Progress remains slow for Ray, as is common with TBI patients beyond a year from initial injury. Yet, he continues to reach short-term therapy goals and has started working on new ones. Behavior persists as an obstacle to a consistent therapy program. He has not yet displayed complete ability to independently attend all scheduled therapies without verbal prompts for daily activities to include personal hygiene. As Ray continues in the NeuroRestorative program, his willingness to participate will improve as has overall acceptance of the program. Realistic self-awareness remains a struggle for Ray. He does not always completely acknowledge his deficits but rather remains with the belief that natural healing and a specific medication for his tremors are what are needed over use of therapy as a means to regain independence.
Recently Ray was able to see a neurologist through the VA. We are still awaiting the full report from the appointment but one encouraging outcome is the prescription of a new medicine, Primidone, to specifically treat his tremors. Keppra is still being prescribed for now to also help with this and dosage for both meds will most likely need some tweaking over the next few months. This is exciting news for us as it both gives Ray a chance with a new treatment plan and it has further established him in the VA program to monitor him more closely for the tremor problem. The focus will be on determining the best medication combination for Ray that allows him to better engage in therapy. As with most medicines, there are adverse side effects to watch out for. Medically speaking Ray remains stable, but he will need to be monitored more closely for possible depression episodes or other unhealthy behavior.
While Ray is at Neuro-Tampa the focus will remain on PT, ST, and OT. Medication will be used more as a supplement to help the therapy program. PT has been able to engage Ray in a treadmill walking program and a new functional walking program will be introduced in the near future. Ray continues to use a wheelchair for most of his day but he is encouraged to use a walker and the therapy gym whenever he wishes. ST and OT work to help him engage in the community and improve independent daily tasks. A new goal that Ray has set for himself is to better his reading skills. Many people with head injuries not only suffer brain damage but also problems with vision. This is also true for Ray as he sometimes has difficulty with focusing properly for reading and other activities that require a close focus. The tremor problem only compounds the issue and impedes in much of the therapy process. Ray’s input will be valuable to the care team so that additional therapies can be tailored to his needs.
In this New Year we see good things ahead for Ray. He has made enormous progress this past year and he still has strength in him for much more. Please continue to pray for Ray and send him your positive energy for healing to allow his mind to accept what ‘is’ and to be strong for what remains. Focused energy on this will give Ray added strength to carry on. As always, thank you for the continued support. If you get time, check out the new TBI Resources menu. Feel free to share any other resources with the group that may be helpful to TBI understanding.