Jackie (My mother-in-law) and Emily (Aunt Bon’s daughter) have both reported back on Aunt Bon today. Bonnie is still progressing. Although the pace still seems fast, it sounds like there are varying speeds of her progression. From what I can gather it’s a two steps forward, one step back kind of dance. The speech therapist issued some tests with mixed results. She was able to read the bottom of a Kleenex box aloud. However, she struggled with making lists. When asked to list 5 fruits she was eventually able to do so. When asked to make a list of 5 vegetables–she had trouble and was not able to complete the test.
I’m also told she was rather insistent about the removal of her feeding tube. So much so that the moment her husband (Doug) and daughter (Emily) turned their backs she removed it herself! GAH! The nurses, Doug and Emily expressed their concern to Bonnie about this bold move–but she insisted it was not going back in. Her first “real” meal today was Beets–an apparent favorite of hers. Later they will try mashed potatoes–also a favorite of hers. If she consumes food regularly they will not reinsert the tube.
Her speech and movements have improved. I’m told that from time to time she’s been a little disoriented in her conversations. Although she still speaks slowly and deliberately, I’m told that it is a little faster than before. Even though she’s easily exhausted, she’s also following movement commands better than in previous days.
To quote Emily, “The doctors continue to be amazed at her progress.” They should be moving Auntie Bon from Acute Care (step down) to “General” care (but still in the Neurology division) sometime in the next day or two. The doctors are hoping to move her to an entirely different building for rehab in the next week as time and availability allows.
[Read in reverse order (from the bottom to the top) for the full story.]
Heather’s mom said Auntie Bon slept restlessly last night. The neurosurgeon came in today and said Auntie Bon will likely not need any more surgeries for her skull or brain.
Bonnie is not talking much this morning, but the doctors are now planning to work an “awake schedule” with her and begin her physical therapy. This will include things like standing up and sitting back down and eventually (but maybe not today) walking. She was asked again to try moving limbs and fingers (right vs left) and did really well.
We’re home now so we won’t be able to update in as much detail as before. I’ll write a little more here later.
Upgraded to serious from critical and moved out of ICU. She’s in the “step down” room. More to come…
After a very good day yesterday of removing the respirator tubes and minimizing medicine, Bonnie has been waking and sleeping most of the day and night. She also had the chance to see her grandson yesterday and reached for him and smiled. She managed to whisper “I love you.” not once but two times.
This morning, Doug, Heather, Aunt Cindy, and I went into her room in ICU. She had been propped up in a medical chair. This is to help her bruised lungs recover. Her chin splint had been removed and the swelling her extremities has gone down yet again. She immediately awakened when Doug spoke. Even though her vocal chords are damaged from the respiratory tubes she was able to speak. Her first sentence although a bit slow and forced was, “Am I dying?” Tears welled among us and Doug through a low giggle and tears told her, “No. You’re going to be just fine.” Over the course of several minutes, she has had a lot of questions and concerns. Some of them included:
“Am I going to be OK?”
“When can I go home?”
“Want to help.”
It was at that time the doctor came in. He was very matter-of-fact and Bonnie had more questions. She was able to ask what happened to her and the doctor obliged with the details. She asked how long her recovery would be and he told her that she was progressing well but that they would have to “get her better” over the next many weeks. Bonnie’s speech is not like you or I speaking. This was a very difficult moment for her. But Doug and her sister Cindy were right at her side smiling and crying and reassuring her.
She remembered her grandson’s visit from the previous day.
She’s having trouble remembering what happened, but we’re told this is normal. The staff refers to the disorientation as ICU-itis. It comes with the heavy dosage of drugs and the disorientation of not knowing where you are each time you wake.
Bon does realize she’s in ICU. (She is–after all–an employee at this very hospital. I thought she was a nurse but she works in a different department.) She won’t be in ICU for long. They’re moving her to the “Step Down” room shortly. This means that she’ll have an address and that soon she’ll be able receive letters, cards and of course flowers.
The doctors are amazed with Bonnie’s progression. In 4 days she has come a long way. Keep the prayers and thoughts coming and if there are more monumental steps today (as there have been every day) I’ll try and update.
2009.06.27: (3 Days after the initial trauma)
Bonnie was fully awake this morning. Uncle Doug asked her if she wanted to know what happened. She nodded yes. He explained that she was in an accident and that she was hit by a young girl who was in her lane. He went on to say that she hit a telephone pole that had fallen on her. She looked worried. Doug told her the girl was alright. Bonnie smiled. She was glad the girl was alright.
She’s been awake on and off since we’ve been up here. Long road ahead but the news is getting better and spirits are high.
She’s been responding well by indicating yes and no. When asked if she wanted to go back to sleep she emphatically shook her head no. Yesterday when Doug escorted Heather and I in to see her for the first time, she opened one eye and reached for Heather. Last night when she had more visitors, she also woke up. The nurse asked her to give a ‘thumbs up’ and she did! Though no one can imagine what she’s going through, with each baby step toward recovery and awareness the family’s spirits are lifted.
They are currently removing her breathing tube. She is breathing on her own.
My aunt-in-law, Heather’s aunt, Bonnie Dressen, has been in an awful car-accident.Â She was in a convertible going about 50-60 mph when she was hit by a teenage driver and careened into a telephone pole.Â The pole broke and fell on the unprotected car.Â She has sufferred sever head trauma and is currently in critical condition at SMDC (where she works incidentally.) The following updates (in reverse order) are to keep friends and family updated.Â Click here for caring bridge updates. Also see Heather’s site here.