Friday, August 29, 2008

Patty's going to kill me

But when you have retro photos of this caliber you gotta post 'em, right?

Get well soon, Paul, and you can help prevent pictures like this from being shared in the future. :-)

Your pal,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Jerde Cup!

Update - Wednesday, August 27

Today is Buzz's birthday so we'll be celebrating tonight as a family at the hospital. I'd like to request that Paul get no visitors tonight.

In other news, yesterday was pet therapy day at the rehab center. Dogs are brought in to interact with the patients. Although I wouldn't say that Paul is a dog person, he really seemed to connect with a couple of the dogs, feeding them treats. The therapist even got Paul to throw a tennis ball for one of the dogs to catch. This is significant because the apraxia has been keeping Paul from being able to throw. Until yesterday, he would hold a ball out and seemed to be trying hard but just couldn't let go of the ball or make a throwing motion. Another small, but significant, step in his recovery.

Thank you everyone for your support and wonderful comments.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Update - Monday, August 25

Paul has had a great last few days. His command following has improved and he seems to much more aware of those around him, smiling, and giving high fives and thumbs up. We are also learning more about the some of the effects of a traumatic brain injury.

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

Help Paul - donate to the Dream Fund!

Many of you have graciously asked how you can financially help the Jerde family to ensure the best care and recovery for Paul. We’ve connected with DREAM Fund, a nonprofit foundation that supports those in the communications industry who have experienced a life-altering event. Not only will the foundation be helping Paul, but they also have a website with the ability for donations to be taken online. Additionally, you can choose to make a one-time donation or a recurring donation depending on your preference. The online donation form can be found here. Please just be sure to fill out “Paul Jerde” in the “Directed Donations” field at the bottom of the form to ensure the donation will be distributed directly to Paul’s family.

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 or feel free to call Holly Mason at 214.663.8817.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday, August 16 - Paul's Story in the Dallas Morning News

An article about Paul and the community's efforts to promote cycling safety is featured in today's Dallas Morning News. The article mentions a golf tournament being held by friends and family to raise money and further raise awareness. The tournament is Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Tour 18 golf course. Please continue to check the blog for more information on the tournament and how you can participate.

Thank you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Update - Thursday, August 14

Paul has now graduated to pureed hospital food (not exactly Taco Diner but better than just tube feedings). We still are carefully watching to make sure that he swallows correctly. He gets three meals a day, which either I, or the nurse, help him eat. We also are working toward him holding the fork on his own but that will take some practice. At this point, he doesn't eat a lot so the tube still is in place in his stomach.

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

Update - Thursday, August 7

I feel very lucky that we are at Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation as it is one of the best in the country. Our first week here is coming to an end and, just as we expected, the therapists here are working Paul hard. Weekly conferences, which include the therapists, neuropsychologist, and the doctor, are held to keep me abreast of Paul's current therapy and progress. Our first conference was yesterday, and they reported that Paul is inconsistent with command following but is starting to attend to automatic skills. Automatic skills examples include that we can hand him his glasses and he'll put them on, he'll take the phone and put it up to his ear and then flip it closed, and he'll raise his arm to help when his shirt his being taken off. Right now, the speech therapist is working on developing a yes/no communication system but have not yet developed a reliable way of getting Paul to communicate.

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

Update - Tuesday August 5

Paul is adjusting to his new home at the rehab facility. His therapy sessions start at 9:00am and, aside from a lunch break for the therapists from 12-1, don't stop until after 3:00. On Monday, his speech therapist gave him thickened apple juice, much like apple sauce, and he swallowed it easily. So, she plans to continue testing him through the week and hopefully get him on something more solid soon. In the meantime he continues to be fed through his feeding tube, which he often tries to pull out with his left hand.

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.