Day by Day

It has been nearly two weeks since Ray has been home since his transfer from the Tampa VA.  Therapy schedules are still being fine-tuned but he manages to receive PT three times a week, OT twice a week, and ST once a week.  Primary care services have been reassigned from Gainesville to St Augustine for physician follow-ups.  Psych and neuro sessions are to occur via scheduled appointments at the local VA clinics and may become home sessions if the need arises.  Nursing care is also involved about twice a week to assist with bathing and respite.  Supplies for Ray’s medical needs are also under control and we will have a Home Transitional Care (HTC) team from the VA for the first twenty-eight days after the transfer home.  Home health services provided by the VA post-HTC will be evaluated to determine what Ray is qualified to receive based upon his needs.

As with most people recovering from TBI, Ray is battling with not only physical and mental limitations but also depression.  Common among the survivors of severe injury is the feeling of helplessness and depression.  It is during this time that family and friends are needed to help lift up and motivate.  Support can come from phone calls, short visits, or even old fashioned letters.  Appointments for visitations, etc. are no longer required as Ray’s mental health is more important than a crowded house.  The family will be doing what we can to help keep Ray’s spirits high and involve him in rewarding activities.  We are currently seeking volunteer activities that Ray may be able to interact in and receive the benefit of helping others.  Please feel free to let us know of any ideas that may help.

Ray - 7 months

Today marks seven months since Ray’s accident.  Going back through all the pictures, the progress made in recovery is apparent.  Every day we may not see great change but looking back it becomes clear.  Small surprises in Ray’s recovery present themselves and give us hope there will be much more to come.  Quite by surprise today we witnessed that Ray is beginning to read again at low levels.  It is quite remarkable to be a part of his recovery experience and to share in giving him support along the way.

Thank you!

Team Ray

 

Getting Settled

As scheduled, Ray has been transferred home and is already receiving therapies at the house.  It will take another few weeks before the therapists can work out an appropriate schedule for Ray’s needs.  Follow-up appointments at the St Augustine and Jacksonville VA clinics have also been scheduled to ensure Ray is receiving proper care.  He will continue to be monitored by the VA TBI program and adjustments to his care will be made if needed.  Now that Ray is home he has been more determined in a speedy recovery.  The familiar places and faces are also helping him to regain his memories and better engage with people.  Several of Ray’s friends have already stopped by to see him to give their encouragement.

Ray's Room

One thing that we all need to keep in mind is that Ray still has limitations.  His determination to overcome obstacles is overwhelming at times, but he still needs our support along the way.  Ray has put forth tremendous effort to get to where he is now.  A way to help Ray with his recovery is to understand his limitations and offer support where you can.  Since Ray has been home he hasn’t stopped moving.  This extra exercise is great but can also be dangerous as he is still a fall risk.  Care needs to be taken by all that see him to not allow further brain injury to occur.  He still requires a walker and may need his wheelchair for long stretches.  We do not see him needing his wheelchair too much longer but that will be dependent on how his therapies progress.

The family is extremely grateful for all the support offered.  As Ray becomes acclimated to home and his new therapy schedule, we would like to ask that all visitors please call ahead to arrange for a visit to ensure it is not conflicting with anything else already scheduled.  This will help to keep Ray on task and not be so overwhelmed with too much at once.  We will need to remain flexible with his schedule for now until his care schedule becomes more defined.  Please contact Marleen to book your time with Ray.  Many slots are available for your visits.

Thank you!

Team Ray

Homeward Bound

It has been just over four months since Ray was transferred to the VA TBI program in Tampa.  During his stay Ray has gone through multiple PT, OT, ST, and neurological therapies where he has shown marked improvements in all areas.  Chief among these was the emergence from PTA.  Now that Ray is more aware and better able to comprehend, the chances of a more rapid recovery are more likely.  There is no way of knowing how long Ray will need for recovery or what his ‘end-state’ will be, but so far he has shown only good signs.

The time has now come for Ray to make his way home to continue his path of recovery.  Discharge planning with the VA has been completed and he is scheduled to arrive home tomorrow afternoon.  VA Home Health Aid and Home Transitional Care will follow Ray once he is home and provide a schedule that is compatible to his needs.  Medical supplies and additional care items have already been in place and we are ready to receive.  Ray’s new care schedule will most likely not be known for certain until sometime next week.  With Ray at a more advanced state of recovery, there is no need for visitation restrictions during the day prior to 8 PM.  Tolerance to visits may need some adjustment over time but for now we are not seeing there to be any issues.

As some of you already know, Ray has been eager to come home for quite some time now.  Due to his injuries, this has not been a realistic possibility.  The transfer home is huge for Ray and is proof that he has made significant progress since his accident.  There will undoubtedly be obstacles down the road in which Ray will need to overcome.  With help from family and friends Ray will surely conquer what lies ahead.  Kind words are not enough for those that have shown their support along the way.  We are truly grateful to all that continue to follow Ray and lift him up while on his journey.

Thank you!

Team Ray

Happy New Year!

We hope that everyone had a great Christmas and safe New Year.  Things have been going by so fast for us.  It is hard to believe that six months have gone by since Ray’s accident let alone being in a new year.  This holiday season has been both challenging and frustrating for the family as we have been preparing for over a month for Ray to come home.  Discharge planning has not been very clearly relayed to us and we are still unsure when Ray might actually return home.  The plan seems to change with each meeting we have with the VA and there are several pieces involved in the process that has made it difficult to coordinate the process.  Our last family meeting with the VA on the 26th of last month identified some key problem areas in the discharge planning process that we hope to correct in the very near future.  Nothing moves fast with the government as most people know, but we are doing all that we can to speed the process along while ensuring a safe and well planned transition home soon.

The family was able to spend Christmas with Ray and take him out of the hospital for a holiday meal on an approved day pass.  We were able to find a menu with plenty of soft foods that Ray could safely eat.  It was an enjoyable visit and he really appreciated our time together.  Ray did very well with the outing and we are hoping to continue his involvement in engaging activities.  Emergence from PTA is becoming more apparent and Ray is continuing to recover at a noticeable pace.  Both cognitive and physical improvements can easily be seen in Ray over the past few weeks.  This is very promising for his continued recovery.

Christmas 2012 with Ray.

Christmas 2012 with Ray.

In the New Year we would like people to focus their energy on Ray’s safe transition home soon and for his recovery to continue as it has.  We need to ensure Ray remains uplifted by a positive environment full of support that is conducive to that recovery.  Ray will need all the help that he can get from both family and friends for that to occur.  Please keep Ray in your thoughts and prayers and lend him what support you can.  The New Year promises to be a great year for Ray with such a great group of people at his side!

Thank you!

Team Ray