Friday, November 8, 2013

New Feelings

Jerry has had some new feelings since my last post, it seems that he is having a sensation of feeling the water when he takes a bath. Until now Jerry has had no feeling below the chest line at least where water is concerned, on his arms he can feel pressure but it diminishes the farther down the arm you go. Concerning water however Jerry has not felt it below the chest line since the neck injury, that is until about 10 days ago. When in the bath Jerry felt the water on his middle finger and within minutes the sensation went up to his wrist. The feeling is not like the warmth you and I would experience, his body is interpreting it differently, it's difficult for Jerry to put into words the feeling but he says it's kind of a feeling of coldness. A Few days later while in the bath Jerry experienced the same feeling in the left foot and ankle, it's interesting to note that these feelings began on the left side of his body. The left side of his body was the first to regain movement in the bicep and to regain a little strength. With each bath Jerry feels the sensation in a new part of his body, he now feels it on both sides of the body however in some areas the feeling is stronger. Today's bath Jerry felt the cold feeling on his butt, our hope is that the body is regaining the ability to feel below the level of injury and that eventually it will interpret these feelings accordingly, warm as warm and cold as cold. These are baby steps hopefully toward a much larger recovery, I'm thankful it's one step closer toward the goal.

Katie

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Update

It's hard to believe that we've been home from Thailand for 2 months already, the time has gone incredibly fast. Life has been busier than ever, it's becoming a little difficult to keep up with everything. Jerry is back in therapy at SCI-FIT in Pleasanton 2 days a week, he really is enjoying being back and working out with the trainers. Some of the trainers have mentioned that he seems stronger in his core as well as his legs seem to be responding differently when doing gait training. They've even mentioned how he seems so much more like the old Jerry before the brain damage. It's encouraging when other people notice the positive changes in Jerry's physical and mental health.

Jerry is also back in school at Cabrillo college 2 days a week taking the same class he was enrolled in prior to his brain injury, "Introduction to Programming, Java". Jerry had decided that he wants to develop a game controller for quadriplegics, setting this goal gave him a whole new outlook on life. He expressed how much better he felt having a goal to work toward, he's been struggling with what he's capable of accomplishing as a quad. After the first week in class, he again began to get very discouraged because it was so difficult for him with the brain injury. This was a class that he had breezed through before the coma and now he couldn't even figure out the most basic of things. I know how important it is for Jerry to get through this class, to boost his confidence and restore the hope that he can do anything he sets his mind to. I'm now in class learning right along with Jerry, so I can help him be successful and get through the class. It was so very overwhelming at first and each week is a challenge getting through the homework but we manage to get it done, many nights up til 1am doing homework but getting it done none the less. The teacher assigns 6 to 10 hours of homework per week however it takes Jerry twice as long as it takes others, it's not unusual for us to put in 16 hours a week on homework.

I received several responses to my request in last post about needing an acupuncturist, I appreciate everyone taking the time to respond.  We found a great acupuncturist so Jerry is now also going to acupuncture once a week. Between SCI-FIT, acupuncture, school, and homework life can be a little overwhelming but it's good and we are doing well.

Jerry started weaning off all of his medication before leaving for Thailand and since has weaned off of 6 medications. Jerry is now only on a blood thinner to prevent blood clots and a low dose of Valium to help him sleep. This is the first time since he broke his neck he is off of all the bad meds. The doctors in Thailand said that it would take about 3 months to begin to notice any changes in Jerry form the stem cell treatment. It's been a little over 3 months since the first injection and there are some positive changes. About a month ago I noticed that Jerry's body seemed to be responding appropriately to what was going on at the moment. I compare it to driving, you go through the motion without having conscious thought process about it, you aren't constantly thinking break, turn, accelerate, you just do it. What's going on with Jerry is similar, when I'm putting Jerry's pants on he will arch his back and lift his butt to help, when I turn him he'll kick a leg, when I'm sitting him up to transfer him out of bed into the wheelchair he assists in sitting up. His core muscles are so much stronger, when I pull his arms to sit him up he practically does a sit up. The crazy thing is that if you ask him to do these things he can't but if he is not consciously thinking of them his body responds appropriately in helping with the task at hand. I pray that somehow he will be able to connect to this movement in a way that he can control it.  A little over a week ago Jerry began to feel tingling in his body, in his right wrist and ankle at first and within 24 hours he felt the tingling over his whole body and to this day is still feeling it. A few days ago Jerry starting feeling a shocking sensation in one of his arms, yesterday he felt the same thing in his hamstrings and butt. I don't know what all this means, I don't know if it will turn into something more or give any mobility return but I'm so encouraged that something is happening and so hopeful for greater things to come.

Katie

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Good to be home

Our trip home was fairly uneventful, we made it home safely, no bags were lost, no broken chair, we enjoyed the first class flight almost as much as on the way to Thailand. I had a couple friends take care of my yard while we were gone, I was just hoping to have the lawn mowed once before I returned but was blown away at how much work was put in. My yard has never looked so beautiful, after being gone for over a month I cannot describe the emotion I felt when I pulled up to the house and it looked so lovely, just an overwhelming feeling of happiness to be home. You know who you are, thank you so much for making our home coming special.

It's so strange to live the same day twice, we left Thailand Friday morning at 6am, spent almost 20 hours flying home to arrive in San Francisco by 9 am Friday morning. By the time we went to bed Friday night we had been up for 55 hours. I had about 4 1/2 hours of broken up sleep on the plane and Jerry had about 3 hours, exhausted doesn't begin to describe how we felt. 6 days later and we still have not returned to a normal sleep pattern but it's getting better.

It's imperative to keep Jerry's body in optimum condition in order for the stem cells to flourish. Jerry has returned from Thailand with a better outlook and motivation, he's going back to school at the end of the month as well as return to physical therapy at SCI-FIT in Pleasanton. In addition we need to continue the home exercise program and find an acupuncturist. If any of you know of a great local acupuncturist please let me know via post or email to katie@followingjerry.com. I truly believe the acupuncture was a great benefit for Jerry. Life is going to be very busy for us, but I'm so happy to see Jerry motivated again. 

It's great to be home, thank you to all who have helped, donated, supported, loved and followed us through this journey, we love you!

Katie

Friday, August 2, 2013

Moving Toes

Jerry received his 7th stem cell treatment Wednesday evening, which was a lumbar puncture. He seems to respond well to the lumbar injections, within 30 minutes he was able to move his toes when he tried. It takes a great deal of effort and he fatigues rather quickly however he was able to move his toes several times throughout the evening, hopefully a sign of more good things to come. It's a little disappointing and rather curious as to why the stem cells have an immediate affect but generally doesn't last much more than 24 hours. I am grateful though to have some sort of reaction, it helps keep hope alive. This never gets old for me, but I think Jerry gets a little tired of me asking him to move his toes....


The day after stem cell injections patients are supposed to have low activity and rest. Jerry had stretching and acupuncture in the morning and then had the rest of the day free, unfortunately he was supposed to rest so he couldn't venture out. I on the other hand decided I would take a little adventure. It was the first time leaving Jerry for an extended period of time, I left after lunch and returned late in the evening. The nurses were good about checking in with Jerry, feeding him dinner and keeping me posted on how things were going. There is a well known street in Bangkok called Khoasan Road, it was referenced in the book/movie The Beach. Khoasan Road is a world famous backpackers hot spot, with cheap hotels, street vendors, restaurants & pubs and much more, it has a real party atmosphere. I decided to make my trip to Khoasan Road a little more adventurous by traveling by boat. I took 2 trains and walked 2 blocks to the pier to catch the boat, it was a 30 minute boat ride and a few blocks walk before I found Khoasan Road.There are many ways to travel in Bangkok, train, bus, taxi, motorcycle, tuk tuk, boat, with the train your limited on where it goes, the bus is very confusing, the motorbike looks very scary the drivers drive crazy, but I'll have to try motorbike at least once before I go. I can't get over how economical it is to get around, the train was $1.34, the boat was .57 cents. After the day of souvenir shopping it was time to head back to the hospital, it was too late to catch the boat so I decided go get back by way of tuk tuk. I loved the ride in the tuk tuk, it could be very bumpy at times but it felt like a motorcycle ride, I loved being in the open air. The 35 minute ride back to the hospital was a little more expensive then the journey there...a whopping $5, it seems like it would be far more economical to use public transportation here than owing a vehicle. Here are a few pictures from my outing, the only thing that would have made it better is if Jerry could have enjoyed it with me.

 There are several types of boats transporting people

 These boats were super fast

 Below is the type of boat I was on


 Khoasan Road



The view from the back of the tuktuk

We have less than a week left, 1 more stem cell treatment and then the journey home. I'm so ready to get home, it's been a great trip but I'm getting home sick and miss my kids, I know Jerry is home sick as well. Thanks to all who have taken the time to leave comments, it's nice to feel a connection with home.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Wonderful Dinner Out

The hospital has 2 facilities within a mile of each other, we are at the smaller facility which houses 8 patients and their families, I believe the other facility has about 15 patients. The hospital surprised the patients with a wonderful night out for dinner last night. It was such a wonderful surprise, the hospital rented a couple vans and bused all the patients and staff to a nearby Thai Restaurant. There must have been close to 80 of us, people from all around the globe coming together for a meal. The communication barrier made it a little difficult to interact with one another, families from Spain, Mexico, Germany, Italy, the middle east, there was only 1 other family from the US. All of us with a  common goal of improving the quality of life for someone we love.

The food was absolutely fabulous, the best I've had since arriving in Thailand, I wish I could eat at that restaurant everyday for the duration of the stay here but it's a little far. I was amazed at the end of the evening when I tried to pay for our meals and found out the hospital was paying for the entire evening. It was such a wonderful surprise and incredibly generous gesture on the part of the hospital.

Jerry has been able to move his toe and foot today but it's been random, one minute he's able to do it the next minute he can't. Jerry has a stem cell lumbar injection in about an hour, as always we're looking forward to it. Hope to have great news to report after injection. :)

xoxo
katie

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday Outing

Jerry had his sixth stem cell injection on Friday which was the last IV injection. The next 2 stem cell treatments will be lumbar puncture, he seems to respond better to the lumbar puncture. My last post showed that Jerry was able to move his toe after the last lumbar puncture. The following morning he was able to move his toe a couple times but has been unable to move it since then. With the IV stem cells he received on Friday he felt a little tingling, not as strong as before and not lasting long. Jerry seems to respond well to the cells, feeling an immediate reaction however the result is short lived. I look forward to the next 9 months and seeing what the cells will improve in Jerry's body. Jerry has his next lumbar puncture tomorrow evening.

On Sunday we went to a huge mall called Paragon, there's an aquarium and a huge cineplex. Jerry got a hair cut and then we went to the aquarium. The aquarium had a glass tunnel that goes through the shark tank, that part was pretty cool but after going to the Monterey Bay aquarium, it was hard not to compare. It was nice to just get out of the hospital.

After the aquarium we went to see a 4D movie at the cineplex, unfortunately they didn't have handicap seating, they required you to sit in their seats that move and jerk you around, it just wasn't safe for Jerry. We were going to watch a regular movie however the theater doesn't have attendant seats in the wheelchair section so we skipped the movie and went for pie instead and then headed back to the hospital.

I'm getting a little home sick, I'm looking forward to get back home.

K.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Overjoyed

Jerry had his 5th stem cell injection around 6 pm last night, thank you God the elevator was fixed. The procedures are done on the 4th floor, it would have been a bummer to delay the injection because of a broken elevator. Jerry had numbing cream with the first 2 lumbar punctures, I'm not sure why they insisted on applying it, he has no feeling in that area, for last nights lumbar puncture they did not apply the numbing cream. Jerry said he felt different with this lumbar puncture, he had a difficult time coming up with verbiage to describe what he felt, he said he thought he could feel the needle going in and he thought he could feel the liquid being injected. He tried to minimize it by saying it's probably because they didn't use the numbing cream or because he saw the picture of himself with the needle in his back from the 1st injection. I just encouraged him to think positive, he felt something different don't minimize your what you feel. Jerry didn't get the warm feeling this time, and the tingles were very minimal but he got something significantly better. I asked him to move his toe and he did, I couldn't believe what I just saw, I thought maybe it was involuntary so I said do it again he did. After about the third time I realized he was actually moving his toe voluntarily it was not involuntary movement he was doing it upon request. I ran to get my phone to take a video, it's short but here is your moment of zen.....

video