Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hollis is doing it!

Hello everyone,
Thanks for continually keeping tabs on our lady Hollis.
As per my last visit, just a week or two after this last post, I see her improving quite nicely.
When I entered the room, she was in her chair and her head was not all droopy. Her head was upright and her eyes looking to the right. Her eyes kept that position the whole time. She will usually move her eyes around for me, looking at me, etc. But she was concentrating. It was like she was in a trance. And that trance was the determination to speak. She would repeat her words over and over again, not satisfied by the poor deliveries. She would try to say a sentence, get a few words into it, and purse her lips with a mmmmm sound. Then try again.
A few of the things I thought she was saying was:
"I want to go home"
"I want my mom"
"Elizmmmm" I really feel like she was mouthing my name but didn't quite understand the "z" sound yet.
She is determined.
I had a few dreams about her in the last few weeks where she was talking and I was surprised and she was like, " Did you think I would forget how to speak?" all sassy like.

This is great. I was talking to an old friend and he has seen many brain injuries. He wanted to clarify that she should definitely be read to but to keep it fairly simple. Not simpleton, just not Tolstoy etc. He said everything is all jumbled up in there and the clearer the material, the easier it is to make a cognitive map.

And now on to the storage thing.

First of all, I would like to apologize because I didn't super proofread the previous post before I posted it. My computer broke, so I am not online all the time, and I felt like I owed you all an update while I was at a computer. I misscommunicated or even created unintentionally this "heating up" of the storage debate.
I feel like it is my intention to relay what is going on with Hollis to her support network and in the process I hurt Diane's feelings. This is the last thing I want to do.
The reason I said there was a debate at all is because there was. I am a middlewoman and I needed to get more input so I knew how to deal with the upset that came when I said I would open up the storage unit at all.
Diane isn't an evil caretaker, wanting to sell off all her belongings. She is the most sturdy and dedicated woman. She is amazing and I have SO much respect for her. She wants to send the important stuff home for Hollis to be around and use when she is able. She also needs to tie up loose ends and cut unnecessary spending.

I posted the wrong wording. I made it look like two sides are fighting, but we are all working together, and sometimes ideals differ. Hollis put me as a person who could get into her storage unit before all this happened. I agree we should keep her things together so she has memory capsules to peruse. I also agree that paying the rent on her storage unit could be unnecessary or burdensome. I have some of her belongingsin my room from before she left because we were sharing a room. I need to put those in her storage unit. In doing so, I will also assess the situation. I will not snoop or toss or sell any of her things. Just see what that room holds.

In conclusion, I don't need anyone to "weigh in" on the debate anymore. It is not a debate, and the consensus among us all is that Hollis' belongings are for her and they are safe.

I apologize to Diane and the rest of you for this unnecessary drama.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Info on Hollis:

Hello hello,
It has been quite a month of not updating this website. Sorry to keep you all out of the loop. It has been a time for me to get back on with my own life. If you are interested in the daily medical updates, her mother, Diane, keeps the family blog frequently updated while she waits patiently in the hospital room.

Now on to the good news.
As we know with brain injuries, these things take time. Constant updates would be quite boring but over the long span of things, the progress is amazing.
The last couple weeks have been showing great leaps.
It started with her sipping liquid with a spoon. The first thing that someone fed her was a sip of Framboise, one of her most favored liquids.
Then a few days later she was slurping up some applesauce.
This is a great thing because each time I go I remind her that if she can start swallowing and eating, she can get the tracheotomy out.
One less string attached to the hospital should improve her mental environment.
Previously, her right arm had been extremely tight and curled to her body. This trauma position has been something the visitors have been trying to work on, relaxing her arm. In the past few weeks this arm has been much more relaxed. Her left arm has been feeling her right arm, as if she is aware that it is misbehaving. This left arm also explores your hands and her traech tube. It shows her awareness is sharpening.

As I get more used to visiting Hollis in the state she is in, I have learned a few things on how to talk to her even better than before. I felt in the first few months that when I went to see her I just tried to pour out all of my energy to her, coaxing her through a dark tunnel into the light. This always resulted in the feeling of incredible gravity after the visit. It took quite a while to get back to normal. Well, a couple of weeks ago we had a multiple person craniosacral therapy session, and one of the therapists talked to me about it later. She advised me not to give her too much. She said that I should maintain a normal relationship and see if I can reach her through the subconscious. It is along the same lines of not babying her. Talk to her like you would last year. If you know her, you know how headstrong she is and that baby talk pisses her off. I really tried not to talk to her that way, but there was a certain patronizing tone, a tone of hope. I went in later in the week and sat by her side in her chair, peeking my head under her droopy head and told her everything about what is going on outside her window. Her head doesn't really stay up on her own for very long, but her eyes will look at you and she will respond to your stories. She communicates when she understands a story and it makes her remember. This visit she was smiling and clearing her mouth. Swallowing her saliva. This is a great sign. I feel like she is close to forming words.

One of my visits, I grabbed an In Touch Magazine and sat in her bed and read out loud to her. She was checking out all the pictures and kept her attention the whole time. I think she really liked it. I brought in the cover of the Guardian that The Derailleurs were featured. She started crying. She is there. Our job is to keep her updated on the outside world.

Speaking of outside world, her mother's plans for her is to take her to Tennessee when she is able to have homecare. There is a debate now on what to do with the stuff in her storage unit. Her mother would like to have a big garage sale and her close friends would like to chain themselves to the storage unit. It is heating up. This is the official opening of the forum on this topic. Talk amongst yourselves and send a representative with your argument.

In conclusion, bring intellectually stimulating media, conversations of the outside world, and talk to her as if she can respond to you, like you were hanging out. Get over your sadness and despair because yours couldn't possibly match her own.