A new update from Brenna on Elijah’s recent progress.
I’ve never seen people tackle therapy, difficulty, physical exhaustion, and pain, as cheerfully as Elijah and Autumn do every single day. I have yet to see Autumn do anything at all (including her outpatient therapy sessions) without a radiant smile, and when I was talking with Elijah the other afternoon about how hard it is for him to feed himself lunch, he just gave his charming grin and stated cheerfully, “I’ll do it; it’s good for me.” Joy is very clearly their strength, and it is obvious Who it is coming from. This whole thing is Jesus. His story, His strength, His faithfulness, His children, and His miracle.
The synopsis of this update is bolded, for those who would like it.
He remains faithful.
“A day in the life of a Craig patient is filled with therapy. I thought it would help if I gave a snapshot of a typical week and the therapy that Elijah has.
- 5:30 Awake – bathroom stuff.
- 7:30 or 8: Up to get dressed – normally he is lifted out of bed with a sling but recently he is upgraded to pivot to a chair.
- 8-9: Eat. until this week we fed him three meals a day since the first of June. Get ready.
- 12 -1 lunch
- 5-6 dinner
- 7:30 start heading for bed 9 in bed.
Elijah’s Therapy Regime:
- Manual therapy – 2x per week. A PT uses dry needles (acupuncture needles) in the muscles that are tight or have too much tone. She usually does 2-3 needles with multiple insertions on biceps, pecs, lats, posterior tibialis, feet….she always says she feels overwhelmed with how much Elijah needs to work on. The needles are inserted about an inch or more and it is very painful.
- Speech Therapy- 5x per week cognition, memory, communication, reasoning, reading, writing…
- Physical Therapy-5x per week standing, walking, transfers, mat work …
- Occupational Therapy- 5x per week activities of daily living such as self feeding, laying down and getting up, arm mobility through casting, and eventually dressing and writing etc
- Be Loose-4x week Upper and Lower body stretches with the aid of mom or dad.
- Spasticity Clinic: 3 times now. One phenol injection and they decided not to do the second phenol or the botox. He is scheduled for botox again on wrists and fingers (maybe feet) on the 20th.
- Therapeutic Recreation- weekly They help Elijah attain PT and OT goals through things that he enjoys (film making and game playing)
- Music Therapy- 2x per week intonation and voice volume and breath coordination for speech.
- LokaMat- 1x per week walking with the aid of the harness and robot.
- Neuropsych: 1-2x per week memory, cognition, injury awareness and brain related skills.
- Upper Extremity- weekly OTs use computer games along with machines to enhance range of motion in the arms.
Undoubtedly, the biggest Craig event of the year happened Friday August 7th. The hospital buzzed with excitement for a week. Even Elijah, who is not a water lover was looking forward to the day: Hobie Day. For the past 30 years the therapists, nurses, doctors and most of the patients go to Cherry Creek Reservoir for a day of fun in the sun with all kinds of boats. I must say it is amazing!! They bring every kind of injury out to the lake- even quadriplegic patients who are fully vented. They dig in the sand and place pallets or some sort of stable support and cover it with plastic lattice so that the wheelchairs can have access to the beach. There are colorful tents set up everywhere for shade and an area to check out life vests. Elijah rode on a Hobie Cat with Spencer and a pontoon and speed boat with our whole family. Since he was a filmmaker, his doctor made sure that he could have access to a GoPro while he was at the lake. His arms and hands were a bit weak to hold it, but he took shots on the pontoon boat. There was music and food and sunshine and for a short while you could almost forget that you were bound to hospital life. A wonderful experience
Progress and Praises:
Elijah has made many advancements and had new experiences since the last post.
Arms: August 3rd the OT removed the cast for his right arm and he has been working on strength and mobility ever since. That first day was a huge struggle to eat. He laboriously lifted his arm with much trembling and assistance at the elbow and still could not reach his mouth. He would have to move his body and head forward to meet the fork. Now he is able to reach the top of his head, scratch his own nose and eat with a fair amount of ease. His arm is still not fully straight but only has 20 degrees to go – which means it has stretched well over 80 degrees with all of the casting. The cast on his left arm was removed today. Seven casts….no wonder he thought he had broken both arms!
Wheels: August 4th they fitted a new wheelchair for Elijah. He received it on Monday the 10th. It is more like what you picture a wheelchair to be. Low back and big wheels unlike the gigantic highback wheelchair he had before that had small wheels and a head rest and a tilt back option since he didn’t have mobility. He dubbed the old one the DeathStar and the new one the Millenium Falcon. Obviously, he likes his new one better. Now he is able to sometimes “walk” down the hall as he propels himself with his feet.
Legs: The PT’s continue to push Elijah toward more skills for walking. This past week he walked with a vector. This has a harness attached to a motor on a track in the ceiling. They allowed the vector to carry 40 pounds of his body weight as Elijah was responsible for moving 110 pounds (he has gained 10 pounds in 2 weeks!). His upper body is weak so they have him push a luggage cart (like a walker) to keep his body upright. He walked 280 feet. Another highlight is the LokaMat. This is a robot that attaches to legs while he is suspended in a harness over a treadmill. He walked 15 minutes Thursday and 20 minutes today! To strengthen his quads, which were injured in the accident when the femurs broke through the skin, he does a variation of tiny squats, lifts his leg at the knee to hold and bikes. The wheelchair wheels up to the bike and he has improved from gear 0 with mostly his right leg working to a symmetrical gear 6!
Feet: We did see CAT scans of Elijah’s feet. These cause us to pray that the Lord will miraculously continue to heal so that he will not need further surgeries or suffer chronic foot pain in the future. There are bone fragments remaining and multiple joints that potentially (without the Lord intervening) will need to be fused. It is remarkable that he can stand and walk without pain. At this point the orthopedic surgeon thinks both feet will need to have surgery with 6 wk non weight bearing recovery. The surgeries will be in the future as it wouldn’t be an appropriate time to interrupt his current recovery.
My word this week is perspective– which was a word in a post from June in the LTAC in Loveland and probably will be a word that the Lord uses to teach me again and again. All of our troubles should be viewed on a perspective bigger than our own. Here is how the Lord taught me this once again…
My bike was stolen on Wednesday this week. I was so bummed all day and a little more. Really? Steal something from someone who lives at a hospital? I was upset because this was our break as a family or me with the kids from the hospital. Denver has an extensive bike trail system and we have gone early in the a.m. before Elijah was awake to find some of the trails. It was fun. My bike was a gift from Randy and a higher end mountain bike with many great memories. On Thursday we also noticed that someone stole Randy’s bike pump and replaced Grace’s tires front and back with trashy tires and 6 gears instead of 7. Needless to say the remaining bikes went home with Randy.
Elijah was at our apartment while I was bemoaning my loss.
Me (laying on the couch): I’m mourning the loss of my bike.
Elijah (glancing over at me from his wheelchair): It’s not that big of a deal mom. And that’s coming from a brain injured person.
Point taken Elijah and hopefully remembered longer next time. Most of the things that seem like big deals are really a not big deal when we view them with perspective.”
~ Brenna for all