Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 76- Birthday Boy, May 28, 2012


This past week has been a busy one. 

When we do have some down time we like to PARTY!!
Well when it's Scott's birthday that is. 

On Thursday we celebrated Scott's 27th Birthday.  

I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday and he told me he wanted to go get some frozen yogurt. So after we went to the gym we stopped by his favorite frozen yogurt place. He loved it :)


On Saturday we had some friends over for cake and a few games!


I made one of Scott's favorite desserts:
Bienenstich - German for "Bee Sting"
It is said that the baker was stung by a bee while making the original cake... 
that or the sweet glaze attracts a lot of bees. 
I Americanized this one though...
Basically it's a bread like cake with layers of vanilla cream 
and topped with an almond carmel glaze!!

I chose to make this one with 4 layers... I like how it turned out. 


 A few other projects that have been happening around the house...
Scott was told by his Occupational Therapist that using his right hand for fine motor tasks would be beneficial to him. I looked at him and said... "Yeah, you should join me at making jewelry."
His therapist thought it would be a great idea! I felt bad that I had even brought it up. But here is a fun video for all of you to see he actually did this :) 


video


We sat down together and he picked the color of jewelry he wanted to make. I told him what design would be a good one for him to start with. I showed him the steps it would take in order to complete the earrings. He only had to ask for help a few times but over all he remembered all the steps... he was able to grab the fine wire, beads, and tools and use them well!! It was amazing to watch. You can see in the pictures below that this stuff is itty bitty. I love how much he is concentrating. It was really great to watch.


Here is the final project.

Happy Mother's Day Patti!!
PS- this should be coming in the mail for you sometime this week. 

Medical news...
Scott no longer has any weight restrictions for his right arm. 
The Orthopedic Surgeon told us that things are looking good. He said that the metal plate they put in his right arm to fix the radial bone will stay put. He did mention that the Radial artery was weak (at best) and that Scott is now Ulnar dominate. He also pointed out that part of Scott's radial bone had grown up and over the metal plate. Luckily this isn't a problem but it is something very interesting. When we first learned about Traumatic Brain Injuries we found out that some patients will experience abnormal bone growth.  Looks like Scott experienced this in his arm.

So the good news is Scott can really pump some iron at the gym :) 


Well we are signing off-

Happy Memorial Day to all of you!
Thank you for all of those who have fought so hard to 
keep us safe and give us freedom.

Thank you to my sweet husband who was and is willing to serve our country.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 67- Recreational "Therapy", May 19, 2012

Hello All.

I know it has been awhile since you have been updated on what has been happening with Scott's progress. After we were discharged from Barrow's we didn't waste any time getting back into life.
On days that he isn't doing outpatient therapy at CTN (Center for Transitional Neurological Rehab) or attending doctor's appointments, Scott is busy filling his time with 
"recreational therapy."
 I will let Scott tell you about what has been going on for us lately... 
followed by a few other pictures and videos.


video


video

video
Here are just a few of the things that have been going on since we have been home. 

-We have been to our favorite restaurant
- We joined our friends for a BBQ  
- We went to see The Avengers 
- We went to see the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey game 
 


- We have had many wonderful visitors



- We celebrated a birthday, Mother's Day, and our 5th year anniversary 


- Scott played in the pool with his brother
- He played billiards and almost won (It was very impressive)



- We went on a short desert hike with family

On days off from CTN (outpatient therapy) Scott has been working hard at the gym. His physical therapist at CTN keeps telling him that she has to think really hard of new things for him to work on because he keeps mastering the things she gives him to do. 

One area of focus has been Scott's balance...
See for yourself how far he has come :) 




video


At CTN Scott did a "Balance Master" test.


You can see his results below...
Also in the purple box on the right you will see a little blue gingerbread figure. Ultimately that figure should stay centered between the crosshairs. This machine will calculate any shift in weight and will detect where his balance is. We were excited to see that his composition score was above the normal mark! Wahoo Scott. 

He has been doing a lot of evaluation at CTN over the past couple weeks. After all the initial testing is done they will sit down with us and explain what Scott's treatment plan will be. 
So maybe by next post we will have some medical jargon for all you who have been missing that... I will do my best to take notes :) 


Love you all,

Ashley 


















Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 60- Our First 5 Years- May 12, 2012

Today marks 5 years since Scott and I were married. We have learned so much in those five years of being together. We have done so many fun things, accomplished so many goals, and have had many, many heartaches along the way.

At the beginning of March I started working on the anniversary gift I wanted to give to Scott. I decided I was going to make a 100 page book and have it printed. This book would have photos and memories of our first 5 years together. It would include stories, thoughts, and pictures. I sorted through oodles and oodles of memories as I started piecing this book together. Then the accident happened on March 13th... I didn't have time to finish the book but I did have ALL of those memories fresh in my mind. 

I will share with you one of those special moments. Keep in mind I had watched this only a week before the accident happened. Sometime I think that God prepares us...



video

I couldn't have known that almost 5 years after this video was made I would be sitting in a hospital room watching my husband fight for his life. When we married each other that day we didn't say "Till Death Do Us Part." Instead, the words that were said in our ceremony that day were, "For Time and For All Eternity." I am so thankful that I fully believe that my husband and I don't have to say goodbye when death comes to call.

One of the first of his belongings that I was able to hold when I first got to the ICU was his wedding ring... a circle, a symbol of infinity. It reminded me of that promise that we made to each other on May 12, 2007. I knew that whatever the outcome of this situation I would have my Scott with me forever.

I also could not have known that 2 months after Scott's accident he would back in our home with me!! Not only is he home but he remembers me. He remembers his family, he remember his commitments, and he is striving every day to return!!

This anniversary isn't about flowers, chocolates, or gifts... 
It's about the fact that I still have the man I love at my side!


I love you Scott Moore, with all my heart!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 55 -Healing Spirits- May 7, 2012



Well tonight's post is brought to you by Mickey. A big thanks for both him and Carol. We are so appreciative of all they have done. Thank you both for all your love.




I appreciate Ashley and Scott for graciously offering me another opportunity to share my thoughts on Scott’s amazing recovery to date.

While much of Scott’s progress can be attributed to his physical, mental and spiritual strength, he would not be this far this fast without everyone’s thoughts and prayers.  Your omnipresent healing spirit is Scott’s light, and it has shown itself in every corner of my personal and professional life.  The following is one of many stories about this healing spirit and how it truly breaks the barriers of politics, culture, class, religion, and race:

A week ago I telephoned one of my clients, a Houston manufacturing company, to speak with the President and update him on my status.  Before connecting me, the person answering the phone tells me that the moment she heard about my son she went to the back room and got on her knees and prayed for him, and that even though she did not know his name, she has prayed for him every day.

While this may sound familiar, here is what makes this example of healing spirit incredibly special...
  • My phone call was not answered by the normal administrative assistant, but a minimum wage hourly worker from the manufacturing assembly line filling in over lunch hour
  • This worker is a minority single mother who lives in poverty and struggles to ensure her children stay in school and get to their parole/court appearances
  • She works simple manual assembly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in a 100+ degree Texas warehouse just to make ends meet 
  • My relationship with her consisted of inspecting the assembly line and her emptying the office trash where I would do my work
  • I feared that I constantly insulted her by butchering her name and mispronouncing it with some stereotypical African-American treatment
  • On the surface we have nothing in common; not politics, not culture, not class, not religion, not race, only a passing smile
  • Yet this beautiful soul dropped on her knees in the dirty backroom of a manufacturing warehouse every day to offer all she had to give for us, her healing spirit.

Regardless of politics, culture, class, religion and race, prayer unites us all.  We are so grateful to all healing spirits.

Love -- Mickey Moore

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 54: A Note From The Emersons - May 6, 2012


Ashley Here- 
Today's post is from my parent's, the Emersons. 
They have been such a blessing of comfort to me and a pillar of strength throughout this process. They all live in Utah and it has been hard to be away from them. I miss them all terribly. I am so thankful to have a family that understands what I need and when I need it. 
Love you all so very much, thank you for listening and helping Scott and I through this!

Photo taken - October 2010

Ashley requested that we share our thoughts about what has taken place since Scott’s accident.
So many thoughts run through your mind when you first hear that a loved one has been involved in a life threatening accident. Your first thought is to get to them as quickly as possible, but when talking with Ashley; she requested we stay in Utah. That was a hard thing to hear, but we honored what she asked of us. There were so many unknowns as we thought about what Scott and Ashley would have to face on this very difficult journey.
We along with so many others offered fervent prayers in their behalf; exercising faith and putting trust in God’s power that Scott would recover from this accident. Through this situation we realize that in an instant life can change. It quickly put into perspective what is truly important. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day events of our lives. We know that all of us must face adversity in this life. What matters most is how we accept those challenges when they occur. We try our best to stay positive as we continue forward. Both Scott and Ashley have definitely been wonderful examples of that as we read the daily updates on Scott’s blog.
Scott’s recovery has been miraculous and we are so very grateful for the progress he has made! We realize this journey will take time to complete and both Scott and Ashley will need to exercise great patience as they work together. We are grateful for the wonderful individuals they are and for the amazing example of strength, courage, and determination they have displayed. We have seen the great love they show for one another and it makes us want to be better individuals.
We wish to express our love and appreciation to all of you that have taken part in assisting Scott and Ashley through this very difficult time. They have been surrounded by heavenly and earthly angels. In situations like this we are given an opportunity to reach out to those among us who are suffering and in need of being lifted. There have been so many that have offered their love, support and encouragement. It’s a comfort to know that we can count on each other through whatever life brings.
Now, it is with great thanks to see Scott in the next phase of what Ashley and Scott call; 
Scott’s return.
- The Emersons 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 53: Scott's Return - May 5, 2012

I am guess you all have noticed there have been a few changes around here... 

- A new blog title
- A new blog header (it rotates through stages of Scott's recovery when you refresh the page)
- No nightly post

Along with all the changes that we are making I requested that Scott's parents, as well as my parents, type up a blog post with their thoughts and feeling so that I might share it with all of you. Now that we have entered this new phase my hope is that Scott and I will be contributing to the blog together on a weekly basis. (Occasionally more or less depending on what is happening)

Over the next few days I will feature the parents' posts on the blog.

Today I will feature Patti's Post:

Patti returned back to Utah yesterday. We love her very much and are so thankful for everything she has done for us. We know she has sacrificed a lot to be here with us during this time of need. We are so appreciative of Todd for all his love and support from Utah!! We miss you both and are so thankful that you are in our lives. 


 



Wow! What an amazing past 2 months! What a miraculous recovery we have been privileged and thrilled to witness! We continue to be amazed at Scott's recovery, and are so very grateful he is defeating some of the odds. Prognosis following DAI is not typically a cheery picture.

The return home has been a positive one for Scott and his "support team". He continues to improve daily. He continues to give us new cause for excitement and encouragement daily. And... the return to his normal life is great therapy for him. He has such a rich and vital "normal life", .... A life that he loves and is anxious to return to.... A life that provides great stimulation and great incentive and drive for him to recover.
1. He has a rich network of friends, who provide great social stimulation for him and good intellectual challenge.... For instance, it helps to have a lot of friends in med school or in the medical world, who can challenge him with questions ...... and..... part of Scashley's regular Sunday routine is "Game night" and dinner with the Pike family. They continued that routine, even in the hospital, bringing dinner and progressively more difficult games as Scott's cognitive abilities improved.  What a fun challenge to look forward to every week!

2. Playing the guitar .... Trying to remember the songs he once played so automatically, providing stimulation to his right hand and arm through picking and strumming, and working to restore his singing abilities..... are also great and fun therapy for him.


3. Sports .... Scott's love of sports has helped us make rehab fun. We do perform the "boring" strengthening and conditioning stuff first, but then... We head into the racquetball court and PLAY. We play catch with large Gymballs and a small/clear/visually difficult "bouncy ball", and we play soccer and perform soccer drills with the small bouncy ball. There are some videos below from our first day.... Of course, he has made daily progress and is more agile and adept currently. I have been able to increase the pace of my passes, and he is now able to respond quickly enough, even with his right leg, to stop the ball. He will even perform a spin move every now and then. His speed, coordination, and control are not what they were, but it simply amazes me that he is able to accept this level of challenge at this point. He does not lose his balance, even when I try to challenge that balance with my full arsenal of "tricks".


video


video

4. Faith .... His faith is very integral to his amazing strength and attitude. He truly does not sabotage his recovery with the ifa, coulda, shouldas, or on self-pity. His drive and zest for life remain high.  He focuses on the tasks required to return back to his prior life....
One of his biggest frustrations is his limited ability to be of service to others right now. .... Although, he keeps trying! He routinely lives his life with a strong focus on service to others. This focus on serving others removes him from the destructive weight of self-pity, and provides him with a truly happy spirit. This spirit and attitude have played a huge role in his recovery, and has made the "ride" much more pleasant for those assisting him.  It is certainly expected to see challenges in mood and depression after such an injury... we feel so happy for him that he has been blessed with this amazing spirit that can rise above challenges so automatically .... it is simply inherent to his being.  I am glad for him and I wish for all of us this same strength of spirit.


As a side note, Scott just received an email notifying him that he received the Platinum TOUCH Award for Midwestern University for the year (March 31, 2011 - March 31, 2012). This award is given to the student (from the entire university) who provides the most community service hours for the year.

I think it is safe to say that Scott will instinctively "pay it forward" for the many acts of service from others that he has received over the past 2 months. We truly are soooo very grateful for all of the support and prayers on Scott's behalf.
5. School - Med school definitely challenges and stimulates cognitive abilities. ...and provides goals to strive for during this recovery process.  His brain was well exercised prior to the injury and studying/memorizing in the future will continue to stimulate his return to normal function. The school and his classmates have been very supportive of Scott, and will play an even more vital role as he works to return to being a full-time student.

Word of note.... Scott began taking practice USMLE tests yesterday..... Just to see where he currently stands cognitively ..... He was originally scheduled to take his 3rd year board exams in May. He will reschedule that exam, but has returned to studying for the exam. He took 3 separate practice tests. He scored about 20 percent lower on one of the tests, but he was within 2 points on the other two tests when compared to his score prior to the injury. Heck, I would score lower simply from taking 2 months away from the subject matter without a brain injury! He/we are pleased with his performance on his return to these practice tests. ... And, again, are amazed that he scored as well as he did.  He still needs to study for the exam ,but it appears that he won't have as much catch up to do as we would have expected.  What a relief!

6. Ashley.... Scott is so very fortunate to have such a fabulous wife .... To have the depth of love that they share between each other. ..... Someone who knows and understands him better than anyone, including his mother, at this stage of his life. ... And knows how best to support him and facilitate his continued growth. Someone who is completely dedicated to him and to what is best for him. It was evident, even early on, that Scott's love for Ashley was his primary driving force .....and his strongest emotion. Their's is a true love story! It warms a mother's heart!  And... again... something I wish for all of us!



I could go on..... But I won't.....

We are all extremely grateful for this fabulous and stimulating life. His return will provide so many inherent benefits for his recovery, and it is awesome that it is a life that he loves and is anxious to return to. (Pardon the dangling participle!)

I figure that I should give a status update on Scott before I sign off, since that has traditionally been my role. We have not had some of the follow-up appointments yet. Scott has sooo many MDs due to the multiple areas of trauma, but.... Here is the update as I currently know it.

Right eyeHe is permanently blind in his right eye due to optic nerve damage. His ophthalmologist believes the injury was due to his sphenoid fracture. He does have limited peripheral vision on the right, and ..... he should have depth perception deficits, but we have not noticed them functionally. He does need to wear glasses now with a very mild correction in them. He did not need glasses prior to the accident. The glasses are important mostly to serve as protection for his remaining "unaffected/good" eye. He is still trying to get used to the glasses. They bother him because the frame creates one more visual barrier to his peripheral vision.

We were told that his right eye will begin drifting to the outside.... This drifting results from lack of visual stimulation over time. So Scott may need another surgery later on to correct this "eversion". An interesting thing that we learned from his physician is that the eye "inverts" (goes toward the inside of the eye) if the blindness occurs as a child, but "everts" (goes toward the outside of the eye) if the blindness occurs as an adult.

TBI ( Traumatic Brain Injury)Scott has three brain injuries:
Right epidural temporal hematoma - the craniotomy had great results. We are not seeing any functional residual from this hematoma.
Diffuse Axonal Injury - this is the shearing injury throughout his brain. We do see some limitations on Scott's executive level thinking/processing as a result of this injury, but we are amazed that it is not a bigger problem. He seems to be healing so quickly in this area. Scott will be at risk for seizures for 2 years due to the DAI. He has not had any seizures so far and is no longer on anti-seizure medication. He will need to be mindful of normal seizure precautions, however, to limit the risk. These precautions will delay his return to some of his prior activities, like riding his bike to and from school in 120 degree summer temperatures! Yikes! The summer Phoenix weather will provide some interesting management challenges for Scott, as he is to avoid exhaustion, dehydration, and extreme heat.

Left contra coup subdural hematomas in several locations - these appear to be Scott's primary function-limiting injuries currently. They are responsible for the right hemiplegia (weakness, hypertonus, and numbness in his right leg and arm), his word retrieval difficulties, his memory difficulties, his perseveration and impulsivity, etc. These limitations, too, are improving daily (impulsivity is minimal now, hypertonus is faint now, weakness is lessening, numbness remains, his long-term and short-term memory are improving daily, he can remember up to the Saturday before the accident now and can remember new events for the last 3 weeks,  his appropriateness is much improved but not fully recovered yet), but left hemisphere deficits are primary for Scott right now.


Facial fractures and surgical repairsThe fractures appear to be healing well. Scott has no facial pain. He does have a tiny bit of swelling over the right zygomatic arch (cheek bone) still. He does have significant numbness of his right face, palate, and tongue still, ... which is likely due to local trauma to the nerves from the many fractures. His physician will request his MRIs to further assess the possible cause of the numbness.
Scott's facial muscles continue to improve, but do remain limited on both sides of his face, left limitation greater than right..... This weakness is likely due to cranial nerve damage. We hope to see it continue to improve.   We have not seen much/any improvement in facial numbness yet, but still could.  We are just now able to get an accurate assessment of his numbness.  and.... Nerves regrow very slowly (about an inch a month), so if it does return, it will be down the road.

Rest assured that none of the above problems have inhibited his eating! He does have some right TMJ pain if he opens his mouth wide, but otherwise, he is unlimited with eating and has maintained a healthy appetite.


LungsScott is having zero residual problems with his lungs, or breathing, currently. Wahoo! We hope that remains true from this point forward.

Right AC joint separation (shoulder)
Scott is now allowed to raise his arm forward (flexion), as high as pain allows, but not out to the side (abduction). He is able to raise it to 80 degrees without compensation (cheating). He does have impingement pain at end range elevation, but otherwise is pain free in the shoulder. He is just really really weak in his right arm! .... Due to the hemiparesis combined with the localized injury. We do tape his shoulder to provide some additional stability to the joint, which helps. I expect further precautions to be lifted next week, which will be his 8 week mark.

Right forearm injury/surgeryHis forearm is healing quite nicely. No pain. No swelling. Good circulation and pulse, so the radial artery repair appears successful. His motion is full at his wrist, forearm, and elbow, except for a small decrease in supination (palm up). He does still carry his arm with a bent elbow, but he is able to straighten it fully now. His hand remains numb, but that is from the left hemisphere hematomas. Post-op precautions remain, so he has not been allowed to perform any resistive work with the forearm yet, but..... again I expect some precautions to be freed up at the 8 week mark.

FunctionScott has been fully independent with his return back home. He is able to shower himself. He fixed us breakfast on Sunday morning, being careful to use his numb right hand for cutting, so.... He would know if he was cutting into his normally-feeling left finger! He is safe with ascending and descending the 18 stairs in their home. .....etc..... No limitations at home, other than lifting/resistive tasks with his right arm.

He does get more fatigued than usual, but he is still able to cognitively function when he is tired. He is sleeping well at night now, only awakening when it is time to arise in the am.  He requires more sleep than usual, but is not needing to nap.


His gait pattern is still abnormal, but is not unstable. His balance is good now in all planes. Single leg stance remains mildly limited. His strength, coordination, and reaction times are slower, especially on the right leg, but I see them improve daily during our daily soccer game. Last Thursday at Barrow, I needed Ashley to provide stand by assist when Scott and I began tossing the ball back and forth. Today (this Thursday), Scott is kicking a ball with me...hussling after balls, performing slow spin moves, stretching/reaching for balls while maintaining his balance on the other leg, able to respond quickly to balls passed to him with good pace, etc. It truly amazes me to see that much improvement in one week! I will miss doing rehab with Scott next week when I return home and he begins CTN ( The Center of Transitional Neuro-rehabilitation). It has been fun to have this time with him and to witness his progress.

Well, I apologize for the lengthy post... Had some catching up and finalizing to do.... This is my last post. Scott and Ashley will be updating from here on out.... as they have been for the last 2 weeks. Now... onto Scott's return!
Love to all, and thank you so very much for your support! It has made all the difference!  There are not words adequate to describe the extent of gratitude I have in my heart for the love and support shown to Scott and our family!




- Patti