Dear friends and loved ones!
With Christmas just around the corner, I can’t think of a better time to tell you Kris has made great strides this past week and even hit a few more milestones. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (today) this week were as if she turned another corner and is back on her game.
Her doctor has been weaning her from one anti-seizure medicine and putting her on another one, which seems to be working wonders. I asked to have her morning PEG feeding changed from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., which has given her a bit more stamina through the morning therapy sessions, too. But I’m convinced that Kris’s having had a few sessions with a psychologist here at RIOSA has helped her tremendously. His name is Dr. Brooks, a retired Army colonel, who worked with veterans (TBI patients, amputees, burn victims, and many others) over the last 20 to 30 years, and a lot of what he does is through hypnosis. Once Kris started to “wake up” a bit more after her last surgery, he was ready to work with her, too. He has caused her to relax so much more and, while he hasn’t really hypnotized her yet, he has given her more confidence within herself, I believe. She has connected with him and I find her laughing so much more now.
She also connected with another one of the therapists over the past few days. That therapist was filling in for Kris’s regular physical therapist (who was on vacation), and Kris simply blew her away yesterday and today with her humor and her ability to follow instructions and do so well. Kris is now doing abdominal crunches (20 of them today), and is also working to turn on her side and sit up. Along with that, she is walking even better, straighter, and with seemingly more confidence. She still requires a steady hand to guide her, but she is doing so much better and much more on her own. Along with that, Kris actually turned sideways at one point today and was swaying as if trying to dance to the music from a nearby radio. Stacey (the therapist) was ecstatic and told everyone (including Dr. Brooks) how much better Kris has been these last few days. When the occupational therapist worked with Kris this afternoon, she took a wide marker and spelled “Kris” on a piece of paper in very large, wide letters. She asked Kris to just print over the letters. Kris took the pen and fully outlined the letters instead of just writing over what was there! I have the paper hanging on her cork board in her room as proof!
My heart is so full right now with the joy of seeing her accomplish all of these things. How thrilling it is to watch Kris coming back! I have to keep reminding myself, however, that there is so much to be done yet and our time is running short here in San Antonio. That’s the sad news. George and I have so many commitments and things that we simply must return to Florida for by the end of the year. At one point, I was so hoping that the military would be willing to send Kris to a rehab center in Florida so that I could continue to care for her until she is rehabbed to a point that she can return to her life with her family in San Antonio. Russell has been so appreciative of all that we have done with Kris since we’re here, and he compliments all the work and care that I’ve given her every day since we arrived here in June. It is my joy to care for her, especially since his hands have been full taking care of Andrea and Joshua, and working full time, and running the household, etc. He realizes that Kris is nowhere near able or ready to come home, and her doctor has often said he has seen such improvement in her because of our presence. Andrea still hasn’t seen her mother since the accident, but she understands that she is still in the hospital and is getting better. I believe she has accepted Kris’s absence that way. Because Andrea is autistic, her therapist still believes it may be traumatic for her to visit her mother until Kris can speak to her and hold her. I believe it would also be terribly hurtful for Kris not to be able to hold Andrea or even talk to her. The case worker (another psychologist) here at RIOSA believes it would be disastrous for Kris to go home until she is completely recovered, and that in itself means it may be some time before Andrea can see her mother.
Well, that’s the downside of this update, dear ones. It is the hardest thing to even leave her at night to go home, so I’m not sure how we’re going to handle leaving here at the end of December to return to Florida. Depending on how her recovery goes, we plan to return here in the spring, but my worry is that Kris will plateau or even lose ground after we’ve gone And there is always the concern that, while the nursing care here is great, it still isn’t perfect and things get overlooked. We have been able to fill in the gaps to keep Kris’s recovery on course but, without being able to care for her, I’m truly worried about those “gaps.” While I sometimes think we may be a bit of a nuisance, Kris seems to want and need our presence every day, and I catch her watching the clock waiting for my arrival in the mornings.
So we are asking for your prayers ever more fervently now. Please, please pray for understanding and for strength for all concerned. Russell is tasked with being able to handle all the financial aspects of running their household and their lives; we simply want to care for Kris and help her to get her life back. God is an awesome God; we truly believe He will see all of us through this.
Blessings and love,