Friday, 26 October 2012

Update - October 23, 2012

Almost five months to the day since her brain surgery at the Heart Institute on May 28th, Allison is being discharged from the Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre later this week! While being discharged from the Rehab Centre is clearly a very major milestone, it is only one step along the road in a long journey ahead.  Allison will be continuing as an outpatient at the Rehab Centre for two speech therapy sessions a week, plus, she will also be having music therapy sessions at home twice a week. The rest of her weekly schedule is still a work-in-progress. It will involve a few occupational therapy and recreational sessions, some of which may be arranged through the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa and/or the Champlain Community Care Access Centre. 

Anyone will tell you who has seen Allison recently after an interval of a few weeks, she has made remarkable progress in a short time. This progress appears to be related to a variety of factors, not the least of which are the excellent therapy she has been receiving, and Allison’s marvellous dedication and her upbeat bearing.

While Allison has been very much looking forward to the day that she can remain at home full-time, she has also been a “real trooper” about going back to the Rehab Centre on weekday evenings. This is partly due to her own formidable constitution, but it is also greatly due I think to the very positive atmosphere that the staff at the Rehab Centre manages to maintain. The daily social interactions that Allison has enjoyed at the Rehab Centre appear to have been large contributors to her progress. Once that daily interaction is off the table it is a whole new ball game.   The plan is to try to build a weekly schedule for Allison that meets both her social and therapy needs, while being cautions to ensure that she also has lots of time for rest.

Allison’s daily regimen while at home on weekends now includes going for a walk, various exercises on an iPad speech therapy program, and playing piano. She has also been doing Sudoku, reading the newspaper and a novel, and restoring some order to the house. This latter activity she carries on quite relentlessly.

 A big thanks to Allison’s sister Linda for her recent visit and splendid contributions to the well-being of the family members. One of these was a terrific turkey dinner, that is still being enjoyed.  

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Update - October 4, 2012

Allison has had another good week, going home for a couple of hours for dinner on a daily basis, and also going home for the weekend.

She and Bob traveled on the weekend to Lac Xavier near Tremblant to stay overnight with friends. This was Allison’s first trip anywhere since the spring, and she said she “adored it.” Her only complaint was that she wanted to sleep in the car, but the fall foliage was so spectacular that she couldn’t keep her eyes closed! The route was a familiar one, and Allison showed good improvement in her long term memory, suggesting they take a back road shortcut, pointing out where they had taken a wrong turn before, and asking whether they would have to walk down the long hill to the cottage.  Allison’s short term memory, on the other hand, has room for improvement.

Apart from memory, Allison’s main difficulty is with speech, although we are noticing continuous improvements.  Allison’s speech-language pathologist at ABI tells us that Allison has made “quite a marked improvement” in her ability to comprehend single words and to find the right words, when given semantic cues (such as carrier phrases) or phonemic cues (such as “um” for “umbrella”).   She says that although Allison is “much improved” on this front, she “fatigues quickly”, and then has a tendency to perseverate on a word she has used previously. Mary adds that this is “quite normal” for someone with the type of head injury that Allison has, and for the level she is at now.  She also says that Allison is “highly motivated” (this is a surprise) and that she managed to convey to her that she wants to work with a music therapist.  Her speech therapist advises that she thinks this is a “great idea” and she has offered to collaborate in any way.

Allison is aware that there was a benefit concert for her, to which a great many people contributed and gave their support. She’s been a little chagrined at times about people making such efforts on her behalf, but when she reads cards and letters from supporters explaining why they are helping, she is very rightly pleased.