Good Signs

After spending a great weekend with Ray, we were able to witness first-hand the start of his emersion from the fog of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA).  He has become much more aware of his condition and is able to reflect on his thoughts and actions.  We were able to even sit with him for several hours and have meaningful conversations about what he is going through and how well he is doing.  He was able to explain to us about noticing an awareness of sporadic emotions where he can go from being very happy to very sad in a matter of moments without knowing why.  We explained to him that his behavior is normal to his injury and that we fully understand and to not take things personal.  Ray is embracing his situation well and making the best of it.  He even told us that he is very thankful for all his support and for his excitement to go home when he is ready.

Ray is still going through a lot of confusion and at times has difficulty in knowing what is real and what is not.  In speaking with him on this he was able to tell us that he will sometimes have dreams or thoughts that he is unable to know if it actually happened.  As Ray progresses further from PTA, he will be able to know with more certainty the separation and start to form new memories from his experiences.  We are seeing that some of Ray’s short-term memories are being maintained and that his long-term memories are starting to come back along with his cognition skills.  He may at first state that he does not remember something, but if you cue him with exact questions we found that he can recall the memory and talk more about it.

In addition to Ray’s mental improvements he is also improving with his motor skills.  He is able to move around much more effortlessly in his wheelchair and better perform simple tasks with his hands.  While visiting we were able to play catch with him for over an hour, which is far better now than a few weeks ago!

Ray playing some catch. Oct 14, 2012

Ray’s daily improvements are positive signs to his rapid recovery.  It is hard to believe that in one week it will be four months from his accident.  In that amount of time we have seen a remarkable progression in Ray due to his determination and courage.  He is very thankful for all the support that he receives and once again we send all of you are thanks for following Ray and sending him your love.

Team Ray

 

Slow and Steady

Ray continues to show small signs of improvement on his path towards recovery.  His progress remains slow yet steady which is common to brain injury.  Recently his nurses have been able to feed him soft foods (pudding, ice cream, yogurt, etc.).  Ray requires instruction for this process such as cues to clear his throat and reminding him to swallow.  His speech has also gotten better through this same method of guidance.  Physically, Ray still requires assistance to walk and move around.  Physical therapy has been focused on improving his mobility by working with his limitations through safety awareness.   

Visitations and contact guidelines with Ray remain in place.  Please refer to our previous post about visitations and contact procedures.  To reiterate, Ray still needs a calm environment free from excess stimulation.  Only close friends and family are approved by the physicians to visit Ray at this time.  We recommend anyone wishing to contact Ray to send a card.  It would also be a good idea to include a picture of yourself with your name on the back.  This will help Ray to remember all his friends better.  All mail may be sent to the below address:

James A. Haley VA Medical Center                                                                                     Attn: Ray Brown                                                                                                                5WR, Rm 521                                                                                                                 13000 Bruce B. Down Blvd                                                                                             Tampa, FL  33612

Progress updates will most likely remain fairly spread apart for a while to come.  We cannot predict the pace in which Ray will recover, but the information we are being given is that it will be a long and slow process.  Next weekend we will attempt to provide another update with more specifics on how Ray is doing with each type of therapy.  Please continue to follow Ray’s progress and send him your thoughts and prayers. 

Team Ray