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.


  1. Regarding Holli's storage unit and moving back to TN: I'm surprised that she wasn't moved to Tennessee when she was brought back from India. Considering the amount of care that she is going to continue to need and that it really is something that only a parent or a very loving significant other would be willing to provide, I'm glad that she is going to her home of origin. About her unit and things: they are just things. While I think that the things with the most obvious merit should be kept to help her acclimate once she wakes up, at the end of the day it is just stuff. And we all accumulate way too much stuff in our lifetimes anyway. But if you guys don't want it sold, why don't you catalogue all of it and divide it amongst yourselves to keep for her until she is able to reclaim it? I hate that this post said that a debate was heating up over this. I realize that relationships with family members are sometimes tenuous at best, but Diane is under a huge amount of stress, if I had to venture a guess. Doing battle with her over something as insignificant as material things isn't worth it, for any of you.

    Thank you for the update.

  2. thank you for your update.
    i agree with the previous comment about her things...
    i am also wondering ... as i am sure many are ...
    what happ'd to harrison?

  3. I'd be really bummed if I woke up from a coma and discovered that all my stuff had been sold without my permission. Especially if it was stuff I cared enough about to keep in paid storage while I was out of the country for an extended period of time. She will already be missing so much of her own life...does she really have to lose all of her personal belongings and household as well? I know it's "just stuff", but it's not always. I've lost my belongings repeatedly (last time to Hurricane Katrina) and I can tell you that it's really disorienting to find yourself suddenly without all those things that make your home your home.

    Why would her stuff be sold in the first place? Just to get it out of the way? Or to raise money?

    If it's to raise money, have the garage sale and let us all buy her stuff. We can give it back to her when she wakes up.

    If its just a simple matter of getting it out of the way, I'm *sure* we can get it stored somewhere indefinitely for her.

  4. I don't personally know Hollis but I've been following her story and have been able to help a bit financially although not visit (I'm in Texas). Reading the last 3 posts I'd say that they're all valid in the points they bring up. Most constructive solution comes from heatherfly.I know I would be happy to store stuff for Hollis so I imagine she has enough geographically closer friends who would do the same...?

  5. Stuff is just stuff, but it would be a wonderful gift to Holli to keep her things for her. It could bring back memories for her and help her to feel like she hasn't lost quite so much. Maybe she'll have no attachment to things from her past or there might be one thing she'll really miss, but we won't know what that one thing is till later. I can keep some things in my attic if it's needed.

  6. Diane has posted a clarification around the issue of Hollis' belongings on the Help Holli Heal blog. For some reason I can't copy it here but please go check it out and if yer a relevant individual get in touch with her to make more sense of the details.
    I think everyone who loves Hollis just wants what is best for her & also what makes the most sense for creating as effortless as possible a transition into her next phase of healing.

  7. Wednesday, June 24, 2009
    Holli's Belongings

    I saw on Holli's other blog Friends of Hollis Hawthorne that there is an issue about what will be done with Holli's belongings. I tried to post a comment on that site and was unable to do it.
    Regarding Holli's storage. I never intended for this to become an issue. I only wanted help finding and seeing what was in her storage. I had planned to start mailing home her personnel belongings along with her clothes, computer and anything I think she would like to save. I only wanted to try to get rid of anything that could be replaced if and when she would need them. Things that we could buy if she ever needed them. I was not the one who brought up the idea of having a yard sale and raising money but when brought to my attention thought it was a good idea instead of just donating it to Goodwill or such. I just did not want to take Holli home and leave her belongings here in California...I think they should be home with her. I am sorry I caused an up heaval.

  8. Diane is the Primary Caregiver and Mother of Hollis and it is not up to a Committee about what to do with the Stuff...
    Diane does not have to apologize for Anything...........
    Diane, in my opinion, has All decision-making votes.....
    and We are here to support Her decisions....
    whatever choices and decisions She makes are the ones we will support...

  9. I had no idea that there was a debate. I didn't know anything was "heating up" I think it's absolutely un-necessary. We are all here to help Hollis, we all love her and want the best for her. We are ALL on the same team. It just takes a little brainstorming to figure out what's best.

    As for other points...

    I agree that her things are an important key to helping with her returning memories... and we can figure out proper storage. We have to work together. I aggree with what all the posts at the top of the page said. People accumulate too much stuff in life but who is to say which things are important or which things are to be thrown out. I know about the loss of katrina survivors and I agree that is would be very disorienting to lose the things that make your home home. I think her stuff will be very helpful to her in her recovery. I also think keeping the mass of it here is important because this is her home base. Selling her stuff wouldn't be about raising money, but it's costly. As is everything else. I don't think it should be sold and I think there is a very strong potential that we have a safe place for it now. We will figure it out. Diane has the decition making capabilities and has gone through so much in this, and has been so strong for her daughter. But she can't do it all on her own. It's taken all of her family to get her this far.

    We work together. There is no debate.

    Hollis is blessed to have such a beautiful network of family and friends on her side.

    Big love.

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