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Update Evening of August the 15th. Symone had her first full day of activities at the Rehab centre today and it left her feeling very tired and worn out. We had a good lucid chat when we first arrived but it didn't last long. She started to get irritable and a little agitated after a while and wouldn't eat her dinner when it came, except for the dessert. She didn't even seem to want to drink either which is totally unusual. The staff therefore decided to put her into bed (around 5:30 pm) as she had been up all day in her chair doing her various activities. We went out of the room while they did this and when we came back she was fast asleep. We left after that and when I rang the Rehab Centre later this evening for a progress report they told me she slept for a couple of hours before waking up. She was still irritated when she woke up so they put the Sound Therapy on. That calmed her right down and she drifted back to sleep again.
A point of interest for the day, that the nurse was able to tell us about, centres around her occupational therapy session. They gave her some simple puzzles to do, to test memory and general mental functions, and apparently she said they were too easy. She breezed through them so they gave her some harder ones which were a bit of a challenge for her.
Also today was the first time I heard her talk about the concave in her head. Her self awareness is increasing gradually and she was trying to cover the concave up where they had removed a significant portion of her skull. She kept on asking if this or that would cover it up, holding up sheets and clothes etc. I explained to her that it was OK it was there, no one minded it being there and we all understood. I told her they would put her skull cap back in after a few weeks and they had to take it out when she first got injured. Then she said, quite spontaneously, "I would have died if they hadn't taken it out, wouldn't have I." I responded yes you would have. She understood and accepted my answer and stopped worrying about it after that.
Additionally today we asked her if she could straighten out her right leg. It was resting in a sitting position in her chair when we arrived. She immediately straightened her left leg all the way so we corrected her and said her right leg. She leant down and put her hands under her right knee, lifted it up a little way and tried as hard as she could to straighten it. However it caused her too much pain and she said "It hurts. I can't."
It's also worthwhile noting that even though she is pretty lucid most of the time now, she still tends to get some of her facts confused. For example yesterday she said that we were going to Melbourne next week for a vacation when in reality we went to Melbourne a week before her accident. Also, too, one of her cousins, Lynne, was in to see her on the weekend and her father's name is Jim. Well, Symone's Uncle Peter was also there, and she called him Uncle Jim. So she got the connection with Lynne correct (ie: Uncle Jim) but mixed up the people. Previously, since the accident, she has correctly called Uncle Peter by name.
Today, also, I brought in her special formula for pimples (which we always used to buy on ebay) as she has had an outbreak - probably due to toxicity caused by all the medications she was on in ICCU and some since then. She knew exactly what it was for when I showed her the packet and she was very pleased to get it. The nursing staff will apply it everyday for her.
So that's about all for today. This week is a week of assessments to gauge exactly what stage Symone is at and what can be realistically achieved in the near future. We have a progress meeting with all the staff on Thursday and you can be sure that I will report the results to you. Stay tuned as the saga continues.
Update Evening of August the 14th: Symone had another great day today. She was bright and cheery and laughing and joking. It looks as though she has really turned a corner into improved and continued rapid recovery. She had no restlessness at all for the fourth day in a row now. At one stage she was playing a game of throwing one of her toy rabbits to everyone in the room, throwing it around in a circle and catching it successfully when it was thrown to back to her.
On the down side her right leg has contracted right back up again and she still has some confusion about where she actually is and why she is there. This will all return in time I believe
The real work with her begins next week when the Rehab centre begins all their intensive work programs with her, teaching her to walk again and use the toilet etc. We have a program of her heavy schedule and are invited to participate in as many sessions as we like. We will update you as these sessions continue. Anyway, overall this is all wonderful news and i believe she will sail through the Rehab and their heavy work schedules with flying colours!
Update Evening of August the 13th: Not a great deal to report today except that Symone continues to do well. She was sleeping when I arrived with her sister Jaye and slept for a couple of hours before she woke up. She ate all her lunch after waking up and we had a good chat afterwards. She was in good spirits and was laughing and joking again, like she had been yesterday. She was not restless at all - in fact this is about the third day now that she has not been restless and several days since she has been biting. I think that phase appears to have past now. These are all very good signs.
I will update more tomorrow.
Update Evening of August the 12th: Well, Symone seems to be in another rapid healing phase. She has improved noticeably even since yesterday. There was no restlessness at all today and she was in another jovial mood. Her sense of humour was downright wicked at times and she often had us all in fits of laughter. You can hear some of this in the audio file uploaded to the site by clicking here.
Her right leg was not in its splint but was only bent at a 90 degree angle this time rather than all the way up as it had been in the past. The Physiotherapist tells us that she tried to get Symone to stand up but had no success. Her right leg, of course, was useless and she was unable to put any weight or lift on her left leg. This will all happen in time.
Her Grandparents were there today as well as Auntie Annie. You can see them by going to the photo page to see some of the pictures we took today. Click here.
That's about all for now. There'll be another update tomorrow.
Update Evening of August the 11th: "Step by step, day by day you will get better. Step by step your mind will heal." These words that I said to Symone when she first awoke in ICCU 5 weeks ago now are proving to be so true. I am awed and gratified as I watch her slowly return to her normal self. She is still confused at times and sometimes says quite strange things but every now and then (and more and more everyday) I get a glimpse through the haze that sometimes surrounds her to a very grounded and lucid Symone Ruth Oates. Tonight she was laughing and chuckling after she ate her meal and was actually joking, smirking at her own comments.
Those of you who have listened to her audio recordings on the audio page (Click Here) will have noticed the progression as her voice has gotten better and better. Well tonight, for just a few phrases here and there, her voice was perfectly normal. It was definitely Symone speaking - her voice, her personality, her wit and her humour. Symone Ruth Oates is reawakening and coming back to us. It is truly a miracle.
Jeff and I arrived there around 4 in the afternoon and she was sitting up in a chair, her head was upright and she was holding her body up straight. Her right leg was totally straight and wrapped in a thick foam splint that physiotherapy had put on her today. She recognised us immediately, and when a nurse asked her who we were as we walked in, she said "Dad and Jeff."
We asked about the splint and the nurse said that she had been in the splint for a couple of hours but it seemed to bother her. Symone was a little restless and agitated when we arrived and at times was trying to remove the splint. After a short while the nurse took it off because she believed that Symone only needed to be in the splint for 2 hour intervals at a time and she was restless because of it. She might have been correct because when she took it off Symone did calm right down. However when the physiotherapist came in and talked to us she said that Symone had been just as restless before the splint was on as she was afterwards. She told us it had been quite easy to get Symone's leg straightened and put the splint on. She had simply distracted Symone by having her talk about her life before the accident and her leg had become reasonably limp allowing her to straighten the leg with little effort and get the splint straight on. I was impressed! These people know all the tricks.
The physiotherapist went on to explain that she was going to try the foam splint for a week but was actually leaning towards plastering the leg altogether. Time will tell on that one I guess.
After the physiotherapist left, Symone's dinner came in - a mixture of cheese, egg and tuna sandwiches. I began feeding them to her but when I turned away once, she had picked up a sandwich on her own accord and was eating it all by herself. Well done Symone! She got distressed at the tuna sandwich, however, and when i was a little insistent that she eat it she looked at me and said, "If it was you I wouldn't make you eat it." I couldn't deny her logic and so I left it alone. She had done so well with the other sandwiches anyway. She asked for a drink and drank 3 huge cups of water, gulping them down as she usually does. Then she said she wanted a cup of coffee. Symone has always been a coffee drinker. So the nurse got her a half a cup of coffee and she drank that too.
When she had finished her meal, she calmed right down. No restlessness or agitation and the old Symone began to emerge. We started talking about her computer at home and she said that hers was better than her sister Jaye's computer (sibling rivalry!). She was quite amused by that and started laughing. The laughter continued and she began joking about all sorts of things, sometimes with quite a wicked little look on her face. I was so thrilled to see that. Also during this time of joviality the subject of the family dog came up. Symone correctly named the breed, a 12 year old golden retriever that we have had since a little pup, and also her name, Tasha. I was quite surprised when the nurse said we could bring the dog in to see Symone if we wanted. Apparently they consider that good therapy. What an amazing place this Rehab unit is turning out to be.
Shortly afterwards the nurse put Symone to bed and she lay there quite calmly resting her head on the pillow, still smirking and laughing occasionally, watching TV (one of her favourite programs, The Simpsons).
Her doctor came in next and we had quite a good chat. I asked about her stomach plug and she said she wasn't quite ready yet to take it out. She wanted Symone to put on a bit more weight first. I also asked about her skull cap and when that would be put back in. She thought in about 6-8 weeks because the swelling in head hadn't totally subsided yet. There was still a small trace of it and they always waited until there were no more signs of swelling before they put it back in. I was a little surprised at that because I thought it would have been back to normal by now. Certainly the indentation in her head is quite large (you can see it on the photo page by clicking here.)
Symone drifted off to sleep after a while and Jeff and I left very happy. It was so good to see Symone recovering as rapidly as she is. Thank you God, thank you Adam, thank you to all the readers out there who are sending all their positive thoughts and praying for her, and thank you to all the wonderful staff at Flinders Medical Centre and now the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre. Words cannot express my gratitude enough.
Update Late Afternoon of August the 10th: Symone was transferred to the "Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit" in Hampstead Road, Northfield today. I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 this morning to be with her all the way through the transfer. She was a little restless and agitated when I arrived and remained this way on and off for most of the day. She was pleased to see me though and said she felt safe when I was around. I explained to her again that she was being transferred to Rehab this morning and although she was little confused about it she seemed to eventually understand.
She ate all her breakfast and the ambulance arrived at 10 am to take her out to the Rehab, located on the other side of town. I followed along behind the ambulance in my car and Symone was waving to me from the back of the ambulance for the whole trip. Upon her arrival she was taken straight to her room next to the nurses station and a whole barrage of people descended on her - nurses to settle her in and support staff to take details. I was taken into another room by the head of the unit and explained some of the routine that she will follow.
She will be worked very hard the first week by physiotherapy and occupational therapy and speech pathology and medical staff etc., as they try to assess her current situation and map out the best form of treatment for her. It is a very proactive program and their entire emphasis is to actively rehabilitate the person and prepare them for normal everyday life. After a week of assessments there will be a family meeting with me and her Grandparents as we jointly lay out realistic goals and strategise the best ways to achieve them. I was very impressed with the program and was given a flow chart of what to expect. Click here to see that chart.
After that meeting I went back into her room. Her Grandparents arrived soon after with all her stuff and we actively decorated the room with cards and Teddy Bears and all her little nick knacks. The entire room was transformed into "Symone's pad". A male nurse then arrived and began to fill out charts, asking Symone basic questions about her general health and vision and hearing and whether she had pain anywhere plus other routine medical questions. Some of the questions she knew the answers to and others she didn't. I helped her out with the ones she didn't know. She was a little confused about where she actually was and thought she was still at the hospital. We explained to her several times about the transfer and she seemed to get it after a while.
When the male nurse left, her speech pathologist arrived with her lunch. What a wonderful woman she was! I was in awe as I watched her work with her. This was to be the first person of many who I would be in awe of today. In a very short while she had Symone sitting up straight in the bed the whole way, of her own accord and unassisted, and even leaning over towards her to get the cheese sandwich she had for her. As she usually does, Symone initially said she didn't want to eat (I usually feed her anyway), but the pathologist said what if I eat half and you eat half. Symone agreed to this, took the sandwich and ate half of it. The pathologist did a few other things and then left. I fed her desert after that and she ate it all up.
She was still restless after eating so I brought the whiteboard over to her with the blue marker and asked her to write her name again. Symone did this quite legibly, although just a little shaky. She then wrote my name, her Grandparents name, her home phone number and, after a little prompting, I asked her to write "Rehab" on the board because that's where she now was. She did all of this quite attentively and had no restlessness or agitation at all while she performed this task. Maybe all her restless is just boredom and she simply needs to have her mind occupied. After this she fell asleep for an hour.
Then her occupational therapist arrived in the room and she was also an equally impressive woman. While Symone was asleep she asked us some basic questions about Symone's general progress until Symone finally woke up. She introduced herself to Symone and asked her if she had any questions for her. Symone asked a most appropriate question saying, "Yes, I'd like to know how long it will be before I get better." I was most impressed with that coherent question. The Occupational Therapist replied by saying, "We don't know yet." Symone seemed to accept that answer.
The physiotherapist was the next person to arrive and she was simply lovely! I am so impressed with all the staff there and their compassion and competence. She asked us general questions about Symone's physical dexterity - what she can and can't do. We discussed Symone's right leg which is now fully contracted again into a severe bent up position. She explained that there are various options available to straighten it including plastering it if that becomes necessary. We will know more after her first week.
Finally the unit's doctor came in and officially admitted her. She explained to us various options regarding her treatment but also some practical stuff like Access Cabs for her eventual day visits home, and handicap parking etc.
We eventually left the Rehab centre in the late afternoon for the 55 minute drive home knowing that a very important phase in Symone's rehabilitation had just begun.
Update Evening of August the 9th: Symone was doing really well tonight when I was there. She was smiling and laughing and chatting away with only minor agitation and restlessness. She wasn't biting at all, in fact I haven't seen her try to bite for 2-3 days now. I had to explain to her again about going to rehab tomorrow as she had forgotten since yesterday. Her short term memory is still not too good but her long term memory is in great shape. She was able to remember and talk about events in her past and she knew everyone by name who came in to see her.
She comes out with some real amazing comments sometimes. For example her 12 year old cousin, Bradley, was there and he said he had to lose some weight. Symone responded by saying, "You don't need to lose weight. That's ridiculous!" We all burst out laughing at that comment.
She ate all her dinner again tonight so that's fantastic progress. If she keeps this up her stomach plug will be out in no time.
Tomorrow will be a busy day for her as she gets transferred to rehab and gets assessed. We will be meeting with the staff for most of the afternoon so I am sure I will have a lot to report tomorrow night.
I uploaded some new photos and video of Symone tonight. Click here to see these. I also uploaded new audio. You can hear that by clicking here.
Update Mid Afternoon of August the 9th: Symone is doing GREAT this afternoon! Her Grandparents are there right now packing up her room in preparation for her move to Rehab tomorrow morning and they report she is bright and cheery, chatting away non stop to some friends of hers who are there. I just spoke to her on the phone and she sounds great. She said she is looking forward to seeing me tonight when I go in. I will make some audio recordings and post them on the site.
Update Midday of August the 9th: David Oates did a 3 hour radio interview on the Jeff Rense show with Adam today. Click here to download that interview.
Update Morning of August the 9th: Symone had a restless night last night and apparently got no sleep at all. When Jeff went to see her this morning with my cell phone so she could participate in the radio interview today, he was told she had only just gotten off to sleep and they were allowing no visitors. I will update more this evening.
Update Evening of August the 8th: After Symone's difficult afternoon, she had a pretty good night tonight. I went to see her this evening and as soon as she saw me she said, "Hi Daddy, I've been waiting for you to come." Then she said, "I missed you." We had a pretty touching time after that. We hugged and kissed and she asked to hold both of my hands. She held them tightly and we both said how much we loved each other. It was all very moving.
I then explained to her that she would be going to the Rehab centre this week and an ambulance would take her. I told her that they would make her a lot better and teach her how to walk again. She seemed to grasp all of this and later on in the evening when some of her friends came in, she told them, of her own accord, that she was going to a different place this week in the ambulance. This is good because it shows she is starting to hold information more. She also remembered her Grandparents spending time with her today.
Another wonderful thing to happen this evening is she wrote both her name and my name on a whiteboard with a blue marker. She held the marker correctly and was a little shaky with her name but it was readable. However when I asked her to write my name she was a lot more sure of herself and wrote "David Oates" very legibly.
I fed her a good meal tonight of almost solid food and she ate most of it. As always, she had plenty of liquids, gulping it down cup after cup. She asked to go to the toilet after her meal and a nurse brought in a bedpan and she used it correctly. This is the first time she has done this.
Her right leg was still a bit of a problem though. After straightening it right out today it was halfway bent up when I arrived. It slowly contracted more and more during the three hours I was there and was almost totally bent back up by the time I left. Clearly this is a problem that will need a lot of physiotherapy to correct.
Also this evening she said several times that she wanted to come home again and that she was happy at home. She said she had school work she had to get done. This is the first time I have heard her express such a strong desire to come home. I explained to her that the Rehab centre had told me that she would be spending about three months there and after that she could come home. However, she would be able to have day trips home after about a month or so. This seemed to make her happy and I could tell that she understood.
So it was a pretty good night tonight. I will make more updates tomorrow.
Update Late Afternoon of August the 8th: I just spoke to Symone's Grandparents who have been with Symone all afternoon and apparently she has had a rough time today. The nursing staff managed to straighten Symone's right leg all the way out but it was a tough process and caused her considerable pain. Additionally they had to take blood from her this afternoon and Symone objected to this. They tried one arm first and that didn't work so they had to take it from the other arm. She also had to take some medications which she wasn't too happy about either.
All of this has distressed Symone and she became quite restless. Part of the problem is that she doesn't really understand why all of this is happening to her, only the fact that she is in pain. Her Grandma managed to eventually calm her down and she drifted off to sleep.
On the positive front, I just had a phone call from the brain injury rehabilitation unit and they will be taking Symone on Wednesday this week. This is very good news as the success rate that they have is outstanding.
I will update more after I have been to see Symone tonight.
Update Midday of August the 8th: This update is made to inform everyone of a very special and important radio interview I will be doing about Symone in the United States on August the 8th at 7pm PST (The 9th at 12pm EST Australian time). This interview will be on the Jeff Rense show - click here to go to Jeff Rense's site and listen to the interview on-line. The interview will feature Adam, the young man who has been doing remote healing on Symone. In addition to the massive amount of prayers being prayed for Symone, I credit Symone's amazing recovery to Adam and his work, and the awesome gift he has been given. We can directly trace Symone's steps of recovery to the healing sessions that Adam has conducted with her - click here to go to Adams page on this website. I strongly suggest you go to Adams website linked at the bottom of his page and order his books. They are amazing books and explain exactly how Adam has been able to do this. Also in this radio interview we are going to see if we can get Symone to say a few words via the telephone.
Symone was given virtually no hope of recovery by the doctors after her accident. At worst we were told to expect brain death and paralysis, and at best a period of at least 6 months before we saw any improvement. When Adam first looked at her brain he saw no activity going on. As he did his remote healing sessions, brain activity began to return rapidly and now, a mere six weeks after the accident, Symone is speaking rationally and has full use of all her limbs (with some stiffness still in the right leg). Her full recovery is now a virtual certainty over the next few weeks and months. We thank God for answering our prayers and bringing Adam into Symone's life. Don't miss this important interview!
Update Evening of August the 7th: Our beautiful girl just keeps on getting better and better. I saw Symone tonight when I came back from my business trip and as soon as I walked into the room she smiled and said, "Hi Daddy." She was very calm with no restlessness at all, and her right leg was almost straight after extensive work on it by the hospital staff today. I showed her the article in the local Adelaide paper (click here) and she was clearly intrigued by it. We stuck it up on her hospital wall along with all the other cards and well wishes.
The nurse who was watching her told us that she had had a reasonably good day today. She had been a little restless earlier on and they had drawn pictures on paper together during this period so she could express her feelings, and she told them that she was sad. They comforted her and after that she fell asleep for 2 hours in the afternoon waking up later just fine. She ate nearly all her dinner in the evening and they said that she had eaten well during the day as well.
Her Grandparents saw her yesterday and they told me that they were throwing her Teddy Bear back and forth between them and she was catching it perfectly. Also tonight when I left Symone I asked her to squeeze my hand and she gave it a good solid squeeze. This is the first time I have seen her do this and others times her hand has just laid limp when asked to squeeze on command.
She is rapidly regaining her faculties and and physical dexterity and we fully expect her to make giant steps when she goes into Rehab, hopefully this week.
Update Midday of August the 7th: Symone was featured in the Adelaide paper, "The Sunday Mail" today. Click here to go to that article.
Update Mid Afternoon of August the 6th: Not a great deal to report today, except that Symone seems to be doing well. She is dosing on and off during the day and a little restless but not too bad. Her voice is strong and her comments are all relevant.
The big breakthrough today is with her right leg which has been contracted into a bent up position. She has a new full time nurse who was insistent that the leg be worked on. She worked on it a lot during the morning, much to Symone's displeasure, and got it straightened out a long way without it bending back. So that is progress.
Her sister visited her this morning also, and although Jaye was a little teary talking to her they managed to have some conversation before Symone fell asleep.
Symone continues to drink lots of liquids and today she was sitting up in her chair again with no problems.
Update Mid Afternoon of August the 5th: Symone was doing pretty good today. In fact she was more like the old Symone before the accident which is a pretty amazing improvement from yesterday and an even bigger leap forward from this time last week. I don't know if it was the Diazepam, or the fact that she had a reasonable amount of sleep last night (still tossing and turning a bit though), or just the brain continuing its rapid healing. Maybe it was a combination of all three. No matter what, it was good news.
She was quite calm while we were there with little agitation and no biting at all. Her voice was strong and clear with no hint of panic or despair as we have heard on other occasions, and she was talking in a rational manner making perfectly normal comments and conversation. She was being watched today by another amazing nurse at the hospital named Tina. Her lunch came after a little while and Tina fed her. She ate some of it rather reluctantly and halfway through she reached out for a sandwich that I was eating and said, "I want to have what Dad's eating." She's not quite at that stage yet but getting pretty close. As always she gulped her liquids and drank three big glasses of cranberry juice that we brought in for her, holding the cup by herself, and a couple of glasses of water.
After her lunch she dozed off to sleep while Tina rubbed her back very soothingly. She slept for 2 hours before her physiotherapist came in. The therapist woke her up and asked her if she wanted to do her therapy but Symone said she was too tired. She tried to coax her into it but Symone was quite insistent. She wanted to sleep! So no Physio today. I tried to straighten her right leg out while the therapist was there because it has become even more contracted into a bent position. I managed to straighten it out about halfway but that's all Symone would let me do because she complained it hurt her. I stopped doing it as the Physiotherapist left and the leg went straight back into its contracted position. Hopefully once she gets to Rehab they'll be able to work on that right leg.
So all in all in was a good day and despite the few setbacks she has had, she has made a big leap since last week, and a massive leap since she first woke up about 3 weeks ago now. I left her sleeping soundly and went to the airport for yet another business trip out of town. I'll see her again on Sunday night when I return and I am sure I will notice even more improvement. As I told her when she was first waking up, "Step by step, day by day you will get better. Step by step your mind will heal." That is indeed what is happening.
Update Late Afternoon of August 4th: Symone continues to be restless and agitated, and the hospital has decided to put her on a regular dosage of Diazepam to help calm her down. Apparently she has not been sleeping at nights either and this would only be adding to her agitation. When I first arrived there, however, she had just fallen to sleep and the hospital was turning away visitors. In fact they have decided to put a permanent restriction on visitors, except for family of course, and will only now allow 2 in at a time and only for 15 minutes each. They suspect that the huge numbers of people who have been coming to see Symone is only adding to her restlessness and right now she needs her rest.
I came back to the hospital an hour later and she was awake and being fed by her favourite nurse - a wonderful woman named Dianne who has taken a real liking to Symone and is giving her regular attention. Mind you, the whole nursing staff at Flinders Medical Centre have been absolutely marvellous and we are all very happy and impressed with the level of care she is receiving. She was eating most of her meal and also drinking massive amounts of water, cup after cup, gulping it down.
After her meal we talked to Symone a little bit and her level of awareness is clearly increasing. We asked her where she was and she said "In Hospital." This is the first time I have heard her answer this question correctly. In the past she has had a high level of confusion over where she actually was and what had happened to her. We also asked her what hospital she was in and she replied "Flinders Medical Center." We asked if she knew why she was there and she replied immediately, "Because I fell." She then said, "And that makes me real sad." Following which she started crying real agonising tears and we just hugged her as she cried. But this is a good thing. It's the first time we haven't had to explain her accident to her and it shows that she is clearly becoming more aware and processing information. The tears are good too because she going to have to work through her trauma as her healing continues.
After her tears, she fell into a deep sleep. I stayed for 2 more hours and she was still sleeping when I left. Hopefully she will sleep for many more hours. Her body and mind certainly needs it.
And thus the vigil continues.
Update Evening of August 3rd: It was a disappointing visit to Symone tonight. For a start the hospital tried to give her a Cat Scan late this afternoon and she was so restless and agitated that they were unable to do so. They even gave her Diazepam and another tranquilizer to calm her down so they could do the scan and they had no effect on her. When I arrived she was extremely agitated, even though she only had the tranquilizers less than 60 minutes previously, and she was restrained. I made the mistake of untying one of the restraints to move her further up the bed and her arm went wild. I did it straight back up again.
She was also verbally aggressive - the first time I have seen this in her since the accident. We had been told to expect this during her recovery but I was hoping she would not go through that phase. Tonight she did for a while. She had calmed down a little by the time I left and asked me for a kiss goodbye. I gave her a kiss and hug and left her, hopefully to have a well deserved sleep.
Update Late Afternoon of August 3rd: Symone's Grandparents and I went out to see the Rehabilitation Centre in Hampstead Gardens today. It is a nice well equipped place and Symone should do very well there. All their work is geared towards rehabilitation and preparing the person to be able to live a productive life again. There is a lot of consultation with family so we will be well in the loop with her ongoing recovery.
After the visit to the Rehab centre we went to the hospital. Symone was eating her lunch when we arrived. As she did last night she ate the soup and lots of water and juices but did not eat the semi solid foods for her meal. The staff say that she is not yet eating enough of her meal to be taken off the stomach plug so until that happens it remains. She has lost almost 10 kilos (22 pounds) since the accident and she can't lose any more.
She had her physiotherapy treatment while we were there and I got to see her sitting up on the side of the bed, still a little shaky but sitting up nonetheless. She was also able to move her left leg out on command but not her right leg. Her right leg has become stiff the last couple of days after all her previous movement and is stuck in a bent up position, although she did move it into a sitting position when she sat on the side of the bed.
Also, while we were there, she had her treatment with the speech pathologist. She did pretty well and was able to correctly identify pictures on cards. Later on in our visit we held up a whiteboard with words written on it and she was able to correctly and immediately read all the words. So that is all good progress.
On the down side, her restlessness continues to be a problem and the hospital says that it is beginning to interfere with her ongoing treatment. We asked them how long it would last and they, obviously, could not tell us. They said it was all part her of her brain injury, they had seen it in other patients before and it could last a week or a few months. Symone is obviously aware of it as it seems to bother her and when we ask her to calm down she says "I am trying." It seems her will wants to do one thing but her brain is making her do something else. However, as with all the other hurdles Symone has crossed since the accident, we believe she will cross this one too.
Today we also talked about the accident more with her. She wanted to know more details than she had previously. We gave her even more details about her accident and explained to her that she had a brain injury. She seemed to comprehend this more this time and later on in the day she showed her despair again by saying "My life is over." We continued to reassure her that this was not the case because she would recover from this and had come so far already. Also today she kept on saying "I don't understand." What she means by this we are not too sure, but maybe her brain is not responding the way she wants it to.
Recovery from brain injury is a long road as we have been told and are beginning to discover personally. However we are all there for her along with 1000s of people from all over the world. Symone will recover from this. We continue to believe this, so it WILL happen!
Update Late Afternoon of August 2nd: Symone was very calm and relaxed this afternoon. No fidgeting or biting or squirming and she was dozing on and off, talking occasionally. She remained this way for most of my visit today and got just a little bit restless towards the end. Its interesting to note too that she talks more when she is restless and her conversation increased the more restless she became. She drank lots of juices while I was there, holding the cup by herself. She was not too pleased with her dinner though and refused to eat the main meal, saying she didn't like it. However, she ate her soup.
Her right leg was pretty mobile today, almost as much as the left, although there was some stiffness, and when we tried to straighten it out once, she complained it hurt. Other than that she is progressing along well, just a little bit better everyday.
We took some photos of her today and they can be seen by clicking here.
Update Evening of August 1st: A special metawalk for Symone was conducted live at the Townsville Reverse Speech Training Class on July the 31st. This can be downloaded by clicking here.
Update Late Afternoon of August the 1st: When I saw Symone tonight she was very restless, twisting and squirming in the bed and biting her sheets and top. Her voice was very clear though and I could understand most of what she was saying. She knew who I was and who she was. She was talking constantly and at one stage she said she was "devastated" by what had happened to her and she was scared. She seemed to think she was a loser and was stupid because of how she was now. I reassured her that she wasn't and got her to say she was a winner. She seemed to accept this and said she was a winner after that. She wanted to get better straight away and I told her it would happen in time and she just had to be patient. She seemed to accept this as well. She also kept on apologising, as she has done often in previous visits to the hospital. I told her again there was nothing to apologise about and she had her a whole new life in front of her as she continued to get better.
Jeff tells me she was a lot better this morning and early afternoon when he saw her. He said her confusion seemed to be going and she was a lot more lucid than she had been previously. She knew the names of all her friends who came in to see her and she had done very well on her psychological tests today, getting 9 out of 10 answers correct. And yesterday, she was able to correctly tell the time on the clock. Also today she was upgraded to semi solid foods, so that's a step forward too and one step closer to having her stomach plug taken out. Additionally she was upgraded to water, rather than her thickened liquid and she drank a whole lot of juice this morning. We will start to feed her lots of water now to begin to flush her system of all the drugs she received when in ICCU.
On another positive note, the benefit concert for Symone has been finalised and you can get all the details about this by clicking here.
Click here for updates from 16th of August onwards
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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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