Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kris update: More good news!

2012 July - Kris's retirement from the AF[I finally got Kris’s retirement picture downloaded! Isn’t she beautiful?!!!  Congratulations, Kris!]

To all our friends and loved ones!

Yesterday (Tuesday) was the second care conference meeting at CORE, the facility where Kris resides for now.  It is a monthly meeting and, of course, if the families were closer, they would be able to attend.  As it is, Kris’s husband, Russell, along with George and I, “attend” by conference call. 

The first care meeting back in August was just a few weeks after Kris had been admitted, and everyone was still getting to know Kris and she them.  So goals were set, planning for different ideas and suggestions going forward was made, and just the ground work for Kris’s stay was laid out.  Yesterday’s care meeting was not earth shattering, but it was not too far from it as far as I’m concerned.

First of all, the three major goals set initially (personal hygiene, holding her head up straight, walking better and more often) have been met.  As a matter of fact, Kris now stands to brush her teeth, brush and comb her hair, and groom herself.  Obviously, someone is with her all the time, which makes CORE so remarkable, and the consistency of daily personal care or activities of daily living (ADLs) is part of the care package there.  It is working!!!

As for Kris’s walking, well that’s another bright spot.  She now has a new walker, which happens to be John Deere green, and she loves it, the therapist said.  Moreover, she can walk in it basically by herself.  Now, that means the therapist is walking beside her to queue her moves and turns if necessary, but Kris is not being held or guided by anyone.  For the most part, Kris is doing it herself and, to quote the therapist, “Kris gets in that thing and really goes!”

Some days are better than others, of course.  Not everyone is at their best one hundred percent of the time.  But Kris’s physical therapist says she is really working hard and truly giving it her best.  On the very good days, the therapist said that Kris can now transfer herself from her wheelchair to the workout mat (which is level with the chair) by using a transfer board.  That’s a flat, smooth-surface board used to help patients learn to guide themselves from the seat to the bed or another chair, etc., giving them the freedom to move from one place to another.  She has been doing just that on those good days by herself, according to the therapist, about 90 percent of the time.

In addition, CORE is working on getting a power chair for Kris so that she can get around better, since she is on the go so much.  (She goes to church, to the salon for hair cuts, to different outings with other residents, etc.)  That will aid her greatly with holding her head up and sitting up straight as she will have to rely on her own abilities and senses to watch where she is going.  This was one of those promises from last year that is finally coming to fruition, and I say.... WOO HOO!!!!!!

The speech therapist reported Kris is working with 91 percent accuracy on a 16-key board for re-learning her typing skills.  Other devices will come into play as she progresses and gains better control of her hands and fingers.

And a psychologist who meets with Kris once a week as well as hosting her in several group sessions each week praised Kris for her outgoing, pleasant ways.  Even without speaking, the doctor said, she can read Kris’s expressions now and has been able to gain communication ability even with Kris’s unspoken words.  In addition, while meeting in a group session one day, the doctor said each patient was tasked to come up with a word they felt best described them individually.  They helped Kris find a word to describe herself, and came up with “compassionate.”  She readily agreed that was good word for her since compassion played a large part in her nursing career.  I might add that career included taking care of babies and small children wounded or otherwise harmed during her tours over in Iraq, in addition to working with premature babies as well as at the base hospital in San Antonio.  Kris was a pediatric intensive care unit nurse.

Being able to see her every evening as we Skype on the computer has eased my mind and helped my heart.  Knowing now what she is doing and accomplishing and working towards is just more good news!!!  I believe that CORE’s greatest attribute is that they treat their patients as human beings, as people, as men and women working their way back to take their place in some form or another in a society where they can function once more. I praise them for the care, the kindness, and the consideration they give each resident there.

Our travels have led us to Pennsylvania at last (western right now), and we will be on our home turf in southeastern PA by September 1st.  I do hope we can see some of our friends and prayer warriors while we are there during the entire month of September.  We will head back to Florida by mid October.  I know God’s plan was for us to be able to make this tour this year, because Kris is where she is supposed to be for now.

We are so grateful for your prayers and the strength they provide, as always.  “To realize the strength of the anchor, we must feel the stress of the storm.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

Blessings and warm hugs,

Carol and George

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