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.



Tim said...


WOW! Awesome progress, my man. AWESOME PROGRESS.

I look forward to one of those high fives (and maybe even a hug) when I see you in October.

Keep it up, brother. You're an amazing man.

Love you,


Rrramone said...

Patty, great job of giving some context for how Paul is. You are doing such an amazing job!! And I know that has a lot to do with how Paul is doing.

Remember to take care of yourself. :-)

And Paul, you are the MAN!! Keep up the great work my bro. Enjoyed our wheelchair ride today. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Great news Patty! Keep up the good work Paul!

Sonja Canida

Anonymous said...

OK, If I were the nurse walking in on the "Buzz" word I would have been weeping... and I am weeping for joy. Thank you for sharing this moment, Patty. We love you! "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17.

Hugs Micki and Pete

Mark said...

So glad to hear he's making steady progress! Keep it up Paul!

Anonymous said...

I heard about the Buzz moment from Kathleen and I think everyone at book club was giving you a collective hug and cheer at the same time. We all missed you tons and hope to see you soon. Keep fighting for what Paul needs - we are behind you all the way!

Take care of yourself

Anonymous said...

Hi Patti,
I am so encouraged every time I read your blog and hear about Paul's progress. We are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers that Paul will continue his progress and wake completely.
Donna & Roger Rainey

Anonymous said...

Hi Patti,
I am so encouraged every time I read your blog and hear about Paul's progress. We are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers that Paul will continue his progress and wake completely.
Donna & Roger Rainey

Ben Harwell said...

I'm getting teary eyed, this is so great to hear. Thank you as always for keeping us updated on Paul's progress. We will never stop praying for his full recovery.

-Ben Harwell

Angela said...

That is so wonderful to hear! Thanks for the detailed update Patty.
You & Buzz hang in there! I'm always praying for y'all.

Sarah said...

wow, wow, WOW!!!!

So happy to read Paul's progress!

We have a friend, whose child suffered from Apraxia, just like Paul. He is doing pretty well now, thanks to therapy. I know Paul will get there!!

The Pucci's

Anonymous said...

Very cool, keep up the good work Paul!!!! Haven't posted in awhile, so sorry, but I really do keep thinking about you guys. Can't wait for someday we can actually have a conversation and that day seems to be getting closer. Hi to Patty and I will continue to check in on you guys and wish you the best!!!!

David B (From Good Eats lol)

wines said...

Thanks for the update Patty. Paul - so many people continue ask about you every day. You are much loved! I pray for your continued progress. Keep up the good fight.

Kathy Nichols said...

You Jerdes are something else. What an inspiration!!

Patty, I hope you are keeping a journal. You're such an awesome writer, and you have such an amazing story to tell.

Paul, I pray for you daily, brother. Your light is shining through.

Buzz, when I was your age, my Daddy was in a car accident that was so bad, the emergency room folks didn't even clean him up because they thought there was no way he would live through the night. But he did, and after months in the hospital (just like your Daddy), and many more months recovering at home, he not only lived, he also learned to walk again ... something they told him he would never do. He lived to be 91 years old (he didn't retire until he was 88 years old)!

As I read about Paul and the amazing strides he's already made, I think of all those victories we shared with Daddy. While the doctors were saying "no way," Daddy was saying, "you just watch."

Love you guys,
Kathy Nichols

Anonymous said...

This is a message for Kathy Nichols -- that was a wonderful message for you to post for Buzz. I know that he will appreciate that real story and that gives all of us such encourgement.

Patti, you are in my prayers every day -- love to you all, Bunny