Wednesday, March 13, 2013

365 - March 13, 2013 - One Year Mark

Have you ever looked back on a moment in your life and thought... that seems like just yesterday, but at the same time it also feels like forever ago?

Scott's accident feels a lot like that.

Today marks one year since the accident happened. One of the most difficult years we have had to face. I couldn't be more proud and thankful for the person Scott is and how hard he has fought this entire time.

As Mat Kearney says in his song - Closer To Love

She got the call today
One out of the gray
And when the smoke cleared
It took her breath away

She said she didn't believe
It could happen to me
I guess, we're all one phone call from our knees

The past year has been a reminder that life doesn't always go according to plan or how we think it should go. When you suddenly find yourself looking at an uncertain future of possibly becoming a widow at 24 years old, or taking care of someone you love who could possibly be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life, or watch him struggle to walk when he use to run marathons, watch him relearn to breath on his own when he could sing and play the guitar, watch him struggle to add simple numbers when he was near the top of him medical class, when you look at the life you have worked hard to plan and prepare for and watch all of that slip away... in one phone call.

We have watched as Scott has fought through all of these trials and hardships to overcome and truly astound all those around him at his ability to prevail over this obstacle... without so much as uttering one complaint. 

In our office here at home I decided to make it into a place of hope and inspiration. I gathered a few of our favorite quotes and made them into word art to hang on the walls. 
Here are a few of our favorites. 

What we have been doing since the last post:

Scott is currently in ultra study mode. He attends therapy sessions for two half days a week focusing on therapies in Speech, Group Psychology, and Occupational therapy. When he isn't at therapy he is home studying. (Except on Sundays when he takes a break) I don't know about most of you, but have you ever tried to study for at least 15 hours straight? Imagine doing this day, after day, after day. What is Scott studying so hard for you may ask... Well he is scheduled to take step 2 of his boards in one week. 

What this means for Scott:

Step 2 of the boards is basically a comprehensive exam covering the information gained in your third year of medical school. It also helps residency programs in deciding if they would like to take you on as a resident after graduating from medical school. Step 1 of Scott's boards went very well. He scored in the 89th percentile. Basically we want him to take step 2 of the boards to show residencies that he still has the smarts he had before. Many medical students put off taking step 2 until the middle or end of their fourth year of school because most residencies weigh their decision on the step 1 score of the boards, class ranking, as well as audition rotations. A lot of students feel if they scored well enough on step 1, taking step 2 might hurt their chances of getting in where they want if they don't score as well.

But for Scott we found that it might be a reassuring to those who question his ability to recall, apply and use the medical information he has. Because this test is such a big deal he has been studying since October for it. Scott has taken multiple practice tests to predict how he might score on the test.

Scott took his first practice test on January 14th he scored a 341. You need a score of at least 400 just to pass the exam.

After his first score came out I was upset. I was scared that Scott might not ever be able to do what he has dreamed of his whole life. I worried that he wouldn't be able to make it back to school and that he would have to wait another year before he could attend school again.
Scott's response in all of this is the perfect example of who Scott is and why I will continue to be so amazed and awed by him. He admitted to me that it frustrated and disappointed him that he didn't pass the test. But that is where the conversation ended. He sat down on his own and made a new study schedule, he presented this new schedule and plan to his therapists. He included an excel chart that mapped his daily practice test scores, what the average for the score was, and if he fell above or below average.

To those on the outside this might not look like anything significant but for someone who has had a traumatic brain injury this is a very big deal. Scott's deficits have a lot to do with the frontal lobe of the brain. This controls executive functions. I always think of what an executive does at an office to help me remember what this means.

Executive Functions in the brain help to control:
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Strategizing
  • Paying Attention
  • Remembering Details
  • Managing Time and Space

After revamping his entire study schedule his therapists were all very impressed at what this meant for Scott. They applauded him for taking this disappointing information and turning it into a learning and growing opportunity. Night after night Scott would come to bed tired and excited. He would relay the day's practice scores to me and talk about what he learned.

Scott took his 2nd official practice test March 4th and scored a 501. A score of 500 is average. We jumped for joy at this news. Scott was able to score one point above the average medical student on his test.

The next Step: Scott takes the actual tests on March 18th and the 21st We welcome any thoughts, prayers, or general good vibes sent his way!!

Other big goals for the future:

Scott is set to go back to medical school June 10th. He will be working at the school's clinic to assess his stamina and working knowledge. He will be monitored by his therapists as well as the school's administration. We are very excited to be taking this step and are hoping and praying that all goes well.

A few months after that Scott will head out of state for to begin his audition rotations. There are a few places we have in mind including Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.

As for me what I have been up to:

For the past couple of years I have been assessing the possibility of attaining a Child Life Certification. 

What is Child Life:

“To promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.”

The requirements for the certification include:
  • A minimum of a Bachelors Degree (in Child Life, or a closely related field)
  • A minimum of 10 college courses that relate to Child Life
  • Completion of an unpaid Internship that is at least 480 hours but can be up to 640 hours. (These internship programs are highly competitive and often applicants must apply all over the country to gain entrance into a program)
  • Passing the Certification Examination

Right before Scott's accident I was scheduled to attend an open house for Phoenix Children's Hospital Child Life program. I was going to be applying for their internship program and wanted to make some connections. Unfortunately Scott's accident happened the week I was to attend.

Knowing that Scott's road to recovery would be a long one I decided that I would do whatever it takes to help support Scott in getting better. I knew that also meant the potential to finding a career that would bring in a stable form of income. Most of my photography and artistic pursuits help to bring in extra income but don't allow for stable financial support.

I made the choice to apply for the internship program. I knew that I needed to apply locally so that I could still be here for Scott when he needed me. That left me two places to apply. At first I didn't get the position, looking back I can see it would have been very difficult to manage getting Scott to therapy and putting in the time and energy it takes to fulfill this type of commitment to an internship program. I made one last effort to apply knowing that the requirements of the profession would soon be changing requiring me to go back to school and spend approximately $3,000 + to gain the needed class work requirements.

During the waiting period between applying for the first internship opportunity and the second, I began volunteering at two separate hospitals.
Phoenix Children's Hospital – This happens to be about 3 miles away from Scott's therapy program
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center- This hospital is about 2 miles from our home

Halloween - 2012 Banner Thunderbird Child Life

iHeart Kids Hope-A-Thon
I was blessed to be selected to start as the Banner Thunderbird Child Life Intern in January of this year. Over the past couple of months I have learned so much. I have seen the medical side of what is like to watch a family in the PICU. (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) Recalling many of my feelings while watching Scott in the ICU after his accident. I have been able to provide support for families as they make their medical journey through their refiners fire. I have been able to prepare and teach children about medical procedures, build confidence and coping skills before having them go into surgery. I have produced fun crafts made out of medical supplies and helped children to express themselves and their feelings through playing.

Valentine's Day Celebration at the Hospital
In May I will fly to Denver Colorado to take my exam to gain certification in this profession. After that I am crossing my fingers that a job will become available to use these new skills so that I might help patients and families feel empowered through their medical experience.

Over all I continue to be amazed at just how far life has taken us in a year. We have been truly blessed by all the wonderful people around us. I can't imagine going through this year alone.

From the moment I got that phone call a year ago... to the continued kindness of friends, 
family, and neighbors today.

We are continuing to grow in love, learning, and life.

What a miracle it is to wake up and take a breath, to see the faces of the people we love, to hear the rain fall, or feel the warm embrace of a loved one.

Through everything we encounter we will continue to celebrate life!!

“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. 
Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”

- Gordon B. Hinckley

A big thank you for all of those who continue to support us on this journey. We are humbled and thankful to be blessed by your kindness.

With much love,

Scott & Ashley

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 284- Christmas Wish - Dec 24, 2012

Visit back in the next couple days to see our end of year post. We are excited about all the progress that Scott has made over the past few months and want to continue sharing his journey with all of you. 

If there is one thing we want all of you to know, it is how incredibly thankful we are to all of you for your continued love and support. We have been so blessed with thoughtful notes, acts of kindness, and continued generosity from all of you that we are constantly brought to our knees with thankful hearts. 

At this holiday time, please know that our hearts are with all of you. This year, Christmas could have looked much different for our family but we have been given an opportunity to witness Scott's progress and continued recovery. Please take a moment to hold the ones you love close and let them know how much they mean to you.

We have been given a precious gift that we often forget is very fragile. 
Be thankful for the gift of life and family!!

With much love,

Scott & Ashley Moore

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 221 - I Want to Ride My Bicycle - October 22, 2012

Over the past few months Scott has met the necessary requirements to return to driving. 
We actually went and got his license today.

This step, along with the cooler temperatures approaching, Scott was given the okay to start biking again.

Many people have asked us if I will let him bike again... I kind of laugh to myself at this comment because there is so much behind those words. Even before Scott was out of the hospital we had conversations about the possibility of him biking again one day.

Biking for Scott is not something that he could let go of easily. He loves every minute of being on his bike. I put myself in Scott's shoes for a moment and thought about how I would feel if he wouldn't "let me" paint or draw every again. Granted, most of my hobbies don't include things that could potentially kill me... but the love and passion behind our interests are who we are.

One of the things I love most about Scott is that he is willing to talk things out and meet in the middle with ideas. I asked him this one question:

Do you love cycling so much that you would be willing to give up your life and everything you have worked for to continue doing it at the level you were before your injury?

Thank goodness his answer was no. We talked about a way that he could still bike and be a little safer while doing so. Here is what we agreed upon.

- We can bike together. (Why not make this something we can both enjoy... that way if a car does try to take us out at least we will go together)

- No biking on major streets (People just don't pay attention to what's going on around them... less cars, less chance of being hit)

- If Scott wants to do a longer ride we will go on the canal.

Those are the new rules... and of course we will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, put on our helmets. It saved his life and it's never an option to not put it on. (Even if they look goofy)

So here is the "big" ride together!!  

Grinning Ear to Ear

Sporting the all important helmets!!

I think Scott has had this bike since he was 14... can you tell?

So right after he did a few trial runs I packed up my camera and proceeded to hop on my bike... only to find out much too late that the seat was positioned for someone much taller than I am. My feet were left dangling for a split second and next thing I knew I was tipping over.  I was so cautious about Scott getting on his bike that I didn't take the time to assess my own. I can't remember the last time a I had a scraped up knee but it sure brought back childhood memories. 

The bike ride itself went very well. We both had a great time and are 
planning on doing another ride tonight. 
We did a very quick video while riding so that you could all take the first ride with us...
Hope you all enjoy!! 

To quote Scott..
 "It feels like a piece of me has come back"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 182 - 6 Months - Half a Year

182 days ago...

I received a phone call,

6 months ago...

I found out that my husband might not ever wake up,

Half a year ago...

I stood over my husband's bed in the ICU and pondered what his future would be, pondered what our lives would look like. Would Scott still be alive, would Scott ever be "Scott" again.

Today, 182 days later...

Our lives look different.

Today, 6 months after the accident...

My husband is alive, awake and he remembers who he is and who I am.

Half a year after the accident...

Scott is getting back to being "Scott" again.

This journey we have been on over the past 6 months has been truly life changing for both of us. We have laughed and cried and learned. We have often been brought to our knees with the understanding of how blessed we are, and at the same time humbled to see how far we have to go.

So often people will look at Scott and think, wow he is doing so well. You would hardly even know what he has been through. It is estimated that Scott will be able to return to medical school around May or June of next year. He is working diligently in his therapy program to pick up where he left off from school. That includes taking step 2 of his board tests. In preparation for this test Scott has been working with his therapists to retest himself, and set a benchmark to work from. Over the past month and a half he set up a study schedule to go over step 1 of the boards (although he has already taken that test). He set up flash cards on the internet that include review information for that test. He set a goal of scoring at least 50% on the entire review test. This would equate to an acceptable grade on the actual step 1 test.  He took the test multiple times working toward this goal... eventually he surpassed this goal and scored a 70%!! This score also tied his previous pre-injury high score. This allowed him the freedom to move on to studying for step 2 of the boards.

Some very exciting news regarding Scott's return to school... Scott finally has come to a decision on what he wants to specialize in. Keep in mind that this topic has been one that has been explored and studied diligently over the past few years. Scott told me that he wanted to test out all the different "seats on the bus" to see which one was the best. In light of the recent events in our lives, Scott had to reassess his future career choice. Upon pondering over options of "plans B, C, and D," Scott was reminded of undergraduate school, where he spent part of his time studying CLS (Clinical Laboratory Sciences). This sparked the topic of becoming a Pathologist. Scott went home that night determined to make his pro's and con's list. He soon found himself looking at an ever growing list of pro's. He now tells me that everything seams to lead him down that "path"...olgy that is.

It is estimated that Scott will also be returning to driving in the next few months. In the past few weeks he has been working with a wonderful company here in the valley that work with individuals that have been in accidents like Scott's. Upon evaluation we were informed that Scott will need a few extra driving hours with their instructor to ensure safety while driving on the freeway. The loss of sight in Scott's right eye is one of the main focuses they will be working on overcoming. This means added mirrors as well as practice scanning across his new visual field. If you have seen Scott in the last few months you may have noticed that he has some new spiffy glasses. These glasses are actually his new best friend. They contour around his face and are slightly larger so that he can have as much peripheral vision as possible. This helps largely in his ability to drive. Scott is very encouraged with this news and hopes that having this bit of driving freedom back will allow us both a little more flexibility with our schedules.

Physically Scott is doing outstanding. His therapists agreed that he was doing so well that they discharged him from PT!! Two days ago, Scott ran 3 miles on a treadmill at a constant speed of 10 minutes per mile. This was a big first since the injury. The numbness in his hand and foot are getting better but it is still bothersome.

Since we haven't updated the blog since June I will include some of the recent event's that we have been doing since then.

Visiting Family in Utah!!

4th of July (Dancing in the Rain) - Family Photos - Going to the Temple

Fishing, Camping, and Hiking
Visiting family in Utah!

I also wanted to post a few photos to show the progression of Scott's wounds. I think you might be interested to see some of these. Thanks to nightly lotion massages, as well as using scar strips, we have really noticed a difference. 

Scott today... 6 months later.

A final message from Scott himself... 
Hi everyone. I am excited to celebrate my 6 month anniversary of the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I have been extremely blessed through this whole process. Every day that I go to therapy, I am constantly reminded of what my life could have been like. There are so many patients that have a hard time doing fairly simple things, not that I don't have my own difficulties. I am so glad that I still have the function of my arms and legs. Almost all of the patients struggle with some form of peripheral disability, it makes my residual numbness seem insignificant. 

I, personally have a lot of thank you's to express. Ashley has been the biggest help to me, driving me to my therapy appointments, and sleeping wherever she could find space while I was quasi-coherent. I also want to thank her for continually posting on this blog. Imagine not remembering the last month and a half of your life, but having it chronicled online for you to examine at a later date. I also want to thank my parents and family. Their support has been astronomical. I am grateful that I have been able to see them more often after this accident. I truly do appreciate all of our friends as well, not enough can be said about the uplifting feelings that come from knowing that the people you care about really do care about you too. I also want to thank all of those that I don't even know who offered prayers in our behalf, donated money for the medical bills, and all the people in our area who have offered of their time and service to us. 

Thank you everyone!!

Scott Moore

1. Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

2. I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

3. So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Text: John Henry Newman, 1801–1890
Music: John B. Dykes, 1823–1876

Today We Celebrate Life!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 105, So Blessed - June 26, 2012

Have you ever been in the grocery store or out in the community and noticed a small jar with a hole cut in the lid. On the jar there is a photo of a family or a person in need. Under the photo you read a little about their story and feel moved to help.

Last night I found myself looking at one of those jars but this time it was mine and Scott's face in the photo. It was his story on the jar. 

I can't even begin to describe the feeling when you see your friends and neighbors come to support you. When complete strangers reach into their pockets to put money into the jar. When I look into your eyes and say "thank you" it's hard to adequately convey my feelings in those two words. Thank you just doesn't feel powerful enough. It is hard for me to even say anything without bursting into tears. I searched and searched, last night for words to say to each person as they volunteered to help serve ice cream, clean tables, pass out fliers, buy ice cream, and offer their love and support. 

Last night I watched in awe as Scott scooped and served ice cream, with a smile on his face, to members of our church and our community. I watched as the line at Cold Stone Creamery in Peoria, Arizona went out the door and around the corner. I watched as people stood in 108 degree weather and waited for their ice cream. 

When I say "THANK YOU!!" What I am trying to say is: "My heart is overflowing with gratitude. Our lives have been changed by this trial, but through it we have seen such miracles! You have shown us how much good there is in this world. We are blessed to know you. We are so thankful that you have taken your time to not only tell us but also show us your love." 

There have been so many who have donated to Scott's Recovery Fund through Wells Fargo, and America First. It gives me chills to look at those deposits and know what that money could do for you in each of your lives and what a sacrifice it is to donate it. Those of you who have given your time to organize fund raisers: like the garage sale that took place a few months ago, or last night at Cold Stone, or for others who continue to come up with ways to help us pay our bills, your time and efforts to coordinate those event's are so appreciated. 

For the silent individuals who wish to remain anonymous. For kind people who cut our lawn and trim our bushes. For those of you who I can't send a gigantic thank you card to, like the individuals who were there to call for help when Scott needed medical attention, or the police officer who showed me such kindness over the phone when trying to sort out where Scott's belongings were. For the multitudes of doctors and nurses who cared for Scott and made it more than just a "job." 

For Mrs. Schvaneveldt and Mrs. Zambrano's 3rd grade classes and the beautiful artwork they sent to Scott!!

I want to share a few of these for todays post. I hope they bring a smile to your face like they did to ours. We are so blessed to have you all in our lives!! If I haven't had the opportunity to personally look you in the eyes and say "THANK YOU" please know that what you are doing and have done is so so appreciated!!

My scanner cut off the edge on some of these... sorry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 92 - Progress & Planning, June 13, 2012

Hello everyone!!

For all you Arizona Friends
Do you Love Ice Cream?
Do you Love Prizes?

Check this Out!!

Thanks Rob and Kristin for putting this together!
My gratitude goes out to all of those who continue to show all kinds of support for us! 
We truly couldn't make it through this without you. 


I know last time I posted I mentioned that I would be updating you all on Scott's progress from his therapy tests. 

He is currently in therapy. There are multiple areas of therapy he attends. The team of individuals at CTN (Center for Transitional Neuro Rehab) include: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Neuropsychology, and Recreational Therapy.

Each of these areas did their own individual testing when Scott first arrived in the program. This last weekend we received the results of his scores in these areas as well as a treatment plan. Scott has agreed to share some of this information with all of you. The whole packet was about 30 pages but we will do small summaries of each area. 

Since Scott was in medical school and has done well with school throughout his life they expect him to be in the 93% of most of these categories. 

It is Estimated that Scott "may require up to 12 months of participation in the Home Independence and School Re-Entry Programs. His length of stay may be modified based on his progress."

His over all strengths:
a. Excellent Family Support
b. High Level of Pre-Injury Functioning
c. High Level of Motivation
d. Good Ability to Learn New Information and Utilize Compensations


Superior Range:
- Retrieval and Use of Academic Information
- Nonverbal Abstract Reasoning

High Average: 
- Knowledge of Word Meanings
- Verbal Comprehension and Knowledge of Social Rules
- Auditory Attention
- Immediate Memory Capacity
- Anticipatory Planning and Problem Solving

Average Range:  
- Verbal Abstraction
- Two and Three Dimensional Visual Integration 
- Problem Solving
- Working Memory
- Mental Computation
- Arithmetic
- Verbal Working Memory
- Selective Visual Attention/Concentration and Scanning
- Mental Flexibility
- New Concept Formation & Problem Solving 
- Immediate and Delayed incidental Visual Recall and Delayed Visual Recognition

Low or Moderate Range: 
- Divided Visual Attention
- Speed
- Visuospatial Sequential Tracking
- Working Memory
- Divided Attention 
- Information Processing (Involving suppressing interference effects over timed delays)

Severe Deficits:
-Attention to Visual Details
- Sustained Attention 
- Psychomotor Speed

Very Severe Deficits: 
- Performance on Task of Speed of Information Processing Requiring Written & Oral Responding
- Sustained Visual Attention Speed
- Visuospatial Sequential Tracking 
- Performance on Task of Verbal Learning and Memory
- Visual Fluency
- Verbal Fluency
- Right Dominate Hand Simple and Complex Motor Speed
- Planning and Route Finding 
- Generating Strategies for Problem Solving   

Speech and Language:

- Spelling Abilities (98th Percentile)

Mild Impairment:
- Auditory Comprehension
- Inferential Reasoning & Comprehension of Communication Intents

Moderate Impairment:
- Higher Level Language Processing
- Written Expression
- Arithmetic Abilities (21st Percentile/ 7th Grade Level) 
- Word Finding
- Overall Reading Abilities
- Memory

Moderate to Severe Impairment:
- Attention/Concentration 
- Speed of Processing

Severe Impairment:
- Language Formulation Skills
- Expression of Communication Intent

Occupational Therapy:
Areas of Difficulty:
- Vision
- Functional Math Skills
- Bilateral Hand Strength
- Fine Motor Coordination - (1st percentile - Very Severely Impaired)
- Right Upper Extremity Strength and Coordination
- Executive Cognitive Skills 
- Planning
- Problem Solving 
- Organization 

Hand Strength:
                                      Right Hand:                         Left Hand:               
Gross Grasp:                <10th Percentile                  25th Percentile          
2 Point Pinch:              <10th Percentile                   25th Percentile 
3 Point Pinch:                10th Percentile                   50th Percentile 
Lateral Pinch:                10th Percentile                   50th Percentile 

Physical Therapy:
- Low and High Level Balance
- Overall Strength
- Gross Motor Control 
- Spousal Support 

- Left Ankle Range of Motion 
- Right Hip and Knee Flexor Strength
- Motor Coordination
- Motor Speed
- Quality of Gait
- High Level Balance
- Stamina

The Plan:
While in therapy he will be working on developing new strategies and compensations to help him overcome and deal with his difficulties. 

Basically Scott will be doing what he always does: Not necessarily in any particular order 
- Work Hard
- Play Hard
- Study Hard
- Love Life
- Serve Others

Now Some

We recently found the "Recreation Room" on campus. Scott challenged me to a game of Ping Pong!! Now we make it an almost daily thing. After we finish our workout we go and play one game of Ping Pong or Billiards. 

I wanted to give you guys the chance to see Scott in action on the treadmill. He LOVES IT! I feel bad that I don't let him go above 5 but he has to keep his heart rate below 145.

Last but not least :
A huge thank you goes out to the Tieman Family for bringing over a training bike for Scott to borrow for awhile. He was so excited to get back on a "real bike."

What a huge moment for him. 3 months later and he is back on a bike. 
(Just not outside... or anywhere a car can hit him!!)

Now I just need to keep my eye on him and make sure he isn't sneaking off in the middle of the night to ride it!! (He wouldn't do it because he knows he shouldn't, but I am sure the thought crossed his mind.)

Happy day to all of you!!
Again, please remember how much you all mean to us. 
We love you.

Scott & Ashley