Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011

Mom has done beautifully over the last week. Though she will have to return to the hospital for a few days in the next week or so to replace a section of her leg graft that failed, she is still as high spirited as ever. She managed to walk over one hundred feet with her walker and Dad nearby for support over the weekend. Today got all the way outside and around the corner of the rehab building. If she gets much further, I am thinking that she will try to run home. Her strength is absolutely amazing coupled with the fact that she walked without a prosthetic for balance and still managed to swing her tiny body around. She has done really well maneuvering her self in and out of bed and up and down to her wheelchair and walker. Aside from the general physical fitness, Mom picked up her drawing pad and started working on a silhouette of a nearby nurse. She will be back plasma cutting in no time at all. I, personally, have an order in for a fire pit already on the books.

Mom is adamant about maintaining a positive attitude fueled by and consistently positive atmosphere. She was very happy to see so many faces over the weekend. She played board games and had some family time with her Savannah and grandsons Colten and Chase. As trivial as it seems, playing and laughing together without the constant toll of vital monitors and IVs is an absolute blessing. Her determination and beauty continues to radiate from every pore just as we would expect and she cannot wait to get home. Until then, however, she has the comfort of her "home in a box" from her niece Kalee Lou. She can smell a piece of her mesquites and choose not smell the wonderful horse apples* -though they do resemble the ones that always seem to make it into the front yard in place of her flowers.

To the contrary of Mom's progress, Dad managed to digress a bit. He decided that walking down the fifth wheel steps was far too simple and, instead, tried rolling down. He was very successful in his endeavor and managed to scrape off the newly grown skin that had patched up his elbow and also inflict some rather angry bruises across his knee. Overall, the death of his traveling coffee cup was probably the most appalling after the tumble. Though he will recover from his lack of traveling caffeine, we are in search of a new cup. All humor aside, he gathered himself up and still made it to Mom's morning physical therapy. He is still sore and probably will be for quite a while with the storm that has come in but hopefully he will continue to take care of his new wounds and grow pretty new skin back in their place.

*For those of you that do not know, we live on a ranch and our home is actually located inside the horse pasture hence the horse apples (feces) in the front yard.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011

Mom's first week in rehab is officially over. She is still getting into the groove of things as far as scheduling is concerned. For some reason the daunting task of bandage changing always seems to put a wrench every machine. Hopefully we've worked past those and this week will be another under her physical therapy belt allowing us to inch closer to home. She has decided that rehab is in need of some serious traffic control when it comes to wheel chairs (especially those that are motorized). She is still a bit nervous around crowds but still does very well maneuvering around obstacles. We even took the chair out for a bit of a four wheeling adventure today (off the sidewalk!). 

Her biggest irritation at this point seems to be healing the hole from the trach so that she can talk without whistling. She is getting stronger as everyday goes by and is absolutely determined to be as healthy as possible to get some length back in her hair. She is drinking as much Ensure as any one person can stand (if you've ever had the pleasure of drinking Ensure on a regular will understand this sarcasm). With Dad's daily support she goes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the dining hall and can also take strolls outside the building. Though both nature walks and dinning socially seem fairly small in comparison to what we might experience in a day, these are both huge considering the amount of traveling she has done over the last few months (while lucid and not on a ventilator). 

These are pictures of last week's hospital escape that just so happened to be celebrated with cake and lots of smiling faces. I will post more as I receive them so that all of you can put a face to the many people we are so deeply indebted to for being involved in saving the light of our family: 

Parting sweetness!

Dr. Caruso and Dad

And again from their better side

Dr. Machado and Mom

A close-up of Mom's BEAUTIFUL cake

This picture is from the end of last week after her big move and stylish new do!: 

The famous woman that this wonderful blog obsesses over 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011

Mom has left the building!!!!! We have finally managed to escape the hospital and move on to rehab. Mom was moved yesterday after a wonderful party thrown in the Maricopa Burn Unit. The staff provided a beautiful cake and dad fed the troops in hopes of showing even the smallest amount of gratitude in comparison to what they have given to us. There was quite a turn out to wish Mom well. As I am sure we have all come to believe, she is literally a miracle in the eyes of everyone that she has come in to contact with. We cannot thank each and every staff member and pray that their lives are as blessed as we have been in the past months.

Mom is tube free and has managed to feed herself the occasional bite. Hopefully over the next few weeks she will gradually find herself more and more confident in everyday activities. The rehab center will work with her to walk with her prosthetic and begin to manage the lifestyle of an amputee. She will be taken to the burn center on a weekly basis depending upon her progress for bandage changes and check-ups.

As a family, we would like to ask you all to join us in thanks for the fantastic people that work so diligently to support the burn victims of our community.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2010

We are officially over the grafting hump! Mom's grafts have taken fully. Her bacteria count has decreased dramatically as she continues to heal. Her biggest competitor at this point is the cough that she finds herself consumed with occasionally. We are all hoping that this increase in strength due to having a complete outer skin layer will help to combat the coughing.

She is determined as ever and hopes to be moved to rehab within the next two weeks. During her stay in rehab they will have a daily regiment of exercises to prepare her for her prosthetic leg and regain her range of motion in all of her limbs and digits. She needs each and everyone of her cheerleaders at her side through all of this therapy as it will assuredly be another test of her strength both physically and mentally. We all know very well that she is more than capable of striding through the speed bumps ahead. We must continue to bolster Mom with thoughts of positivity and optimism so that she is just as confident as we are of the future to come.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

December 8, 2010

Mom's surgery went well on Thursday. We are now forced to play the waiting game for the next few days to see how well the new grafts have taken. They chose to use a larger donor area so that the skin grafted over her legs was more cosmetically appealing, however, this does mean that her entire back and bottom were harvested. The hand specialists were also able to get in and do a bit of reconstruction to some of her  tendons to increase mobility in her fingers. They have found a happy medium, fortunately, with pain control and she is dong well all considered. The replaced her fenestrated trach (so that she can talk) yesterday morning and have initiated the process of preparing her leg for prothesis.

They plan to remove the bandages today so that Dr. Caruso can examine the overall process of healing and get a jump start on planning her next step. If all goes well, as we have prayed incessantly, after the grafts have healed she should be able to transfer to a rehab center in the very near future. Affirming her angelic personality, Mom maintains her positive frame of mind and continues to stress about others far more than herself. She checks on grandchildren everyday and asks that we send our love to everyone until she is able to do so herself.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5, 2011

In an effort to protect Mom and get her fully on the road to rehab,they have decided to take Her into surgery tomorrow morning.They plan to take her back as a prime donor sight to graft both her left and right legs completely.We will continue to pray that we are as blessed with this surgery as we were with the grafting of her right arm. It will take at least five days to see how well the transferred skin responds and then we will know how quickly she can procede to rehab. They will also be prepping her left leg for a later prothesis fitting.

The doctors and staff attribute so much of her progress to her own inner strength and dedication to love and life.They too, however, deserve unfathomable credit for saving our angel and bring the light back to pur lives. We thank you all for your support and dedication to her progress. We also ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers until she is free from the hospital, excelling in rehab, and then joining us all at home for the celebration of a lifetime.