Friday, July 8, 2011

My Little Darlin, PT day 46, by David

Day 10 at Shepherd.  Today is a scheduled day for me to watch Jan with the therapists.  I was to get here at 8 am.  The occupational therapists had already started.  They had planned to get her into a shower compatible chair however Jan had other ideas that she loudly expressed. No!  When I came in she was getting a sponge bath and was loudly expressing her displeasure with this.  Our granddaughters frequently stay overnight when we are home.  Jan uses different tactics to get them up in a happy mood for things to go smoothly.  Occasionally when dealing with 4 and 7 year old nothing you can do pleases them and they fight or argue about everything.  This was Jan this morning.  Things she was saying included "stop, just let me be dirty", "I want to go home, I will do better in my own bed", "sign me out AMA" and the occasional attempt to hit someone.  When she starts saying she wants to go home , which she does regularly now, I tell her she will have to work hard with the therapists to get better.  She tells me "I don't want to work hard".  She has developed some recent paranoia saying the nurses are lying to her and that everybody laughs at her.  There may be some perception of truth in the way her mind is interpreting things now.  She still has the hard collar on her neck and the chest brace.  She hates both.  She has been pulling on them for a few days demanding they be taken off.  She knows they should be able to come off at 6 weeks and knows she is past this.  The consulting orthopedist has not given his blessing on removal so the nurses hands are tied and can not remove them.  Jan interprets this as lying to her.  She loudly and frequently expresses her displeasure in her room and in public areas.  This is being addressed.  This is one of those issues that is hard for me to stay back on since I see how uncomfortable they make her (although the discomfort may partly be psychological) and she is right (but still confused) and I have a large amount of experience with compression fractures.  She has figured out how to take the collar off and the way I see it the physical act of doing this is a good skill she has learned.  I do understand that the nurses and therapists can not remove it without the ortho's order.  I do suspect, but could be proven wrong, that taking these off will be a significant distraction being removed and hopefully will aide her progress.  Any way the day did not start off good and I could feel a mild sense of  despair coming on thinking impatiently (you would think I could learn by now) is this a set back from yesterday.

I put this in an odd place to get everyones attention!  If you have not already

Later I watched her with the speech therapist.  The therapist was excellent with her.  As I have stated Jan has shown small steps of improvement but she has a long way to go.  I will ask her questions and she may answer two or three before becoming agitated, sometimes very agitated.  At her current level it takes very little to get her riled up.  It is a lot like a 3 tear old having a temper tantrum and the only thing that can be done is to let them get tired of it.  The therapist was able to calmly get Jan to answer several series of questions.  It took patience and skill and was a pleasure to watch especially since Jan did very well.   This afternoon a small smile was put on Jan's face when the cervical and thoracic Braces were taken off.  Following this the speech therapist had another session with her.  The tasks she was asked to do were simple but for her to accomplish these was huge and she did.  The first thing done, she was asked if she was thirsty, she was so was asked what she wanted and she told her.  This was placed on the table in front of her, she took it and drank it without assistance.  Next 4 playing cards of different suits were laid on the table.  She was then shown five cards one at a time and asked to tell the suit and where to place it.  She got them all.  After a short rest which she wanted since this was taxing on her she did it again with seven and then nine cards getting them all.  This morning she was asked the city, place and month.  She got the city, called this St Pauls and said June.  She was given the correct answers of the ones she missed (Shepherd and July, she got Atlanta).  The therapist asked these again this session.   Jan got Atlanta and July and called this place St Pauls again.   The day seemed to start out rough overall it was a good day.   These small steps are good steps.  Who knows maybe soon she will start feeding herself rather than getting fed like a baby bird.

I did not mention the location but the meeting with the Otibbeha County board of supervisors is in the old courthouse in Starkville.  July 18th, 10:00 am.  Please go give Jim Brown support if you can.

I repeat myself a lot but it is about those things that we do not need to forget.  One thing that I have said maybe only once and that was recently is that those of us who cycle, run, walk etc on public roads have an obligation not only to ourselves but to motorists to make ourselves as visible as possible.  Wear bright clothing.  One of my riding buddies has a fluorescent pink shirt.  He can be seen for miles and stands out from everyone else that rides.  Bright is cool, the brighter the better.  Be aware of your surroundings.  You may see the automobile but they may not see you.  Always assume they do not.  Know the rules for what you are doing.  Do not be one of the few that all of the anti (what ever you are doing) like to write their post about.  If 20 people go by the rules you will not hear anything, if 1 person breaks the rules then they think we all do.  Educate those around you.


 I Love My Little Darlin,


  1. Head injuries are tough, but you know that, being a physician. I'm a mere medical student who was ready to take the boards, yet have struggled since I was hit by the SUV while commuting on my bicycle. I wasn't hurt nearly as badly as Jan when I was hit, but even now I find there are times I'm just not myself... concentration issues, headaches, and "just not myself" emotionally, dealing with anger, depression, and wishing I could forget what had happened. I would guess Jan is experiencing this 100x worse, not to mention the lack of the comfort of home and being tended to by so many strangers. PTSD has played a role in my recovery as well...

    I can tell you love Jan very deeply, and I expect she is aware of this as well and grateful. I think the best you can do is to keep at what you've been doing... be there for her. Be patient. Let her know she doesn't have to go through this all alone. And when she gets scared, she may be remembering what happened to her, and possibly shades of the medical care she received after. That part is terrifying. Just let her know you're there beside her. Help her to feel safe.

  2. Hi David,

    I've been following this story since the beginning and it does break my heart to hear not only how horribly your wife was injured, but the lack of justice solely because of Jan's preference for her mode of transportation. It is my worst nightmare. I didn't know what to say earlier, but I am thinking of you both and hoping for justice. I will be writing to both to as many representatives, judges and the like and following suggestions from Bike Mississippi to ensure that such a horrible act is never committed again, that you get to experience justice in the judicial system. I wish you well, please hang on. And I look forward to Jan posting updates here eventually.