Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Feeding Tube Has Been Removed! Yay!

Troy has been having a good few days. He struggled with some agitation last week, when he first started coming out of the coma, but has now settled down quite a bit. It was a bit hard for him, at first, with everything happening so fast, for him. He went from being in a coma for 14 weeks, to suddenly waking up and not knowing where he was, or why. I can completely understand him being agitated and frustrated by that.

But, I am happy to report that Troy's memory is not as bad as it could be. He does have significant damage to his short term memory, but his long term memory seems to be in pretty good shape. He still does forget some details, but once I remind him of them, he is able to retain that memory of his past. Now, anything recent, like in the past 5 years, I am having to constantly remind him of on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. This isn't bad though, because at least he has his older memories that would be impossible for me to replicate for him; therapy can help him work on retaining new information as the healing continues.

Today was a big day for Troy, he had the feeding tube taken out of his stomach. I had already left this morning when they pulled it out, but I called the nurse to check on him this afternoon and she said he first thanked the doctor for pulling it out, then a few seconds later let out an "OUCH, that hurt!" when he realized it hurt when they pulled it out. LOL. The nurse told me he was elated to have that taken out...and frankly, so am I! Another milestone in Troy's recovery!

Also, Troy's catheter has been completely removed now and he is no longer needing to wear briefs. His brain is functioning how it should by sending signals when he needs to void. That's a huge step in progress, as well, as it clearly shows that the brain is continuing to repair itself.

This is all about baby steps for us, but huge steps in the right direction for Troy! I continue to praise God for putting us in the situation He has. This could have all ended or been a whole lot worst and God has kept us covered with His grace and has shown my family that miracles can and DO happen! I owe all the glory to God alone for all of this; for placing us where He placed us -- in His perfect timing covered by His perfect will! Praise God!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Troy was upgraded to a regular diet today! Yay! He can now eat any type of foods, in any form. So, to celebrate this milestone, I got cleared by the therapist and the nurse to bring in outside food so the girls, Troy and I can have dinner together at the hospital. When I asked Troy what he wanted he said "A double cheeseburger from Burger King." It was hilarious! So, I left to go get the girls from school and came back to the hospital donning his double cheeseburger and fries and food for us.

We all sat in his room and ate dinner together. It was awesome! We were all having dinner under the same roof, in the same room for the first time in three and half months!

Other than that, Troy has been progressing along. He is now able to wheel himself using his left leg and a bit of his right leg to propel himself down the hallways. He doesn't get very far and he tires very quickly, but he is now able to get about halfway to his room. Also, he is starting to move his right hand a bit. He is now able to open and close his right hand. He says he can't feel his finger tips and his right hand hurt really bad when he tries to move it, but he is definitely working really hard at getting it going.

Troy has also been getting very agitated and can get extremely confused at times. That, in itself, is very tiring (for both him and I) and very emotional for me because he gets very insistent that things are what he believes them to be and when I don't comply or have an answer for what he's asking for, he gets angry at me and says that I'm not listening to him, which is usually followed by him demanding I give him his phone so he can call someone else that will listen. I have been able to appease him or distract him enough so that he isn't so agitated, but usually when he gets like that it's because he's tired and has had a long day. Things are only going to get better from here so I remain strong and trusting in the Lord that this will also pass.

Please continue praying that God gives Troy peace at heart and that the healing continues so that he can get through this frustrating phase in his recovery.

Thank you again to everyone for all the support we have gotten, whether in prayer, by sending me emails and enlightening me spiritually and emotionally or financially. God has put my family in the perfect place and surrounded by the perfect people that have done nothing but care for me and my family. I praise God everyday for each and every one of you!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quick Update - Yet Another Extension :)

As usual, my days are filled with surprises. I just received a call from the nurse case manager at Shepherd Center, she advised me that Troy's stay at Shepherd has been extended, once again. His new discharge date is now September 7th!

In the world of rehabilitation, this is a good thing. It means that Troy will continue to receive one-on-one therapy for another 2 weeks past his discharge date. The hospital has some goals they would like Troy to attain before he leaves, one of them being that he can walk with a wheeled walker with only one person helping him. This is a big goal since Troy still hasn't gotten full strength in his right leg or right arm, but definitely not an unattainable goal and they have full confidence that he can do it!

God has been doing great things in Troy's recovery and I can't wait to have him walking up and down that hospital floor and walking through our front door at the house!

Keep praying, people of God, these prayers are being answered on God's perfect timing and always as He wills...every time! Praise God!

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." 2 Peter 1:3-4

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wow! The days just seem to fly on by nowadays. My days are so filled now that I don't even have the time or energy to blog as much as I want to. The girls have taken to the new school schedule without a hitch. My daily schedule consists of: putting the girls on the bus at 7am, visit with Troy from 8:30am (or later...depending on Atlanta traffic...lol) to about 1pm, pick up girls from bus stop, workout at gym for an hour, go home, do homework, errands (if needed), dinner, mommy time and "housely" duties; next thing I know it's 2am and I have to be in bed to do it all over again the following day. Troy needs to hurry up and get home and help me! LOL.

I do have to say that Troy is starting to talk much louder now and is a bit better at getting his point across. He is getting better at articulating his words a bit more. He can read his bible now so I get that for him and help him with that as much as I can. He gets very emotional reading it so I try to read it to him as much as he lets me. He is now starting to say he wants to come home, a lot! That's pretty much all he talked about today was wanting to come home. He told me today that he doesn't like that place anymore and wants to come home. I asked him if he didn't like the treatment there and he replied "They treat me fine, but it's not HOME!" and yes, he yelled that last part at me. I'm very happy to see how much he is aware of his surroundings now.

I also need to mention that because Troy has been participating in therapy now (versus therapy being done to him) that he is officially out of his coma now. It's been about 2 weeks, but I spoke with the doctor on Thursday to confirm that.

Troy's memory is the toughest part right now. He doesn't remember when I've been there from one day to the next. He has trouble remembering anything from now until 5 or 6 years ago, so anything that has happened since then, he has trouble recalling it. I remind him of where he worked, what church we attended, where we lived and anything that has happened in the past 6 years every day. That's been helping him a bit.

Little by little his memory should regain. The doctor does advise me that he might still have trouble with some memories, but I am happy to have Troy here with us, so I can deal with the rest. I have started to write things on the board for him to help him stay reminded of when I've been there and what day it is and so forth.

Troy does remember that he was going to school to be a pastor and Troy knows that he could have been dead right now and God has given him another chance at life. Troy told me a few nights ago that the world should watch out, because here comes Troy. Troy told me that he will work on his approach and tell people how good God has been to him. I was overjoyed by hearing him talking like this. Troy is already planning out his testimony to share with the world. I can't wait to hear it from Troy's mouth!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Music to my ears!

This has been a HUGE week in Troy's recovery. First off, the family training went very well. The last of my training was on Friday night when I had to stay with Troy, and the girls, in a suite on the hospital floor. In this suite, I was to care for Troy, in a home-like environment, as if I was home with him. I was in charge of caring for him through the night, giving him his medicines when they were due, and getting him ready in the morning for breakfast in the therapy gym.

Well, Troy was obviously very excited to have us all there with him and we were just as excited! He didn't go to sleep until about 4am, or at least that's the last I remember, because I finally zonked out. He called for me all night. He would call me over to his bed "Joan!". I would get up, go to his bedside, only to hear him tell me he wanted me to cut the cast off his arm! I calmly explained to him that the cast was to stay on his arm because it would help keep his range of motion and I could not cut it off; to which he replied "Yes, you can!" This went on all night long! LOL. It was aggravating and refreshing at the same time, to have him bugging me again!

Finally I told him, "Troy, you have to go to sleep!" and he replied "I can't sleep!" That's when I finally told him, "OK, YOU can't sleep...but I CAN and I WILL! So go to sleep!" I didn't hear from him again...lol. This was at about 4am! His speech is very garbled and he doesn't enunciate his words well, but he is definitely speaking his mind and communicating what he wants to say.

The rest of the morning went fairly well. He resisted me a bit in the morning when I was trying to get him out of bed to bathe him and brush his teeth, but I finally got him out of bed, bathed, dressed, and cleaned up.

Saturday morning, apparently Tyra had picked up a stomach bug because she was getting sick on me at the hospital all morning long. Finally at around noon I told Troy we had to leave and get Tyra some medicines and fluids in her but that I would come back. He then tells me "Make sure you come back!" Brianna and I both looked at each other and wondered if we heard him correctly! We said our goodbyes and I told him I would be back.

Well, we didn't make back to the hospital until Sunday mid-morning. Tyra was feeling better by now and we were all very happy to see him. When we first got there the nurse told me that he was being very ornery and wasn't eating his breakfast. She said he was playing "possum" when she was trying to feed him. He would act like he was really sleepy and wouldn't open his mouth or cooperate in feeding himself as he has been doing for weeks now. She then would step away to help another patient eat and look back at Troy and caught Troy looking around the room! She said this went on 3 different times until she finally gave up, made sure he drank his Ensure, and left him be. I, of course, thought this was hilarious, because I thought it was so cute how Troy's stubborn personality was starting to shine through...she, obviously, didn't think it was so amusing.

The rest of the day went fairly well. His cousin, Mitchell stopped by, with his wife and son to visit, and I asked Troy if he knew who that was; Troy answered "My cousin Mitchell." We were all happy to hear that. Troy has really started vocalizing and becoming more verbal so I was happy to see his memory was also there with him and he remembered others. Today was also my birthday so I asked him if he knew what today was and he didn't answer. When I finally told him it was my birthday, he opened his eyes big, gasped and said "Happy Birthday!"; I almost cried! He even gave me a birthday hug. That made my day.

But the topper of today was when I started talking about his mom and his family. He clearly said "I miss my mom", and he started to cry. I asked him if he wanted me to call her and he said "Yes". I called his mom and he started to talk to her telling her he loved her and missed her; he cried the entire time. I then called his dad, brother, sister, daughter and he even got to talk to his niece Brittany! It was awesome! I was so overwhelmed by how much he was talking with them. Even to the point when he greeted his brother Chris by saying "What's up, man?", my jaw dropped! This is how Chris and him would greet each other on the phone before the accident.

Needless to say, today was a very emotional day. God, through Troy's speaking, blessed me with the best birthday present ever! Troy's voice is like music to my ears!

Please continue to pray for Troy's healing and that his memory continues to come back. His memory was a bit vague on some topics, including my birthday and other things I was asking him about, but he did remember who everyone was and he even read a line from a card his mom sent him that was hanging on his wall. So he even remembers how to read.

God is showing His glory throughout all of this and, as always, God's timing is perfect in every way! I appreciate all the continued prayers and look forward to talking with Troy some more tomorrow!

Praise God!

P.S. Please excuse the horrible grammar on this posting tonight. I am trying to cram 5 days of posting into one summarized blog -- oh and I should mention it's late and I'm beat! LOL.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today was "Family Training Day" at Shepherd Center for me. This is where the therapists all spend 30 minutes to an hour with me going over Troy's care for when I bring him home and answer any questions I may have about his recovery and future goals. It was good to be able to be more hands-on with Troy's care, as well. They taught me how to transfer him from his wheelchair to the bed or chair. I was happy to see how much Troy was helping by pushing up with his legs as I guided him up and down in and out of the chair.

Troy also was very verbal today. During one of our breaks I took him back to the room and I was showing him the pictures of the girls and asking him who I was and every time he would whisper the correct answer. His speech is very low and mumbled, but the therapist says that as he learns how to take a deep breath and push up his voice through his voice box he'll get louder and clearer. So far he's labeling items like: sock, cup, and names of the girls and also says "my daughter" when asked who the girls are to him. Praise God for that! He's doing so much better! Today he even said "my mouth" and pointed to his mouth when he was sticking his finger in his mouth and showing me the inside of his mouth.

Also, today during the "Team Meeting", where the doctor, neuropsychologist, therapist and nurses meet to go over Troy's recovery, it was determined that Troy has done well enough to earn himself another 2 weeks at the Shepherd rehab program. Due to his vocalizing words and being able to identify some items they feel that they can work with him a bit more to help him learn how to speak again and also work on his walking and trunk support. His new discharge date is now August 24th.

One news that I did receive today, which was great news and sad news at the same time, was that once he is discharged from the hospital he will not be coming home. He will be transferred directly to Pathways. Pathways is Sheperd's outpatient rehab program where they focus on integrating him back into the community and work on his independence on being able to care for himself the best he can. This, obviously, is GREAT news, but I say it's sad because the Pathways facility is further North from the house and the visiting hours are very strict there. I will be only be able to visit at night, during the week, and on the weekends.

I'm saddened by this because I will not be able to spend my days there like I have been. Now, while the girls are at school, I have been there from 9am to 4pm every day. It's been great being part of his rehab regimen again, so I will miss him when he moves because I won't be with him as often. With the girls in school and the facility being a bit further away, I will not be able to be there as much as I also have to tend to my motherly duties and I have to also care for the girls and do homework with them.

I am trying to see this as a blessing in disguise, though. With me being home all day, while the girls are in school, I will have more time to dedicate to my classes, since my Fall term starts August 31. I will be graduating this Fall so I'll need the time to focus and do well so I can continue to pursue my dream of becoming an RN. I can also try to get back to working from home again so I can help offset some of the financial difficulties I have been coming up against.

Troy is scheduled to be at Pathways for 3 to 4 months, so he should be coming home around the holidays. Of course, that can all change depending on how well he's doing with the program. I can't wait to see how well he does there and see what God has willed for Troy's complete recovery!

My faith in God continues, if anything much stronger by the day. I do get sad, I can't help but feel sad sometimes, but it's only because I miss him, not because I doubt God's healing power. Troy and I have always talked about growing old together, but never did I imagine I would be alone this long of a period in our marriage. I am grateful to God, though, that Troy IS coming back to me and I didn't lose him on May 1st. I thank God for having mercy on us and not taking Troy away from us that day. It's awesome to be able to hug and kiss him and be able to talk with him and reassure him that everything will be OK and I will be right here when he comes home. I tell him that every day, today I got a smile from him when I told him that; that melted my heart!

Please continue to pray for Troy's recovery and that God continues to do His holy will in his life and recovery. I was thanking God today for giving me the strength to stay focused and remain grounded. Not one day in the past 3 months have I asked "Why me? Why Troy?" I have remained steadfast and am actually honored that the Lord picked our family so that He can show His glory and allow all of us to get closer to Him during this tragic event.

God has been very merciful to us. This entire event could have been a lot worst than it has been! I will forever be grateful for God's mercy and surrounding us with such loving and supporting family and friends.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

This weekend was an awesome weekend for Troy. His dad, brother, sister, niece and twin nephews were here visiting with him. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of her control, his mother wasn't able to visit, but she was with us constantly on the phone or in text.

This visit with his family was very good for Troy. He laughed more this weekend than I have ever heard him laugh. He was laughing so hard he was tearing up and at one point he was even laughing and crying at the same time; just overwhelmed with emotions. He really enjoyed the twins, he seemed to favor Nathan the most. It was so cute to watch him watch Nate do his thing and interact with him. It was sad to see them all leave today, but it's awesome to know that Troy has such a loving and supportive family.

Now, this begins a very busy week for me. The girls first day of school is tomorrow. I have been really sad this weekend thinking of Troy missing out on being there for Tyra's first day of school, but I will video tape it all and show it to him when I get to the hospital.

Tomorrow is also a huge day because it's Troy's "outing" day. This is where the therapist, Troy and myself will go out into the community and do a trial run of how I am going to transport him with us and how to handle different situations that may arise when Troy is out with me and the girls. I am very nervous about this, but I know God will be with us and will continue to keep me grounded while I soak all of this in. I was taught how to do the IC on him today to empty his bladder. He was very gracious and didn't fight me, as he has been with all the nurses. The nurse warned me that he might pull at the catheter while I tried to insert it, or slap at me or push me in resistance, but by the grace of God, Troy just sat there calmly and let me do it with no fuss. Maybe he could feel that my hands were shaking and didn't want me to hurt him. LOL.

Also, this Tuesday and Wednesday are Family Training days. This is where for 8 hours I will be taught how to care for him on my own, without the help of medical staff on hand 24/7. I have seen most of these things done, but I will now have to do it all hands on, on my own and will have someone coach me through things for 2 days. On Tuesday, I have to spend the night at the hospital with Troy and I will be doing all of the care for him overnight by myself with no help to see how it will be when I bring him home. Nursing staff will not interfere unless I press the call button and request help. I will be staying in what's called ADL suite on the Brain Injury floor. It's a full apartment, complete with wheel-in shower. If everything goes as planned, I will have to come home to get the girls from school on Tuesday afternoon after my day of training, then head back to the hospital and then bring them early the next morning for school. Thank the Lord there was a spot in Extended Day for Tyra so I could pay this week and have her stay there until 6pm while I get all this training I need and Brianna's bus stop is less than a block away from the house so she'll be able to walk home from the bus and wait for us here at the house. I'm excited and nervous about that too. It will be interesting to see how Troy does spending the night with me and the girls again! This will be the first time in over 3 months we all sleep under one roof, as a family! Yay!

Needless to say, tomorrow, and the rest of this week, will be a very strenuous and emotional day for me, but no matter how much I feel that I will be emotional, in the back of my mind I have this sense that I will take this just like I have everything else, with a serene demeanor and complete control of things. I don't know what I would do without God's grace and so many people praying for us! Big changes are going to be happening real soon and I'm ready for them! To God be all the glory!!