looking at progress by the week not by the hour or even the day. We have always said this was going to be a long road back to the miracle of a full recovery. We are reminded that "miraculous doesn't mean instanteous". But faith will endure!
Once again, we thank you for your faith, prayers and support. To say those words seem so insignficant and almost trite when our hearts are so full of gratitude. We just pray that the Lord will bless you for blessing us!