Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ready to go Home

Over the last few days, Jason has gotten a lot stronger (he did 30 dips in the gym yesterday!). This is, of course, a great change. The only not-so-great part of this is that it has made him EXTREMELY anxious to get out of the hospital (I guess this is good depending on how you look at it?). I've passed all the tests required of me for him to get out and he is at the point where he feels like being shut up in a hospital room/bed 12 hours a day is not the most conducive thing for his overall well being. He loves PT/OT/Gym time, but the rest of the day can be a bit boring.

Currently, his discharge date is Tuesday, August 16. He's trying to get it switched to August 13. His doctor is very happy with his progress and seems to think going home on the 13th would be fine. The only problem is is that this somewhat violates hospital protocol. As we've learned over the last three weeks, this place is big on following protocol. They like to give patients a day pass on the Sunday before release to go home and make sure everything is ready. This way, if there are any major problems, they can be corrected before discharge on Tuesday. While I can understand the usefulness of such a policy, I feel that we have enough support and people around to be able to make any changes very quickly. Our house was, more or less, wheelchair accessible before Jason's injury, so there's not too much to be done, other than re-organizing some things and moving furniture around. Now we've gone a bit above what Jason's OT suggested we do in the house: we've bought a new mattress and bed that will be easier for Jason to get in and out of, we're planning on re-arranging one of the cabinets in the kitchen so that Jason can access plates/bowls/etc, and we're making some changes to the computer nook, so that he can work/play on the computer as soon as he gets home. All of this will be done this week, though. And even if some of it isn't done the moment Jason gets home, we'll still be alright. So, keep your fingers crossed that the hospital caves on an earlier discharge :)

In other news, we got to go on a nice outing to the movies yesterday. Jason and about 5 other patients (and some spouses) went to see "Crazy Stupid Love." It was a fun movie and a really enjoyable time for us all. It was really nice to be out of the hospital and doing something normal together. We're looking forward to more date time when he gets out.

AND, as you can see in one of the pictures I'm posting, Jason's neck brace is gone! He got the approval yesterday to take it off. Now, he just has another 4-6 weeks in the TLSO (Thoracic Lumbar Support Orthotic) and then he will be brace-free, something he is eagerly looking forward to.

Ok, a final AND here :) I've been asked (and Jason too) about what sensation Jason has/has not recovered post-ride, so I thought I'd update everyone on that situation. After his accident, Jason could not feel anything below his nipple line (classic T4 spinal cord injury). During the week in Reno, he began to feel some things down to his waist line, though this is spotty (i.e. he can feel pressure and harder movements/touches, but not all light touches or pricks, which is what they test when they do sensory exams). As such, he is classified as a neurologically "complete" injury at the moment since he does not have perfect sensation below the level of injury. This, most likely, will change as the swelling in the cord goes down. His surgery involved about 15 inches of the spinal cord/column, so there is A LOT of swelling going on. The neurosurgeons indicated it could take 6 months or more for all of the swelling to go down. His injury is not complete though in the sense that the spinal cord was not severed. I've learned that you have to be very specific when talking about complete vs. incomplete as doctors all define it in different ways. Since arriving at Santa Clara, Jason has started to feel some things, again inconsistently, below the waist. He can feel hot and cold in his legs and feet (more his feet than legs). This started in Reno, but has gotten a bit stronger of late. He can also feel some tingling in his feet and legs. Additionally, he's begun having leg spasms. I can now touch his leg or foot and it will spasm in response. This is a really encouraging sign, as it means that something in the nerves is working there. Right now, we're trying not to focus so much on what he can or can't feel. Instead, we're working on getting strong enough to get out of the hospital. From what we've heard, most of the gains with sensation will happen in outpatient rehab and with the SCI FIT gym he's planning on utilizing.

Thank you all for your continued love and support!

Working out!

No neck brace..also about 15 pounds lighter :)

For comparison, this is Jason in the ICU. He's looking much stronger now!

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