Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As happy as we were that Paul was home, those first few days were pretty difficult and emotional. Logistically, it was hard to get the hang of maneuvering him around the house in the wheelchair, transferring him, and getting him in and out of the house. We also are all getting used to being out and about with Paul in the wheelchair and the amount of planning ahead and time involved. It is a learning experience for all of us and has certainly opened my eyes to many things. I think it is hard for Paul to be home and out in familiar places because it has magnified his limited abilities but it also has made him even more determined to continue to practice his walking and his talking.
That first week, the mornings were chaotic. Since Paul is continuing his therapy at Pate in Anna through part of January, someone from the facility arrived each morning at 8:00 to pick him up, which is about the exact same time that Buzz goes to school. Thank goodness, again, that Beth is here to help. Right now, Paul needs assistance showering and dressing and takes a variety of medications in the morning so it took that whole first week to get a routine down that ensured Paul was ready when the van came and that Buzz made it to school on time.
We've also had many visitors, which has been a great thing for Paul, especially in helping him put the pieces of the puzzle (his life) back together. The home environment has really made a difference. For example, about a month ago at Pate, we tried to log on to Paul's e-mail and he could not remember the password. But at home, on our computer, he knew it immediately. We also took a field trip to MasonBaronet, the agency where Paul worked before the accident. Holly Mason, who owns the company and has been wonderful to us throughout this ordeal, met us there on a Saturday. Paul seemed enlightened by the visit and I really think it opened his eyes to his career and what he did. Again, putting the puzzle pieces together. Prior to that, he knew where he worked and knew his co-workers but I'm not sure that he remembered exactly what he did or some of his work. He still often gets confused and, although his short-term memory is improving, must constantly be reminded about things or told things several times before he can remember them. It is hard to tell for sure but I am excited because he has now showing more of an interest in his work and has begun drawing a little bit more too. His art and creativity is so much a part of who he is and I really hope that he finds that again.
On the Monday before Christmas, we were just finishing up dinner when there was a knock on the door. Samantha Reitmayer, who was instrumental in organizing meals being brought to the hospital daily those first few weeks after the accident, and Willie Baronet, showed up at our doorstep with a bundle (I don't even know if bundle is the correct word!) of gifts. They had four enormous stockings full of gifts and additional presents not just for Paul but for all of us. I thought Buzz's head was going to explode. We had a wonderful time opening the gifts and were all overwhelmed, once again, by the generosity and kind hearts of so many that donated money and gifts or have stopped by with packages and gift bags. That evening, Paul seemed touched as he opened his gifts and heard the names of those who had participated and spelled out on his letter board that he would need to thank each individually. (pictures below)
I am so touched to know that so many of Paul's colleagues and friends had participated. I've been so focused on Paul and his recovery that I feel like we've been living in a time warp and the rest of the world is moving on but knowing that so many still think of Paul and support him and us was touching. Especially everyone in the design community, which has been such a big part of his life.
Christmas was great too. We had a fun morning at home opening gifts and then went on to my mom's house where, because of various family obligations, traveling, and even the flu bug, we had a small turnout compared to most years. That was probably a good thing though because we stayed for more than four hours and I don't think Paul would have lasted that long had everyone shown up.
Thank you all again for all that you've done and for following Paul's story and his recovery. This has been an incredible experience for me - I've learned so much, gotten to know so many amazing people, and been deeply affected by all of those who have cared and offered assistance. I can't even begin to think about how things would have played out for me, Buzz, and for Paul had we not had the incredible amount of help we got from my family, our friends, and the design community. We now are looking forward to 2009 - a new year with many new opportunities.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Paul B., Willie, Mike, Paul J., Dave, Brent, Gary (seated). Some of the Saturday morning basketball gang.
Hey, who's the wise guy?!
Patty and Paul
Willie, Paul and Jeff
Paul and Jeff can't stop laughing...
Oh, and did I mention, PAUL COMES HOME TODAY! :-)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Lovingly "borrowed" from a stash of pics that Paul's mom brought down on her last visit.
Blessings to all of you for continuing to send love to Paul.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Paul still is not verbal so we continue to communicate via the letter board. We don't have the Dynavox machine yet as there is paperwork involved because the machine, which is fairly expensive, is being provided by the state. (Thank you, everyone in Texas, for paying the universal service charge on your phone bill. Now you know where some of the money goes.) Right now, we have a Dynavox trial software program on my computer that we've been practicing with but since Paul is still adapting to using the keyboard and typing with only his left hand, it is slow and he prefers using the letter board. The letter board works fine, but is time consuming since you have to concentrate as he spells out each word. If you miss a letter, it gets very confusing. Of course, oftentimes, I can guess the word before he finishes spelling but sometimes I am wrong in my guess. For example, on Saturday a friend who we had not seen for some time even before Paul's accident was visiting. It was an emotional visit and I was teary eyed when Paul began spelling out, "C-R-Y..." Before he could finish, I said "Crying, yes, I was crying but don't worry about me, I am fine." Paul shook his head and continued spelling, "C-R-Y-S-T-A-L L-I-G-H-T." It turned out that he was not really concerned about me but just thirsty. The old Paul continues to shine through!
I expect that the actual Dynavox machine, which is touch-screen, will be easier for Paul to use. Again, he continues to work on his speech and I remain very hopeful that it will come easier in time.
Paul's other main focus still is his walking. He wants to practice all the time and often just tries to get up out of the wheelchair. I think when he gets home, his determination will multiply and we'll have to keep an eye on him until he has more control and balance.
The renovations on the house continue and, right now, it is a mess but I think most of it will be done by Friday and we'll be able to clean up the coat of dust that covers just about everything. We plan Paul's arrival home to be low key because we think he will be overwhelmed enough simply by being here. His coming home is just one more step forward on his journey to recovery. I've been doing some research on traumatic brain injuries and have read that, although much of the recovery takes place during the first year to two years, the brain can continue to heal and change throughout a lifetime. Right now, I believe he is far from done with his recovery and nowhere near where he'll be in a year.
That said, I'll continue to update the blog even after Paul's homecoming and perhaps, one day soon, Paul will be able to take part in updating the blog too.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Not everyone in my family was there but we still had 7 adults and 5 kids. We figure this is good practice for Thanksgiving, when the head count will double. It was a nice visit. He had a long conversation (via the letter board) with my sister about William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury." I'm not really sure how it came about, sometimes the topics he wants to cover come out of nowhere, but he definitely remembered reading the book and all the details and meanings behind the plot. Dinner went well too but shortly after we ate, the kids started to get a little rowdy and the noise level rose quite a bit. Paul let us know that he was ready to go.
As I've said before, he still gets confused and often spells out that he feels out of it, scrambled, or scared. The neuropsychologist at Pate has said that this is a good thing because Paul is moving toward comprehending the bigger picture, that something has happened and his life is out of whack. Apparently, many traumatic brain injury patients never even reach that point.
Little by little, Paul also seems to be getting his short-term memory back as well. For a while there, Paul would ask me every 15 minutes how long I would be staying at Pate that day. It actually got to be a little bit comical. He now seems to remember for the most part but he still acts a little surprised when I do say I am leaving. He also can forget what happened earlier in the day or that he had recent visitors. The doctor feels this should get better but may always be somewhat of a problem.
We are excited about Thanksgiving (Paul's mother will be here for a week) but we are even more excited (and nervous too) that Paul has been given a discharge date and will come home Dec. 12. However, his rehab will continue as he'll have out-patient therapy through February, if not longer. We are preparing the house for his arrival by renovating the bathroom to make the shower larger and by adding grab bars. We also are installing French doors in the front of the house that will allow Paul easier access into the house. We continue to be very hopeful and optimistic about Paul's walking but the reality is that, by December, he still will be using the wheelchair.
Both Paul and Buzz have countdown calendars to Paul's homecoming and we mark off the days as they pass. I cannot believe that five months ago I didn't know if Paul would ever be returning home and now he will be here for Christmas. What a wonderful gift for all of us.
Thank you again for following our story.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Here's a pic from after lunch.
Then it was time for haircut number 4 since Paul's accident. Here's Paul getting prepped.
Here we go!
Jim soaks in the sun and listens to the buzz of the clippers.
And we're done! Paul forgets to tip the barber. :-)
It was a great visit, and Paul showed some progress in spelling out some longer sentences using his alphabet sheet. He also was eager to do some walking, so with some support on each side he walked several times across the patio. He is getting stronger, but it's still quite a task for him to lift his right leg. Paul is such an inspiration, and I am so grateful to be his friend.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Again, Paul is progressing, grasping and expressing more complicated thoughts yet he still gets confused and needs to be reminded of what has happened and putting the pieces back together. We continually try to fill in the gaps from pre-accident until now. He seems to have stronger memories of significant people and events from the past. For example, wanting to call an old friend from high school that he has not spoken with in 10-15 years or even thinking that he recently saw that person at Pate.
That said, he does continue to progress and things change weekly. This is a good thing. Today, I am going out to Pate earlier than usual to watch Paul's physical therapy treatment in the pool. He walks on a treadmill underwater and, as of last Thursday, insists upon walking up the steps to get out of the pool as opposed to using the lift chair. His determination continues to show up in every task.
I'm off to Pate. Thank you for your support and interest in Paul's recovery.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Paul's hard work is paying off and he is now practicing walking with a platform walker, which is a regular walker with an attachment that serves as a forearm rest for his right arm. Until now, the therapists had him using an EVA support walker, a larger walker with wheels that supported Paul's weight and helped more with his balance. The platform walker is forcing Paul to really balance. While he is progressing during his theraphy sessions, the reality is that outside of his therapy sessions and practicing walking, he requires a wheelchair.
I also am including this photo of Buzz and Paul during a visit to Pate last Saturday. I am so proud of Buzz. He is always excited to visit Paul, gives him lots of hugs while we are there, and cheers Paul on when he is practicing his walking and talking.
I also want to thank the staff and parents at St. Patrick's (Buzz's school) and everyone from Buzz's soccer team. The outpouring of generosity and kindness from the school and the community, in general, has been overwhelming and made such a difference in helping us get through this. I feel like almost everywhere we go, people go out of their way to look out for Buzz. Buzz seems oblivious to all of this but I know it has helped all of us cope.
Thank you again,
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
He seems very happy about the move and already has started entertaining, with visitors last night. He even did a little disco dancing from his chair to some '70's soul music.
He continues to vigorously work on his walking. On Sunday, we took him to the park and he insisted on walking so, with assistance from my brother on one side and my brother-in-law on his other side, he walked probably, all together, half a block. Balance is still a major issue but he continues to get stronger and improve his cadence. I was so proud of him though because he kept wanting to walk farther, even though it was obviously very difficult and exhausting.
We invite you to come visit on the weekends. Now that Paul has two-hour passes, there are times when we might be off campus so if you plan on visiting, please let me know via e-mail (email@example.com).
Thank you, everyone, for accompanying on this journey.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Although his ability to speak is slow in coming, Paul has gotten better about spelling out words on a laminated letter board and by writing on a dry erase board, both of which we keep with us at all times. He doesn't always spell correctly but so far has communicated with the board both by spelling out one word or whole sentences. On Thursday, Beth was visiting with him, they were sitting outside, and he spelled out "jacket" to let her know that he was cold. On Friday, he spelled out, "How long will you be..." and before he could finish, I guessed the last word was "staying." I was so happy (for both of us) that he was able to communicate because I can't imagine how trapped and scared he must feel. In fact, he has spelled out "fear" when we've asked how he is feeling. He still is sad a lot though he also, more and more, gets that determined look on his face, makes a fist, and seems ready to take on the world. In addition to walking in his daily physical therapy sessions, the staff at the house helps him practice walking every night. This seems to ease his agitation, calm him down, and boost his confidence. Each time, after he walks, he insists on giving everyone involved a big hug and seems very proud.
We also constantly give Paul pep talks to keep him focused on what he can do and on what he will do, instead of what he can't do. Please keep praying for him and thank you all for your support.
Friday, October 3, 2008
He also recieves occupational therapy daily, where the focus is on his right arm and hand. Unfortunately, the movement of his right arm and hand are affected by ossification of the muscle, which means some of the muscle tissue has ossified (turned to bone cartilage). His therapist continually works on the range of motion and has made progress but, right now, Paul is not able to use his right hand. As he is right-handed, this can be a problem but he seems to be adjusting fairly well to using his left hand.
Paul's biggest hurdle right now is the apraxia and his inability to talk. He can often repeat words but has a hard time communicating his own thoughts and messages. This is very frustrating for him as he seems to know exactly what he wants to say but, as soon as he begins talking, the words that he wants to come out, don't come out. At least that is what we believe. The obvious solution would be to write down his messages, however the aphasia has affected his ability to write as well. His speech includes repeating words and sounds, practicing writing, and even exercsises and programs on the computer designed specifically for patients with brain injuries. Of course, he has to maneuver the mouse with his left hand (akward) and left click, since it is a PC as opposed to a MAC. I'm pretty sure that he has an aversion to working on a PC because he almost always seems disgruntled during his computer sessions, although he succeeds well on the exercises.
All around, he is making progress but it is a slow process and we expect him to be at Pate for awhile. We feel that Paul is beginning to realize the bigger picture in that something drastic has happened to him. He gets very sad at times, which is to be expected, and angry. However, he also seems to realize that his hard work helps his recovery and will accelerate his being able to come home. As we've all known about Paul, determination is one of his greatest traits and it is beginning to show through once again.
We encourage people to come on the weekends as Paul has a lot of free time and seems to benefit from visiting with friends. Please send me an e-mail if you plan to come out.
On a related note, Paul's sister, Beth, has moved to Dallas from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help me take care of Paul and of Buzz. (My mother and sisters helped with Buzz all summer but once school started and Buzz and I moved home, things became a little more complicated.) It has been wonderful having Beth here. She is great with Buzz and makes the drive to Anna almost as often as I do, which has allowed me to spend more time with Buzz as well. Now she is looking for work. She has an extensive background that includes program management, teaching, training people, grants administration and PR. So, if you hear or know of any openings (full, part-time, or even seasonal) she is immediately available and open to almost anything, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for all of your support,
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
p.s. (I'm not in the picture cause I took it!) :-)
p.s.s. JERDE CUP TOMORROW!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It is less than a week before the Jerde Cup and I'd like to thank everyone who has signed up to participate, whether as a player, sponsor, or volunteer. I would especially like to thank, in advance, those who have planned the tournament. I know this has been no easy task! I am so touched that so many people are willing to take the time, whether it has been the months of planning or day off work to play (or as in my uncle and aunt's case, flying to Dallas from Baltimore), to support Paul and our family. I don't believe that Paul understands completely right now but I know he will one day and he will be flattered, moved, and most likely envious that he missed out playing a round on Tour 18 with so many friends and family. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing everyone next Tuesday.
When Paul asked me if I'd shoot his wedding, I just wasn't too sure that would be a good idea. I'm not a wedding kinda shooter guy and Paul was in the "business", a young creative on his way up. Did I really want to shoot a designer's wedding? And Paul's so picky. What to do, what to do? Well, when he told me the wedding was going to be at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, that sealed the deal. Rehoboth Beach was where I spent some fine summer vacation time with a favorite uncle. We were from Baltimore, a short drive to the beach. Shooting Paul & Patty's wedding would trigger a lot of memories for me. I could visit old haunts, drink Gunther beer while feasting on Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and take a day trip to Tangier Island. It would also afford me an opportunity to visit my mother's grave site in Baltimore. She was killed when I was 11, oddly enough, on September 6th, 1954. So it seemed to me that the stars were in alignment for me to shoot this wedding. So I did.
When I got the news of Paul's accident I was both stunned and horrified. Like many others, I just couldn't believe this news. On my first visits to see Paul in ICU at Baylor, I saw many of Patty & Paul's family. These were people I hadn't seen since the wedding eleven years ago. A few of them said, "I remember you. You were wearing those blue shoes." That's true. Blue suede shoes. Think Elvis. Paul was going into week three at Baylor and I was at my Arkansas getaway in Eureka Springs. Rummaging thru boxes from the recent move I came across, yes!, the blue shoes. A major brain fart went off in my head and I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to make Patty & Paul a wedding anniversary gift using these shoes?" So I did. The frame was found by the side of the road. I spray painted it gloss white. The little girl figure was peeled off my art car and the hearts & little basketballs came from Hobby Lobby. The shoes are glued on with E6000, a glue so strong that it will hold a bad marriage together. The shoes are glued to a collage of contact photos from the wedding.
So, to a couple that I love and admire and to a man who has given so much, Happy 11th Anniversary. I owe you, Paul. You always make me look like I know what I'm doing.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
This weekend, I think it is best if Paul's visitors are just family and close friends. Please call me ahead of time if you plan on making the trek to Anna.
Please keep praying for Paul's recovery. Your prayers have really made a difference!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
We are not sure of how long his stay at Pate will be, but most likely it will be more than a month, if not several months. As long as Paul continues to progress, I don't care how long it takes. He got off to a slow start when he first arrived at Baylor Rehab, but his progress these past 10 days or so seems to have surprised the staff. I believe that now it is just a matter of time and hard work on Paul's part (something he already has embraced now that he can) before he begins to overcome the apraxia. I don't expect him to be chatting up a storm or strolling across a room any time soon, but I am very hopeful that he will in time. He continues to get stronger physically and he also has been saying more words, however it still very difficult for him.
Although Pate is quite a distance from Dallas, it is located on a beautiful, scenic and serene ranch. There is a lot of wide open space and a large rec center for visitors that includes a big-screen TV, couch, pool table, air hockey, fooseball, and popcorn maker. All of which is much more compatible to visits by a hyperactive 6 year old than a hospital setting where many of the patients are elderly and learning to walk after surgery. Aside from Pate being a good thing for Paul, I am sure that my blood pressure will go down during visits with Buzz and I know that Buzz will have more fun.
Once Paul gets settled, I'll let everyone know his schedule and the best visiting hours.
Thank you, everyone, again!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
The doctors have determined that Paul suffers from a condition called apraxia, which is the inability to perform intentional movements although there is no sensory or motor impairment. For example, Paul has the strength and coordination to do certain tasks and seems to know what he wants to do but his brain cannot always make his body do what is necessary to complete the tasks.
He also has apraxia of speech, an impairment caused by damage to the area of the brain that controls the voluntary, exact movement of speech muscles. Basically, this means that he can say a few words (and actually has) but can say them when he is uncomfortable or in distress. It is much more difficult for him to speak when he is really concentrating and trying. However, the speech therapist continues to work with him and focus on ways he can again begin to control his speech.
I say that he has said a few words but I would not say that he is talking. It is great to hear his voice, even though it has been single words, such as "yes" "no" and "dammit" (once when he was really frustrated). The best word he has said yet though is "Buzz," which he said when Buzz was visiting the hospital and on the floor coloring. Paul was watching him, said Buzz's name, and then reached out his hand toward Buzz. He kissed Buzz's hand, hugged him, and stroked his hair. It was a wonderful moment for all of us. Even the nurse, who walked in around that time, got teary eyed.
You probably are wondering if Paul's current actions mean that he is officially "awake" now. He is not. There are several ways that the doctors determine this and all involve different phases or stages, which Paul is slowly working his way through. His actions these past few days are very encouraging and positive though and we can definitely say he more wakeful if not awake.
One thing that the doctors and nurses have stressed is that too much excitement or noise can agitate Paul. So, please keep visits to about 15 minutes or so.
Thank you again for your support.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We can’t thank you enough for all the support and for your contributions. If you’d like more information on DREAM Fund, you can visit their website at www.dreamfund.org or feel free to call Holly Mason at 214.663.8817.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
He continues his rigorous therapy sessions as well and is out of bed for most of the day. He can sit more comfortably in the wheelchair for long periods of time so, now that the weather has cooled off, I’ve taken him outside several times. I think he enjoys the fresh air and this morning put his head back on the headrest and dozed for about 15 minutes during a break between sessions.
His doctor here is Dr. Mary Carlile, who is very highly regarded in the field of traumatic brain injury recovery. She has prescribed several neuro-stimulus drugs so he is much more alert now and aware of his surroundings but still is not responding to commands consistently. It is hard enough for me to understand and even harder to explain, but Paul can put a baseball cap on and take it off; hold a cup and sip through a straw; and fluff his pillow under his head until he is comfortable but he still has not fully regained consciousness.
Something that I find difficult to handle is that the therapists, doctors, and nurses don’t get to see and appreciate Paul’s charismatic, and often very complicated, personality (anyone who knows him well will most likely agree). We have photos up throughout the room and also have displayed some of the professional work he has done. Today, I passed out to the staff a recent article from HOW magazine, in which Paul was interviewed about the creative jams (creative team-building sessions) held at MasonBaronet. I’ve always known that Paul’s brain was more complicated than most people’s (life with Paul is never boring) but want to share this information with everyone here. This is no generic patient they are dealing with and I want them to be creative when they are working with him as well.
As I’ve said so many times, please continue to pray for Paul and his recovery. I know that, once he fully regains consciousness, there will be nothing stopping him.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
As posted on Tuesday, Paul moves around a lot and is very restless. Because he is getting so strong, he is now in an enclosed bed to keep him from pulling himself out of the bed. The best description we've come up with is that it looks like his bed is in a bouncy house. But, this keeps him safe and seems to be the norm around the rehab facility as many patients have their own bouncy houses.
We now have a private room, room 300, and expect to be here at least through the month of August. Again, please keep in mind that Paul is busy throughout the day with therapy so visitors are encouraged to come in the late afternoon and evenings. I also ask that visits be kept to about 15 or 20 minutes to keep Paul from getting overwhelmed.
Thank you all again for all of your support and continual interest in Paul's recovery.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
His speech therapist still would like him to more awake and responsive, something we continue to hope and pray comes soon. And we want him to start talking, of course.
His "purposeful" movements continue as well. Because he tries to pull out his feeding tube (and sometime his catheter) with his left hand, he has been wearing a "mitten" on his left hand that looks a lot like a Snoopy paw, which prevents him from grabbing anything. He has recently figured out that he can take the mitten off with his teeth if he works at it long enough, if the velcro is hanging off even a little. While this is a major pain for those watching him, it is also encouraging in terms of his intent. He also consistently repositions his favorite pillow, and sometimes pulls himself so that he can lay on his side.
His brother Jim (and Jim's family) were in town from Kansas again this weekend and that was great for Paul and for Buzz.
To all family and friends, thank you again for ALL that you do. For your comments and all your love and support. It means the world to all of us.
Love and blessings to you.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Paul was moved to the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation today. This is great news as it means he is medically stable and can tolerate three hours of therapy sessions daily. The move seemed to come abruptly, we were just getting settled but I have been assured that rehab is where Paul needs to be right now. He still is not fully awake but continues to progress physically and, I think, is getting restless being in bed most of the day. I am very excited about his move to rehab but also very nervous. From what I hear, Paul is about to receive the workout program of his life. I have no doubt that Paul has the determination to succeed and won't give up until he has reached his full potential.
Visiting hours are until 9:00 p.m. and I would like to, again, requests that visitors come late afternoon or evenings. We are in a semi-private room right now so please take into consideration that Paul has a roommate. The facility is located directly behind Baylor Specialty Hospital at 3505 Gaston Avenue.
Once we have met with the therapists and the doctors tomorrow, I'll know more about Paul's new schedule and relay if there are better times to visit.
Thanks again for your support.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
They are going to remove his PICC line today which is in his left arm. PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, and it can be used for giving treatments like antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Since they haven't needed to use it lately (and since it could be a potential infection risk) they decided it could come out. So one less contraption to deal with. :-)
Thanks again to all of you for your comments, love and support. It makes such a huge difference!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
His therapy now involves daily trips in a Stretchair (photo on left), an industrial-type wheelchair that allows Paul to be moved safely from the prone position in the bed to safely sitting upright. He is then taken to the workout room, where the therapists work with him. He is seated upright on a mat while one of the physical therapists holds him up from behind while another sits on a chair in front of him. At this point, he cannot hold his head up (although it is getting much stronger) so the therapist must hold it up while also holding him from behind. The goal is for him to work up his strength and to relearn to sit up.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
In other news, Paul's cool logo for the Ball Hogs (click here to see it) was accepted into the Communication Arts Design Annual. This is one of the highest creative awards you can get anywhere. CA is considered the bible of the creative communications industry. Congrats to Paul for his creative excellence!!
Monday, July 21, 2008
I am happy for a new week to begin though as during the weekends, the therapists are not here so he doesn't get his usual exercises and therapy sessions. Right now, since Paul is not completely awake, he cannot be given food or drinks so he gets his nutrition through a feeding tube. However, because he does seem more alert, the speech therapist gave him a green apple Dum-Dum lollipop to suck on this morning and he seemed to really enjoy it. He loves apples but I am sure that, after five weeks of not tasting anything, just having a little variety was heavenly.
As always, I am very hopeful about Paul's recovery and encouraged by the small changes that take place. I am also very thankful that we both have wonderful families to support us and such a great group of friends that continue to encourage us every step of the way. Thank you!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Paul was moved last night to a private room. He is now in room 201, which is great as there is much more space and privacy. We'll now be able to play music for him without having to use the headphones, sit more comfortably with him and talk a little louder, and I plan to bring Buzz up to the hospital this weekend for another visit. And, of course, between therapy sessions this morning, I'll keep the TV tuned into TNT, so Paul can watch/hear/hopefully sense the British Open. Even though Paul will be disappointed that Ernie Els probably won't make the cut, he should be interested that Greg Norman is leading the pack. Let's hope the tournament stays exciting throughout the weekend. Thank you, everyone again, for your interest and constant support.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thanks again for all your positive thoughts, comments and prayers. You are all part of Team Jerde, and it's the best team in the world.
Love and blessings,
The Jerde and Hatfield families
Monday, July 14, 2008
It's been 4 weeks now, and we really appreciate all your love and support (and your comments).
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
As always your comments are a great boost to us and to Paul.
Monday, July 7, 2008
The doctors also capped Paul's tracheotomy tube so he is completely breathing on his own through his mouth and nose. Right now, he is sleeping and snoring away as if he were napping on the couch at home.
Visiting hours at Baylor Specialty are from 10am to 9pm and Paul is in room 206B. The first couple of days we request no visitors as he is being evaluated and will begin his new care plan. Thank you again for your support and we'll continue to keep you posted on his progress.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
As of today, he is still breathing partially through his tracheotomy tube, but they have removed the oxygen support, which is another positive sign. It's possible that if he continues to do well with his breathing, they will remove the trach tube completely in the next couple of days.
Today Buzz got to visit his dad for the first time. He stayed for a while, and the visit went really well. Of course Buzz is curious about every contraption in Paul's room, put a number of things in Paul's hand so he could feel stuff, and was also interested in finding goodies to eat. It was a great visit.
It's been a quiet holiday weekend and Paul is resting comfortably now. Paul's brother Jim has been in town for the weekend and giving Patty a break by taking some of the night shifts.
Thanks again to all of you for your comments and your love and support.
Love and blessings,
The Jerde and Hatfield families
Friday, July 4, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Jerde and Hatfield families
And here is a photo of brother-in-law Bobby and nephew Robert Paul Hatfield, born June 30, 2008, Paul's 44th birthday.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Paul, we are all sending our love and hoping this will be the year of miracles for you. Rest and keep getting stronger this birthday!
(reminder, if you have any photos of the picnic that you'd like to share, please email them to email@example.com)
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
First of all, the picnic was a huge success and we'll be posting more on that and many more pictures once we collect them all. Thanks to ALL of you for sending your love and for the very creative posters! The bridge looked incredible after they were all up. :-) So check back for more details. Thanks to Samantha and Holly for organizing this wonderful event.
Today Paul is in a holding room (still in ICU but in a different area) waiting for a private room on another floor in the hospital. This is because he's been breathing on his own for over 48 hours, which is great. We'll keep you posted on his location. He continues to be stable, and moving his hands and feet at times. Keep sending your love and prayers for him to regain consciousness soon. Your love is helping us all.
Today on the channel 5 news they did a short story on bicycle safety at White Rock Lake, and as part of the story they talked about Paul. They showed a great photo of him, talked about the picnic, and Paul's sister-in-law, Katie, was interviewed and did a great job of sharing the story and expressing that increased bicycle safety might prevent other families from having to go through this.
Again, we can't thank you all enough for all you're doing to support Paul and our families. Blessings to all of you.
The Jerde and Hatfield families