08/2002 Blog

Author: carolarmstrong
Date Updates on Carol for AUGUST

9am, Carol was awake. She was holding her left hand. I
told her about school starting next week and talked about some other things.
I also showed her the newest picture of the boys and asked if she knew
who they were. She nodded her head. She rubbed her eye and right side
of her face then cleaned her ears. I rubbed her back and held her hand
for awhile. She was off of the ventilator. She seemed to be moving her
neck a little more.

1pm, My mom visited Carol. She said Carol was really active. Moved her
head some. She was rubbing her face some so my mom asked her if she wanted
some lotion, Carol responded with a yes. She said she looked like she
wanted to talk. Sometimes Carol looked agitated. My mom said it was a
good visit. A doctor came by and said they want to talk to me tonight
about putting in another shunt.

5pm, Carol’s mom and sister said she was doing good. They said she smiled
at them a few times. She does things with her hand that we are not sure
what she wants. She seemed to try to mouth something to them. They want
to do the procedure on her tomorrow morning. They also mentioned that
she may be able to move to a room soon.

9pm, Carol was awake but tired. We gave her a little Dr. Pepper. She
listened to some music then went to sleep. I met with the doctor and he
showed me the latest CT scan. The a few of the ventricles on the left
side of the brain are enlarged (filled with spinal fluid) and causing
pressure on her brain. The look to take up half of the space, normally
they are pretty small. They are going to put in a permanent shunt (drain)
that goes under the skin down the neck into the abdomin. They should be
doing this sometime tomorrow morning. They have been looking at the CT
scans and feel this is why she is still sleepy.


7am, Carol is going into surgery now. She is expected out
around 10am so there won’t be an update until around 1pm. The nurse said
she was awake all night. The nurse that was there last night spends alot
of time with Carol.

1pm, Carol is doing good after surgery. They said she was moving her
arm around and opening her eyes an hour after she got back. She was awake
when I saw her at 12 but was tired for the 1pm visit. The doctor said
they feel there was pressure building up because when they inserted the
tube the fluid came out. She is already breathing on her own. They only
had her on the ventilator for 30 minutes after surgery.

5pm, Carol was sleeping.

9pm, Carol was awake but resting. They had to move Carol to PCICU (pediatric
ICU) because they did not have enough beds for new patients. The nurses
fought to keep her but she was in better condition than the others. They
will watch her for a few days because of the recent surgery then move
her to a room.


Sorry for the delay. I visited Carol three times today.
I did not get a chance to update the web because I stayed longer than
an hour. In the PCICU unit you can visit all day except between 7 and
8:30. Carol was doing ok. Mostly resting but awake some. This is what
she usually does after surgery. Not much to report yet.


9am, Carol’s mom, sister, and brother went to visit before
they left. They said she was sleeping when they got there but a nurse
came in and woke her up so they could visit. Her sister said she looked
like she was trying to mouth words to them and also puckered up for a
kiss. She waved to her mom. They had a good visit.

11am, I went to visit. She was awake off and on. I let her get some sleep
because I knew she had just been up visiting with her family. Her left
leg still hurts alot when I move it. They took an x-ray of her left hip
to make sure there was nothing wrong. I stayed for six hours then they
came and said they had a room for her. She is now in a regular room (728).
I will be going back tonight for awhile.


9am, Carol is doing good. I stayed the night at the hospital.
Carol seems to stay awake more at night than during the day. The doctors
came by this morning to check on her. They are going to start physical
therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Lastnight she indicated
that the oxygen mask was blowing cold air on her neck so I asked the nurse
to put some gauze under it. When she was done Carol mouthed ‘Thank you’
to her.

1pm, Carol was trying to rest. The nurse said she wanted Carol to get
at least two hours of sleep because they tired her out this morning. She
had speech and occupational therapy. She was also put in a chair for about
an hour. They changed her bed to a 1st step bed. It has an air mattress.

5pm, Carol was sleeping. She woke up after me being there an hour. I
held her hand and rubbed her legs and back. They might be putting in a
smaller trache tomorrow so she can start trying to talk. She is starting
to move her head a little bit more.


8am, Carol was awake. She was coughing alot and sounded
congested so I asked for a nurse to come and suction her out. She came
and did not have the suction tubes they use so she went to get one. Before
she could come back Carol threw-up. I was able to suction her mouth and
keep it from gagging her. I think it was because she slides down on the
bed and was not sitting up during the tube feeding. When she was in ICU
they mentioned that she had to be sitting at 30 degrees because of the
way the feeding tube was installed.

5pm, Carol was sleeping. I brought the boys to see her. She woke up and
I held Alexander up to see her. He did not want to hold her hand. I think
he was scared. I told him it was his mom and had her hold his hand. Jaime
held her hand and talked to her some. Carol rubbed it face, chin, and
hair then held his hand. Jaime gave her a kiss. Carol felt cold so I asked
her if she was. She said yes. She also tried to tell me something else
but she mouthed it so fast I could not tell. I got a blanket for her and
talked to the doctor to see if she had a blood test lately. He said they
only do them on mondays and thursdays but he would have one taken in the
morning. I took Alexander back over to Carol and had him give her a kiss.
Carol took her right hand and pointed at her chest then put her hand over
her heart then pointed at Alexander. I told him that she said ‘I love


8am, Carol was resting. I talked to her a little then a
nurse came to give her a bath. I helped some. Her left leg really hurts
her when it is moved. I was hoping they would have someone that could

help with that. I talk to before I move it around letter her know that
we need to so it will not get worse. She always nods yes that she understands.
I ask her to tell me when it gets to painful. She watched some TV before
she got tired. I gave her the remote and she was able to change the channels.

11am, I got a call from our Bishop. He had been by to see Carol. He said
she recognized him and shook his hand. While he was there the speech therapist
came by and worked with her. They asked her what her name was and she
whispered ‘Armstrong’. He said they were going to come back today and
work with her some more when they can put in the trach plug in. She was
also getting tired.

1pm, My sister just got back from visiting Carol. She took her two daughters
with her. She said Carol held their hands. The physical therapist came
while they were there. She told my sister that Carol is strong and doing
really well. They were working with Carol, getting ready to have her sit
up when Carol started to tell the therapist something. She asked Carol
what she wanted and asked if it was about her (the therapist). Carol said
no. She asked if it was about her family and she said yes. She indicated
that she wanted them to leave. I guess she did not feel comforable with
them there while they were working with her. She is still very modest.
She kept covering up earlier while she was getting cleaned up.

9pm, Carol was in a wierd mood. I think she was depressed. My mom was
there visiting when I got there. She said Carol would not look at her,
she would just stare at the corner of the room. She would not answer any
questions either. When I got there she was the same. She would not look
at me or answer any questions. After about five minutes she threw-up again.
The doctor came in and said the medicine may be making her do that and
they could give her some medicine for her stomach. She was just looking
down at the corner of the room moving her hand around. He said it is not
uncommon for patients to get depressed and would look into some medication
but did not want to do anything tonight. They gave her some medicine to
help relax her. Her heart rate was 139 when I got there. She finially
started to go to sleep. I stayed for about an hour after that. She had
a good day, maybe she was just tired from that.


9am, Carol was sleeping. I did not wake her. The nurse
said they cleaned her at 5am and she usually gets tired after that. They
also changed the trach to a smaller size so the speech therapist could
work with her. I will be going back today when the therapist is there.

1pm, Carol was resting. Physical therapy had been there earlier. The
speech therapist came in right after I did. They added the piece to the
trach that allows her to breath in through the trach or nose/mouth and
exhale throught the nose/mouth. This will allow her to talk. She was sleepy
so we only got a few words out of her. She said she loved me. The therapist
had to leave but would come back in a little bit. I talked with Carol
for awhile. I have determined that she has a short term memory problem.
The speech therapist came back and I talked to her about that. She said
that it one of the therapies they do, to work with short term memory.
She said that she can get that ability back. Carol told me she was thirsty
so I gave her some water using a mouth swab. The therapist said they can
start working with eating soon. I said Carol would want Raisinets and
Dr Pepper. Later Carol said Dr. Pepper. I said I could try to give her
some later. She liked that. She also said she was tired. It is still hard
to hear what she is saying, still a little weak.

9pm, Carol was doing good. She said her side was hurting. It may be her
ovaries, they have given her problems in the past. Her friends Shirley
and Sandra came to visit. Carol was able to talk to them some. We had
a good visit.


8am, Carol was resting. I woke her up and we talked for
awhile. It is still hard to understand what she says sometimes. Her side
is still hurting. She asked about Jaime. I told her he enjoyed school
yesterday. She keeps playing with the tube connected to her trach. I told
her to stop playing with it and she said ‘well give me something else
to play with’. I gave her the squeeze toy that she use to hold. The respiratory
therapist came in to check on the water level. Carol was holding up the
squeeze toy and said that it could be used as a weapon. The nurse said
she could use it to throw at nurses she did not like. I asked her if she
wanted to listen to some music and she asked who I had. She likes the
Corrs so I let her listen to it. She started to say something I could
not make out so I asked her again. She said she was just singing. I took
one of the headphones and listened with her. She sang two songs to me.
She still knew all of the words to them. Physical Therapy came at 9. They
worked with Carol, trying to exercise her head and back muscles. She still
needs alot of work with holding up her head. The therapist said she is
doing really good. She was able to hold her head up for three minutes
yesterday. Carol got tired so we tucked her in bed to let her rest.

10pm, Carol was awake. We talked for awhile. She rubbed my neck and back.
She asked for a soda so I gave her a little. She listened to some music
and looked like she was getting tired. She ended up watching about half
of her favorite tv show then got sleepy again. It was 12:30am. I stayed
the night and woke up alot to check on Carol. She did not sleep any that
night. She was always awake when I checked on her. That is probably why
she is always tired when she has therapy and visitors. Next time I will
ask that she gets something to help her sleep.


9am, Carol was awake. She asked for a drink so I went and
got her one. I also gave her some small pieces of a biscuit. She chewed
it and seemed to like it. It looked like she was finally going to sleep.
She won’t have long until therapy starts again.


9am, Carol was doing good. She got some rest lastnight.
I stayed the night with her. She told me she was hungry so I asked the
nurse when they were going to let her start eating. She said that the
speech therapist is the one that will test her to make sure she can swollow
correctly. I will get with her next week to see when she plans to do that.

3pm, The boys came to see Carol after church. She was tired and only
stayed awake for a few minutes. She was able to talk to them a little.
Carol’s mom and sister came to visit. They stayed after we left. They
ended up staying for about three hours. They said she woke up and had
a good visit with her.

9pm, I went with Carol’s sister to visit. She was sleeping but woke up.
We had another good visit. She said her stomach hurt a little. She says
some funny things sometimes. I forgot what I had said but she replied
once ‘Sometimes I think I am the only one in my family with a sense of
humor’. She still has problems remembering recent things. Sometimes she
will say she vagley remembers once you tell her about something. She can
also see out of her right eye. It is opening more now. I asked her lastnight
if she could see out of it and she said yes. Tonight I covered her left
eye and asked her what I was doing. She said I was playing with my tongue
(I was sticking it out). The nurse gave her some medicine to help her


8am, Carol was awake. She said she was doing ok. I was
not there for long when they came to take her to have a CT Scan done.
I waited for her to get back. She was thirsty so I gave her a few sips
of soda. She said it was really carbonated. She said she had a headache
after getting back from CT. The person in charge of therapy and recovery
came in when Carol was gone. She said she talked with the insurance company
and they okayed Carol going to Shepherd,
Atlanta GA
. They are the best in this country for rehibilitaion and
Carol will be near her family. It will be harder on me not being so close
to her but it will be best for Carol. I left a note for Speech therapy
asking her about Carol’s swollowing test. Carol is ready to start eating.
Carol’s sister and niece came to visit on their way home. They stayed
for a few hours and had a good visit. Carol was able to talk to her brother-in-law
on the phone and to her aunt. Her aunt said they will be coming down soon
to visit her and Carol asked when. They said two weeks and Carol responded
that two weeks was not soon. It is hard to describe Carol’s personality.
Sometimes I don’t know if she is being funny or serious. She uses complex
words sometimes and speaks truthfully when you ask her something. Her
good friend came to visit before her sister left. Carol’s sister asked
if she knew who she was and Carol said, ‘of coarse, how can I forget my
bud”. They always called each other ‘Bud’. The place where the PEG tube
enters the skin looks like it may be getting infected. It was a little
worse today than yesterday. A little red. The doctor was going to look
at it today. The nurse came in and introduced herself to Carol. About
30 seconds later the PA came on calling her name. Carol said to the nurse,
“They are calling for you”. The nurse acted suprised and asked how she
knew. Carol said, “That is your name isn’t it?”.


8am, Carol was resting. I talked to her for a while then
let her get some sleep.

11am, Two of my sisters went to visit Carol. They said physical therapy
was there working with her so they just listened at the door. They were
working on her sitting and neck strength. After Pt left my sisters had
the nurse put in the passy muir valve so they could hear Carol talk. They
were exited about hearing her so they asked her to say something. Carol
responded by saying, ‘Something’. They all laughed. Carol had a hard time
remembering one of my sisters name but she did know her as Hunter’s mom.
They asked if there was anything she wanted to know and Carol asked if
the boys were behaving themselves. She was tired from the workout so they
did not stay long.

8pm, Carol was awake and doing good. They are going to try to test her
tomorrow for eating and drinking. I asked what she wanted to eat and she
said potatoes and grits and eggs. My mom, sister and Carol’s friend came
to visit. Carol also got a call from a friend in GA. She was able to talk
to her on the phone. I was cleaning an eyelash out of her eye and it started
to water. It looked like she had been crying so I said, "look, Carol’s
crying", and Carol started to make fake crying sounds. We had to
laugh at that.


9am, Carol was doing good. She said she had a hard time
sleeping because the machines kept beeping. She brushed her teeth by herself.
She made a comment once about feeling disoriented. It lasted for about
20 minutes then went away. She said it had to do with her eyes. I visited
for a while then let her get some rest before physical therapy comes.

12pm, I got a call on my cellphone. It was Carol. Some of my family went
to visit and asked if she wanted to call me at work. She still speaks
softly so it is hard to hear her. They said Carol was sitting in a chair
so her neck would get some exercise. They had her tied in with a sheet.
She was playing a game with her nephews. They would toss her stuffed animal
back and forth. Carol told me on the phone that she was very tired. She
could not remember if she had any therapy yet.

I got a call from Shepherd today. They are getting things ready for Carol
to go there for inpatient therapy. She said it usually lasts for four
weeks and could happen as soon and the end of next week.

9pm, Carol was awake and doing good. She had to brush her teeth because
of the white stuff used in the swallowing test. She can eat soft foods
and drink. She got to see her mom tonight. She was a little cold so we
got her taken care of. I left a note to talk with the doctors tomorrow
about a few things. We had a good visit. Carol still has a good sense
of humor.


8am, Carol was doing good. They brought her breakfast
while I was there. She had grits, eggs, juice, milk and what I think was
ham (it looked like babyfood). She ate about 5 bites of each before she
got tired of eating. She drank all of the juice and some of the milk.

12pm, My sister took Carol’s mom and Alexander to visit. Carol was in
a chair and they were feeding her lunch. She doesn’t like the food much
because it has to be pureed. Carol had a lot of visitors today. Alexander
got to talk to her and held her hand.

5pm, Carol was awake and eating dinner. I helped feed her. The nurse
brought her a icecream sandwich for desert. Carol listened to some music
then went to sleep. The doctors came to check on her while I was there
and I asked about her left leg. I showed them how it really hurts her
and they said they will have a bone doctor look at her and see if it is


8am, Carol was sleeping. I let her sleep until her breakfast
came. The speech therapist came to evaluate her eating. She ate a little
more than yesterday. She drank all of the orange juice. She got tired
so I told her she needed to get a little rest before physical therapy
comes. It looked like the were going to put her in the chair again because
they wheeled it in while she was eating.

8pm, Carol was eating dinner. I helped with that then got her settled
in for the night. I played her music and she started to sing out loud.
She looked like she was doing good. I asked the nurse to look at her left
eye because it looked like it was infected. She cleaned it and said she
would note it on her chart. She was eating dinner late because she had
gone for x-rays of her hip because of the pain. She fell asleep about
9pm. She was still asleep at 11pm when I left.

A got a call from Shepherd today. They will have a bed for Carol on Tuesday
and are making plans to move her then. This will be a big step for both
Carol and myself. I will spend the first week there with her.


Carol had a good day. I did not get to visit for long
because she was tired by the time I arrived. I had a few things to do
around the house. Her mom and sister had a long visit. They were there
for about 5 hours. Carol was eating good. Had some old friends come by
and visit and a nurse from ICU came by to visit with Carol for awhile.
I came back later and she was sleeping really hard so I held her hand
for a few minutes then left.

I would like to thank all those that participated in the Treasures for
Carol today. It looked like it was a success. Carol would be humbled to
know about all of the people that care about her. I have alot of things
to take care of before Carol goes to inpatient therapy. I will know more


Today was very busy yet good. I spent about five hours
visiting with Carol in the morning. Her family came by to say goodbye
before they went back home. Another nurse from ICU that took care of Carol
stopped in to see how she was doing. Carol’s other good friends that had
come to visit a relative at MUSC came by to say goodbye also. I had my
sister bring the boys down to visit because they wanted to see them. They
had a good visit with Carol. I sat Alexander at the side of the bed and
Carol talked and played with him. She ate a good bit of breakfast and
lunch. By 1pm she was very tired so everyone left and I tucked her in
to sleep. I ran into another good friend of hers in the hall on my way
out. I knew Carol would want to see her so I said she could go in and
see if Carol would wake up for her. I had to leave to go to my mom’s birthday

I went back to visit Carol about 5pm. I stopped by the store on the way
up and bought her some chocolate pudding because she had been asking for
some all day. She had a couple of friend from the church visiting. I helped
feed her dinner, she did not eat much but did eat all of the pudding.
She still has problems swollowing anything that she has to chew. The pudding
went down pretty good. I asked if she saw Shirley today (she was the one
that stopped by while she was sleeping) and she said yes. We had six more
people drop by to visit in the next hour. She asked for her facial cleanser
and cleaned her own face. By 8pm she was getting tired again. Everyone
had left and I was getting her ready for bed. My mom and dad stopped by
to see her. My dad asked Carol if she knew who he was and she replied,
‘Dad’. I read the notes that people wrote in the book from the yard sale
they had yesterday. She said her stomach was hurting her. The nurse came
and gave her some Tylenol and something else that would help her with
the pain. Carol was very tired but did good to stay awake with all of
the visitors.


8am, Carol was sleeping. I rubbed her face then walked
to the other side of the bed. She woke up and looked at me and said she
thought an angel was touching her face. She ate breakfast. Finished a
good bit of it. It is still really hard for her to swollow. OT came by
and worked with her for a little bit. Carol’s left shoulder hurts when
her arm is moved. Her case worker came by to let me know she had spoken
with Shephard. She is working on getting tranportation taken car of. Shephard
called me and said they may have to postpone the trip for a day or so.
There was a discharge that was supposed to happen Friday that did not.
We will know more later today.

8pm, I talked to Carol on the phone. I am on my way to Georgia so I can
meet Carol at Shephard tomorrow. She sounded like she was doing good.
They had to tie her hand down because she had pulled the trach tube out
twice. The airplane should be in Charleston around 8am on Tuesday. It
is about a 40 minute flight to Atlanta GA. I will keep the updates posted
as soon as I can.


I arrived in GA at 12am today. Carol’s sister and I went
to Shepherd at 9am. I called MUSC on the way and asked when Carol left.
They said they came for her at 7:30am. She arrived at Shepherd around
10:30am. We went with her to the room. She said the flight was noisy and
the ambulance ride was bumpy. They got her settled in her new bed then
she started getting visits from the various doctors / therapists. They
each ran their own tests to assess how she is doing. The first thing the
respiratory therapist did was take out the trach. They did neurological
tests and checked on her left leg. They took some more x-rays of her hips
to see where the pain is coming from. They later came back and said she
has bone build-up on her hip joint. They have changed all her medication
also. She had an EKG done tonight and will be checked for blood clots
in her legs tomorrow. She took a short nap then ate a late lunch. Her
doctor visited and they did a physical on her. She got tired again and
took a long nap. Some more of her family came to visit. She is doing pretty
good. She still gets confused on certain facts and dates. She thinks she
is 27 and most of the time it is 2002 but sometimes she says it is 1992.
They will start her therapy tomorrow.


Today was Carol’s first day of therapy. They worked with
her for awhile. She is still getting tired so she takes small naps. They
are putting her on tube feedings at night because she is still not eating
well. They had her in a wheelchair today. I will try to get more details
on her therapy tomorrow.


It is 1pm, I haven’t seen Carol yet. Visiting hours are
not until 4pm. I had an appointment with Social Security. Carol does not
qualify for disability. I will try to get some information posted tonight
about Carol’s progress.


I just arrived to visit Carol. I usually try to get here
at 3pm even though visiting hours are not until 4. She usually gets done
early and takes a short nap before dinner at 5:30pm. She was in bed laying
awake. She said she was having some ovary pains and some cramping. She
remembers having PT. I asked what they worked on and she told me they
worked on her neck muscles. She says she has to keep reminding everyone
around here about her leg. I told her it was because they have different
nurses each day. She looked good. Last night she played two games of Solitare.
She did pretty good. She did not have too much of a problem moving the
mouse around. The only real problem was because she does not look to the
left. She would only see the right side of the screen. I worked on that
some with her. I will have to wait until I see her PT nurse to find out
what they are working on, then I will post it here.


Carol is doing good today. She has a lite Saturday. They
just work on therapy until 11am. She had Speech today. She does not have
anything on Sundays. I came as she finished breakfast then we went back
to the room for her medicine. I visited and took her outside for about
15 minutes. She had lunch then went to the room for a nap. Carol had some
visitors but was sleeping. I left for a few hours then came back. I also
met with the doctor and he went over some of her x-rays and CT scans.
He said they will do an evaluation of her mental state sometime in the
future. They also brought in a CPM machine (continuous passive movement)
for her left leg. It will move it to try and get rid of the bone build-up
in her hip. We had some more visitors then went to dinner. After that
I took her back outside and we had a little nap in the warm weather. We
stayed outside for 30 minutes then I brought her back to get ready for


Carol had a good day. I came in the morning after breakfast.
We went outside for awhile then came in and rested. Her sister-in-law
and nephew came to visit. He played the guitar for her. She ate lunch
then went back to the room to watch tv. We had three more sets of visitors
so she did not get much sleep. Everyone had a good visit with her.


Well, I had to leave Carol and go back to work today.
I will be visiting on the weekends. I will try to get updates on the web
as soon as I here anything. I went to Shepherd today to attend a seminar
on brain injury. It was informative. After that I spent lunch with Carol
then we went back to her room. She was able to take a short nap before
it was time for PT. They are working on her neck and back to get her to
sit up. PT also mentioned that as soon as she can hold her neck up better
they can put her in a regular wheelchair so she can get around on her
own. Carol has tried to move the wheelchair that she is in now around
but the wheel is smaller and harder to reach. Carol had a test today to
see what kind of problems she has. She was asked a few questions and also
given some drawing tests. She still gets confused on where she is. She
was asked to draw a few pictures but could not do so very well. She starts
to draw but can not draw the left side of anything. She also starts to
scribble and does not stop. The nurse had a term for this but I could
not remember what it is. It has to do with her brain not telling her to
stop. She also has the same problem when she starts to clean the table
with a rag, she just keeps on wiping. It is kind of like a compulsive/obsessive
behaviour. She was asked to write her name down. She did that well except
she used her maiden name instead of her married name. We reminded her
that she was married. It took her a few tries to get my name right. She
kept calling me Jimmy Osborn. I think he is an old friend from Tucker.
I left about three o’clock. Her mom, sister, and sister-in-law came to
visit with her. She also had a visit from a good friend that lives in
Atlanta that just found out about the accident.


I just got an update from Carol’s sister-in-law. She did
not have such a good day. She was only able to participate in one session.
She got very tired and nauseous. The nurse thinks it was a side affect
of the new pain medicine they started her on yesterday (dursagesic). I
brought it to their attention yesterday that Carol’s hand was shaking.
They took the patch off to see if it would help. She seemed to be feeling
better by the end of the night. She had a few visitors come to see her.
I was able to talk to her on the phone. Hopefully she will be doing better

Here is an update from Cat (Carol’s friend).

Hi everyone. I went to see Carol last night. Her sister, Laurie, has a
Bible study class on Tuesdays, so that will be one evening that I will
definitely be there. We are trying to make sure she has someone to be
with her every night. I got there just after 5. She was in the wheelchair,
and looked really sleepy. I asked her if it had been a hard day, and she
said “yes, very hard.” The nurse, Sharon, said that Carol had had a bad
day. They had put a pain patch on her the day before, one that is supposed
to last three days. Apparently she has been having a lot of pain in her
left hip, and has been having headaches. They think the medication in
the patch may have been too strong for Carol — she was really “dopey”
and out of it all day, and was nauseous for a while. They took the patch
off yesterday mid-morning, but it takes it a while to wear off. The nurse
and I wheeled her down to the “dining room” (which is also the gym, with
all the workout equipment), and I tried to wake Carol up while we waited
for the food. She would respond by squeezing my hand for a few minutes,
and then doze off again. By the time the food was served, she was really
sleeping. I could not get her to wake up. Sharon and I decided to just
take her back to her room, and they started her tube feeding early. I
helped get Carol in bed. I teased her that the lift they use is just like
our engine hoist, and she told me “the hydraulic principle is the same.”
I complimented her on her good vocabulary; she said she can use it when
necessary. Sharon put the continuous passive movement device on Carol’s
left leg, to keep it moving. I asked Carol if it hurt, and she said no,
it actually felt good. For about an hour, Carol dozed in and out, and
I talked to her while she was awake. At one point I asked if she wanted
me to leave her alone, and she said no, she liked the company.

Ted, Linda, and Brian Aiken (Carol’s brother, sister-in-law, and nephew),
and Carol’s mom, got there a little after 7. They were dismayed to find
her already in bed — Linda had hoped to take Carol outside for a few
minutes. I explained what had been happening all day, and they understood.
Carol woke up and talked to all of us for a while. Linda handed her the
cleanser for her face, and Carol did a great job of washing all of her
face, and brushing her teeth. She said the warm washcloth felt really
good. Her neck seems to be a bit stronger — she was able to turn her
head without as much effort as on Friday. And she did turn it to look
at different people in the room. Maybe it’s easier for her when her head
is supported in the bed. Linda called James on her cell phone and let
him talk to her for a few minutes. She told him she was feeling “ucky,”
which seems to sum it up well. Her voice sounded really weak for most
of my visit, and we had to get her to repeat a few things. I think the
medicine was wearing off, though, because she was still wide awake when
I left at 8:45. Just as I was leaving, James’ aunt and uncle Chester,
came in for a few mintues. I hated to leave, but her family stayed, and
it takes about 50 minutes for me to get home. Visiting hours are supposed
to be over by 9, anyway.

I am amazed at how much she is still the same, in spite of this horrific
injury. She is very cooperative and polite to the nurses, and tries to
make their jobs easier. She still makes jokes, and her memory of things
before the attack seems pretty good. James said on the update for Monday
that she can’t draw the left side of pictures, and I have noticed that
she gets “stuck” in repetitive movements and it takes her a while to change
— she cleaned one spot on her face really well in a little circle for
a good 30 seconds before she moved on to the rest. Linda says that Carol
is particular about brushing her teeth after every meal, and Carol said
it was because she got things stuck in her braces. I asked if that’s when
she started brushing her teeth frequently, when she had braces as a kid,
and she opened her mouth to show me. I think she may have thought she
still had braces, or maybe she was just showing me her straight teeth.
As James said, sometimes it’s hard to know if she’s confused, or if she’s


I talked with her nurse around 10 today. Carol is doing
better. Still sleepy because she was up all night. I guess she slept too
much yesterday because of the medicine and she got her days and nights
mixed up again. I will be checking back later to see how she is doing
plus I will get a report tonight from her family. I added an email to
yesterday’s report. A good friend of Carol’s had a good visit and sent
me an update.

Here is an update from Carol’s Sister-in-law

I arrived at about 630p. Her mother, sister and a friend of the family
was there (Steve). Carol was in her wheelchair but was asleep. They said
she only ate about 6 bites of dinner. I encouraged her to wake up because
the nurses tell me it is best to stimulate her and not to let her sleep
all evening. Lately her days and nights are mixed up and she can’t stay
awake for therapy. Today they did a swallowing test called a Barium Swallow.
This is an xray that they do to watch the barium go down her throat as
she swallows and they can see how she does. It usually is done to see
any obstruction or to see if the diet can be advanced to soft from pureed.
I think in Carol’s case they are seeing if there is any reason why she
swallows so slowly and it seems very difficult at times. No results available
yet. The nurse allowed me to take her outside for about 20 minutes with
the other visitors. She really woke up and enjoyed it. She mentioned the
flowers and the sky. While we were outside Laurie and I were talking to
Carol about how annoying the nurses must have been in ICU making her hold
up 2 fingers and giving a thumbs up all the time. Carol stuck out her
tongue and we laughed. (that is another thing the nurses kept making her
do). She also loves to make noise. The other night it was her tennis shoe
rubbing against the metal CPM machine and squeaking .Today it was the
velcro strap on her wheelchair. Laurie loosened it once on the way outside.
Carol heard the noise and kept pulling the velcro strap on and off to
hear the noise the whole way outside. She still holds her head to the
left and it is very difficult to get her to straighten it out and up.
Her left arm seemed stiffer to me today. I usually can move it around
pretty easy. They are working on the upper shoulders and neck in therapy.
Carol loves pool. There is a pool table in the game room. On the way back
to her room I decided to give it a try. I put the blue ball and the cue
ball on the table and put the pool stick in her right hand. I lined it
up and she was able to tap the cue ball with the stick and it did hit
the blue ball. She said “I hit the blue ball” and gave us a thumbs up.
I said “do you remember playing pool at my house last Christmas?” and
she said “I haven’t thought about it but I remember now”.

She pointed out all the paintings on the ceiling and on the walls on the
way back to her room. When we got back to her room, she asked for chocolate
pudding. She ate about 3/4 of the container and loved it. She brushed
her teeth, washed her face and they put her back in bed and started the
nighttime tube feeding. It was funny when they put her in the hoyer lift
to take her from the chair to the bed she looked up at me and said “Oh
my, here we go again. ” She was put in the CPM (continuous passive motion)
device for her left leg. She seems to really enjoy it. Her right heel
is very dry. James brought a special foot balm cream and we put it on
each night. I brought her a birthday card to sign for Bryan (her nephew)
and she looked at it. She could see the color, and all the objects on
the front. I read it to her and she signed it. she wrote “Cbral” then
tried again and wrote “Carol” we didn’t have to tell her the letters.
She was able to write “Bryan” on the outside of the envelope but we had
to tell her each letter to write. His birthday is Saturday. She talked
to James on the phone and told him “good night”. I asked her who it was
when she was done. She said “my husband”.

She loves to rub things and people. If you get close enough she starts
rubbing your face and arms. She did that to Steve tonight. She started
that in ICU when she couldn’t see and seems to still enjoy it. Before
I left I told her I couldn’t come tomorrow night because of “PTA open
house” . I asked her if she knew what that meant and she said “you go
to each room and see what the kids are up to”. She mentioned that was
“very important” and I should be there. James sister April is coming tomorrow
night to visit. One last thing, she has a new roommate. She came today
from Phoenix City, Alabama. She looks just a little younger than Carol
and seems to have a very nice and supportive family. I think she had a
car accident but I am not sure. She will be there 3 weeks.


I talked to Carol’s sister. She said Carol had an ok day.
She is still not eating very much. She had a small headache earlier in
the day. I talked to her on the phone and told her goodnight.


Updates this weekend will be slow. I will be leaving tonight
to go visit Carol. I will be there through Monday.

I just talked to Carol’s sister. She had been shaking alot today. She
was also running a slight fever and was clamy. The nurses think it was
because they just started her on Ritalin to help with her staying awake
and being more alert. By the end of the day she was doing better.


Me and the boys went to see Carol this morning. She was
doing good. Alexander and Jaime talked to her and she asked them how they
were doing. They only lasted for a few hours before getting restless.
I sent them back to Carol’s sister’s house and I stayed to visit. She
rested for about 30 minutes then they came to get her ready for lunch.
She did not eat much at lunch. After that the nurse and I washed her hair
and put her in bed. She listened to some music for a few hours and finally
took a short nap. We just got done with dinner and are on the way back
to her room.