Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Update - August 28, 2012

The most remarkable thing happened today! Allison has been weaned off the IV that's been administering blood thinner and so her mobility is greatly improved. Marya took her Mom to a piano at the Civic which happened to have a piece of sheet music on it. Allison proceeded to sight-read and play the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique. None of us expected her to be able to do this. The rest of this update pales in comparison.

Allison has had another good week in the Neuroscience InPatent Unit. She continues to become physically stronger and is often quite talkative. Her comprehension generally seems to be quite high, and in her own words with respect to how things are going on the cognitive front, "it comes and goes."  Steady work with elementary iPad games has resulted in good improvement in her results. Marya has also had good success giving her Mom some simple dictées. We are hoping this bodes well for her upcoming work with skilled occupational and speech therapists when she is moved to a rehabilitation center.

In that regard we met today with Jane, the social worker at the Neuroscience InPatient Unit, to discuss the next steps. Dr. Lesiuk is back at work and the first order of business is that he is planning to replace the missing skull piece. When one sees the great concave on the left side of Allison's head and compares it with the large swelling at that point previously, there is no doubting the wisdom of the neurosurgeons in leaving the restoration until now. Following this procedure, which we are told is uncomplicated and can be day surgery for outpatients, Allison will be evaluated again by doctors from the Acquired Brain Injury Clinic. If she is ready for aggressive rehab at that point, she will be re-located to the ABI Clinic. If slower rehab is required initially, an application will be made to Saint Vincent's and the Civic doctors will do a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation to identify Allison's rehabilitation needs. In either case, this will be a giant leap forward on the rehabilitation efforts front. Jane also tells us that Dr. Lesiuk emphasizes that these are "early days" in Allison's recovery.

Lately a visit with Allison is rarely a dull affair. Alastair Green reports that when he asked Allison what meals the Hospital prepares best her response was "they don't". Then Allison reflected a bit on this and added "no they don't". This was while she was eating. Allison's good humour and positiveness are front and centre although occasionally (this will surprise you) she likes to have her own way. The nurses say that a degree of feistiness, which is sometimes evident, is better for Allison's progress than complacency - which we don't see.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Update - August 21, 2012

Allison has had a good week and seems to have re-gained the ground she'd reached before her various medical setbacks. Her tolerance for noise has improved and she is now in a standard room with two roommates in the Neuroscience InPatient Unit. Having roommates has for the most part been a success.  Allison has had a variety of roommates, including a nice lady by the name of Gloria, who inquired as to whether Bob was Allison's father, and Marya her sister.

Marya has gotten valuable suggestions from a friend's sister, who is a speech therapist working in Montreal, as to how to encourage Allison's progress with language.   When Allison is alert she has become quite chatty again, and she remains possessed of determination and a positive attitude.  One example of this is when Marya told her Mother that "life is tough" in relation to a relatively minor matter, and Allison responded "I don't think so".

We continue to hope that all of the medical hurdles Allison is dealing with will soon be overcome and that she will be able to benefit before long from regular, organized occupational and speech therapy, etc. In that regard we are very appreciative of the enthusiasm being shown for Allison's benefit concert at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday September 23rd at Southminster Church in Ottawa and for the extremely generous donations to her trust fund.

We are also very grateful to those of you who have been able to visit with Allison and do your best to lift up her spirits. Music continues to be a constant companion and joy for Allison and she would be very badly off without it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Update - August 14, 2012

The highlight of the past week is that Allison has been moved out of Acute Care back to the Neuroscience InPatient Unit. However, Allison has not recovered the enthusiasm and steam she had before her recent setbacks and we are looking for this to occur in time.

Dr. Lesiuk has mentioned that he is not certain the ventricle drainage level is correct yet, and he says there is some expert judgment involved in determining this level. His plan is to keep monitoring the size of Allison’s ventricles and he says that if the drainage level is not correct, this will affect her progress.

Several people have left splendid tributes on Allison’s Facebook site, speaking of what a wonderful music teacher she has been and how lucky they are to have had her as their teacher. When these tributes are read to Allison she is clearly moved by them and she truly appreciates what’s being written.

The donations towards Allison’s uninsured medical and rehabilitation expenses have been arriving and they are being deposited in her trust fund. We plan to put this money to very good use, when Allison is in a position to begin receiving regular speech and occupational therapy. She is now once again receiving physiotherapy, although her movement is restricted by medical machines.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Update - August 7, 2012

Allison remains in the Neuroscience Acute Care Unit at the Civic Hospital. She had a new shunt installed on Thursday morning and her external drain was removed; however, her non-responsiveness, which began a week ago, continued on Thursday and Friday. A neuro-team visited her on Friday afternoon and said they couldn't detect any neurological (as opposed to neurosurgical) reason for Allison's downturn (beginning on Sunday July 29th).

After this period of non-responsiveness, this past Saturday brought a somewhat brighter day for Allison, which fortunately continued on Sunday.  Allison was also in quite good form at dinner this (Monday) evening, sitting up in her chair and eating on her own for the most part. She was also fairly talkative during dinner. Also, as is often the case when she isn't laid low by one thing or another, she appeared to understand pretty much everything said to her, and she also appeared to remember the events / scenes in some photos showed to her before. Deirdre was greeted warmly by name when she arrived during dinner, and it's also possible that Allison had some instructions for Bob upon his departure.

We continue to hope that Allison will not need to be in the Neuroscience Acute Care Unit much longer and that she can be moved before very long to the Neuroscience InPatient Unit, and then to Saint Vincent's where her rehab work will begin in earnest.