Pray for Ray Sale a Big Success!

We want to sincerely thank everyone that helped make our Pray for Ray garage sale a success. Whether you donated items for sale, time to help, purchased items, or made a donation, we are greatly appreciative.

When Ray returns home (date unknown at the time), we will want to get him a comfortable bed. Not that we do not appreciate the VA providing a bed, but we want Ray to have the most comfortable bed we can possibly get for him to ensure he has good sleep to continue to heal. We were able to raise enough money to put aside for the purchase of this wish list item. We are still in the dark on what Ray will eventually need, and we want to be prepared. See our last post about Ray’s current status and TBI.

Please continue to follow us to keep informed of Ray’s progress.

Thank you,

Team Ray!


Screen Printing done by Ancient City Screen Graphics in St. Aug



Eval Results

Today was our family meeting where we discussed the current plan of care for Ray.  His care team consists of a primary physician, a resident doctor, nurse practitioner, neuropsychologists, psychologist, physical therapists, speech therapists, case management, the nurse team, vocational rehab, recreational rehab, and a family therapist.  We all met to go over our questions and go over Ray’s current assessment and expected recovery.  Ray has made small but notable progress in all areas, and is expected to continue on a positive recovery path.  There can be no way of knowing at this point how long his recovery will take or what his exact impairments will be.  It is anticipated that Ray will remain at the facility in Tampa for another three months.  This is a flexible time frame because no one can predict what Ray will need three months from now.  Tampa VA will keep Ray in their care until he is ready to be discharged.  This will not happen until he has reached his maximum recovery level.  The team meets weekly one on one to discuss Ray’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to his current therapies.

From the team’s update, Ray continues to be assessed as a level IV on the Rancho scale-sometimes appearing as if in level V.  He exhibits agitation sporadically and will ask you to leave (politely if you are lucky) if he becomes over stimulated.  Ray is in what is called the post traumatic amnesia (PTA) stage.  This means that he will not remember much of this part of his healing journey.  He is in a state of confusion.  He cannot recall the date, place or time yet.  Because of this state of confusion or “fog”, introducing too many new faces and stimuli can easily overwork his brain.  Ray is beginning to become aware that he does not have all the correct answers to the questions being asked of him.  This leads to bouts of extreme agitation which halts any kind of therapy.  The team is trained on this type of behavior and have protocols in dealing with this temporary symptom.

Phone calls are not recommended by the medical staff at this point since Ray will not remember the conversation, and it will be confusing for him to comprehend the person on the phone is someone he knows.  For this same reason, visitation will be limited to only family and close friends (bffs), and on weekends only.  Ray has therapies scheduled M – F from 8 – 4 which exhaust all of his mental and physical energy at this time.  He will need the benefit of rest to properly recover before the next round.  Each time Ray sees someone he has to remember who they are; too many new faces within a short period of time is too overwhelming.  He has many new faces at his therapies that we want him to learn and be able to trust and cooperate with for maximum recovery.  A great way to keep in contact with Ray is to send him a card.  Including your photo with your name on the back could also be a good way to keep in touch if you were close with Ray.  Photos of pretty skies and things he would like are also great things for him.

Ray remains on a feeding tube as he is still unable to swallow.  When asked by the speech therapist, he can follow commands but he forgets or tires easily.  They continue to work with him and monitor his progress and ability.  We found out at the care meeting that Ray did suffer from brain shearing.  His head injury was very severe with different parts affected.  The longer the PTA phase, the higher chance of reduced return to full recovery.  It is likely Ray will have cognitive impairments for the remainder of his life.  The specifics to those impairments will remain unknown until further into his recovery.  We will continue to provide updates, either once a month or as new big achievements occur-such as swallowing.

Outside on our visit

As always, we would like to thank everyone for their prayers, positive energy, and donations for Ray’s recovery.  He continues to need your support on his road to recovery.

Click here for a great resource on TBI. 

Pray for Ray Sale Follow-Up

We wanted to send another message to remind everyone that Team Ray will be holding a yard sale this Thursday through Saturday, September 27th – 29th from 6 – 2.

We are still in need of a few items to make the sale run smoothly:

  • Helpers:  Thursday and Friday (1-2 helpers each day)
  • Fold-up tables:  1-2 large size
  • Garment racks:  1

We will be unavailable for donation drop off on Sunday and Monday.  If you are able to let us borrow the above items, or have any donations, we can accept them on Tuesday.  Just leave a comment on this post and we will be in touch with you.

Look for our garage sale ad in the St Aug Record for sale location.  This promises to be another great fundraiser for our Ray.

Thanks for your help in making this a success for Ray.

Ray Check Up

Ray’s family went to Tampa this weekend to visit with him-Marleen, Tom, and Kristy.  Upon arriving Saturday morning, Ray was sitting in a chair in his room.  He was happy to see us and remembered us immediately.  We were able to take him outside for a walk in front of the hospital to enjoy the beautiful weather.  He gets tired easily, so after the walk he wanted to rest in the bed.  We went out for a few hours and came back to see him in the afternoon.  He was in bed, so we sat with him and talked about our week and about the yard sale and such.  Today, when we arrived in the morning, he was still in bed.  The nurse said he did not sleep much last night and was restless and agitated.  He was not up for company, so we went out for some coffee.  When we returned, he was still in bed, but he was okay with having us sit with him.  He was not very talkative, so we just hung out with him.

Family Visit 9/16/12

Monday, September 24th is our family meeting with Ray’s care team in Tampa.  At this meeting, they will review Ray’s case and we will all participate in developing the care plan for his time in Tampa.  Ray receives therapy Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm.  The therapies include speech, recreational, occupational, and physical.  The staff seemed pleasant and they like Ray very much.  From our observation, he is less mobile than when he was at home.  This is because at rehab they start from the basic level of functioning he can complete with accuracy and they build from there.  When he first arrived to Tampa, he fell trying to get out of bed so he has someone sitting nearby with him 24/7 in case he needs something or tries to get up.  We will receive more information on his progression at the care plan meeting.

Ray’s agitation Saturday evening was likely due to overstimulation.  Due to his injury, he can easily become overworked and agitated with too much happening in a short period of time.  With this, we ask that everyone hold off on planning any visits until after the care plan meeting where Ray’s recovery plan will be determined.  Our top priority is Ray healing and becoming stronger.  We feel that overstimulation can set his progress back or cause it to become stagnant.  We know Ray’s friends also want the best for him and will understand the reasoning behind this request.  If his close friends would like to call in to speak with him, they can email us at and we will provide you with the needed contact information.

Once visiting is opened, it will most likely be on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm.  During the week Ray is very busy with therapy and needs rest to help his brain continue to recover.

Thank you for your continued prayers and positive energy for Ray!  We want to ask that those praying focus the energy on Ray being able to swallow.  While we were visiting, he said many times that he wanted food.

Also, please check out our post below on our Pray for Ray Garage Sale.  If you have anything lying around you do not need anymore, donate it to us and we will sell it.  All proceeds go to Ray.

Team Ray!

Pray for Ray Yard Sale

Team Ray will be holding a yard sale September 27th – 29th from 6 – 2.  We would like to ask for your support in making this a huge success for Ray.  Look around your place and see if there might be items that can be included in the sale.  All proceeds from the sale will go directly to Ray.  Anyone wishing to contribute items for the sale should contact Marlena for the drop off location,  All items to be included in the sale will need to be received by the 24th.

In order for us to make this sale a success, we would like to ask for a little help from the group.  Below are the items that we will need for the sale:

  • Helpers:  Thursday and Friday (2 – 3 helpers each day), Saturday (1 – 2 helpers)
  • Fold-up tables:  2 – 3
  • Garment racks:  2
  • Large coffee pot
  • Baked goods

If you have any of the above items for us to borrow or want to help out, leave a reply to this post so everyone can know what has been provided already.

Look for our garage sale ad to appear in the St Aug Record over the next few weekends.  This promises to be another great fundraiser for our Ray.

Pray for Ray Sale – Blog

Go Team Ray!!!

Ray at rehab

Just a quick bit to let everyone know that Ray made it safely to Tampa VA.  He is to undergo an intensive two week evaluation period in which he will be assessed thoroughly to determine the extent of his current condition.  We will then meet with his care staff to determine the best approach for rehab from their evaluation of Ray.  It is anticipated that Ray will remain at Tampa for several months until he has recovered enough to come home.  Rehab will be an all-day process for Ray and it is important that he makes his best effort during the eval.  We would like to ask that everyone refrain from visits and other distractions for just a little while until Ray is settled and well through his initial evaluation.  Another update will be posted to give specifics on visitations once the time is ready.  Thanks for all the support.

Go Team Ray!!!

Gearing up for rehab

As a reminder from our last post, Ray will be transferred to James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa this Wednesday, September 5th.  He is to leave from Gainesville in the early AM by VA-provided medical transport which promises to be a safe and comfortable trip for Ray.  Once at Tampa, he will be admitted to the TBI program and will undergo an extensive evaluation on his current condition.  Therapies and visitation schedules will then be developed by the VA clinical staff based upon what Ray can safely tolerate.  Until the initial eval is completed, we will not know when visits will be allowed.  We are seeing Ray to be very much at Level IV on the Rancho scale and would not be surprised if visitations are stricter until he advances to Level V or beyond.  Over stimulation at his current stage can lead to increased aggravation and cause regression in recovery.  For those not familiar with the typical symptoms of Level IV and how we can help Ray, we offer the below as a reminder:

Level IV Behaviors:

  • Becomes more alert and active
  • Shows unusual and inappropriate behavior
  • Focus becomes basic, physical needs
  • May scream out, be verbally abusive, behave aggressively, or attempt to remove restraints
  • Speech is often confused or the content may be inappropriate
  • Attention span is very short
  • Memory and the ability to process information are impaired
  • Begins to take some independent action, but is usually very dependent and needs significant help to maintain safety and meet basic needs

How can family and friends help a Level IV patient?

  • Frequently remind the individual of the day and time
  • Explain what is happening to the person
  • Expect the person to be forgetful — you may need to repeat answers several times
  • Demonstrate patience
  • Limit distractions and stimulation
  • Remain calm and provide a safe environment
  • Limit the number of visitors to two to three people at a time
  • Allow the individual to move to the extent that is physically safe
  • Reduce stimuli (sights, sounds, activity) in the environment if the individual becomes agitated or restless
  • Keep the room quiet and calm (close doors, keep TV off, do not have secondary conversations in the room)
  • Simplify words you use when talking, decrease rate of speech, speak naturally

Another excellent resource: What Brain Injury Survivors Want You To Know

We would like to pay special thanks to all the great people that have gone out to see Ray and let him know that we all support him and care so much about him.  It is so nice to see all the posts from people’s visits and read about funny encounters or just how Ray reacted during the visit.  Ray has made remarkable progress and it is from the support of all of you that we see the old Ray coming out again.

A recent visit by Tiffany and Maribel before he leaves for Tampa.

Go Team Ray!!!