11/2002 Blog

Author: carolarmstrong
Date Updates on Carol for NOVEMBER

Carol stayed in bed all day today. She has done this the
last few times she gets a shower. Not much happened today.


I visited with Carol for about three hours in the morning.
She seemed to be doing pretty well. Still sleepy. I tried to show her
some videos of things around the house but she fell asleep.

Her mom, sister, and niece came to visit today. She was not talking much.
They started giving her tube feedings every four hour instead of doing
it over a period of 14 hours during the night. This way she will not feel
hungry during the day.


Carol was already up and in the wheelchair when I went
to see her at 10:30. She was doing good. I took her outside to the car
to get her clothes and her mom and sister drove up. I pointed them out
as they were driving by and Carol waved to them. She stayed in her wheelchair
until after 7pm. She watched some of Spiderman with them while I took
the boys to their cousin Hunter’s birthday party. I went back at 7:30pm
and stayed until 9pm. She was doing better. She talked for awhile and
had a visitor. She looked like she was getting a little sleepy so I left.


7:45am, Carol was awake laying in bed. I visited for about
30 minutes. She seemed to be doing ok. She knew who I was right off the

11:30am, Carol was dressed but still in bed. PT was going to come to
the room and work with her some. They worked on some stretching and sitting.
Carol did not seem too interested in therapy today. Carol’s mom and sister
said goodbye and left to go back home.

5pm, I called to check on Carol because I was taking the boys to the
fair. The nurse talked with me for awhile. She said ST and some other
therapists said Carol had not been wanting to participate in therapy.
They said Carol would say no if asked if she wanted to have ST. The therapist
would tell her that was not a good reason and asked why she did not want
to. Carol said she was feeling lazy and did not feel she was making any
progress. They said this had been going on for about two weeks. I have
noticed the same thing. She had not been talking as much as she normally
would. The nurse is going to leave a note for the doctor because she felt
it may have something to do with the anti-depressent she was put on a
few weeks ago. Carol had the same kind of opposite reactions to the medications
given to her at the Shepherd Center. I stopped by about 9:30pm and gave
her some cotton candy I bought at the fair. She always liked to get cotton
candy. I talked a little with her and gave her a little pep-talk.


Carol had an ok day. They were short-handed at Life Care
so she did not get her usual tuesday shower and stayed in bed until 12.
The hoyer lift was not on the wing so I asked one of the nurses to help
me get Carol in the wheelchair. I wanted to see how much she could use
her right leg. Until now PT has been transfering her by lifting her at
the waist. We stood Carol up and I was able to let go of her right side
while she was supported on the left side. We sat her back down then did
it again and turned her to sit in the chair. I talked to PT about it later
and he did some exercises with my help and we stood Carol back up and
had her put some weight on her right leg. She did ok but could not straighten
the leg out all the way.


7:45am, Carol was awake in bed. I talked to her for a few
minutes then got in bed with her. I was tired from the night before so
I just rested for about an hour with her.

12pm, I went to visit at lunch time. ST came by and wanted to work with
her while I was there because Carol would normally be sleepy when she
came to work with her. She went over some mouth exercises to help strengthen
her muscles and hold her mouth shut. She worked well for about an hour
and fifteen minutes. Carol started to get sleepy so we finished up and
let her rest.

4:30pm, I went to Carol’s room to meet with PT. OT was in with her. They
had just washed her hair really good. Carol was in the wheelchair sitting
in front of the sink blow-drying her hair. She brushed her teeth and put
on some chapstick. We took her to the gym and worked on some reaching
exercises and then had her sit on the edge of the bed. PT stretched her
side some and had her sit on a big ball to see how her balance was and
get her to use her stomach muscles more. She did pretty good.

7pm, I went back by while Jaime was at Scouts. Carol was awake in bed.
We visited for an hour then I tucked her in and said goodnight.


Carol was doing good today. She was wide awake when I got
there at 7:45am. I talked to her then took a small nap with her. At lunch
time she was sitting out in the main room with the other patients. I ate
my lunch with her. She ate a few small pieces of bread and a small piece
of Doritoes. She also drank some Dr Pepper. I took her back to her room
and plucked her eyebrowse some. I asked her how often she did it and she
said every few weeks. I asked her if she knew how long it had been and
she said a few weeks. I said it had been longer and she said three weeks.
I told her it had been five months and she made a face like, no way. I
told her how long she had been at each place and did not remember any
of it. Finished another lollipop before I left to go back to work.

4:30pm, Carol was sitting out by the TV resting. I woke her up and Ted
from PT came. We took her to the gym and I transfered her from the wheelchair
to the mat. We are letting her put some pressure on her right leg instead
of doing it all. OT came in and put on a device that holds her left arm
/ shoulder in place so it does not dislocate as much. PT did some more
stretching of her left side. It contracts alot when you touch her leg.
After that Carol sat up pretty much by herself. She worked with the cones
and a ball for almost 30 minutes. She would reach for a cone and move
it to the other stack then do it again in reverse. It was really helping
with her to keep her balance and control her back and stomach muscles.
Yesterday she felt that there was something in Ted’s jacket pocket. She
reached in to see what it was and pulled out a pen with a yellow top.
She then took then pen and put it back in his pocket but secured it to
the pocket using the little thing on the end of the cap (I don’t know
what it is called but it is used to hold the pen in the pocket).


I took the day off so I could clean the bedroom. I need
to make room for a new bed and have room to move the wheelchair and lift
around. I went to visit Carol around 12:30. She was awake so I took her
outside for awhile. Physical therapy came and we went down to the gym.
Carol seemed a little stiff today so they did some stretching first. After
they worked on her sitting they decided to try something new. They have
a special chair that you sit in then it lifts you into a standing position.
They got Carol into it and then we slowly stood her up. They checked her
blood pressure a few times to make sure there would not be any problems.
We had her in the standing position for about five minutes then let her
back down.

I left to get some more work done then came back about 8pm. She was very
awake then. I talked for awhile and asked if she had any memories of our
10 year anniversary. She looked at me and said, "What are memories
but shadows of the mind". I have no idea where that came from. I
put up a lot of new pictures on the wall where she could see them.


I did not get to see Carol until the afternoon. I really
can’t remember much about that day. She did look at the new pictures I
put up.


I stopped by on my way to church and visited for about
an hour. Carol was in bed but awake. I talked to her for awhile then took
a nap with her.

1pm, After church I went back to visit. Carol was in the main room visiting
with Shirley. She said that Carol was asleep when she got there and looked
flushed and felt a little warm. We took her outside so I could eat. I
gave her some pintos and cheese. She did pretty good for the first few
bites then stopped. When she is not fully awake she does not eat well.
She was very quiet. We took her back to her room to rest. My sister came
and she plucked Carol’s eyebrowse. I washed her hair then she got really
sleepy. She would not wake up and finish answering my question so we let
her rest.


Carol was awake this morning at 7:45am when I got there.
I talked to her for about 20 minutes then laid down with her for about
30 minutes. She seemed to be doing well, but that comes and goes. She
was sleeping in her chair when I got there at 11:30am. I woke her up and
took her outside for awhile. We went back inside after awhile because
it was hot outside. I played about three games of tic-tac-toe with her.
She did pretty good. She started to get a little tired so I put her by
the window so she could see outside and left. I talked with ST on the
way out. She asked if I had noticed any change in Carol in the last few
weeks. I told her she has not been talking as much. She said they have
had a hard time waking her up when they visit. The doctor is supposed
to be checking her chart and looking at her medications. He is thinking
about increasing the dose of Zoloft to see if that will help.

4:30pm, Carol was already down in the gym for PT. She was a liitle sleepy
but woke up once they started the stretching exercises. She did pretty
good at sitting by herself. We tried some new stretches to help her back
and legs. PT is going to talk to the doctor and see if it will be alright
to lay her on her stomach. He said that will be really good for stretching
all her muscles.

8pm, Carol was asleep in bed but did not take much to wake her. I cleaned
her face and Alexander told her he missed her and goodnight. He drew some
pictures for her while I talked to her. I read her a card that she had
written me in 1995 that I found while cleaning my computer stuff out.
I told her goodnight and left about 8:45pm.


7:45am, Carol was wide awake in bed. I talked for awhile
then started to reposition her left leg. I saw her make a face and asked
if it was hurting when I moved it. She said "Just give me a bone
to chew on". I told her that what she said was funny and she said
"It could be a milk bone". I layed down with her for a little

11:30am, Carol was in bed, the radio was cranked up. They were getting
ready to give her a shower. They were looking for the mat they use with
the hoyer. Carol was wide awake again, playing with her bear. They decided
to give her a bed bath so I went out to wait. When I got back she was
in the wheelchair sleeping.

4pm, Carol was still sleepy. PT came to get her for therapy. On the way
out I stopped by to talk with the nurse and see if the doctor had seen
her yet. She said he changed her medication. They were increasing the
dose of Zoloft and also giving it to her twice a day. They also added
Zaneflex to help with her muscle contractions. PT said they talked with
speech and they gave him the ok to lay Carol on her stomach. She was really
stiff again so we did some stretching and sitting. We layed Carol on her
stomach and stretched her legs. She seemed to tolerate it. She just said
once that her stomach was hurting, PT thought it could be from her abdomin
muscles stretching.

8pm, When I got there the nurse wanted to talk with me. She said that
a few minutes after feeding Carol she got this look on her face like something
was happening. Carol then reached over with her right arm and grabbed
the side rail and threw up all of the stuff they just gave her. The nurse
was concerned and called the doctor. He told them to hold all her feeding
for the night and just give her water. The nurse told me that she even
talked with PT and they said nothing had changed. I told her that she
was on her stomach and that while at Shepherd they tried the same thing
and she threw up there also. Carol was resting but I was able to wake
her up easily. My mom came to visit after awhile. Carol was wide awake
for the hour we were there. One of the guys from across the hall wandered
in. I did not make a big deal of it thinking he would leave. Carol was
watching him. After he went back towards her bathroom she said "make
sure he has his pants on".


Carol had a pretty good day. Still sleepy during the afternoon
but PT at 4pm went well. After stretching Carol sat on the edge of the
bed for awhile then we put her in the left chair that helps her stand.
We are going to try and do this more often to help put some weight on
her right leg. She did good, stayed standing for about 10 minutes. I talked
with the doctor and told him her sleeping habits to see if there was any
thing he could do besides the Zoloft. She is really awake in the mornings
and evenings and sleeps during the afternoon.


Carol was very awake this morning. I asked the nurse how
long she had been up. She said she was awake when she went in at 7:15am.
I got there about 7:45. On my way in I saw Ted from PT and asked him how
early ST came in because Carol would do good to work with her in the morning.
He tried calling but she was not in. At 8:30am ST came in. She started
to work with Carol then. I stayed until 8:45 then I had to leave for work.

11:30am, Carol was still in bed. OT was there working with her. She had
a rubber glove on her right hand but OT did not know why. One of the CNA’s
came in and I asked why she was still in bed. She said they started to
get her ready but did not think the CPM machine had been on yet. I put
in on at 12pm so she would be ready to get out of bed at 2pm. The other
CNA came in and saw that Carol still had on the glove. She laughed and
said Carol took that out of her pocket and wanted it on her hand. OT went
over some arm stretches with me then I went back to work.

4:30pm, Carol was still in bed. PT was in her room working with her.
The nurse for the new shift asked if Carol had been up at all because
she was still in bed when she came on. I told them she was in bed earlier
and I thought they were going to get her out around 2pm. No one knew why
she had not been up yet. Carol sat on the edge of the bed for about 5
minutes, did some more stretching then I helped PT stand her up. We let
her stand by holding her left side up. I was able to let go of her right
side and she could stay standing on her right leg. She could not stand
up straight yet because she still needs to get some more strength back
in her stomach and back. We did that three times then put her in the wheelchair.

6pm, A photographer from the News and Courier came by to meet with us.
He was taking some more pictures for a follow up article. Cori brought
a box of letters from the bank that people had sent in.

7:30pm, Carol was in bed sleeping. I layed with her for an hour. She
would wake up some and I would tell her I love her. I hope it was not
the new dose of Zoloft that was making her sleepy at night. If she does
not improve by this weekend I will ask the doctor to stop it.


Carol had a great day today. Probably the best in a month
or more. She was awake this morning at 7:45am. PT came in about 8 and
worked with her on some stretching and trunk control. Simple things we
could do in bed. My sister came in about 8:45 just when I was about to
leave. Carol was back in bed and looked a little tired. I got a call later
in the day saying that she woke right up and was great after I left.

I came back at 11:30 and Carol was in bed wide awake. She had just taken
a shower and looked refreshed. OT was there with her. She had a couple
of visitors but fell asleep within 10 minutes after I got there. They
had just hooked up the CPM machine. I layed down with her for about 30
minutes. On my way out I made sure they would get Carol up around 1 or

4pm, Carol was sitting in the wheelchair by the window in the main area.
She was awake playing with her big bear. She is usually asleep when I
get there at 4 and we have to wake her up for PT. We went down to PT and
put her in the special chair that allows her to get in the standing position.
She stayed in the standing position for over 10 minutes. We then put her
back in the wheelchair and went over to the walking bars. We put her right
next to them so she could use her right arm to hold on to the bar. We
then stood her up and let her put full weight on her right leg. We did
that about three times then went back to the room. PT put her in bed then
had Carol sit on the edge of the bed for about 30 minutes. We kept asking
Carol if she was ready to lay down but she kept saying, "not yet".
She has pretty good control of her sitting (side to side) but if she goes
back too far she needs help sitting straight again. After that we layed
her down about 5:30pm. She talked to her mom and sister-in-law on the
phone. She was speaking pretty loud. She was still awake when I left at
6pm. I talked with Speech, OT, and PT and they said she did great today.
The nurse was a little upset because we just increased her Zoloft a few
days ago and also added a muscle relaxer and the doctor discontinued all
those today. We don’t know if it was the increased Zoloft or the fact
that she was late (after 11am) getting her medication that had her more
alert today. I guess we will have to wait until this weekend to know for

7:30pm, Carol’s door was shut so I peeked in. They had the curtain pulled.
Carol’s foley had been yanked out somehow today. The balloon was still
inflated so it made her bleed some. The nurse was working on putting a
new one in. Carol was wide awake. I helped then visited until 10pm. My
mom came by for awhile then Carol and I watched TV. She stayed awake the
whole time until I left at 10.


I was in and out a few times just to check on Carol. I
worked on the house most of the day. I spent a few hours with Carol from
7pm to 9pm. She was doing ok, just a little tired as usual.


I spent about four hours with Carol starting about 11am.
We watched a special on Harry Potter and went outside for a few minutes.
We did not stay long because it was getting cold.


7:45am, Carol was still sleeping in bed. It did not take
much to wake her up but she looked like she was not feeling well. I sat
beside her and rubbed her face trying to get her woken up. Speech came
in about 8:30am. She tried to get Carol to start her mouth exercises but
decided she was too tired. She said she would come back in about two hours.

12pm, Carol was still in bed. I went and asked the nurse if she was feeling
bad but she just said that they put on the CPM machine and usually the
CNA will take it off and get her up but she had a different one today
and they forgot to take the machine off. I helped get Carol dressed and
out of bed. She said she was feeling ok but fell back asleep after getting
in the wheelchair. I will give it one more day before I talk to the doctor
again. She always seemed to have a good morning but twice since he removed
the medications she was sleepy in the morning.

I got a call about 2:30 that PT wanted to see Carol at 3pm because she
was awake. I went over at 3 and we stopped in the hall to talk to the
doctor. I gave him a list of things that I found on the internet that
can help arousal in brain injuries. He said he just saw something last
week that was new and thought of Carol. He was going to check into a few
things and get back with us. I could not stay long so I don’t know how
therapy went.

7:30pm, Carol was in bed resting. I woke her up and she started to drewl
alot out of the corner of her mouth. I talked with the nurse to see if
we can get the patch back that helped dry Carol’s mouth. It was taken
off to see if it was making her sleepy. She eventually woke up and I stayed
for an hour. I told her she looked awful (because her hair was messed
up) and she stuck her tongue out at me.


7:45am, Carol was awake but looked sleepy. She was a little
hot so I pulled down the sheet some. Her room stays pretty warm. I layed
down and rested with her. ST came in about 8:30am to see if Carol was
awake. She said she would come back in a few hours and check again.

11:30am, Carol was in bed, dressed. It looked like her hair was washed.
She was still sleepy. I talked to her a little and gave her a few spoons
of Wendy’s Frosty. Speech came in again and worked with Carol a little
but she was still too tired to interact. I looked on the internet last
night for some information about arousal/sleepiness in brain trauma. I
printed out some information to talk to the doctor about. There were two
new drugs out there, one was called Modafinil for sleep/awake problems.
I talked to the doctor and he said he started her on the drug called Provigil.
That is a brand name for Modafinil. It says it helps the patient stay
awake during the day but still lets them sleep at night. It takes a few
hours to start working so I will have to see later today how she does.
I told her I loved her then she said the same. I said I lover her more
and she replied the same. I said I love you to infinity. She said, "To
infinity and beyond". That was from the Toy Story movie.

4pm, Carol went to PT. She was raised to the standing position for about
10 minutes using a special chair. After that she went through some stretching
and then sitting exercises. She started to get a little sleepy so we finished
up and put her in bed about 5:15pm.

7:30pm, The room was dark. I went over to Carol and could tell she was
awake. I kissed her and she stuck her tongue in my mouth. I turned on
the light and said "I’m glad it was me". She responded with,
"Well, it wouldn’t be David would it". David is a friend of
ours. She seemed to be talking a little more. I stayed for an hour.


7pm, Carol was awake but heavy-eyed. Shirley and Sandra
came to visit and she perked up. We had a good visit.


8am, Carol was awake. She was talking more and seemed like
she was doing well. My sister came by about 9am. Carol was still awake
but I had to leave for work.

11:30am, Carol was wide awake in bed. She was still talking more than
normal. She did good until she was put in the wheelchair then she fell

4pm, Carol was down in the gym for PT. She was resting in the wheelchair.
I talked with PT and he was concerned why she was sleeping more lately.
Her medication was changed to see if she would wake up more but it does
not seem to help during the day. I told him how we have noticed even in
Atlanta that she did better in the morning and evening when she was in
bed. He took her blood pressure while she was sitting in the wheelchair.
It was 80/60. It took him three times to get a reading. After we layed
her down he took another reading. It was 110/70. After working with her
for awhile he sat her back up to get her in the wheelchair again. The
reading this time was 90/68. We were wondering if her sleeping when she
is in the wheelchair has to do with her blood pressure. She has always
done this since leaving MUSC. He talked to the nurse and they were supposed
to leave a note for the doctor.

8pm, My mom was visiting with Carol. She was just waking up. Once awake
she did really good. I stayed with her until 10pm. I wish she could be
this awake during the day.


Carol had a good day today. She was awake about 7am. I
took a nap with her until 8:30. When I came back at 11:30am she was in
the shower. They brought her back and we got her dressed. We kept her
in bed to rest. OT came in about 12pm. Carol was wide awake. I was working
with her left arm and OT asked her to hold her right arm up. I got out
the cone with the rubber band (big one) tied to it and tied it to the
bed. She would take the cone and push it out with her arm. I spoke through
the cone and asked how she was doing. She held the cone up to her mouth
and said, "doing fine. Rodger out 10-4". We talked back and
forth like that for awhile. She would take the cone and hold it up to
her eye every now and then and look through it. I was talking to OT about
how she gets sleepy in her wheelchair. I raised the head of the bed up
so Carol was in the sitting position. She stopped talking and eventually
closed her eyes. I lowered it and she woke back up and started talking

4pm, Carol was down in physical therapy. She had been there since 3:15pm.
They were just getting ready to put her in the standing chair. We worked
with her until 5pm then took her back to the room. She stayed in the wheelchair
because she had been in bed until 3pm. I stayed with her until 10pm. We
took a nap then watched a movie together..


I visited with Carol for about four hours today. I have
been cleaning the house / bedroom alot and usually spend a good part of
the day doing that. Carol had a pretty good day today. I went to the movies
with a friend then stopped back by around 9:30pm and stayed another hour.
Carol was wide awake in bed when I got there.


Carol had a restfull day. She slept alot. I painted her
fingernails while she took a nap. I stayed from 10:30am until 5pm. PT
and ST came today because they have thursday off.


7:30am, Carol was awake. I chatted for a little bit then
took a short nap with her.

11:30am, Carol was already up. I took her outside and she took a nap.
It was pretty warm in the sun. I brought her back in the living room before
I left. She had a visitor come by.

4pm, Carol was going to PT. We worked on some stretches with her and
went over some things I could do at home. I made a follow up appointment
with the neurosurgeon at MUSC for December 3rd. Her new wheelchair should
be delivered Friday.

7:30pm, Carol was awake in bed. I had a good visit with her. I received
something called the Sleep Angel in the mail today. I ordered it for Carol
to see if it would help with her mouth. She holds her jaw / mouth open
because of the length of time she had the ventilator tube in. Her muscles
are stretched out. It makes it hard for her to swallow correctly and also
has a hard time breathing at night. I hope it will eventually help her
relearn to hold her mouth closed. It is used at night time and holds the
mouth closed.


Carol did great this morning. I gave her some grapefruit
juice from a bottle to help strengthen her mouth and tongue. She had a
shower around 11:30am then I took her outside and she fell asleep. She
was awake at 4pm when I came back to visit. PT came and we talked about
some different exercises and stretches I could do with her. He checked
her blood pressure while she was reclined in her wheelchair. It was 115
/ 68. When we sat her up she stopped answering my questions. He checked
again and it was 90 / 60. We did a few things then took her back to the
room and got her in bed. I went back at 7:30pm and she was wide awake.
I visited for about an hour. Carol kept yawning and my mom told her she
better be carefull in the spring to make sure she does not catch anything
in her mouth. She said, “yeah, there’s no telling what’s down there already”.


I was in and out today. I had the day off and was working
on the bedroom. I don’t remember too much of what went on.


Happy Thanksgiving! We took Carol to my mom’s house
for Thanksgiving. She stayed for about six hours. She was awake most of
the time and seemed to enjoy herself. She did not talk too much. She helped
me peel potatoes some. A friend in the church knew someone that had a
wheelchair van and they picked Carol up for us. It was harder than I thought
to find transporation for her. I did not know that Tele-Ride required
an application that could take up to four weeks to process.


11am, Carol was awake, my sister was there visiting with
her. She said that Carol told her that she could not relax until I came.
I cleaned her face then I helped put the CPM machine on. She should get
a shower today after her time on the CPM.

4pm, Carol was still in bed, she did not get her shower or get dressed.
I talked with the CNA that came on at 3pm. She said the previous CNA told
her that she would have to get Carol a shower. Before I left earlier we
discussed that Carol would be on the CPM for a few hours then she would
get a shower. I also made sure I told them that I wanted Carol to get
up today. She ended up getting written up for it. Carol was wide awake.
She was doing really well and even knew how long we had been married.
I gave her a bath and shaved her legs and arms. She stayed awake until
6pm then drifted off. OT came in and wanted to work with her some so I
woke her back up. She gave Carol a massage on her left arm and wanted
to see her again tomorrow. Carol was still awake when I left at 6:30pm.


I did not visit until 1pm. Carol was doing good. OT came
and massaged her left arm to see if she could get any movement out of
it. I could not stay long because I needed to get back and work some more
on the house.