25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life.26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
We are welcoming in September 1st with wide open arms and with extra hope. Our official release date from the hospital has been bumped back to September 28th but that means we are less than a month away from living in the same place! As always this week has brought both exciting progress and a bummer setback. Either way, we are excited to see what September brings. After all, September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month!
Good news first, deal?
Derek has made some exciting steps this week and although they may be small to some, they are huge to us. Last week, he had a CT scan on his eye to check in on his orbital fracture. As you may remember, Derek broke his right orbital bone (essentially his socket) as a result from the helmet. We believe he must have slid on his belly since his face took quite the beating (broken jaw, busted teeth, broken eye socket, loss of hearing) and are praising God he was wearing a full faced helmet.
When we left Indy, they were unsure as to whether he would need a follow up eye surgery and had warned him that he may develop double vision. Praise the Lord neither will happen! Derek's eye is still broken but the fracture is healing well. Since the muscle which can cause double vision is a far away from the break, the doctor gave us the thumbs up for Derek to wear his contacts! Not only can he see better, but he continues looks more like himself.
We have also had a lot of questions on the neck brace and we are excited to announce that it should be coming off around September 15th! This is another reason we are excited for September. Obviously we want what is best for him, but that neck brace is annoying. Derek now affectionately calls it his scarf. We will be having a bonfire for "the scarf" as some point this fall, if anyone wants to join.
This week we have also worked on car transfers. On the 12th floor, the rehab institute does have a car which you can practice on. He has tried it twice and it is going well! Once we are discharged, we will be a one car family for at least a year as we work through the grant process of getting the necessary adaptions for Derek's future car. We did learn that Derek has to go back to Drivers Ed which will teach him about driving with a disability. We hope to have him back on the road (and in a vehicle with 4 wheels) by the end of next year.
The next big improvement has been with his "pop overs". At the beginning of rehab (July 13th), in order to get him into a wheelchair from his bed, they had to use a lift to lower him into the chair. Around the first of August, they switched from the lift to a slide board transfer. A slide board is a basically a long, thin board which ie literally slides on from point A to point B. This week, he has started working on pop overs which is moving from point A to point B only using his arms. He will lean forward and "pop" himself up with his arms as he moves sideways. As he continues to regain strength, the pop overs will continue to become easier and easier. We are very excited about this next step.
Bad news second.
At the beginning of last week, we noticed a bruise starting to form on the bottom of his right heel. It was about the size of a dime and continued to get darker and darker as the days went on. This past Tuesday, the doctors became concerned because the bruise was not healing and instead now looks more like a blood blister. For the average Joe, a bruise or blood blister is no big deal but for Derek, skin integrity is incredibly important. Since his blood does not flow as well below his level of injury and he is on a high dose of blood thinners, any break in the skin can lead to a serious infection. Christopher Reeves actually passed away from an infection as a result from skin issues!
With that information, we had to step down from the Exo- Skeleton research study on Tuesday. The doctors were concerned that walking with the Exo could lead to more issues with the foot and we do not want that bruise to break open. Obviously we are pretty disappointed. He was making such great progress (900-1200 steps per day) and we really enjoyed working with the research team here. We are confident there will be other studies we can be a part of but disappointed that this one came to an end so quickly. The good news is that they are still able to do E-Stem on him, which is essentially putting little stickers on his legs which then triggers his muscles to react (he was doing E-stem in the robot as well). Although it isn't as great as walking, it is something!
Please continue to be praying for Derek's body. Since he is on blood thinners, he bruises very easily and we need to be extra careful that nothing breaks open. His heart rate is also pretty high (resting heart rate around 120 bpm) and we have been praying that is slows down to a more reasonable pace (60-80). We are reminded each day that worrying does not add any value to the situation but only takes away joy. But as most would, I still worry about that foot. Please be praying for us!
P.s. If you read ahead to read the bad stuff first, you are just as cynical as I figured most of you be :)
Happy Labor Day Weekend!