Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kris update

Dearest friends and loved ones,

For the umpteenth time this week, my sweet and patient husband (who worries so about me worrying so about Kris!) reminded me there is nothing that I can do about the continued changing of the plan for her care out there in San Antonio. It is, however, an ongoing concern when one thing is promised or decided upon, then something else crops up to make that first plan obsolete or inefficient or just downright impossible to do. Such is the case, again, with the facility where Kris was to go on April 1st, then on April 16th.

In my last update, I told you that Kris would have to return to Country Care Manor, which is near her home in LaVernia, Texas, but only for about a two-week period. The brand new Neuro Restorative Center (where she was to go) would not open on April 1st as planned, but April 16th instead. So it was a disappointment for Kris, but we believed she could handle two weeks, and we encouraged her so. This past week, however, the “word” came down. At first, it was that they (Neuro Restorative) could not open on the 16th; State certification was not all in place, evidently. A day or so later, however, the ultimate rejection came: They do not feel they can accommodate Kris’s needs for PEG-tube feeding, etc. They feel they really are not qualified to handle the in-depth care Kris requires; i.e., PEG-tube feeding, the fact that she doesn’t speak, she needs full care and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), and all medications must be administered through the PEG tube. At times, she even requires suctioning and diligent observation.

With this new facility being right there in San Antonio, the move from the VA initially was not going to be difficult. But, with the interim move back to Country Care Manor (which is a nursing care/rehab facility), that move, in a sense, was another step backward. While they have super therapists at Country Care, it is nursing care which becomes a bit of a downer for Kris. She is not an elderly person, after all.

But, now, the alternative facility is my great concern. It seems the only other restorative program is found at CORE, the facility west of Austin, which is about two hours from her home. Try as I might to keep her in San Antonio (and believe me, I expressed my views!), it seems the facility northwest of San Antonio in a town called Dripping Springs is the place where Kris will go. It is recommended by Dr. Johnson herself, the head of therapies at the VA Audie Murphy Center and the woman now in charge of Kris’s plan of care. Dr. Johnson feels that CORE has the best program geared to bringing TBI and stroke patients back to (or at least as close to) their highest level of productive living capacity as possible. She has sent numerous other patients there and they have returned to community and home living as near to completely healed as possible. So why am I so doubtful?

I really can’t explain it and I truly must stop fretting over what I cannot control or change, I guess. Leave it to the Lord, I know, but it is so very difficult to see her go even farther away from her home than she is now. I must believe with all my heart that her son, Joshua, and her husband, Russell, will visit her regularly and often, and begin renovations on their home, and that Kris will, in fact, go home one of these days. I truly believe that her care will be the very best when she does go home. I must believe that and I must let God take care of it completely.

So, for the umpteenth time, I pray... God, please take care of her now and as she looks forward to going home. Please keep her motivated and don’t let her get depressed. God, keep that sweet spirit of hers alive and keep her moving forward. And, God, please let her be okay and let her know we love her so much!

I will tell you that she is making remarkable strides with the new Dynavox device, especially with the magical, marvelous eye piece. Susan, the wonderful speech therapist and dear friend to Kris, is helping her learn how to use the device and to input phrases and words that Kris really wants to use. I can tell you my heart nearly exploded this past week when I called one day and Susan said Kris had been working hard all morning on the Dynavox. Then Susan said, “Wait a minute. Kris wants to tell you something.” Shortly, I heard the most heavenly words, “Hey, Mom!” And a little later, I heard, “I love you!”

My feet nearly came off the floor! Of course, then she pushed several other buttons and the device spoke all the words for her, but she was COMMUNICATING, and those words were heaven to me... whether they came from her lips or that machine. I just LOVED hearing them and knowing she made the machine talk for her. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Then, on Friday, I had the phone on speaker when we were talking to Kris, and she (the machine) said, “Hi, Dad!” And then, “I love you!” Yes, we both had tears in our eyes then. I don’t know who invented the Dynavox, but it’s a gift from heaven for sure!

So, here we are about to start another week and Kris will be moved somewhere, sometime. Having said that, we’re furiously finishing the renovations to our house and plan to leave for Texas by the second week of May. And we’ll be there with Kris, wherever she is, until the end of June. With a full schedule for gospel concerts and shows, we have no choice but to leave then and we do praise God for the income and the chance to share our music for Him. We’ll leave Kris in His care totally, but I do ask that you pray for extra peace in my heart please. And pray for Kris to continue learning to communicate and, just maybe... one day... she will learn to speak. That, my dear friends and loved ones, is my greatest prayer... for the umpteenth time!

Blessings and love,

Carol and George

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