Updates 3rd of July to 20th
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Update Evening of July the 20th: I've just spent several hours with Symone and have a few things to report. Firstly, confirming Jeff's report in the preceding update, she was extremely restless and fidgety when I first got there. The most I have ever seen her - pulling sheets off, even though they were tied down, pulling her hospital clothes off, constantly moving her arms, her head and eyes darting all over the room, biting the sheets, my clothes, anything she could get her teeth on. Her arms were restrained and she was constantly trying to undo the restraints - with some success too I might add. She was also yanking on the tube into her stomach (the only tube left in her now) and biting the tube. I told her to leave the tube alone and not bite it, and she said in her characteristic whisper, "Why not?" I explained to her what the tube was for and she could do herself some harm if she yanked it out. I told her to bite the sheets instead. Much to my surprise she seemed to accept this and left the tube alone for the most part for the rest of my visit.
She also had this fluctuating look of terror on her face that I have described before. It would come and go. One moment she would look calm and the next moment she would look terrified. I asked her to tell me what she was thinking in one of her bouts of terror and she replied quite clearly (twice), "I'm scared, I'm scared." Clearly this terror needs to be addressed as she recovers. I suspect that it is the moment of her falling, and the impact, that is anchored into her mind. (See note at end of this update.) I will attempt to address this terror in her next metawalk (click here). I will also contact my old NLP and Hypnosis teacher, a long term and dear friend of mine, and see if he has any ideas how we can address this terror in her. (Click here for more information about NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming.) I tried to reassure her that she had nothing to fear, using hypnotic techniques, saying, "You are nice and calm and relaxed, nice and calm and relaxed." I had a small measure of success but nowhere near enough to calm her down completely at that time.
She had several of her friends visit her while I was there. One friend she pulled down to her face and said her name, "Laura", and another friend (Kirsty) she seemed quite enamoured with and grabbed on tightly to both of her hands. After I had left for the evening, another friend bought in a new top for her and so they put that on her, replacing her hospital clothes. The nursing staff informed me that that made her considerably calmer and so they have asked me to bring in some of her favourite tops tomorrow for her to wear. After a while she grew very tired and seemed to indicate she wanted her friends to go. They left and she fell straight into a deep peaceful sleep for the evening.
It is interesting to note that she wasn't putting her fingers into her mouth when I was there like she had been the previous day. I suspect that this is because she had been fed liquids and this had relieved some of her mouth irritation. She also had her first full meal since the accident while I was there. I was thrilled to feed her myself thickened Minestrone soup, a Vanilla Mouse and and a big glass of thickened juice. She ate nearly all of it up, chewing and swallowing, with very little mess, and she was very calm and relaxed while she ate and also relaxed after her meal. I was very pleased with her for doing that and said so too. "Daddy is very proud of you," I said. That seemed to make her happy. The hospital told me after, though, that she brought some of it up later on that evening.
That's it for now - more to come in the next update.
(Note: For the Reverse Speech people reading this, the information that the terror is locked into her from her fall was discovered on some speech reversals found during a tape the students and I made about Symome at last weekend's training class. The reversal used the metaphor, Elf, and indicated some of her Elf metaphors were damaged and locked in terror. We addressed this briefly in the group metawalk held this Tuesday night.)
Update Afternoon of July the 20th: It's been a good and bad day so far today. On the good side Jeff was visiting Symone and pointed to her picture on the wall and asked her if she knew who that was. Symone replied by tapping her chest and saying "Me." He also asked her if she knew why she was there and she said, "Why?" Jeff explained to her the accident again. He also asked her if she knew who he was and she didn't respond. Also on the good side, Jeff began feeding her thickened liquid. She was able to eat it and swallow it. The hospital have ordered her a special solid food diet with high vitamin and mineral content which she will begin to eat this evening.
On the bad side, Symone is very fidgety. She keeps on pulling her sheets and clothing off, and biting the sheets. She pulled her catheter out which must have been very painful and she tried to pull her stomach plug out. One of her friends was there and Symone didn't acknowledge her except for trying to bite her finger, like she bit Jaye's finger.
Jeff thinks that mentally she is pretty much there but doesn't know how to communicate properly yet, and he suspects her fidgety movements are a sign of the brain rewiring itself. He told her that I would be there later this afternoon to see her and her eyes got larger and brighter, in recognition. I'll report more after I have seen her. Also, by the way, she has been transferred again, to her own private room.
Email from Jeff Rense regarding this update....
predictable negative behaviour. she's thirsty, has wanted to drink and
eat for many days. They've been damn slow about this, it seems. Probably
doesn't need catheter and wants her regular clothes on. These are all signs
of recovery and a burning passion to get back to LIFE!
Update Late Evening of July the 19th: Symone was sleeping peacefully tonight when we went in to see her, and she was sleeping on her side in a foetal position and not on her back as she had been doing since the accident. This is how she has usually slept before the accident so we saw this as a good sign. She looked very calm and with no hint of terror in her face like we would often see since the accident, even when she slept. The staff said she had made the transfer to the rehabilitation ward smoothly and had done well on her Neurological tests that evening. The group meditation for Symone also went well this evening and you can download that file on the meditation page by clicking here.
Update late Afternoon of July the 19th: The hospital just rang me and Symone is doing so well she is being transferred out of the "High Dependency" ward right now into a Rehabilitation ward - the Neurology/Rehabilitation ward. This is good news. I will check on her this evening to make sure she made the transfer OK, after the public meditation for her this evening.
Update Afternoon Of July 19th: I saw Symone this afternoon. She spotted me as soon as I walked into the ward and followed me with her eyes all the way to her bed. I asked her if she knew who I was and she immediately said "David" very clearly in a soft whisper. (Strange that she would say David and not Daddy - see note below) All the other visitors heard it and were amazed! She has changed so much since I saw her four days ago. Her recovery is astounding. She was awake and alert the whole time I was there (2 hours). All her limbs were moving in an ordered fashion and her head was no longer tilted to the left but moving from side to side. Her eyes darted around the room but would fix on a person's face for extended periods of time. At one stage her Grandfather (who was there) asked her if she knew who he was and she gave a faint nod.
Her Auntie Annie (my sister) visited her this morning, as she has done faithfully most days since the accident (It should also be noted that my brother Peter and his family regularly visit Symone also.) Annie managed to get her nails done while Symone napped this morning - after a little disaster last night when Symone bit Jaye's finger while she was trying to do her nails. However Symone has been biting other things the last 2-3 days, including her own fingers and the hospital sheets.
She seemed to be quite distressed about her mouth while I was there and kept on putting her fingers in it. The nurse came with another cotton swab of water and Symone grabbed it and put it straight into her mouth. Clearly that's what she wanted. Her mouth is probably very dry from lack of water in her mouth (she is fed through the stomach plug) and the nurse said her tongue would have been irritated from the breathing tube she had in ICCU.
Symone seemed agitated at times and would rub her hand through her hair several times on her right side. But she could just be feeling her skull which now has a massive conclave in it where the bone was removed. They must have taken a huge portion of skull out, almost saucer sized! Symone has also lost a lot of weight since being in hospital but this also is because of her liquid diet.
Symone talked two other times while I was there today. Both occasions during a 15 minute period when the faith healer who I mentioned in a previous update was working on her remotely. (Click for more information on his treatments. He is known simply as Adam.) I told Symone he was working with her and I repeated it several times. She said "I know, I know" after I repeated it at one time, and she spoke again at the end of his treatment. However, although she repeated the phrase three times, I couldn't quite make out what she was saying the second time. Symone was also very quiet during Adam's treatment.
Her neurology was assessed again while I was there and she gave the nurse's hand a faint squeeze on command and responded marginally to other directions.
All in all her progress is remarkable since the accident and all of our hopes for her eventual full recovery are high.
(Note: For those of you who follow Reverse Speech, its interesting to note that Symone used to call me David in her reversals when she was a young baby, rather than Daddy. So its rather fascinating to hear her use that name again. Maybe her unconscious mind is healing first, before the conscious mind.)
Update Evening of July the 18th: Our little angel is recovering in leaps and bounds, much faster than we had dared hope for. When Jeff went to see her this morning she was sitting up in a chair watching TV! Her head was standing up by itself, looking slightly to the right towards the TV. She was crossing and uncrossing her legs and had full movement in all her limbs. She didn't watch too much though and fell asleep in the chair. The nurses moved her back into bed and that totally exhausted her. She fell asleep for two hours after that. The swelling in her head has gone down so much now that you can actually see a conclave where they took the portion of her skull out. She was fitted for a helmut today which she will have to wear for several months until they are ready to put her skull bone back in again. That fitting also took a lot out of her.
She also spoke again today as the hospital took the last remaining remnant of her tracheotomy out and put a gauze over the open wound in her neck. She said quite definitely and clearly, "Ouch!" All the nurses commented on it!
She seems to have some discomfort in the left side of her face because she keeps on touching and rubbing it. Jeff wonders whether she may have some numbness in that area. She is also biting her right thumb, so much so, that the nurses had to tie her right hand down. She is also still on some oxygen while she is sleeping.
Her sister Jaye is visiting her tonight with some other friends and they are going to do her nails for her. I am sure she will like that. I get home tomorrow after being away for 4 days and I am told that I will see an amazing difference in her. I can't wait till I land at the airport and will report on it all fully tomorrow night. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and interest.
Update Early Morning of July the 18th: Symone slept peacefully again last night and had another little breakthrough yesterday afternoon while being visited by her Grandparents (my parents) that is important to report right now. While her Grandmother was holding her hand Symone spoke to her in barely a whisper and said, "What happened to me." Grandma explained it to her, and said she was in hospital and everyone was working very hard to make her better again. Symone started crying at that point before drifting off to sleep again. This is truly a very important breakthrough! Thank you God for the miracles you are performing in our little angel's life!
Update Late Afternoon of July the 17th: Symone slept peacefully again last night after a busy Saturday night with her friends! (sounds just like normal) Several of her friends went to see her last night and she wouldn't let them go, becoming quite distressed everytime they said they had to leave. They ended up staying with her for four hours and said they would come back next week and paint her nails and do other female stuff with her.
This morning was a big morning for Symone too, It was the first time she tried to talk since the accident! She was upset about something and made several sounds. She tried as hard as she could to talk but it came out fainter than a whisper and Jeff (who was with her at the time) couldn't quite make out what she was trying to say. Finally after 3 or 4 attempts she gave up exhausted.
Unfortunately she had a distressful afternoon because the hospital gave her some powerful medications to get her bowels moving. This caused her stomach to cramp and gave her significant distress until her bowels finally opened. The hospital also removed the needle from her left shoulder and took her off the oxygen today as well. She is totally living on her own now except for the stomach plug of course by which she is being fed.
She had a busy afternoon of family visitors and, as at the time of writing this update, she is surrounded by 4-5 people resting quietly as she watches them all.
Update Late Afternoon of July the 16th: I have a great update to give on Symone this afternoon. She has made some amazing progress. First of all, I just spoke to the hospital and they tell me she is happy, responsive and cooperating with the staff in tasks they are asking her to do. They were cleaning out her mouth and asked her to stick out her tongue so they could clean it and she did. She is inclined at a 45 degree angle today, so she is essentially sitting up and looking around the room. The staff say she is tracking them and making regular eye contact.
Jeff reports he went in to see her this afternoon. She spotted him as soon as he walked through the door and she followed him with her eyes all the way to the bed. Jeff noticed her Sound Therapy unit was not connected so he put it on her. She seemed a little distressed when he put it on so he turned it off again. At that point she reached down with her left hand to find the unit, found and pressed the play button again, didnt like it, so she found the radio switch and switched it over to the radio - all on her own accord! At one stage while Jeff was there, she started pointing to her mouth and throat as though she wanted something. Jeff wondered if she wanted some water, so he asked a nurse and they gave her a cotton ball soaked in water. That was exactly what she was asking for, and she liked that so much, Jeff gave her three more!
Jeff also reports that she tried to itch under the tape that holds the needle in her left shoulder, then scratched her left eyebrow, followed by her cleaning out the corner of her eye - a little shakily but definitely nonetheless.
She is off all her intravenous feeds now and being fed solely by the stomach plug, and the needle in her left shoulder will be coming out in a couple of days too. So, all in all a great day today! I thank God for the progress she has made and eagerly await for more.
Update Evening of July the 15th: The hospital replaced Symone's oxygen mask this afternoon with a small oxygen nose clip and this relieved her stress of the morning. Visitors to her this afternoon reported she was peaceful and fully awake. I just spoke to the hospital and they told me she was peaceful and still awake and alert, following people with her eyes as they walked around the room. I'll update more tomorrow.
Update Late Morning of July the 15th: Jeff and I both went to see Symone this morning and she was in a little bit of distress. Her head was cocked to the left again and her legs were rigid. Her hands had been tied down because she had been trying to take her oxygen mask off. At one stage the nurse had to untie her left hand to do some procedures and she reached right up, grabbed the oxygen tube and pulled the mask right off. Then she hung onto the tube so tightly away from her face, it took 2 of us to pry her hand free so we could put the mask back on. And this was the left hand that had been so weak after the initial injury. She only held our hands on her own volition once during this visit, and that was Jeff's hand at first. Then she let go of Jeff's hand and reached for mine. I played her the subliminal tape and she responded well to it, becoming very still during the precise time the actual subliminal metawalk itself was playing. I only plan to play her that tape every 3-4 days initially and keep her on the Sound Therapy for the other times. I spoke to the neurologist briefly and he said she has been making very slow but steady progress, however he had been unable to get any responses from her this morning. It obviously was one of her bad days today. The hospital said she will be transferred to a rehabilitation centre in about a month or so.
I have to go away for 3 days today to conduct a workshop on the Gold Coast of Australia and I explained this to Symone. She was also a little distressed at that news but I explained to her that Jeff and her grandparents and other family will be seeing her regularly while I am away. I asked her if she understood and she gave me a good solid blink. She is also now allowed visits from her friends now that she has been transferred out of ICCU, so some of them will visiting her as well while I am away. I will still update this site with daily updates during these 3 days but they may not be as often as when I am at home. We all continue to pray for Symone and all of your prayers and thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Update Very Early Morning of July the 15th: Symone is peacefully sleeping and I have just finished making her first subliminal metawalk tape which will be delivered to her later this morning. I waited this long to do it because I wanted to be in a relaxed and confident frame of mind before I recorded it. For details of this tape click here. Also on this page are particulars of the next public metawalk for Symone which will be held on Tuesday, July the 19th.
Update Late Evening of July the 14th: Just got a great update from the hospital on Symone. She has improved already since being transferred to the high dependency ward. She is trying to respond to the nurses' commands. A nurse asked her to turn her head and she tried as hard as she could and managed a small movement. Her right arm has become stronger already. She is reaching out for people. She is looking around for people in the room to make eye contact with and exploring her surroundings. Her stomach plug has worked tremendously and she is absorbing nutrients already. They are going to increase her nutrient dose first thing in the morning. So this is all good news. And, please note, that in response to several requests we have placed a bulletin board on Symone's site for you to make your posts and comments.
Update Late Afternoon of July the 14th: Symone was transferred out of ICCU this afternoon into the next ward down, called the "High Dependency" ward. She looked the best that I have ever seen her. Her head was lying straight upright and not cocked to the left like it had been and her eyes were not looking to the left either but were scanning equally from the right to the left as she was looking around the new room she was in. Her limbs were also much more stable with ordered movements and not jerky like they have been in the past. She was not maintaining consciousness for very long, only about a minute or 2, then she would sleep for five minutes or so, and wake up for another couple of minutes. At times it seemed she would reach for my hand when she woke up, hold it tight and then release her grip again when she slept. She has a face mask on and is being fed a 30% oxygen mix which she is breathing on her own accord. She seemed to be peaceful the whole time except for a momentary time of confusion, but she quickly relaxed. She is still listening to her Sound Therapy which we believe is helping her state of mind
The meeting with the head neurological consultant and another doctor went very well. Bottom line is, they do not know. It has only been 3 weeks since the accident and its far too early to predict long term recovery prospects, nor can they. They said they have seen patients with similar or worse injuries than Symone's fully recover over time. We asked about what actual brain damage had occurred and we got a much more complete picture this time. The initial impact was to the right side of the brain which caused significant bleeding. They removed this blood clot in her surgery the night of the accident. The part of the brain they thought had died may not be dead after all! The later scans cannot determine this, nor can the doctors. They see signs of life in that region in later scans and only time will tell. There was a secondary impact to the left side of her brain which caused internal bleeding inside the left side itself but this bleeding has also subsided and will most likely subside further in time. All of these injuries have the potential to heal themselves and cells can regenerate but it can be a long process. She has been assigned to a new Neuro surgeon in her new ward and he will be able to give us a further picture in a few days. We asked about the possibility of getting a second opinion from an outside neurologist and they had no objection to that at all. We will wait for a while though until we can get an assessment from her new Neuro surgeon. I left the meeting with a lot of hope and a renewed confidence that Symone, in time, will recover.
Update Noon of July 14th: Jeff has just come back from visiting Symone and he reports an improvement since he last saw her. She has more hand and arm control, she's not trembling and doesn't seem as rigid. She recognised him instantly and reached out her hand, grabbed his and pulled it to her chest. She wouldn't let it go at first when Jeff tried to leave. Jeff says she more aware and more attentive but still has a long way to go. We have our meeting with the head consultant late this afternoon and will report more then.
Update Evening of July the 13th: We had our hopes dashed this morning with the latest news from the neuro surgeon but we bounced back this afternoon. Several emails we received did not accept the news. This one from a very good friend sums up the sentiment - "&*$#@&! I don't buy it for a minute. Doctors have NO idea of the potential of total recovery.. There are people with HALF a brain who lead virtually normal lives! DO NOT despair and PLEASE tell them not to discuss anything negative in her room!!"
We went back to the hospital in the afternoon and arranged a family meeting for tomorrow with the head neurological consultant of the hospital. We have several questions. We want to know exactly what brain damage has occurred because we have had different reports on different occasions. Other questions are, "Why are there conflicting opinions? One doctor says she'll be walking within 2-6 months and another says, she probably won't recover," and, "How can you say she is non responsive when we have seen clear responses." I have personally seen several responses - hand squeezes, pointing to the pictures of her friends on the wall, clear and definite eye blinks in response to questions asked of her, and most importantly, I see Symone in there. I can see her in her eyes! I KNOW SHE IS THERE, terrified and confused, but she is there! If we are unhappy with the meeting tomorrow, we will seek outside help by first of all getting a second opinion from an outside neurologist. We refuse to give up hope! There are 10s of thousands of people all over the world praying for Symone and the one thing that we have that the mainstream medical fraternity doesn't have is faith and prayers and strong spiritual convictions.
Symone had her tracheotomy removed today after a successful procedure this morning, and this afternoon I heard her make her very first sounds since the accident. Just a couple of moans but it was her voice! She is breathing completely on her own now. Her feeding tube has been taken out of her nose and replaced with the stomach plug. She also has a face mask now feeding her oxygen directly. All the swelling on her head has gone down and she looks OK. I held eye contact with her for several minutes this afternoon before she drifted off to sleep again and I told her, "I know you are there Symone. Daddy knows you are there. Just hang in there sweetie. It'll take a little while but you will get better. There are people all over the world praying for you."
And, as a final side note, one thing we haven't talked about in these updates, because the person wishes to remain anonymous, is we have a VERY talented faith healer working on Symone from a distant. All of his "readings" have been totally accurate so far and he reports today that, although he can't explain it, he sees Symone's brain cells rapidly regenerating.
So that's where it stands. More tomorrow.
Update Noon of July the 13th: My hope early this morning was a little premature. The neuro surgeon told me this morning that Symone's brain damage is massive and severe, far worse than we had originally been led to believe. She shows no sign of meaningful movements nor any signs of positive response. There is no sign of any improvement since she has been awake. There is a high chance she may never recover any more than what she is now. In any case they will not know for at least six months to a year. She needs another procedure done today for which I gave permission. She is not absorbing any nutrients and she needs a plug placed directly into the stomach in the hope that this will help. That is being done this afternoon. They will remove her tracheotomy after this procedure.
Update early morning of July the 13th: WOW! I just rang the hospital and they tell me Symone is a little more responsive this morning. She squeezed the nurses hand on command and is tracking far better. This gives me hope. I will update more once I have been to see her.
Update late evening of July the 12th: Symone's condition remains unchanged. She is not responding to voice commands but she does track people with her eyes. At times she shows signs of emotion and does respond to soothing words. Her eyes lit up at one stage when we were showing her some flowers but then she started crying when she saw that the flowers were for her 18th birthday. Its going to be a slow and difficult process but we will get through it.
Update Late Afternoon of July the 11th: Jeff just came back after spending a few hours with Symone with a basically good report. He says that at times she seems to be there and other times not. She was following him with her eyes a lot and at one stage appeared to be trying to talk but realising she couldn't, she gave up. She will be able to talk as soon as they change the tracheotomy tube late today or tomorrow. Jeff says she was exploring the tube in great detail with her left hand this afternoon, examining it intricately, showing that she was aware of of it and wondering what it was. So that seems like a good sign. At times she seemed quite emotional which is understandable given the major trauma she has suffered. Maybe its all starting to finally sink in, and if that's a the case that's a good thing too.
Update Afternoon of July the 11th: I spent a couple of hours with Symone today and it is clear that the sedatives are slowly leaving her system as the dreamy feeling seems to be passing. The hospital have positioned her head so that it is not cocked to the left now but lying straight upright. Her eyes, however, keep looking to the left. The nurse tells me this is normal for people with injuries to the right side of their brain. She locked eyes with me a couple of times while I was there but was, for the most part, non responsive. I asked her to blink if she knew I was there and she wouldn't blink. She did however move her eyes and followed the nurse as she did various procedures on her. The staff continue to remain upbeat about her condition and tell me she is in a very normal state for this phase of her recovery. They reemphasised to me that it will take several months, if not years, for her to recover from these injuries as the brain is so complex its take injuries to it a long time to heal. They also told me they had seen people with far worse injuries than Symone's where things looked absolutely hopeless to come through with flying colours and everything looks good for Symone. So its a waiting game at this stage and that seems to me to be the worse part. They will be moving her out of ICCU in the next day or so to another ward, so she has gotten through the worse part and her life would appear to be no longer in danger. So the first part of the miracle has happened, now we wait for the second part - and that is for her brain to recover.
Update Afternoon of July the 10th: Its a heartbreaking update I write today. I've just spent 3 hours with Symone and she remains non responsive for the most part. Her head has been cocked in the same position, looking to the left, for 3 days now even though the nurses have tried to move it. Her eyes appear fixed in one position, although we can get them to move and follow faces if we encourage her to. When I first arrived today I asked her to blink if she knew who I was and she gave me a definite solid blink. That was encouraging but it was practically the only response I got all day from her. The doctors say she is out of physical danger for the most part now and the question now remaining is what neurological damage there is. They tell me that will take time to assess and I must remain hopeful because she is young and strong and can recover. But I cannot help but being fearful that the Symone I knew has gone and may not come back.
Her limbs are all moving so there is no paralysis which was one of the original fears and the physiotherapists are working on her limbs 2-3 times a day to keep them functioning properly. Jaye is taking it all very hard and is reluctant to go down to see her because it breaks her up too much. She also doesn't want to stay at home because she feels lonely and in despair, so she is spending time with her friends. That leaves me by myself to a lonely house when I get home and I wonder how is it that this horrible tragedy has befallen our family. My son died 4 years ago, and now this has happened. My parents tell me I am expecting too much too soon. Maybe I am. But I do know we need a miracle to happen and I am still praying for that to occur. I am still grateful for the 100s of emails I am getting but shake my head at the occasional vicious emails that people send. How people can be so heartless in this type of situation is beyond me?
They will be replacing her tracheotomy tube tomorrow for a smaller one that will allow her to speak if she is able so we will see what happens then. That's all I know for now.
Update Late Afternoon of July the 9th: I did not visit Symone this afternoon but my family did and they report that Symone was drifting in and out of sleep and was moderately responsive. Her arms were moving and her eyes were exploring her surroundings. She did not seem agitated at all and the nursing staff reiterated that she was doing very well. Jeff reports that at one stage when she awoke she was fully present and looked right at him and responded to everything he said. This state only lasted for 10 minutes though. The sedatives were turned off permanently yesterday and will not be used again. The only medications she is on now is Panadol for pain and anti blood clotting agents. They say that it will be 3-4 days though before the sedatives are totally out of her system and a better assessment can be made then. She was breathing totally on her own all day today.
Update Mid Morning of July the 9th: I went to see Symone again early this morning and discovered they had to strap her arms down last night because she kept on trying to pull the tubes out all the time. However when I saw her she looked very weak with little sign of activity. She wasn't responding to voice commands, had only very minor movements and barely looked at me. And the few times she did, she appeared very dazed and not with it at all. It made me feel quite nauseous and woozy and I had to leave the room and sit outside for a bit to recover. Upon my return I discovered that the Neuro surgeon had been and had spoken to Jeff (who had come with me this morning). He once again reiterated that Symone was doing very well and should be walking again anytime between 2 and 6 months. That might seem good to him but that's a long long time to my way of thinking. We wrote Symone some notes and her eyes did seem to be reading them. Then she fell asleep. I said to the nurse that I thought she wasn't doing as well today as she had been yesterday and she responded by telling me that Symone will have good days and bad days and we just have to hang in there. I gave Jeff the car keys to drive home because I simply wasn't up to it.
Update Early Morning of July the 9th: I slept another 12 hours again last night and just rang the hospital. They tell me Symone didn't sleep much last night at all. She had a couple of moments of distress but for the most part was relaxed. She was following people walking around the room with her eyes and answering questions with a yes or no answer by eye blinking. They tell me both her arms are moving well but her legs have only shown small signs of movement. What that means I'm not too sure. I'll head down there shortly to find out more and then come home and start making Symone's subliminal tape.
Update Mid afternoon of July the 8th: I spent 3 hours with Symone today and for the first time since the accident I thought I saw the very first glimpses of my old Symone back in there. She was more aware and responsive. She was breathing on her own for the most part with only minimal help from the respirator. She was communicating with weak hand signals and eye blinks. The nurse asked her to raise her hand if she knew who she was and she did. I asked her if she could see the pictures of her friends on the wall and she weakly pointed straight at them with the index finger of her right hand. The doctor scratched her feet with a pen. Her right leg jumped strongly and her left leg also jumped, although a little weaker than her right. The grip in her left hand was even stronger today than it was yesterday. Her eyes seemed far more focused without that twilight zone look and she wasn't staring blankly into space like she was at times yesterday. She still kept her eyes on me a lot but she was also exploring more of her surroundings, looking at the machines and room etc. We wrote some notes for her on sheets of paper saying "Don't be afraid" and "You'll be OK" and "We love you". It was quite obvious that she was reading and understanding them. She seemed to have more motor control and her arms weren't jerking as much or moving erratically, but they were more ordered and had design about them.
The meeting with the social worker went well. My parents were both there, as well as our good friend Jeff. She was made sure that the family support was all in place and she said she was pleased I released my emotions last night because she could tell that I was bottling them all up yesterday. I won't be going back to the hospital again today because I am still very tired and worn out. I need to get strong and have all my senses about me to make this subliminal metaphor tape for Symone on the weekend. I'm taking the rest of the day off and Jeff will attend to some office stuff before going back to spend more time with Symone.
At this stage I need to specifically mention Jeff. Jeff Toth is my right hand man in my Reverse Speech business. He worked for me for several years when I lived in America and he came back with me to Australia when I moved home. He handles all the office work and technical support as well as keeping our various websites housed and on line. We host all our own sites with a bank of computers in the office. He is a very loyal and trusted friend and without his support I would be lost. You can email him and thank him for his unwavering loyalty and friendship at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am sure he would appreciate it.
Symone fell asleep after several hours of activity and we left then. She was sleeping peacefully.
Update Morning of July the 8th: I collapsed last night from sheer exhaustion. I was in tears and couldn't stop. I called my parents and they came straight over. I am so lucky to have such a strong family and so is Symone. Dad is a retired Uniting church minister and an amazing man and mum is simply an angel. They got me off to bed and I slept for 12 hours solid. I woke up this morning and thought it had all been a bad dream then I slowly realised it wasn't. I rang the hospital and Symone had been pretty agitated last night, so they sedated her again. She's awake now with no changes that the nurse could tell. Once I get myself together again, I will head on down there to see what's going on. We have a family meeting with the social worker today so that should help. I am so grateful for all the emails of support that we are receiving, and for my friends who are being simply marvellous. Thank you all! The site has had 10,000 hits now in 5 days. That is stunning. People all over the world are pulling for Symone.
Update Evening of July the 7th: I just came back from the hospital after spending 5 hours there with Symone. She is improving in leaps and bounds. The doctors say her progress is remarkable and they are very pleased. Her left arm is now almost as animated as her right arm and she has a much stronger grip in her left hand. Both her eyes were fully open for the whole time I was there except for a period of about 20 minutes when she drifted off to sleep. At times she seemed alert and aware and other times she just stared blankly into space. For most of the time, however, she did not take her eyes off of me, ignoring all others in the room. The nurses said she calmed down almost as soon as I walked in and my presence clearly soothed her. She held both of my hands tightly for most of the time I was there and she did not try to pull tubes out like she had been in the morning.
At times a look of sheer terror came over her face. I explained to her where she was - in the hospital. I told her she had had a bad accident but it wasn't her fault. The doctors were looking after her and she was going to get better. It seemed to calm her down. Several times I said to her, "step by step, day by day you will get better. Step by step your mind will heal." Those words also calmed her and my voice reassured her. Her heart rate was stable around 100 for most of the time I was there and she wasn't agitated like she had been in the morning. I told the nurses if she gets distressed call me anytime day or night and I will come straight down.
I also had a meeting with the hospital social worker and that was very helpful. We are setting up a family conference for tomorrow to discuss various issues at depth and establish a support network for everyone. I asked the staff for permission to make a tape of subliminal suggestions and metaphor work for Symone to listen to and they were in full agreement. Anything that can possible help, they said. I will make that tape on the weekend and she will start listening to it on Monday.
I left exhausted. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see my dear sweet Symone like that. I wish I could take her pain away but I can't. Its a process she is going to have to go through. At times I get terrified that I won't get her back, but I have to stay strong and believe. Not just for Symone's sake but also for Jaye. I think this is the greatest battle I have ever faced in my life. May God help me.
Update Midday of July the 7th: Jaye just came home early really distressed. She had a lot of tears. She says Symone's arms (including her left arm) are darting everywhere. She keeps on trying to pull out her breathing tube and ECG wires and drips etc. Her eyes are darting all over the place, she looks really confused and frequently breaks out into tears. The doctors, however, report that Symone is doing exceptionally well, far better than they could have possibly hoped for. The nursing staff are very upbeat and say this behaviour is very normal for someone awakening from a severe brain injury. Symone is coming out of it far quicker than anyone expected. I am heading down there shortly and Jaye is coming with me.
Update Mid Morning of July the 7th: The hospital totally removed Symone's sedation this morning for a short while and she became fully conscious for the first time in 14 days. What a wonderful birthday present! However before too long she became very agitated and distressed, her heart rate shot way up so they put her back on a low dose and she calmed down. Her sister Jaye went to see her early in the morning with one of Symone's best friends. They took a collage of photos and some of Symone's favourite nick nacks. The nursing staff asked Symone to blink if she recognised Jaye and her friend, and she did. Jaye asked Symone to blink again if she wanted to see the pictures and she did blink. Symone looked intently at the pictures and gripped Jaye's hand very strongly with her right hand. Her left arm moved again several times this morning like it did once last night while I was there. Jaye is going to stay with Symone until this afternoon. She is finding it tough, poor kid, but she is remaining strong for Symone's sake. I have been trying to work but my spirit and heart is with Symone, especially now that she is awake and responsive. She needs me more than ever now so I am cancelling the rest of my appointments for the day and will head up there when Jaye returns. The hospital only allows two visitors at a time so the family takes it in shifts. My turn next.
Update First thing in the Morning of July the 7th: The hospital staff tell me that Symone woke up 2-3 times during the night quite distressed and agitated. They havent seen her like this before. I presume it's because of the connection that we made the previous night and it is slowly dawning on her exactly what has happened to her and that she is really hurt bad. The terror she must be feeling would be almost unimaginable. They had to increase her sedation to calm her down and, as with previous occasions, the Sound Therapy helped. I plan to make a subliminal tape for her over the weekend using my 22 years of experience with Reverse Speech metaphors and design a metawalk that will begin to rebuild and repair the brain. I will embed this metaphor journey into soothing classical music just below the threshold of conscious awareness. (Click here to see a definition of a metawalk). I will also make up a standard audio tape using my voice, her sisters voice and grandparents voices that will sooth and reassure her that everything will be ok and she will begin to heal. I will ask the hospital staff to play her these tapes while she is sleeping. (For those of you who are interested, you can listen to a generic version of a metawalk and download an mp3 file by clicking here.)
(Reassurance from a friend after reading this update: "David, sooner or later she was bound to get the bad news. She is probably already realizing that there are certain sensations that are missing, certain actions that just are not working. She is confused and frightened. This signals the finesse with which she must be revived to full consciousness. Every effort you make at this time to ease the shock no matter how small, is a mercy. You can not take her sorrow from her in the end. I know this does not help, but the best you may do for her now, is to shower her with your love, and be there. As you would take her pain from her, I would take your's, if we could. This is a passage and Symone and you shall prevail. I am so sorry you must go through this sense of helplessness. My heart is with you and Symone. Courage. - From Phil")
Update early morning of July the 7th. Symone had another moderate fever in the early hours of the morning but it has subsided now and she is sleeping peacefully.
Update midnight of July the 7th. Happy birthday Symone. You are now 18!
Update evening of 6th of July: I have a lot to report this time, so lets take this step by step. I arrived at the hospital at around 7 pm and Symone was sleeping peacefully. Her heart rate was 75 and her breathing was slow and regular. In fact she looked the most peaceful I have seen her since the accident happened. Then her Neuro surgeon came and spoke to me about the results of the CT scan they did today. They were all good. All the swelling has gone and her brain is back to its normal size again. He said her long term prognosis looks good and he is a lot more confident now than he was when she first came in. He warned me, however, that it will not be an easy journey and to prepare myself for many many months of emotionally draining rehabilitation. The damage to her right brain hemisphere is still there and it is unknown what affects this will have in the long run. He explained that they had reduced her sedatives even more but would still be keeping her on light doses for a few more days as brain injury patients can sometimes become quite violent or distressed when they begin to wake up.
Then came the real significant stuff.
After he left, Symone began to wake up. She was confused at first and couldn't focus her eyes properly. I held her right hand, she held it back tightly and I spoke to her gently, reassuring her, telling her that I was her Daddy and I was here to help her. She woke up even more. The nurse asked her to look at her Dad and she slowly turned her eyes straight to me and they opened up all the way. She started to emerge from her twilight state and recognised me. I talked softly to her some more and then I started to say to her "You are Symone Ruth Oates, your name is Symone Ruth Oates." I said this several times and it sank in. She understood and knew who she was. It was like a light went on inside her head. Then I told her she was in the hospital and she had had a very nasty accident. I explained it to her again and she began to cry. I told her I was here to help her get better again and the tears started pouring out. She began to experience great distress as the realisation of what had happened to her sunk in more and more. She was Symone Ruth Oates and something really really bad had happened to her. I then began to use hypnotic language, allowing the healing process to continue and she responded even more. She tried to speak but couldn't. So I just spoke to her comforting her, telling her she would get better and we were all here to help her. A couple of times I had to move so the nurse could work on her, and her eyes stayed on me the whole time, following me everywhere I went. She was Symone Ruth Oates, I was her Daddy and I would help her get better. Of this there was no doubt.
She fluctuated between agitation and comprehension for a while, and then after about ten minutes she suddenly became extremely distressed again. I then realised that the tape player had stopped that was playing the Sound Therapy music. I turned it back on again, her face became peaceful and relaxed, her heart rate slowed and she calmed right down. The nurse then told me an interesting story. Apparently they took the headphones off her during the day and she got quite upset and actually reached out for them. They put them back on and she calmed immediately. I am now a firm believer in the power of Sound Therapy!
Also of great significance, while I was there this evening, at one stage she lifted her left arm straight up into the air and moved it over to her stomach. I gasped with joy. The nurse saw it also and said this was the first time she had seen her move her left arm like that. Previously all we have had is minor weak finger movements on her left side. That is a good sign and gives me hope that her left side wont be incapacitated after all.
Finally, her eyes began to close again, I whispered reassuring words to her and she drifted back to sleep. I left the hospital quite emotional over the whole experience and the horror of what had happened to her, combined with the added horror that she also knew something bad had happened. But that in a strange way is good news! She knew who she was, she knew something really bad had happened to her and she knew I was her Daddy who would help her. And that, folks, is a very significant step. We have a long road in front of us but I am convinced that the first step on that journey was made this evening. May God give me the strength to travel this long and arduous road with my precious little angel Symone.
Update Noon of 6th of July: Symone remains stable. Her right arm is active and moving a lot, but there are only minor finger movements in her left hand. Her eyes are partially open and they are following the voices of people in the room. They turned on the Sound Therapy again this morning and said she relaxed significantly listening to it. Another CT scan is scheduled for this afternoon and depending on the results of that they may take her off the sedation all together.
Update Morning of 6th of July: Symone's conditions remains stable. She has some movements on her right side but only a little on the left. The hospital tells me she is opening her eyes occasionally when someone comes into the room or the bed is bumped but she doesn't seem to be focusing well. She is in a twilight zone still it would appear. We'll see what happens when i go to see her later today.
Update Very Early Morning of 6th of July: Symone is sleeping peacefully and all her vital signs are normal.
Update Late Evening of 5th of July: We have just come back from a very emotional visit to the hospital. They have reduced Symone's sedatives even more and she was in a twilight zone between sleep and awake. She was holding my hand with her right hand as tightly as she could, not wanting to let it go. She was also rubbing my hand with her thumb. At one stage she turned her head and looked straight at me with her eyes half open, and moved her mouth as if she was trying to talk. It was very obvious she was aware of my presence and looking for all the emotional support she could get. I could sense fear and confusion coming from her. Her left hand, however, was not as strong with only small, weak movements. This is most likely because it is her right brain hemisphere that has been damaged and that controls the left side of the body. But, the good news is that there was movement in the left side, albeit small, and that shows that there is still right brain activity happening. Both of her legs were also moving. After about an hour of us being there, she closed her eyes completely, relaxed her grip and drifted off to sleep, so we left. We left, however, with the firm conviction that Symone is still with us, her spirit is strong, she is fighting, and even though it may take many months of rehabilitation, she WILL make it.
Update Afternoon of 5th of July: Symone's condition is essentially unchanged, although she is a little more animated, moving her legs and arms and yawning occasionally. She is also responding to people holding her hand by squeezing back.
Update Noon of 5th of July: The hospital has begun to cut back on Symone's sedation in preparation for her to start waking up. Her blood pressure has been slightly elevated this morning and they are using beta blockers to keep it in check. They are also planning on doing another CT scan this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Update Morning of 5th of July: Symone had a restful night for the most part, except for a brief period when her temperature rose again but it settled back to normal quickly. Her heart beat remains in the 90s and the nursing staff say that the Sound Therapy is definitely making a difference.
Update Early Morning of 5th of July: Symone's brain pressure levels have stabilised to normal levels and the tube draining fluid has been removed from her brain. She showed signs of beginning to wake up with eye movements, yawning and limb motions. However the hospital discovered that her sedation tube was blocked and she wasn't getting her sedatives. They unblocked the tube and she went back to sleep again. Nevertheless, this gives us hope that she is ready and wants to wake up.
Update Evening of 4th of July: We started Symone on Sound Therapy treatment tonight and the effect was dramatic and immediate. When we arrived at the hospital her heart rate was 130 and she was trembling. Within 2 minutes of starting the sound therapy her heart rate dropped to 112. Within 15 minutes it was down to 90 and she was calm and relaxed. (Click here for more information on Sound Therapy)
Update Afternoon of 4th of July: Something miraculous happened this afternoon. Symone's sister, Jaye, was visiting her in hospital and Symone quite deliberately grabbed Jaye's hand, held it tight and pulled it right over onto her heart. Her eyes opened momentarily and she started crying. The doctors witnessed this and could not explain it. They suggested it was just nerves twitching but I believe that our little angel is still with us and fighting with all her might! - Read a wonderful poem sent to us regarding Symone's movement - click here
Update Noon 4th of July: An examination of Symone's brain fluids shows no infection in the brain so the cause of her previous fever remains a mystery. Her temperature remains just a little bit high and due to slightly elevated brain pressure levels they have decided to delay waking her for a few more days.
Update Morning of 4th of July: Symone's brain pressure levels rose again during the night and they started draining brain fluid again. We sit and wait.
Update Evening of 3rd of July: We have had a miracle happen this afternoon! Symone's fever, which had the doctors so worried, totally subsided, and the other symptoms which caused them to fear hypothalamus damage have been addressed. Her brain pressure has reached normal levels for the first time since her accident. We believe that the many prayers that people made during the afternoon contributed to this turn around. She looked rested and peaceful this evening with all her vital functions normal. The doctors tell us that should there be no further complications, they will begin to awaken her in the early part of this week.
Update Afternoon of 3rd of July: The latest CT scan of Symone's brain,
conducted early afternoon, showed that the swelling
of the brain has decreased. It is looking better than it did 2 days ago. They are still
investigating the cause of her fever.
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"Your name is Symone Ruth Oates. I am your Daddy and I am here to help you"
"Step by step, day by day you will get better. Step by step your mind will heal."
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