Questions Round 2!

Friday, April 10, 2009

1. Is Tom not able to do anything, really? Even talking is hard, I surmise from your posts. I am so curious as to what happens to a person's brain with an injury that makes them not able to move and such. Does he always remember why he is there or does he forget?

Tom is getting better - he brushed his teeth and washed his face today. From what I understand, he also sat on the side of his bed today. Getting him out of bed will be a benchmark coming up. He has always been able to move for the most part, some limbs more than others. When people don't move at all, or movement is limited, it's best explained like a computer reboot. When you piss off your brain like that, it takes a while before it will allow itself to work again. I was a little disturbed when I found out he was "asleep" because of the injury, not sedation. He knows where he is most of the time, but he forgets other things at times. Sometimes he is fuzzy, sometimes he is 100% lucid.

2. What will rehab include? Does he remember all words? Is it a matter of retraining his muscles?

We don't know about his vocab yet. Speech is a big part of the area that was injured. He seems OK now, but rehab will include extensive speech therapy. He is struggling with speech, I can tell because he tries to answer questions but can't quite get the words out. The words are probably still in there, just need help to come out. His muscles will need some serious retraining. You lose 1/3 of your muscle mass after 3 weeks in bed, and he's at 2. He will need help walking again, and a ton of other finer motor skills. I am thinking about bring his Nintendo DS up here in a few days to see what he thinks.

3. Does Tom understand what's going on? I really hope so...I know you mentioned before you got to tell him why he was there (when he first woke up) - what did he say? Does he remember the accident?

We remind him where he is and what happened. I haven't told him the full extent of the surgery (probably not ready to hear "you have 40 staples in your head because they removed a part of your skull the size of a softball and cleaned out some clots in there!") When we (including the docs) think he is ready, I'll show him a pic of what his incision looks like and maybe his CT scans.

4. How is Greg doing? (The driver...if I didn't remember his name right) I hope he isn't taking it too hard. Has he been in to see Tom since he was awake?

Greg's OK, and yes he has been in to see Tom.

5. Did he have any other injuries? Broken bones or anything?
A little road rash on his back and shoulder that are essentially healed. Nothing else that we know of. Neck seems fine.

7. Is Tom job giving him support to get better and come back to work?
Tom is self-employed, and his boss is extremely pissed that he's in the hospital and wants him home ASAP.

8. What's the dealio with rehab? How long will he be in the hospital? Then he'll be moved to a rehab-center-type place? Man, what a trooper. Tell him we send our biggest and best get well soon vibes.

That's the question no one knows the answer to yet. You have the right idea, more hospital followed by rehab (probably in-patient, but possibly out-patient if he progresses quickly). No one knows how long and how extensive care will need to be. I am encouraged by his progress the last few days but also aware that we may still have a long road ahead.


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