Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's Celebration day!!  We will see you all tonight at Christy's Fundraiser! Auntie Bev has volunteered to be with Christy tonight.  Auntie Bev is Auntie Maggie's sister.  Maggie is Mom Gail's partner in Lady's K.  Auntie Bev helped raise all the Gouviea kids.  She loves them like they were her own.  I love how she is so calming.  Auntie Bev knows the right things to say, and will just sit and hum quietly to Christy.  Her love is powerful!  

So, we'll see you at Pipeline Cafe tonight! Remember, if you haven't bought your ticket, you can just come to the door and purchase one for the same price $30.00. Bring cash to buy your raffle tickets!!!  

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the raffle and spent their own personal time organizing, running errands, creating things for the fundraiser, and donating monetarily.  Christy is going to heal, learn to walk, and then run because of these efforts.  Christy has awaken from her slumber to be a part of our lives again.  The entire process has been such a heartfelt collaboration.  The entire family thanks you with love!!

The family will be wearing iheartchristy Black Tee-shirts.  White ones will be on sale for anyone else!  Please enjoy yourselves and the fact that we are Celebrating a miracle in Christy! She sure is some kind of wonderful!

until tomorrow! gabby 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Today was a day of organizing.  Getting ready for Craig.  Christy still went to her daily Physical therapy, and is looking better every day.  Craig said that they will have a ready bed for Christy this Wednesday... That means we will be leaving on a one way flight to Denver Colorado on Tuesday night.  Thank you so much to Naomi who has been helping us arrange our flights with United (she also works for United)!  Donald, Christy and I will be flying commercial (first class- for the leg room and the reclining chair for Christy's comfort).  Thank God my bosses are caring souls.  They made it much easier for me to be able to get the time off to go up with Christy and be with her for a few days!  So we had a few conversations while I was at work to get going on things.  Edna gave me the basic low down on what's happening the day of travel and on discharge.  We will be taking Christy's medications with us on the plane.  Her Foley catheter will still be in for ease and comfort.  Christy will have a smaller, more discreet bag than she does now.  It can be strapped to her leg, so it fits inside her pant leg.  The reclining seats will hopefully go far down so Christy can get in a comfortable laying position similar to her bed.  We'll try to keep her as comfortable as possible.
Christy is still having cramping/ muscle spasms.  She's on her muscle relaxer three times a day.  I also paid attention to the phosphorus level and magnesium levels in her lab result, which are all normal.  The Doctors don't want to give Christy any additional electrolytes if the tube feeding is supplementing it well now.  All of her labs are normal, so we'll still do Ben Gay and hot water bottles!

Tonight after work, I ran into many of Christy's loved ones at the hospital.  Bev, Trish and Jay, B.J. and Binky, and MOM where all there, talking story.  Chrsity was cracking us up and joking around.  It's so so wonderful to hear Christy laughing hard!! It makes me so happy.  I wish I could show all of you!  She is so aware, and remembers pretty much everyone & jobs they had... whatever.  She amazes me every day.  Christy talked to Trina on the phone, and was telling her
 to come on down to the hospital and hang out!  The security might have had something else to say.  :)  They don't allow more than the person sleeping over to stay past Nine-O-Clock.  They check your Identification and see if you have a badge on.  They are more lenient some days and strict on others.  We've been asked to leave many times.  It's good in a way, so the patents can sleep and have some normal down time. Christy relaxed and fell asleep right after talking to Trina.  It was just so nice to talk and laugh with Christy.  You just don't want to leave her when she's up!!  She needs her healing beauty sleep, though!:)

Everyone was talking about the fundraiser tomorrow, and Christy told mom that she was mad she didn't get to go too.  She said "If the party's for me, How come I can't go?" We'll have to take lots of pictures and video and show her later so she can enjoy it too!  It is going to be fabulous and there is so much hard work going on right now and has been for the last month.  There will be prizes, food, music, and socializing tomorrow!! Don't forget to buy your raffle tickets!!! I know I am!  There will be so many cool prizes up for grabs!!! Can't wait!  See you all tomorrow!! xoxo, gabby

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Christy asked the nurse last night what the date was. The nurse told her that it was February 25th. Christy replied "that's my Dad's birthday!" Donald called us, and asked Kaeo when Dad Paul's birthday was. Today is Christy's dad's birthday! He would have been 73 today. The whole family misses him dearly! February 25th and February 26th sound an awful alot alike. Christy is sharp, I tell ya! Happy birthday to Dad Paul! You are missed.

What a wonderful gift we received today-- the approval from HMSA to go to Craig!!! Yay!! Our prayers have been answered. Thank you all for putting the effort into praying for Craig. Christy will go there. They said that they are holding a bed for Christy at Craig for Tuesday. This means we're scrambling to make arrangements to get on the plane Monday night!!! We are planning on me being the nurse escort for Christy. Flying first class, Christy will have more room and comfort. United has a one way flight to Denver!! We're working out the details.

KITV 4 was at Queens today interviewing Christy and highlighting her story on the 6pm & 10pm news today!! Jody Leong hosted the interview and broadcast. It was again the lead story. Lina (eyebrow and makeup artist) came t do Christy's eyebrows (waxing) and very natural make up today. Christy looked beautiful, of course. Christy's natural beauty is unmistakable. Christy was interviewed and did so well. Christy advised everyone to "Drive Safely". Donald and Christy had a romantic moment where they kissed. Christy said that she felt "Lucky" that she was able to see her kids again. It was very sweet, and we loved watching it with Christy tonight in her room!

Christy worked extra hard today down in the PT department. She stood for 20- 25 minutes today!! And she stood tall and strong with her shoulders back and her head up. She's been working toward this upright posture while standing. It's difficult to concentrate on so many muscles at once, and to control and contract them for so long. She did her best stand ever today! Christy also stood up with the walker. From a seated position, she initiated the stand with her leg muscles! This was a first for Christy & she did well!!

Kim, the speech therapist came today again, and gave Christy peaches to eat!!! Solid food that she had to chew! And she did so good, that they ordered her a food tray at each meal to start to eat on her own. Still all thicker stuff. There is this powdery stuff called "thicken up" that we can use to put in thin liquids to make it thick. It's sorta like thickening with cornstarch while you cook, but better. It's as if the little powder particles, expand in the liquid, and turn it thicker towards an ICEE consistency. Christy was sleeping when lunch and dinner came today, so she didn't enjoy any additional food, but there's tomorrow. They are also still giving her tube feeding.

Before we left Christy was still getting painful cramps. She was due for her muscle relaxer, and that may be why they were extra bad. Christy got pain medication and muscle relaxer, and stool softener. In anticipation for the long flight to Denver, we are trying to "trial" the ambien (sleeping pill) to see how long it keeps Christy comfortably sleeping. It's been helping her to sleep at night sometimes. We will be able to take pills with us on the trip and want to see which ones work the best for Christy. We want her to be as comfortable as possible now and throughout the entire flight! I'll keep you posted on the details!

Off to work I go again tomorrow! xo xo xo, gabby

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So, I think everyone who reads the blog must have been wondering what the heck i was talking about in the blog last night.  It was so polite of you guys not to mention a thing in your comments, or to me in person! HA!!  Well, I just finished reading the blog myself and was dying laughing.  I had to wipe the tears off my face!!  Holy crap.  I can't even guess what I was trying to say with the carpool and job thing! yikes.  I have to admit that I was celebrating Christy waking up and had one too many. I was so tired by the end of the post last night.  I did ask Kaeo to please read the blog when I was finished, and he agreed... next thing you know "snnnnhhhh" -- SNORING!!  So I promise that tonight I am not under the influence of any kind (Unless Zippy's is adding some secret ingredient into the Won Ton Min)!

Kaeo and I just got back from the hospital.  Christy was visiting with her good friend from Hawaiian, Carla.  She was cracking everyone up with all her jokes, in true Christy style.  Carla was explaining how she was here to attend Christy's party & Christy was saying "cool!"  Carla was saying she was so excited to see her talking so much, and commented that Chris had so much to say!  Christy replied "Portagee (that's why)"!  We all roared in laughter"  Carla said she was glad Christy was awake because all she wanted was for Christy to say "Hi" to her!  Christy told her, "And you got so much more!"  We love listening to Chrsity talk.... making us laugh all the time!
Christy had some intense physical therapy today.  She went down to the Physical therapy department again to stand up in the "standing frame".  Christy is getting stronger and stronger every day!  The difficult part is that Christy is getting cramps in her muscles.  Mostly in her legs.  They seem very frequent and they are painful.  Mom Gail said that you could really see her toes bend down in an unmistakably "cramp" fashion.  Now that Christy can tell us where the pain is, we can feel the muscle and see the cramp.  Sometimes kneading the cramp out with Bengay helps.  We also are trying hot water bottles on the muscles, so we can increase circulation.  When it's warm, the vessels dilate and bring more blood supply to the muscle.  With the blood comes the electrolytes (potassium, sodium, calcium, chloride, bicarbonate) that may be needed.  I spoke with the nurse today about making some push to relieve her cramping.  We need to force the doctors or Dietitian or someone to help Christy.  Pain medicine is not the answer.  We have to find out what else she needs to prevent the cause of the pain.  Christy also gets muscle relaxers twice a day.  The nurse showed me the lab tests done on Monday, and their trends.  Christy has her electrolytes checked every Monday.  They were on the low side of the normal range.  They should be ok because they are in "normal" range.  Maybe Christy needs to be on the high side of normal to relieve her cramps, but we don't really know.  The nurse did not have a real "valid" reason to call for electrolyte supplementation.  Could she be dehydrated?  Her urine output would drop, and they measure that frequently.  Is she getting enough tube feeding to compensate for all of the exercise she is doing?  So I asked for the Dietitian to reevaluate her situation.  She had Christy's caloric needs as 1700 on her consultation documentation.  The every four hour feeding is giving her over 1800 calories, but I think that may not be enough.  I'm thinking that if they will not give her extra electrolytes, maybe we can get more tube feeding which supplies more calories, electrolytes, and hydration.  

Christy seems to be restless and unsettled at night when Donald is home with the kids.  Christy knows that Donald needs to be home with the kids, but I think she gets a little anxious maybe?  We were trying to figure out what would make her more comfortable.  Dr. Tan ordered Christy a sleeping pill called Ambien & that seemed to help her a little.  As long as this medication dosen't make Christy confused or agitated, it should be ok, once in a while.  The value of sleep time is vital.   Maybe an anti-anxiety medication would be good fro her the nights that Donald isn't able to sleep in the bed with her.  We have to wait for Dr. Maher to decide that.  Maybe now that Christy is out of her Coma, it would be ok to give something a little sedative.  Dr. Maher was supposed to visit Christy tonight or tomorrow.  The nurse called the resident physician for us.  The resident physician is an M.D. in training.  She mentioned the cramping and the restlessness.  The resident only suggested more massage-- we are already doing these things.  More depth of thought needs to be put into Christy's cramping & her pain needs to be a priority for them.  Liz, the nurse put in for another Dietary consult and I asked her to note that we are concerned that the amount of activity is increasing and the amount of feeding isn't.  Also mentioning the cramping Christy is experiencing.  We will see.

Christy's stoma (hole where the trach was) is closed.  They had a bandaid on it yesterday to catch any scant amount of drainage still there.  It looks fabulous!! Christy had her eyebrows and lip waxed again today!  KITV 4 is coming tomorrow to do a follow up story on Christy in the Hospital.  Christy looks beautiful as ever!! 

We have the trauma coordinator, Sally, on the case now to help get Christy to Craig.  There was a re-submission that needs to be done to HMSA.  We need to get Christy admitted to the SNF (skilled nursing facility) section of Craig hospital.  Please keep praying that Christy's insurance give her the rehab that she needs.  Pray that they remember that she is their customer and even more, a mother, a wife, a daughter and a sister! Not just a name on a paper.  Some re-evaluation may need to be done & letters drafted again for HMSA.  Christy has changed an awful lot since the beginning of the application process!  

Christy loves spending time with the kids, talking to them & having them on her bed!  It was so cute when she thanked Donald for bringing them to see her.  Thank you Danelle (Donald's sister) and Auntie Mary (Donald's Mom) for taking such good good care of the kids.  For loving them with all your hearts!  Every meal, every ride, every single day of homework, baths, bedtime, after school time.... all of it!  The support and love you give with no hesitation all this time while Donald and Christy get though this recovery period is so amazing!  Thank you.  You guys are unbelievable and your love is the real stuff!  And  don't forget the duties taken on with the fundraiser, too!

We love you Christy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Christy had a tough physical therapy session today.  She went down to the physical/occupational therapy department to do her exercise.  She stood up for around 20 minutes!!!  She was also able to work with the speech therapist while standing.  Kim, the speech therapist showed her different color objects and asked her to identify what color they were.  Christy could identify the color correctly if she held it mid line and low.  Christy tends  to be more attentive if you stand on the right side of her than the left.  Remember that her blood clots were more on the right side, & she has favored the right side in the past as well.   She seems to use her peripheral vision to see the object when it is right in front of her.  She can not see the objects as well when they are in the peripheral vision.  

When Bev, one of her childhood friends was visiting, she tried to see what color shirt she was wearing.  She could only see her shirt once she got very close to her.  The faith  healer Ivonne was here today, and was praying for Christy's sight.  She was praying for Christy's speech & voice, and for her to relax her legs.  Christy was really tired after that.  So tired, that when Kim from speech came to evaluate her, she said she couldn't feed her anything.  Today Kim brought peaches & thickened cranberry juice.  Christy was too sleepy to eat anything by mouth. maybe tomorrow.   

Christy got her Foley catheter changed today. The Foley catheter has been in for a while.  They inserted the very first one in the ER at Queens.  Since then, Christy has had the catheter changed in the hospital.  It is a constant concern for infection.  Her urine yesterday looked pretty cloudy, which may indicate a urinary track infection.  The catheter is linked strait to her bladder, so it's common to see infection over a period of time.  Liz, her nurse, sent a sample of Christy's urine to the lab to be examined.

Christy was up most of last night and it exhausted her to the point where she was slurring her words.  Christy needs her sleep, and when Donald tried to remind her today, she replied "I'm trying"!!  So Christy is getting some power naps in.  She does best cognitively when she has had a long rest.  So we pray for sleep periods and more reconnection within the head.

Thank you everyone for your continued support...  Some co-workers of Donald came today to visit Christy.  They wanted to present their monetary gift from all of the recycled material they've collected.  They have a few people who might be interested in the therapy.  They have been finding ways to get Charisty through this initial struggle.It's so so awesome.  Christy needs all the love and positive thoughts to send to her.  Eventually, we hope that boat trips should be no problem as much as possible.   Every day is a challenge, and Don, you are the most sincere loving person who cam through with Christy  in this entire neighborhood.

Thank Got that she is at least resting from the healing touch personally!  

 Continue praying, Christy can use any carpool she can fit with, but no jobs.  
Christy is having much much0 competition. to support for.

Thank God for her progress, and we will see how it goes.  Much love, until tomorrow!!
GABBY

DISCLAIMER:  THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AFTER OVER CELEBRATION.  NO ONE WAS HARMED IN THE CREATION OF THIS BLOG.



Monday, February 23, 2009

What an incredible day it is for everyone!! It started off with the article in the Honolulu Advertiser about Duane DeSoto.  Duane is a pro surfer and is married to Malia (pictured with auntie marry, Christy and Donald in a previous blog), Christy's cousin.  He won many categories in the 33rd Annual Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic over the weekend.  The article "Fun, friendship' rule waves" explained that Duane was planning to donate winnings (surfboards, body boards) to notable causes.  Most notable, was our Christy's fundraiser.  A new longboard will be donated by Duane, possibly autographed, and given away at the fundraiser this Saturday.  Duane gave a shout out about the fundraiser at the bottom of the article explaining the details of the iheartchristy fundraiser!  MAHALO DUANE!

Also, a huge thank you and aloha to the one and only PEARL JAM!  They are helping Christy out because they care that much!!  Missy's (Christy's long time friend)
 mom is good friends with one of the members of Pearl Jam who has connections to Molokai.  Pearl Jam became involved because they wanted to help Christy out!  There will be a surfboard and a guitar signed by the members of the band & auctioned on their website to raise money for Christy's medial bills!!  How incredible!  On top of this two members donated their own money to the iheartchristy fund.   You guys are solid gold!


If you didn't catch it tonight, Donald was on the 10:00pm news KITV 4.  The lead story was about Christy with Jody Leong!! They will repeat the newscast tomorrow morning  as well. The link to the video, I think (haven't tried it- just went on kitv.com)  is http://www.kitv.com/video/18781657/ There were some technical difficulties with the screen & pictures but it was very exciting!! Christy's story made it on before President Obama's story!!!! They told Chrsty's story and her miraculous recovery from a life threatening situation.  They also put on TV that Christy was having a fundraiser this Saturday at Pipeline!!! yay!! We hope that brings people in to see the awesome band line-up and celebrate Christy's recovery. Donald did an awesome job for his wife! 

Now for actual progress from our superstar Christy.  After I wrote the blog last night, I spoke to Donald again. We went down to the hospital to see Chrsity again because she "woke up".  I know it's confusing because we have been seeing Christy awake, even talking with her, too.  Christy does not remember any of that and Christy never asked about the accident. She was even confused at where she was-- "Gabby's house", instead of Queen's hospital.  Chrsity says she just woke up last night.  Immediately Christy was asking what happened to her and how are the kids, and wanted details about the accident.  This was more of the questions were expecting from her when she awoke.  She remembers many many things, but not the actual accident.  Christy is very appropriate and is speaking clearer and much more.  It's obvious that she was still in a "fog" during the days prior.  After Chrsity had a very long restful sleep, she woke up lucid-  it's truly amazing!

Chrsity saw the speech therapist for the second time today and had some apple sauce.  Christy did much better today!! Christy was able to recognize the food in her mouth, close her mouth, and swallow with minimal guidance.  The speech therapist was amazed at her progress!!  Chrsity ate apple sauce this time--- one of the questions that Kim has for her is "Is it sweet or salty?"  Christy replied "Junk!!"  Haa Haa!! She still has her sense of humor- i love it! If Queens has the same apple sauce as Straub, they don't add any sugar to it.  It is just puree apples.  So I understand where Christy is coming from.  The first time I ate it I felt the same way!  And it was no diet coke!!  Which, by the way Christy had a tiny itty bitty taste of.  Just a few drops on her tongue to get the taste in her mouth!!! 

Chrsity was able to dangle on the side of the bed today independently, and she sat there for two and one-half hours.  She is making tremendous strides in her recovery & it is all because of her determination, and her #1 fan, Donald.  She's still experiencing pain in her legs as they spasm.  No one seems to know what to do for her--- WE NEED TO GET TO CRAIG!  It's not the hospital's fault, we need a neuro rehabilitation center to treat Christy now.  Christy is still getting muscle relaxers, I asked the nurse tonight to check if there could be some additional doses if she needs it due to spasms.  

Christy is exhausted by the end of the day.  She will not sleep even when she is tired because she wants to be a part of the conversations and visit with loved ones.  You can see that she starts to struggle with words  as they become slurred and difficult.  We made sure we tucked Donald and Christy in, and they were set for a night of sweet dreams together! 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today was a day of sleep. Christy didn't have a restful night last night. Unfortunately, Christy was in a a lot of pain and was unable to get comfortable despite some medications that the nurse tried to give her. We have to discuss a new plan with the Doctors (as far as medication) in case Christy has another painful night. Christy is able to tell us now that she is in pain. She was saying that pain was in her foot. We can't tell exactly why Chrsity is having pain. Maybe it's muscle spasm. This is why Chrsity needs to get to Craig as fast as she can. Please keep your prayers focused on Christy getting to Craig. They have the experience and the expertise to help Christy with her specific needs. The only thing that they can do for her while she is at Queens is to give her pain medication. It isn't their fault that they are not a neuro-rehabilitation center, but it is a reality. We need to be doing for Christy what she needs. Is it stretching at that time? A muscle relaxer? She does still get a muscle relaxer at a routine time, but should there be a dose when she needs it? I wish I had the answers for her to keep her from suffering. It kept her from sleeping all night, and Mom Gail advocated for her with her very best effort. Calling the nurses in and getting her pain medications. Mom Gail called Donald this morning around 4am, not knowing what else she needed and Donald came to the rescue. He climbed into bed with Christy, held her, and soothed her. Christy got to sleep for 15 plus hours. With Donald in the bed, Christy felt comfortable and could sleep the day away. I called Donald tonight around 9pm or so. Donald said that Christy had just woken up. He then let me talk to her on the phone. Christy was talking to me, clearly, but slowly. She said she wasn't in pain. She sounded great! I'm hoping that she has a restful night tonight. Tomorrow is Monday and the therapy and exercising will be in full force.
For the very first time, Christy was asking Donald "What happened to me?" Christy is becoming more and more aware of everything that is going on. She is speaking in sentences, and listening to any conversation she is interested in. Chrsity's determination is showing through every day. Christy's sleep is vital to her recovery. It is vital to healing her brain completely. Sleep is healing medicine.
Chrsity's stoma (hole in her neck from the trach) is still covered with a gauze. It is closing slowly but surely. The doctor who removed it said it would take about a week to heal. It's shrinking daily, and soon it will be healed over. Speech therapy wasn't around to see Christy this weekend. I anticipate them being around tomorrow, and probably trying more "po trials" (Taking something by mouth). As long as she's alert enough, they will give her something to eat. Christy is managing her saliva well (not drooling) which is the first sign of good swallowing and awareness of what is going on in her mouth. Until Christy can get enough calories from eating whole meals, they will continue her tube feedings with the PEG tube.
We look forward to another day of healing and rehabilitation. We hope for an approval from HMSA, and a date that we will be traveling to Craig in Denver Colorado. We are so grateful for your support and love. Thank you for being with Christy everyday in spirit and prayer. Every single one of you who follow Christy's Healing Journey, and pray for her recovery (at 8am or throughout the day) are all part of why we have witnessed a miracle in Christy. Thank you for your steadfast love and constant strength.
Until tomorrow, Big big hugs, gabby

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Christy had another wonderful day full of talking and loving and hard work.  It's the weekend again, so the therapist are scant.  Today, Donald took the lead as head Therapist!  Christy stood up with Donald and Kaeo supporting.  No standing brace.  She stood for minute or so on her feet!! Christy seemed extra motivated & determined today, with her tough fighting personality.  Christy pushes herself and expects a lot of her self.  Just like Christy.  Donald has her doing all sorts of exercises.  Christy grabs Don's hand as if they were going to arm wrestle in the air, and Christy uses her arms to pull herself up!  She keeps track of the counting herself, too!!  Christy tells Don when she needs a rest, and then is right back into it when she's ready.  You can see the frustration on her face when something like grabbing her leg with her right hand (weaker hand) doesn't come easy.  She is determined to do whatever she wants... and she will do it all, it's just a matter of time.  Christy is my hero (Don is too)!The kids were with her today.  Christy's speech is still slow, but mu
ch clearer today.  Christy is enunciating better.  Chrsity, Don and Dylan were all sitting in the bed this afternoon.  Donald at the foot, Christy at the head, and Dylan in the middle.  Don was telling Christy that she was a "Portagee".  Dylan was saying "Pokadee" instead.  Christy was correcting Dylan, "No, Portagee".  Dylan kept saying, but mommy, your not a "Pokadee"... Tell dad you're not a "Pokadee" and Christy would say, "No, Portagee".   It was cute.  Christy told Dylan "Love you Pickles",  Pickles is a nick name --"Dill Pickles". That was the best.  Dylan got to cuddle with mom in the bed, laying on her chest:) Kelsen was helping with some of Christy's exercises and talking with mom.  Nalu was hanging out, half tuned into the television, and enjoying being together as a family!

It so wonderful to see Christy follow the conversation and participate.  She is so completely aware of what's going on around her.  Donald is keeping her focused on her speech.  When Christy chooses to nod, he asks her "what was that?"  She then responds verbally.  Christy and Donald work as a team.  They are strong and united together.  Their strength and love is what will conquer any task at hand.

Tomorrow will be another wonderful day together!  Please visualize with us, Christy at Craig hospital in Denver, Colorado.  I've put in some pictures to help see what the facility looks like! Please pray that Christy gets the opportunity she needs to go to this Neuro Rehabilitaion Center.  Thank you so very much for every prayer and every beam of love and positivity you bring to Christy and all of us.  Love you guys!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Today was Christy's most exciting day yet!  When I came to see Christy this morning, she was sitting in the regular chair with her left leg in the knee immobilizer, propped up on another chair.  That morning, Christy had been TALKING ON THE PHONE to Mom, Kaeo, Keli'i, Alan, friends (I'm not sure who exactly, it was before I got there).  Christy has been talking today- Alot more!! Not just one word or two but actually saying small sentences!! We've been waiting so long for her to actually be talking to us, it seems surreal.  Christy gets tired and nods instead of using words.  She takes naps and rests throughout the day.  She had a couple big spurts of active times, and it was just pure excitement to be there and see her talking!  I was jumping up and down, unable to control our pure joy and gratefulness!!  

After being in the chair for a while, Christy told us that she wanted to get back to bed.  Donald has been carrying her back and forth, and allowing her to stand from the seated position when she wanted.  So today Christy tried getting back to bed with Donald -- Lorene and I supporting on standby on both sides of her.   We moved her chair (with her seated in it) next to the bed, so she would be right near the mattress once she stood.  Donald got in front of Christy on the chair and counted to three and they stood together.  I supported her lower back some, but Christy stood with Don supporting her for a few minutes.  Donald put Lorene on the spot and asked her to sing the song that she sang at their wedding-- so they could dance while they were standing together! :)  Lorene has a beautiful voice, and she sang their song, and Christy and Donald had a little swaying dancing moment! It was sweet.  Then it was time to get back to work.  We tried to guide Christy's legs to instruct her how to move them to step.  Christy was bearing almost all of her weight on her own feet.  Once Christy started to try and step toward the bed, she wasn't very happy.  Was she hurting from standing? stepping?  Were we pressing on her feeding tube holding her up?? We weren't sure, and Christy didn't tell us.  Chris was right next to the bed, and we sat her on the bed right away.  Christy calmed down almost instantly.

Christy laid in her bed, and we stretched her legs.  It causes her a lot of discomfort to stretch her legs completely strait, but she has to do it to continue rehab and to walk again.  We placed the knee immobilizers on both legs to keep them outstretched.  At this time the healing touch volunteer came to do Healing Touch.  She played soothing soft music and gave Christy a treatment!  Christy feel asleep afterward, and was just resting.  Christy got a little nap in before Physical Therapy came in to see her.  Christy was talking as soon as she got up from her nap.  It's still hard to understand her sometimes, and despite Christy repeating her phrase, it can't quite be deciphered. 
 At this point, the PTs (2 of them came) were removing the knee immobilizers and started to get her up at the edge of the bed (pictured).  Here, Christy is dangling at the edge of the bed.  She is practicing "sitting strength".  The goal is to get her to sit up by herself without any help.  Christy's body tends to move left and right and forward, and backward. Her legs want to lift up to her body, too.  That is why there is a therapist in front and one in back.  They teach Christy how to place her hands and arms, and coax her legs down so they don't come up to her chest.  The PT described Christy's desire to pull up her legs to her chest as a muscle spasm.  It's kinda uncontrolled.  She also called it "tone".  Short for muscle tone- the state of tension or responsiveness of the tissues of the body.  Sitting up allows strengthening of her arms & back & abs, which hold her upright and centered, strengthening of her neck which brings her head upright and holds it there.  She stretches her legs and hip-flexors to lessen the tension in her muscles.
While Christy was in this dangling position, the speech therapist Kim came to see her!!  Kim likes to see Christy while she is in the chair or is sitting up completely.  Christy was really alert at this time, much more alert than when Kim was there yesterday to see her.  Kim went to grab some Chocolate pudding and Apple Sauce becuase she thought Christy was alert enough to do a "P.O. trial"  That just means to test out if Christy can take anything by mouth.   I was sitting next to Chris on the bed, and asked her if she wanted something to eat and her eyes completely lit up wide and she nodded her head yes!!!! The PTs held Christy in the sitting position-- Christy needed a lot of help because she was concentrating on talking and using her mouth.  Kim, the speech therapist asked Christy which one she would like to eat... pudding or apple sauce.  No answer.  Kim asked "Pudding?", Christy shook her head "no".  "Applesauce?", Kim asked, and Christy shook her head "No".  "What would you like to have?" And Christy responded slow and clear... "Diet Coke!"   We all cracked up laughing.  Of course Christy would ask for a diet coke, that's her favorite!!!! HA!!! And Christy laughed too.  It was hilarious.  So Christy finally chose pudding.  Before she ate the pudding, Kim had her open her mouth, stik out her tongue, and try to move it side to side (the moving it part was too hard, but the other part she did immediately!) Kim also asked to hear her voice & to say "Ahhhh" nice and loud and Christy did!!  Then we were ready for pudding.  The reason Kim brought pudding is that Christy needs to have something with a thicker consistency-- not liquid, because thicker consistency is easier to swallow.  She can choke easier on liquid.... so no diet coke for a while till it is safe for her to drink.  Christy had about 5 bites of pudding.  She had to take cues from Kim on opening her mouth and closing her mouth,  "pumping her tongue", moving her cheeks to move the food back and swallow it.  Christy has a delayed swallow and it takes her more than one time to swallow the bite of pudding.  She will need more coaching and practice before she starts to eat meals of food.  Christy was amazing with following directions and talking.  She was answering questions well.  Tina asked her what Kelelina meant (i forget why we were talking about it), but Christy said "Geraldine"!!  We were all so excited and so loud, i guess, that the other nurses working and the nurses aids came in to see what was happening!!  Christy has been on their floor for a while now, and they too, have watched her progress.  It's amazing us all!!  
Christy got back to bed after all the excitement, and my mom was there to do more healing touch on her!  Chrsity tried to relax for a while during that.  

Christy had to use the bathroom later, and Donald put her on the throne.  He holds her and whoever is there assists.  Christy was having some pain and wanted to tell us something.  Donald and I couldn't understand what she was trying to tell us.  We adjusted her tubes and tried to help her sit up more.... We couldn't understand what she needed right away.  Then I was repeating words she was saying that I could understand in the phrase.  And "doo doo" was at the end & I repeated it. Then we were all talking over each other, and she was saying "What?" and I repeated "What?" and she said "What?" Then she started totally cracking up and we all started busting out laughing because we're desperately trying to understand every word and help her, and it turned out to be a "Who's on first" kinda situation. I'm still laughing out loud.  But seeing her expressions and laughing at what crazys we sounded like, warmed my heart!  We've waited so long to hear her voice again... I almost can't believe it is real. Thank you God for giving us Christy back....    And by the way we figured out that she was saying "all pau doo doo".  She was telling us she was done.  I hope Christy doesn't kill me for sharing her doo doo stories....

Edna, the case manager gave us a little update on the Craig status.  I guess Craig said they were going to have some beds open up next week, and that's why I heard the week of the 23rd through the grapevine.  So it wasn't a set date for Chris to go.  HMSA still has to approve Craig (meaning they have to agree to pay for Craig as a benefit of her insurance plan).  HMSA denied paying for Christy's travel with a nurse due to the fact that she can not complete 3 hours of rehab.  It's an accepted community standard & with Medicare,  for a patient to be able tolerate 3 hours of Physical rehab before they are accepted to an Inpatient Acute Rehab Hospital.  This sounds like someone who is very able to participate and concentrate the entire time & they are just overcoming physical difficulties.  Christy has to relearn many things, sitting up, getting out of bed, walking.  She needs to do those things first before the intense 3 hours of physical rehab to get her to run.  It seems unfair that they are wanting her to run before she can walk. They have not made a decision if they are going to approve Craig  as a benefit yet.  Edna gave them a deadline of this coming week (week of the 23rd).  If they deny Chris to go to Craig by using the same excuse as not approving the Medical travel & RN, we need to ask them what kind of plan they have for helping Christy.  We don't know what they will decide, so please pray for HMSA and for Christy--- she needs to go to Craig, she needs the specialty of those doctors and therapist.  The insurance has to spend more money for Christy to go to a place like Craig than for a "medical-surgical" floor in the hospital or a floor like Christy is on.  All of the specialist Christy needs to see, and the equipment and knowledge they have specifically for brain injury patients at Craig is very expensive.  Please let them see that Christy is young, with  a whole life ahead of her and three children who need her.  She needs this help now to regain her independence.  HMSA owes it to her as their subscriber, who paid the premiums, to give her the care she needs now.  They need to think of taking care of Christy.

Christy also talked to the kids on the phone tonight, it was so sweet... Christy made us all cry today, all day at different times.  

Today Christy totally blew us away... can't wait for tomorrow!

The last thing is that we are asking is for visitation to be limited to family right now. Christy gets overwhelmed and tired out by too many visitors.  It takes so much energy to do her therapy and her sleep and rest time are precious to her healing brain.  We want Don and the Kids to be able to enjoy Christy, and for her to be able to give 100% to her therapies which are very challenging every day.  Thank you so much for loving her so much and for coming to see her and bring her things that make her feel loved.  We appreciate the understanding.  I will keep you posted on everything I can on the blogs to keep you close to Christy at this time!!! big hugs and kisses to you all!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday February 18, 2009

Another HUGE day for Chrsity!!!  When I got to the hospital this morning, Christy was pretty tired because she had a rough night.  Christy and Don both didn't hardly get any sleep at all. Christy was very uncomfortable every time they flushed her feeding tube, but we don't know why. I was trying to think of reasons... maybe the water was too cold, maybe the flush was too fast, maybe she was in a bad position, ??  Christy had been flushed with the same temperature water (room temp) ever since she got the PEG tube, and it has never been a problem.  We've been flushing her PEG at the same speed more or less and it hasn't been a problem.  Weird.  So, Christy had her meds and it was time to get into the chair.  This was the very first time that she sat in the regular chair and not the cardiac Chair.  Aunty Mary and Malia were visiting Christy and I shot this picture of them.  Donald carried her from the bed into the Chair, and Christy held on to Don around his neck during the transfer. There is a big elastic, white band around Christy's abdomen to keep her safely in the chair.  Christy has her trach capped (red cap) in this picture. Christy is also receiving her feeding (the skinny tube with tan-cream color fluid in it going across Donald).  When her feeding was finished, it was time to flush her PEG tube.  Sure enough, Christy had a fit like it was hurting her.  I went slow, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  Christy was kind of crouched up and bending forward, so I asked her to sit back so she could straiten her body.  She did.  And the grimace went away on her face.  We asked if she felt better and she nodded yes.  I pulled back on the big syringe used to flush her tube ( no needle) to see if something was going on inside her tummy, but it was just tube feeding. good.  I tested if fluid would flow in by gravity, and it did.  So everything looked OK!  I think it may have been the position she was in that made it hurt.  So that turned out to be just position??... but we'll keep an eye on it. 

So after all of that, Dr. Yamamoto from the rehab hospital had come in to see Christy. He talked to Christy and examined her.  Christy was very sleepy and not alert.  All day Chrsty has been escaping into sleep and looked exhausted ( We all would after skipping a night of sleep).  Christy did kick up the right foot for him (which she's a pro at) and she opened her eyes.  He said she is making progress, but didn't feel that she was quite responsive enough to rehab at the Rehab Hospital of the Pacific!! Yay! Send us to Craig.  Donald asked if there were any exercises
 we could do with Christy to help the left leg lengthen  and loosen.  The coordinator who was with Dr. Yamamoto instructed us on the correct massage technique.  We were trying to rub and kneed, when Christy really needed long strokes down her hamstring with the knuckles of the hand (kinda like this picture, except Christy wouldn't be on her stomach, she would be sitting in bed).  Therap
ist Donald has been working with her quite a bit, and Christy was using that left leg in different ways tonight!  She was
 moving the knee and leg in angles she hasn't moved it before! cool!  There was another Doctor from the Rehab Hospital that came to evaluate Christy a few days ago. She had said that she didn't think that Christy could tolerate the three hour rehab they do, and wrote a letter to HMSA explaining this.  Dr. Yamamoto said that he would write a letter as well to HMSA recommending Christy to go to Craig Hospital.  We all agreed that Christy needs the most appropriate treatment/rehab and Craig was the best place for her. We are envisioning CRAIG hospital in our future!
Christy has been sitting up in the chair for about and hour and a half now.  The original reason for getting up into the chair was Christy was being seen for a speech therapy consult at 11:00. Kim came about noon.  Speech Therapist work on assessing two main things.  They look at things like comprehension, language and communication.  They do help people with there speech (articulation, intonation, rate) and non-verbal facial expressions and gesture.  The other thing they do is asses swallowing ability.  They will come in and feel the neck in the area with the Adam's apple and ask patients to swallow.  They assess how much oxygen the patient is on, and if they are at risk for aspiration.  If you are on too much oxygen, they will not feed you. Aspiration means the food or liquid goes "down the wrong pipe". The "wrong pipe" leads to your lungs and having food or juice in your lungs can cause aspiration pneumonia.  Water has a normal PH balance, which, in theory, shouldn't cause infection in the lung, so they always start with ice chips.  They melt slowly and you only have to swallow a little at a time.  Here is where oral care and hygiene come into play.  If you don't have a clean mouth, and the water you drink has the bacteria in it, and you choke and aspirate, and the bacteria water ends up in your lungs,  you can still get pneumonia.  Sorry, I got a little off track.  Today was the very first time that Kim was seeing Christy, so it was mostly an assessment. Christy was so tired, we tried hard to wake her up, but it was only minimally successful.  The therapist was gathering information about Christy by just observing.  Christy was moving her feet to use her toes to keep her upright and balanced- good!  Chrsity opened her eyes for Kim and nodded once or twice, opened her mouth and coughed and yawned, but did not speak.  Christy was so tired, i think it was too hard for her to concentrate.  It sounded like Kim was going to come frequently, we're hoping for daily! Thanks Kim!

Christy has been so alert and responsive.  She almost always shakes her head yes or no when asked questions, as long as she's not too tired.  It's so amazing how far she has pushed herself with the help of Don.

Ok, I'll stop stalling on telling you the most exciting news of the day!! CHRISTY'S TRACH IS
 OUT!  She no longer has a trach in!  Christy did well on her 24 hour trial and they pulled the trach completely out!!  One of the resident doctors came up- he's part of the trauma team, i
 think.  He did it while Christy was sleeping, and she hardly felt it.  He simply untied the trach ties from the "
flange", then deflated the "trach cuff" and told Donald, "Are you ready for NBD?" And he pulled it out!  He laughed and told Donald- No Big Deal, right!  And that was it, the trach is out and GONE!  Chrsity looks so comfortable.  Slowly every tube is coming out of her.  She just has two left.  One for feeding 
and one for She- She.  Christy just looks like she's sleeping now.  They have a gauze over the stoma (hole in the neck)!  So sleeping beauty sleeps, and we'll have another beautiful day tomorrow with her.    I have to quit because the blogger is erasing all of my pictures one by one.  I guess I had too  many on here!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009- 45 days in the hospital

Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased tickets to the "IheartChristy" fundraiser.  We are going to have a wonderful time.  There are killer raffle prizes being donated from many people!! Thank you so much to everyone who as been working so so hard to put the fundraiser together.  The entire committee, especially Kanani and Tina!  Lorene has been driving around and picking up donations for the raffle.  Bev has been working relentlessly to get the amazing line up and selling tickets to everyone, driving to people's homes to deliver tickets.  What truly amazing friends Christy has.  I don't even know all the details of wonderful things everyone is doing to mention you specifically here, but Thank You!!  The entire family has just pulled together to do whatever they can to contribute.  Thank you all! Just a reminder that anyone who can not attend the fundraiser and would like to donate any amount of money can do so through pay pal.  It's fast and easy, and you can donate with a credit card! I'll review the steps again:
1. Log on to www.paypal.com
2. Click on "Send Money"
3. Fill out the form on the right side of the web page:
To:  iheartchristy@hotmail.com
From: Your email address
Amount:   XX.XX
For:  Service/Other
4. Confirm the amount of money being sent and click on "Send Money"

Mahalo for your support!


Every single day with Christy is just amazing!  She blows us away every single day!!  Christy was awake tonight, and full of enough energy to be part of the conversation, and was very alert.  Christy was nodding at every question and smiling and joking.  It was incredible.  Usually at night time she is so pooped out, she doesn't have enough energy to sit up and socialize too much.  Tonight, she was awake and just cruising with everybody.  Every time she responded right away and very purposefully I just get so giddy!! Even though she's been doing these things for a while now, it is just so incredible to see her now.  The control over her head improves constantly!  It's so so so so so exciting to see Christy so awake.  As Mom Gail said to me tonight, "We knew she was going to get to the place she is now, but it's so amazing!"  We just find that it's so awesome to see her make the progress she's making so fast!  Mom was admitting that she still cries when she sees all the brilliant things Christy is doing: Christy is sitting with her arms around Don and hugging him- crying, Christy is going #2 in the toilet- crying, standing without any help- crying!!  Christy has come so so far, and all because of the prayers and love comming from all of you.  Thank you so so much, everyone.
So, the big, huge news today is that Christy's trach is capped.  They did cap her trach her once before but only for four hours.  They left the cap on this time.  She's doing well, so they are leaving the cap in for 24 hours, and if she's breathing well, and still doing ok, they're going to close her trach!!!! yay!!!  With the trach plugged, Christy is breathing through her mouth and nose.  The trach is the exact same except there is  a 
little red cap (illustration) over the inner cannula, closing it off.  
The picture of this little baby 
is a little different than Chris' trach, but it gives you an idea of what is going on.  Christy's trach & this baby's trach both have red caps.  The main visual difference is that this baby's trach (the clear tube coming from her neck) is longer.  This makes the red cap stick out further. Also, the baby's cap is bigger and longer.  Christy's cap is more like the cap on the purple background.  It's flatter and fits into the trach, so just the largest area of the disk is showing.  Christy is having some coughing f
its, and getting used to the adjustment, but is doing well.  Her oxygen saturation is good.  Some of the air that she exhales is coming out around the trach site.  This makes a little blowing noise.  When Christy coughs, she is exhaling even harder, and more air escapes around the trach.  If Chrsity needs to get mucus out of her lungs, she just coughs like normal and the mucus should come up to her mouth.  Now that the trach is capped and she is breathing through her nose, mouth, and upper airway, she no longer has the humidifier attached to the trach collar!  She must be relieved.  The trach collar with the warmed, humidified air made her hot sometimes, I think.  It's just a warm, moist air blowing on your neck all the time.    

Also, with the trach capped off, the air can pass through her vocal cords.  Air passing through her vocal cords means she can make sounds.  So, Christy's other big thing today is that she SPOKE HER FIRST WORDS!  She said "Don" earlier today, and she clearly said "yes" twice tonight!!!  Talking seems to make her cough sometimes.  She starts to say the word and by the end she is coughing.  She hasn't spoken since January 5, 2009, so she has to get those vocal cords warmed up again!!!! I'm so excited for tomorrow!!

The nurse who took care of her tonight hadn't been her nurse for a while.  When he came in to do his assessment tonight, he had a "wow" look on his face-- he had asked Chrsity if she had any pain, and she nodded "No".  He was blown away!!  Christy is being more responsive to everyone, not just Donald.  But Don is still Christy's favorite, of course!  The nurse asked a second question, "Christy, are you having a hard time breathing?" and Christy responded immediately with a "No", shaking her head.  We get so excited every time!

Chrsity stood today again with Occupational therapy and sat in the Cardiac chair for exercise. Remember that Christy's left leg likes to stay bent & close to her body while she's lying in bed? The right one will do it too, but Christy will kick the right leg strait.  The left really likes to stay bent & in close, it does not kick up.  Christy & her therapist are working to keep her legs extended.  Christy will extend her leg for Donald when he asks, and tonight she was leaving it out strait and relaxed for a while.  Chris becomes more limber daily.  Christy had already convinced Donald to remove the leg braces (picture on left is a similar brace) on each leg to help her maintain both legs extended while in bed.  They must be hot and somewhat uncomfortable.  The job of these braces is to immobilize her knees so they stay strait & prevents the muscles from becoming contracted.  These knee immobilizers are also worn after surgery or injury, but Christy has a different goal. 

Therapist/Nurse Huddy is going the extra mile.  He is pushing her to do everything on her own, and it is working!  Donald forces Christy to use both hands.  
Christy is better with her left hand now, and the right isn't as dexterous.  Christy takes the cues from Donald, and strengthens the weak hand by trying to use it.  
Donald bought these cool exercise balls that you hold in your hand, similar to this one.  He got one for each hand.  Christy takes the ball/bag from Donald and Donald tells Christy "ok, now exercise" and Chrsity starts squeezing the ball and letting go, squeezing and letting go!!! It's unreal!  You see her grip get stronger and release.  She can do it with both hands but she needs to work more on her right hand.   Her motivation is going to get her better pronto!! We can't wait.  It's so inspiring to watch them together every day.  For better or worse, in sickness & in health, so help us GOD.  And God is helping us every day to battle through to health.   Tomorrow will bring us another amazing day with Christy... stay tuned!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Christy had a phenomenal day today!!! So many incredible things have been happening for Chris and it's all because of your prayers and love and God's blessings.  Christy is a tough tough Portagee with a huge desire to get better right now!  Christy's will is amazing.  

The Occupational therapist put her in the standing chair today for ten minutes! That alone is a huge accomplishment for Christy!  Yay!  After standing, the Occupational therapist asked Don if he would like to put Christy in a wheelchair & take her around the unit!  
So they put her in the wheelchair and Donald took her exploring all around the 9th floor.  The wheelchair is a bit of a challenging form of transportation due to the placement of the foot and leg rests (picture right).  They are attached to the chair in a wider stance than Christy's legs likes to rest.  Christy prefers to keep her legs and feet closer together.  This causes her feet and legs to slip off the foot/leg rest and could be a potentially dangerous safety issue.  She was not injured, as her husband is a extreme -wheelchair pusher guy!  And I'm sure she enjoyed exploring her area and seeing everyone and everything outside of her room!  It was her first field trip (not counting sitting outside)!!

After her wheelchair excursion, Christy had a date with the Cardiac Chair.  She got in the chair and Kimo, Sherie & Kai were visiting.  Christy started to have one of those mad fits that she's been having, and Don has definitely linked it to her being uncomfortable and wanting to go to the bathroom.  I think what makes it worse, is that Christy is becoming more aware, and she doesn't want to go in a diaper or in the bed or chair.  Donald really had the feeling that she wanted to get to the actual toilet inside her bathroom.  So, Donald carried her over to the bathroom, and less than two minutes later, she had success!  After Christy was done, the nurse and Donald were discussing standing Chris up so that the nurse could clean her before going back to bed.  The plan was for Donald to lift her up and for the nurse to clean Christy's bum. Christy was obviously listening & following their entire conversation because when they counted for Donald to lift her.... 1    2    3, Christy stood on her own!!!!! She stood a little more than 3/4 of the way up, but she had her gown holding her back.  Her gown, to get it out of the way of things, was tied to the handicap stainless steel hand bar next to the toilet.  Maybe if she hadn't been prevented from full extension of her legs, she would have stood up all the way--independently!!! Wowzers!!!  So Christy is now back sitting on the throne again, and they try to do the same thing again, and Christy stands AGAIN!!!  She is so amazing.  This is way more than we expected her to be doing right now!!! 

So Christy has been doing a lot of therapy, using her muscles.  Another super duper cool thing is that they closed her trach for about four hours.  They closed up the hole and allowed her to breathe through her mouth and nose! 
 We weren't sure if they were going to do this so soon, but we're so thankful.  Christy did fine. Donald was even witnessing her trying to talk.  He noticed that Christy was making a "huahhhhh" sound and opening her mouth.  She was probably trying out the vocal cords after over a month of not talking.... that must be interesting and maybe scary? for her.  It is so wonderful that she is can make attempts to hear her voice or say something. Reversing the trach is a weaning process at first, so we'll just take it slow, day by day, and try a little more as Christy tolerates the treatment!!!! The respiratory therapist [the person that used to come to change the ventilator (respirator) settings and suction inside the lungs] came into Christy's room.  Christy was coughing a bit and they allowed her to try the speaking valve instead of keeping it capped.  With the speaking valve in, (see illustration to the left)  it works as a one way valve.  One way valve means that Christy could take breaths in, and when she exhaled, the air could go through the vocal cords & make sound out of her mouth.  Christy is so so blessed that all your prayers and friends, and co-worker's prayers, prayer groups, and family's prayers are healing her daily.   It is such a strong, powerful thing, it can will anything to happen.

Dr. Maher, the brain doctor came to visit today.  He stayed for 15-20 minutes, talked, joked and answered questions.  He feels strongly that Christy needs to go to Craig.  A ?nurse? from the Rehab of the Pacific came to assess Christy more today.  That nurse didn't feel that Christy was at the right stage for her to go Rehab of the Pacific.  That's just fine, because we're going to Craig.  Dr. Maher tried to explain what Craig could offer to Christy.  He wanted us to know that Craig is the place to be for people with head injury.  Dr. Maher was comparing the rehab facilities to restaurants.  He said Rehab of the Pacific is like going to Zippy's.  He then said that going to Craig, is like going to John Dominis.  Although J.D. isn't my favorite restaurant, you get the idea!  Chrsity has to go to Craig.  Dr. Maher was also explaining that Christy is going to remember long long term things first then work her way up to the most recent events. Christy's short term memory may forever be impaired-- we can't tell at this point.  Short term memory loss includes things like not remembering what you had for breakfast, or even where you were eating breakfast. 

 Dr. Maher's visit ended because Christy started to do her mad Dodo fit again.  Dr. Maher
 witnessed Donald asking Christy if she had to go to the bathroom again & she smiled for "yes".  Dr. Maher turned to Donald and gave him the big "Ok" sign with a smile!  That translated to "Christy is doing excellent and we're very happy".  Dr. Maher tried to explain that Christy's personal pride and will to hold herself to a higher standard (she wants to poop in the toilet, not in a diaper in bed) meant she would set goals for herself and push herself to get there.  He was very pleased that she wanted to get out of bed and was able to communicate that she wants to use the bathroom like regular people do!  He said it was her sense of inner pride and dignity that she maintained, and that's what would bring her back to be herself once again!  Dr. Maher seemed confident in Christy's recovery, and that is very comforting. 

So Christy wanted to go back to the toilet, so Donald carried her there.  This time Mom Gail was there to help instead of the nurse.  Donald stayed with Christy, with her chin resting on his shoulders, and her arms around him in a resting hug.  She was hugging Don and rubbing his back.  He kept asking her if she wanted to go back to bed, and she kept saying "no".  He thought it was a long time without success, but Christy insisted on staying on the throne.  About 20 minutes went by and Christy finally had some good success.  Christy made the mad fit face and fidget and dropped some kids off at the pool!  Every time she has a successful trip to the bathroom, she felt so much better.  When she got back to bed, she was able to rest and sleep comfortably for a while.  She had a pretty good rest last night, and a decent nap today.  She was still awake off and on, and smiling and very responsive to Keli'i tonight.  Keli'i is sleeping with her tonight.

Today marks the exact TEN year Anniversary of the day Christy and Donald met.  One of the very sweetest things Donald told me about today's events was their first kiss.  Today, Donald was telling Chrsity "Happy Anniversary", and reminding her that it was the anniversary of the day they first met each other.  Donald then went to kiss Christy on the lips and Christy puckered up her lips and MUAH! kissed Donald!!! How amazing is that!  And Christy kissed him again a second time too!  That was the best anniversary gift ever!  

I love all the progress-- its so super exciting!!! THANK you for all of the continued love you give, positive energy and prayer that heals Christy day by day!

  

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Christy was doing more rehab for the body today!  Christy was doing exercises with the Occupational Therapist. They mainly concentrated on her legs and stretching them.  Remember Chris has had the left leg nestled up to her chest, and needs to extend it.  The OT was explaining that there is most likely discomfort, similar to a cramping of the legs, when trying to extend it. I don't understand that part completely, but I should ask them when I get to witness OT in action.  The therapist did mention to Kaeo that she thought that her leg felt more limber today.  Hopefully that is from sitting in the Chair (where christy will extend her leg), and all of us trying to keep her leg strait and attempting to stretch it when we can.  After therapy it was obvious that Christy was working hard, she had beads of sweat on her forehead.  Therapy is gym time for Christy! The therapist said that they were short on staff, probably because it was a holiday, so they couldn't stand Christy today.  The plan is to stand her tomorrow.

Christy has had discomfort for almost a week now.  Remember she has been frowning and having short agitated bouts.  It seems to be her stomach-- we don't know what else it may be.  So Keli'i and Donald carried her to the throne where Christy eventually found some relief.  Christy was able to settle and sleep right after, so it seemed to give her comfort.  We're going to see what we can do with her medication regiment and tube feeds and extra fluids to try and get Christy comfortable.  We'll see how it goes.

Christy sat up in the cardiac chair once Donald got there today, Christy wanted to wait till he was around to get up.  The nurses get her into the chair and get her comfortable with pillows all around her.  She sat up for a few hours today.  Christy is getting good at brushing the hair off her face.


It was another wonderful day of therapy and hard work for Christy.  We know with her spunk and lively spirit, she'll be able to  keep trucking away each day towards her goal- complete independence! We're all routing for you Chris!  We thank God for each day of progress.. until tomorrow!

 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 15, 2009

Hello everyone!  I just got back from the hospital not too long ago.  Kaeo is spending the night there with Christy.  Christy is making improvements every day.  The faith healer came to see her again today.  She has been coming to pray for Christy every Sunday.

Christy sat up in the cardiac chair again today!  No standing today, I think the therapist are off on the weekends.  Have no fear, Donald is doing more muscle strengthening exercises with Christy on his own!  He's incredible.  He has not only gained "on the job training" knowledge from the nurses, but is making up his own strengthening regime for Christy to do while the therapist are on weekend.   Today he would hold Christy's arm out strait and coach her to pull her arm inward toward herself.  She would clearly use her strength to pull in against Donald's resistance.  He tells her to do it five times, and she does.  The first time, when he was exercising the left arm, Christy was pulling in strong and doing the work.  Christy stopped, and Donald told her that she only did four... One of Don's friends who was visiting Chris corrected Don and told him, "No, that was five!"  So it seemed like Christy was counting them out!   That would be so amazing!!  Christy is still kicking the right leg up in the air and out, so that leg is getting a lot of work.  That kicking may be somewhat involuntary, but it also seems like she purposefully feels things with the right foot & toes too.  She may be using it to sense things in her environment.  The left leg likes to stay pulled into the body, bent at the knee and the hip-flexor.  Christy is using her hands more, and grabs her legs and uses them as leverage when she's trying to pull against Donald's resistance!  

The sweetest thing was watching Christy give Donald a hug.  She is still recovering coordination control over her arms, but she can reach them out, and pull Don in.  He was telling her to give him love when he was leaving and Christy stretched out her arms and pulled him towards her and tried to grip his back.  She's really really responsive to Donald, and it's so great.  She laughs with him and does things he asks her to try.  The hug was awesome, and he was saying that she was hugging him real tight and pulling him into the hug real firm earlier today.  love it!

Christy is relaxed and naps off and on. She loves to keep her head up now, and not rested back on the pillow.  She seemed more alert than usual for night time tonight.  She is doing so much more and working hard at it.  We figured out that you can see when she is trying to move around and do things.  She sways back and forth with her entire torso when she is trying to use her strength or move her muscles or move her body.  When she nods yes to me, it's a big nod and you can see her purposefully intending to do it because of the slight swaying.  She has to work to use her neck muscles to nod her head up and down.  We know that Craig will be able to help Christy gain more and more control over her fine motor movement!  We're excited to see what we have in store for us with their expertise in brain injury therapy! 

Sometimes, Christy gets a mad face with a frown.  We are still trying to figure out why she gets upset during those times.  It seems like she's in pain.  The nurses want to give her pain medication which is fine, but we really want to see what it is that is causing her the anxiety and pain.  It's obvious.  Donald was able to encourage the nurse today to call the doctor, so we could try and find out what is hurting her.  We know her stomach was a problem for her before and was causing discomfort and poor sleep/resting patterns. She continues to have a soft stomach and have small amounts of "number two".  If her stomach was hard or hurt her when I pressed on places, we might be concerned something dangerous is going on in there.   It seems like she's clearing herself out slowly and doing well.  She gets a stool softener to keep her regular and to make it easier to get out.  The doctor ordered lab tests for her tonight and they all look normal.  She looks hydrated and is making a good amount of urine.  The urine doesn't look dark, either, so I'm pretty positive she isn't dehydrated.  Her mouth is nice and moist too.  So all of the indications for her to be dehydrated are not.  I think the doctor will come in to talk to Donald more tomorrow.

We are wondering how well Christy can see her environment.  I think she can see shapes and shadows, but not sure how much exactly.  She is very responsive to sound.  People calling her causes her to look in their direction constantly.  We were calling this tracking.  She told Kaeo "yes" the other day, in response to him asking her if she can see him.  The reason I feel concerned is I was observing her actions the other day.  I noticed that Christy would be startled by noises, even though you would think she could have seen the noise coming.  What I mean by this is that I was holding her suction at her right hand side.  I was talking to her close, so she knew I was there.  When she had some drool, I went to suction it and she jumped because the yankauer suction made a sucking noise.  I was clearly in front of her and holding the suction where she could see it approach her and suction near her lips.  The next time I was going to suction her mouth, I told her that I was going to do it for her, and she didn't startle at the suction sound.  I know it is too hard for her to tell us right now how well she can see and what exactly she can see so we may not know until she can tell us.  I don't know of any test off hand that test your vision when you can not communicate effectively.

Christy isn't trying to mouth words yet, but it seemed like she tried to say one word today while she was in pain.  She was sitting with Donald, and was feeling so frustrated, she opened her mouth and seemed like she said one word, but Don couldn't tell because she has the trach.  Remember, the trach doesn't allow air to pass up through the vocal cords and out of her mouth.  Therefore no voice can come out right now with the trach in place for breathing.  They would have to put the speaking valve on for her to talk with the trach. (We talked about this in a previous blog.)  We'll see if she tries to speak to us again soon!

Donald really wanted Thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for all the support, and love and prayer.  People have been so unreal.  He couldn't really find the exact words to express his deep heartfelt thanks, so I'm trying to relay the intent for him... Every day has been amazing for us, especially since Christy has been awake!  Every day we are incredibly thankful for the little accomplishments she makes.  Every day she makes a little more progress and does something new and exciting!  Christy could not have made it though this long, hard, battle without your love and support and prayer.  Thank you so very very much, we couldn't have done anything without you guys.

Saturday, February 14th, 2009


Happy Valentines Day everyone!  Christy is doing well... She looks fabulous!  She had a better night last night, but not completely rested.  She sat in the cardiac chair today for four hours.  She has much more control over her head now.  She is able to sit up and hold her head up on her own!  This is a picture of our visit today, she looks so good!  She  has a little smile on her face.  I was asking Chris to smile for the picture.  Kaeo got caught looking at her to see if she was smiling.  While she was sitting in the chair today, she was smiling and seemed comfortable.  There was a time that all of a sudden she seemed not comfortable and she had her brow in a frown.  We tried to figure out why she was uncomfortable but couldn't understand what it could be.  She started to get a little agitated moving around.  I decided to massage her back in case she had an itch she couldn't get to or something.  I got the lotion to rub her back and asked her to sit forward, and she did immediately.  When I started to rub her back, she smiled and looked content.  I had to go back for more lotion and asked her to sit forward again, and she totally did. She definitely understands what we are saying and is able to cooperatively move!!  She was nodding a little today, yes and no.  Sitting in the chair for four hours pooped her out, i think, because we got her back to bed and she wanted to crash out.  In the book I'm reading about a stroke survivor, she said that sleep is so so so important to healing the brain- she tried to emphasize this very much.  So when Christy needs sleep we allow her to rest.   Christy didn't stand up today with the therapist, because they were not around today.  I think they don't work as much on the weekends.  We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Christy was doing very purposeful movements.  In the chair she rubbed her nose again.  She would use her arms to push herself up and move herself around in the chair.  She still sways side to side while moving.  Her body is still repairing the detailed coordination of her body.  Being able to hold her head upright is huge!  She looks so much more like herself!!  Every day brings us something a little more.

When Christy got back to bed, we were trying to help her extend her left leg.  In the last week, Christy likes to  keep the left leg bent at the knee and close to her body.  she seems to favor the fetal position in bed.  It's OK for her to be in this position, especially since she's comfortable, but we want her to stretch out her leg too.  If her leg is constantly bent and to her body, it shortens the muscle.  When Christy needs the muscle to walk outstretched, it will be very difficult.  We think she may be experiencing muscle spasm as well.  Today, she was grabbing her left leg and holding on the the back (hamstring) area of her leg.  This was the first time we'd seen her do this.  It seemed somewhat uncomfortable for her to stretch out her leg, her muscles were very tight.  Finally, we decided to ask the nurse if the muscle relaxer pill that she gets was due soon. And if Christy could get some to help her get comfortable.  

The case manager let us know that Christy would probably be going to Craig during the last week in February.  This date is temporary and we need to see what exactly HMSA is saying about that as well.  The date, i think, was set by Queens in conversation with Craig. We just hope and pray that Christy has the opportunity to rehab at Craig.  The doctors are saying that Chrsity has this window of opportunity where she needs to go to Craig to continue her progress.  It's explained as if she is picking up momentum and changing and healing every day.  We don't want her progress to end prematurely... She needs a place like Craig to continue her progress so she can regain independence again! So please keep Craig in your thoughts and prayers.  We hope the process will go smoothly and we can get Chris to Craig ASAP.

I'll be back tomorrow again to update you on more of Christy's progress.  Thank you for your continued support and love and prayers!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Christy had another amazing day.  Her biggest event today was getting out into the real fresh air, and soaking up some sun.  There is a window inside her room, it overlooks the downtown area, makai side of the building.  Outside the window you can also clearly see a lanai.  Today, while Christy was sitting in the cardiac chair (again), they wheeled her out to this lanai to get some fresh air and sun.  Christy was all smiles!  How wonderful that they can allow her to get some vitamin D! (Vitamin D is made in skin exposed to sunlight-- you need vitamin D in your diet and you need an adequate amount of sun exposure)  Vitamin D will help your immune system and regulate hormones, electrolytes etc.  All the good stuff we need for our body to heal!   This is just another source of healing for Christy!! 

The people from Rehab of the Pacific (located here on Oahu) came to evaluate Christy.  They told Donald that they heard we were trying to get Christy over to Craig Hospital for rehab.  Donald corrected them saying, "We are taking Christy to Denver to be admitted to Craig Hospital".  Christy hasn't been resting good, maybe because her tummy is soar.  When the Rehab people came, she was tired.  We know that Christy will make it to Craig where very nice people will nurse her back to health.  Actually, Christy will heal herself back to health with the help of the very nice people at Craig.

Christy stood tall on her own two feet again with the therapist, and this time for 8
minutes!!! She's progressing every day in these little accomplishments! We're so proud of her determination and strength.   Thank goodness for the smart people who invent these frames, and braces, and rehab tools and equipment to help someone stand and regain their strength.  

I think I forgot to tell you guys that Christy gave me the raised eyebrow acknowledgement.  I was talking to Christy, maybe explaining something, but can't remember what exactly.  And I
 asked her a yes or no question.  She gave me the one eyebrow lift for yes!  I couldn't believe it!! Just like the Rock!!-- ok, not exactly like the rock, but still!!!! I was wondering... got excited, asked anyone if they saw that, and said "I think she's telling me yes with her eyebrows"! So I asked her again, and she did it again, but this time not as high up!  She was probably like "I already told you yes, now you're gonna make me answer again?- sheesh!"  The funny thing is that I was precepting an ICU nurse who is going to come and work per diem for us as Straub.  She is currently working in the neuro ICU at Queens.  She never took care of Christy because christy was in the surgical trauma ICU.  Anyway, she was very nice and very knowledgeable about brains.  I was telling her about this event, and she was about to say at the same time, that sometimes it's easier for people who have suffered brain injury to lift their eyebrows instead of nod their head!  And Christy did!  How excited I was!! 

Every smile, every new gesture is so so so awesome for us to see!!  

Much love, hasta manana! (spanish to english translation: until tomorrow!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday February 12, 2009

Guess what!  Christy got accepted to Craig today!!!  Craig didn't even send a nurse down from their facility, they just spoke to the doctors at Queens, and agreed that she would be a good candidate for Craig Hospital.  They are requesting that Rehab of the Pacific do an evaluation and send it to them-- as I understand it.  I guess they want them to definitely say that Christy would be better of at Craig.  Now we just have to get the insurance HMSA company to agree that its the best thing for Christy and give the OK to send her.  It will cost them more money, so they don't want to send her.  We have to fight to make sure that Christy gets the best, most appropriate rehabilitation care for her.  Once we get that in order, she should be on her way.  The flight arrangements. etc. will have to be made and that will take about a week or so I would think.  When we know more of the details, I'll let you know!

Christy didn't sleep well last night, and worked really hard at rehab today, so she's really tired.  When we were in with her she was trying to get into a comfortable spot, but she had her eyes closed almost the whole time, maybe even sleeping the whole time, and adjusting her body. Even though Christy didn't sleep well, she managed to work with OT and PT to challenge her body once again.  Christy stood in the standing frame for 8 minutes today, so three minutes longer than yesterday!  Don was telling Kaeo that the therapist mentioned that Christy was moving her legs while she was standing, which was a good sign of her being able to use them & strengthen them.  Christy also powered through 4 hours in the cardiac chair! So she clearly worked hard today.  We hope that Christy will do better resting tonight so she can build up her energy for more rehab tomorrow.  It's such a great effort Christy has to make to do this kind of work.  It must drain an enormous amount of energy from her to concentrate on standing and using the muscles again.  She's so drained that when her body says sleep we have to honor that. 

The nurses are
 saying that they notice a difference in Christy's cooperation with them since she's been waking up.  In the past, while obtaining her blood pressure, Christy would withdraw her arms tight to her body, and resist them doing it.  Now she will allow you to outstretch her arm and take her blood pressure if you talk to her and let her know what is going on.  They also get her cooperation with oral care.  Remember she hated oral care.  Now they receive more cooperation.  The nurse or aid had asked her to open her mouth when they were attempting to 
clean her mouth, and she did!  She opened her mouth and they brushed her teeth
 with the oral care kits we talked about in a previous blog. 

Donald is participating in all aspects of Christy's care and advocating for her needs.  He suctions her mouth with the yankauer suction (right) when she needs oral suction (for drool or when she coughs up saliva).  He also uses it to suction what Christy
 coughs up on her own out of the Trach.  Donald comfortably flushes Christy's feeding tube and disconnects the feed.  He works the stopcock (works like this one below- black and white picture) but is really a Lopez valve, and looks like the one with the red cap.
 
The nurse doesn't have to do any of this stuff.  He knows her tube feeding formula's name- Jevity... he turns her, he makes sure she stays regular so she's not uncomfortable.  That's all so important for her!  Christy is so lucky to have him.   And to have all of you who are praying and loving Christy from a distance.  Thank you for keeping the faith.  Donald mentioned that it's everyone's love that keeps him strong!  
Good night to you and to Christy.  Let's all have a night of peaceful, restful, sleep and recharge our batteries for another wonderful tomorrow!