31 days ago Garren left for school an active, healthy, athletic 13 year old boy. As you know and as we repeat to him daily so he knows what is going on..."you had a headache at school, we came to the hospital, you had brain surgery, you are doing great now we just have to wait as your brain heals".
With this waiting we have settled into a bit of a routine here in rehab. Here is a picture of what rehab is like and what types of things Garren does even though he can't move on his own.
As I mentioned before, according to Dr. Wunderlich Garren doesn't show ‘typical’ response. As I understand it, at this stage they look for what they call contractions: straightening or bending of arms and legs in response to stimulus, reflexive response. Instead, Garren shows signs of intentional movement. This is good.
In occupational therapy this week, Tara had what looked like ‘swimmies’ on his arms. They were inflated to keep his elbows straight. Garren was positioned to sit with his legs crossed, with his arms back supporting most of his weight. Tara sat behind him on a big rubber ball. She held his head with her hands. I could see Garren turning his head, from left to right, in very small increments. It was very obvious that Garren was working, trying to turn his head. It’s just small movements, a little bit at a time, but he’s doing it.
In speech therapy, Wren rubs ice on Garren’s arms and hands to see if he will pull away, or react in any way. His left arm was more responsive this week. At one point, Wren held Garren’s left hand out, palm up. She rubbed a piece of ice in his hand, and Garren turned his hand over. He only did it once, but he did it. Wren is also trying to get Garren to swallow. She tries different smells and tastes in his mouth to get a swallow, or gag....or anything. Nothing yet.
Physical therapy is a little different. Emily doesn’t seem to be looking for response, at least not in the same way as the other two therapists. She has put Garren on the 'lift table’ several different times. She raises him from lying flat (0 degrees) to nearly standing (70 degrees). His blood pressure stayed steady which means that Garren is tolerating standing up, that his body, his heart, his lungs are all working to allow him to be upright. Another thing that Emily has done a couple of times with Garren is to get him on his stomach. This allows the fluids in his lungs to move. Laying in bed all the time allows these fluids to settle in the back of your lungs, and that’s not good. The other thing laying on his stomach does is it allows Emily to stretch muscles and tendons that cannot be stretched while laying in bed or sitting in a chair. She can easily stretch his hip flexors and his quads. That must feel so good.
So many little thing we do naturally and don't even think about what it takes to do them.
We are looking forward to another great week of work and seeing more progress from Garren.
My prayer lately has been for Garren to continue to gain strength, that he will continue to respond more and more to what he is doing in therapy. Each day we wonder if this will be the day Garren "wakes up" even more, and that we will see him progress from there.
Thank you for praying for us and with us for Garren. He is a tough, hard working kid. God is so good and we know he is right there with Garren.