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"Where there is great love there are always miracles."
-Willa Cather
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Archived Updates:
Santa Rosa: April 11th - May 11th
Early SCVMC rehab: May 11th - May 20th
SCVMC ICU: May 21st - June 10th
SCVMC Rehab (round two): June 11th - September 14th
Home in GV: September 14th - April 11th 2005
Home in GV: April 11th 2005 - August 26th 2006
My new life

SCVMC Rehab Updates (Read chronologically from bottom to top)

September 14, 2004
4:33pm


As of 2:15pm this afternoon Jill is no longer a resident of SCVMC! She's currently with my parents on the road headed up to Grass Valley. We had a successful night in the "VIP House" yesterday with tons of visitors. The VIP House is a little 2-bedroom house on the grounds of the hospital that they sent patients, along with their families, to stay in for a trial run right before discharge. She has had two incredibly hectic days getting ready for the move. Just about every doctor that she has seen throughout her stay at SCVMC came to say goodbye in the morning. For lunch, she hung out with Jared (a fellow rehab patient) and Julie (a friend from rehab that was discharged a while ago, but came back to see Jill off). I'm guessing that tonight will be the most relaxing sleep session that Jill has experienced in ~5 months.

Administrative note...don't worry, I plan to update this page on about the same frequency that I have been for the last few months. Even though she is out of the hospital, Jill has lots of hard work ahead of her. I don't plan to stop updating this site until Jill decides to take it on for herself...

-Dan


September 12, 2004
9:05pm


The big move is rapidly approaching... My parents seem to have everything all set up for her return home on Tuesday. Jill will start working with therapists up there on Wednesday (I think that maybe she was hoping to get a few days off therapy but no such luck...oh well). She has started the process of saying goodbye to all of her friends from the hospital. Yesterday marked the 5-month point in Jill's recovery from her injuries.

-Dan


September 9, 2004
9:50pm


Jill had a full day of rehab and visitors today as usual. She has another off-site pass for this weekend. It will probably be used to go over to the coast for lunch and some rest on Sunday. It is amazing that she only has ~5 more days left at SCVMC. My parents have been working like mad to get everything in line back home for her return. It will definitely be a tough transition for the whole family, but we are all (especially Jill of course) getting pretty tired of sleeping away from home and eating take-out.

In other news...Jill got to send off one of her long time rehab buddies today. They have definitely been through a lot together - Congratulations Julie!

-Dan


September 7, 2004
9:56pm


Jill had a pretty good weekend. It was nice for her to get an extra day off from therapy. The ~8 hour trip to Grammys house this weekend went very well. The weather was beautiful for the bbq in San Rafael/drive through the city. Lots of relatives came to hang out with us and it ended up being quite the labor day weekend get-together. Jill's felt good enough to socialize for a few hours before she had to take a little nap to recharge. Coming back to all of the lovely sounds of the hospital wasn't so exciting in the evening though. After a day of rest yesterday, she is back into the therapy routine. Her schedule is getting pretty hectic as the therapists try to make sure that everything is taken care of for Jill's discharge next week... After she leaves SCVMC next Tuesday, Jill will continue to work on her recovery at my parents house until she is able to get back out on her own.

-Dan


September 4, 2004
3:50pm


Jill has been doing pretty well for the last few days. She gained some of the weight back that she lost last weekend and seems to be feeling a bit better still. Yesterday she was able to push herself even farther in the wheelchair than her journey on Wednesday (from her room out to the patio). There are two really exciting pieces of news to report today... First of all, Jill has been cleared to get back on a normal diet! She is no longer forbidden to eat good things like dairy, chocolate, nuts, and legumes any more! Her doctors want her to ease back into those foods slowly, but it is nice for her just to get a taste of them. The other piece of good news is that she got an "off site pass" for tomorrow. We are going to go up to my grandma's house in San Rafael for the day. It should be nice and relaxing to get out of this hectic place for a little while. And now...Jill has a message(I'm writing this update from the hospital):

Thank you for everything during this hard time. And, thanks to my parents and brother for everything. I love you guys!

-JILL (!) and Dan


September 1, 2004
9:58pm


Jill has been eating well this week and seems to be done with the stomach problems for the time being. She still has to be on the limited diet, of course, but she is eating in far greater quantities than over the weekend. She had a lovely evening of visitors tonight. A big group of her friends from both SJSU and Santa Clara joined her for dinner. She seemed to enjoy the company quite a lot.

Her wheelchair mobility has improved lately. She pushed herself on the long trek from her room to the other side of the nurses' station before dinner tonight. In addition to her manual chair, she has an electric chair that gets her around a little faster. I modified it so that she has to drive with her "bad" hand (the right) and we have seen some pretty impressive improvements to her right-hand fine motor skills since the change.

-Dan


August 29, 2004
10:08pm


Jill actually had sort of a rough weekend. She came down with a nasty little stomach bug on Friday night and it gave her trouble until Sunday morning-ish. She didn't eat all that much and she had a hard time getting any fluids down (that is, until the doctor on call threatened her with an IV...). This evening she did much better though - for the first time since Friday she actually wanted to eat and drink. The eating thing is further complicated by her restricted diet (due to a medication that she is on, she can't have all of the feel-good foods that have cheese, nuts, chocolate, legumes...among other limitations). She really needs to gain some weight back, but it's hard without being able to eat all of the good stuff...

In addition to a case of the flu this weekend, she was a little bummed as well. We are starting to plan for her return to my parents house and it gets her thinking about how much her life has changed since the accident. The fact that her memory and logic are getting much better makes it a bit more difficult to deal with emotionally.

On a good note - despite the setbacks she continues to work like mad on her recovery.

-Dan


August 26, 2004
10:29pm


?... So Jill will be moving back up to her old unit tomorrow morning sometime. She will have her own room and the rumor is that it'll be #43. There is no good explanation for her changing rooms and units all over the place the last few days. I think that it all boils down to some insurance issues and trying to find the right combination of therapists and case managers. All of the moving is a pain but it's definitely keeping Jill on her toes. She was doing extremely well tonight. Her right hand is still weak, but she has definitely regained some of her fine motor control.

-Dan


August 24, 2004
11:27pm


Jill is all settled in down in the spinal cord unit now (1st floor room 19). Her new room is a bit roomier than the ones upstairs, and the spinal unit seems to be a bit more peaceful than the TBI unit is. It will take a little while to get acclimated to the new nurses and a slightly tweaked schedule, but Jill seems to be dealing with it well. After dinner tonight we went up and visited some of her old buddies from upstairs for a while. It is amazing how comfortable (?) we had become with that place after being there for a few months...

-Dan


August 23, 2004
10:08pm


Jill had a nice day today. There has been a slight change in plans for Jill's living arrangement. Apparently she will be moving to the spinal cord rehab unit (directly downstairs from where she is now) within the next few days. While she is far from being "healed" from her brain injury, her doctors think that she will benefit more from the activities offered by the therapists down on the spinal floor. It will be a big change for her - new doctors, new therapists, and different patients to hang out with - but she is definitely up for it.

-Dan


August 22, 2004
10:56pm


Jill had a very enjoyable Sunday with lots of visitors and feasting. For lunch, some family friends from GV prepared a nice big meal. We enjoyed the perfect weather out on the patio. After a short afternoon nap, Jill had a long evening visit with some of her SCU buddies. They brought another feast and we chatted and ate until well past her bedtime. Two of her very close friends are moving away in the next few days and they decided to have the send-off party at the hospital with Jill. It was hard for her to see them go, but it was great that she got to spend such a nice evening with them. Jill's stamina while socializing has improved quite a bit in the past few weeks. She still gets tired, but lately she's been able to tough it out when she's having a good time.

In other news...Jill has changed rooms and has a roommate now (as of Friday morning). It was nice when she had her own room, but at least Jill was friends with the new roommate before she moved in. The young lady had her accident around the same time as Jill's, and they have become friends as they work through similar issues in rehab. It is room #21 on the same floor.

-Dan


August 19, 2004
10:05pm


Today Jill got to cook dinner in a group with some of the other patients and a therapist. They made taco salad and brownies. Jill ate well and socialized as usual. It is still extremely difficult for her to use her right arm for simple tasks though. She continues to work on it...

-Dan


August 17, 2004
11:04pm


It was another good day with lots of therapy for Jill today. She got to go in the pool again today. Her muscles really seem to respond well to the nice warm water. All else was pretty standard - therapy during the day and visitors in the evening. Jill definitely enjoys her social time...

-Dan


August 16, 2004
10:59pm


Jill did very well today. She had lots of therapy all morning and then hung out with our aunt and cousin for the afternoon/evening. My mom's big family has mobilized to keep Jill entertained at the hospital since mom and dad had to go back to work (I can't believe that school is starting already...). She dealt with their absence very well today. It is really encouraging her to make steps towards independence. After dinner she visited with some buddies and I. Not much new medical news these days (!).

-Dan


August 15, 2004
10:32pm


Jill had a very nice weekend with lots of visitors. She has made some progress with pushing her wheelchair lately. It is still extremely hard for her due to the stiffness of her right arm, but she is able to move small distances. We went down to the ICU again tonight. This time we actually got to go inside to see her old room. All of the nurses were extremely excited to see her. She also got to meet the neurosurgeon that did her last surgery. He was also very impressed with her recovery up to this point. One big change for Jill is that our parents have to go back to work this week. She will have relatives and buddies to hang out with (and me in the evenings), but it will be different without the parents around (they'll still be around on weekends of course). She is a little bummed, but it will let her become more independent. She looks forward to going in the pool again this week. I think that she'll get to swim 1-2 times per week or so.

-Dan


August 13, 2004
11:56pm


Jill had a great time in the pool today. She said that it felt really good on her muscles to float around in the nice warm water. She wore a floatation device and worked on her flexibility with the therapist. All else is going well...

-Dan


August 12, 2004
10:10pm


Jill was doing really well tonight. She had some visitors and seemed to have a grand old time. Her sense of humor is most definitely intact these days. One very exciting piece of news is that she will get to go in the pool tomorrow. The pool is used downstairs in the spinal unit to help patients with flexibility and muscle tone. It will probably be a while before she can really swim again, but I think that being in the water will help her work harder towards that goal. She seems to be pretty excited about it. On another note...thanks for the continued support from the Colorado Mason's. My dad was out there last weekend for a funeral and they have been extremely supportive through some tough times of their own...

-Dan


August 10, 2004
11:59pm


Jill is doing well today. She was pretty tired after therapy and managed to fit in a pretty nice nap in the late afternoon (between therapy and a few visitors in addition to my parents and I). She is completely off of her most recent round of antibiotics as of Monday. This means that her visitors no longer have to wear the little yellow hospital gowns when entering her room (it was a precaution to keep from spreading the bugs to other patients). Everything else seems to be plugging away as usual down at the hospital.

-Dan


August 8, 2004
11:04pm


Jill is still doing extremely well. The last few days have been full of therapy as usual. She is beginning to get the functionality in her right hand back enough to push her own weelchair for small distances. She is working extremely hard to get that arm working again. Today (Sunday) was an epic day of relaxation for her. She slept in and ate all three of her meals out on the porch to enjoy the day. The highlight of the day was a lengthy rub-down from a family friend of ours who is a massage therapist. In addition to sending Jill straight to heaven, it allowed her to relax all of her muscles that were tired from a full week of therapy.

-Dan


August 5, 2004
11:13pm


Jill has had more good days lately. She has been working hard and seems more determined than ever. Jill is starting to work on "car transfers" with her physical therapist. This is the first step towards us being able to take her off-site... Let's all hope that day comes soon.

-Dan


August 3, 2004
11:19pm


Jill is back into the weekday grind of therapy. She actually seemed pretty tired tonight, but her appetite is great and she's been working really hard on her right arm.

She got some news on her planned discharge date today. When she was admitted back in May, the date was set at the middle of this month. Due to the fact that she is still showing significant signs of improvement, however, that date is being pushed out 'till mid September. It is a very good thing that her stay in rehab has been extended. Despite the stress of living in a hospital environment, there is no way that Jill could get the intensity and frequency of therapy that she gets here if she was at home. It is great to look back at some of the earliest goals that were set for her release...she has already surpassed many of those goals and continues to improve each day.

-Dan


August 1, 2004
9:02pm


Jill had a pretty nice weekend. Saturday brought lots and lots of visitors. In the morning she got to spend time with a bunch of relatives and in the evening some college buddies brought her dinner and hung out for a while. She was a trooper and stayed up in her chair for many hours. In therapy yesterday she got to cook her own lunch (pizza). Today was a fairly lazy day with no therapy. She just napped and lounged around...enjoying herself thoroughly. The doctors continue to notch up the intensity/frequency of her various therapy sessions so she definitely needs the rest...

-Dan


July 30, 2004
10:51pm


Jill had a great day yet again. This evening we took a stroll to the other end of the hospital to bring her back to see the ICU nurses. I think that it was good for her to see their reaction when she showed up looking so great. One nurse came out of the elevator and paused there for a minute with her mouth open she was so shocked to see Jill. Another exciting event for the day was when her cast (right arm) got removed. They cut off a section and put some more padding into it to make a splint. It seems to be more comfortable than her old one. Today in OT before I came down she got to peruse this very site on the internet. She emailed me at work to say that she approved.

-Dan


July 29, 2004
11:22pm


Jill had another very good day today. She had a long discussion with my parents about Alan just before I arrived this evening. The news has been tough for her, but it seems that some of the bad effects of her brain injury (short term memory loss/reduced ability to concentrate) are actually helping to damp out the initial emotional blow slightly. We are extremely happy that the injury didn't rob her of the memories of what a great guy Alan was.

Jill is really ready to get the cast off of her right arm. She gets it cut off on Friday and is extremely excited about that...

-Dan


July 28, 2004
10:19pm


Jill had another productive day today - lots of good therapy and socializing. Her memory has been gradually improving.

We had our first discussion about Alan today. She was pretty upset about the whole thing. She does remember Alan, but does not remember anything about the weekend of the accident. It will no doubt take a long time for her to come to terms with this terrible news.

-Dan


July 27, 2004
11:38pm


Jill had a pretty good day today. She is getting lots better at being assertive with the hospital staff to get her needs met. Today she got a big cast on her right arm to help it stay in the correct position to heal. The cast will work in conjunction with an injection that she got around a week ago to loosen up some of the tension in her wrist and hand. The cast will be removed on Friday and used as a splint for a while therafter. She continues to fight off this recent round of infections. They don't seem to have any drastic effects on her mood and only reduce her stamina slightly. Jill's appetite has been good and her therapy sessions have been productive.

-Dan


July 26, 2004
12:14am


Jill had a good day off today. She enjoyed lots of lounging around and socializing. The infections that she has seem to make her a bit more sleepy than usual, but overall she is in good spirits.

-Dan


July 24, 2004
10:45pm


Jill's condition is still improving daily. She speaks more easily and is getting better about talking to her nurses and doctors about her health needs. One minor setback is that she has come down with an infection in her intestine. It doesn't seem to affect her mood all that much, but we have to wear funny yellow gowns and gloves when we hang out with her. Apparently this is a pretty common side effect found in patients that have taken large quantities of antibiotics (the real irony is that the cure is ... you guessed it - more antibiotics!). All of her therapy sessions have gone well lately. Today in OT she got to use a computer for the first time since the accident. She also works on pushing her wheelchair and assisting with her chair-bed transfers. Her right arm is still very stiff, but she has definitely improved its range of motion in the past few weeks.

-Dan


July 22, 2004
10:45pm


Jill had a pretty huge day today. Her doctors finally cleared her to get rid of her back brace. It is amazing how much more comfortable she seems to be without it. The scans taken last Friday show that her spinal fractures are healing as well as can be expected. The other exciting thing about tonight is that Jill actually got to leave the hospital grounds for a little while. We went out to eat at an Italian joint a few blocks down the road with 3 other patients and their families. This was Jill's first experience with the real world since the accident so it was understandably a little overwhelming for her. She dealt with it well, but she was extremely tired by the time that we got back. She said that being in a wheelchair out in public kind of bummed her out. One thing that is definitely still intact is her wit/sense of humor. After we got back from dinner we had a great time chatting in her room until bedtime.

-Dan


July 21, 2004
12:29am


Jill's doing well tonight. She is, however, still waiting for the verdict on whether or not she can get rid of her back brace. All of her docs have looked at it but now they want to get a second opinion from some ortho guy in another part of the hospital. I'm pleased to see them take the conservative approach...but Jill really just wants to get rid of that brace. Jill's memory and brain function seem to be slowly improving still. It is sort of tough though because, as she becomes more able to think about her situation, she becomes more aware of the severe effects of the TBI that she is recovering from (this makes it hard for her to see progress in her recovery at times). Thank you all for supporting Jill through the ongoing recovery process.

-Dan


July 19, 2004
9:29am


I forgot about this for last night's update. Another event plug: (same idea...different location) Some close family friends from Grass Valley are throwing a fundraiser for Jill on July 20th (tomorrow!) from 11am-9pm at Lamppost Pizza (on Olympia Park Road - near Brunswick Rd./Hwy 49 intersection). If you are hungry for pizza and are in the Grass Valley area, please stop by and mention Jill's name with your order. They will donate a % of the sale to her trust fund.

On that note...thank you all for showing up to the event in Davis. Based on the reports that I got, it was quite a gathering. The kind folks at Lamppost said that, while they do these events quite often, this was one of the most successful that they have ever seen. We told Jill about it and she was blown away. It really seems to help her knowing that so many people care about her and want to help throughout the recovery process.

-Dan


July 18, 2004
8:51pm


Jill had a nice and relaxing day today. She loves Sundays. We had a really mellow lunch down on the front lawn of the Rehab Facility. This was the farthest that she has ventured from her room since her trip over from rehab. Jill seems to be extremely hit and miss on her short term memory. One thing that she remembered this morning was that she had a CT scan on Friday. The scan was to check the status of the surgical procedure performed on her back - she was interested in being able to get rid of the brace that she is required to wear whenever she is up in a chair. Even though Jill's memory isn't yet what it used to be, she still jokes around with us quite a bit. Today I saw her shiver for a second and I asked her, "What was that all about?" She said, "It either means that I am cold...(she pauses and looks over at my dad)...or it means that I need a back massage right now."

-Dan


July 17, 2004
10:18pm


Jill is still putting tons and tons of effort into her recovery. One of the things that she worked on today was balancing herself while sitting on a flat bed. She continues to show significant improvements on a daily basis. She shows more determination than ever to get her right arm working again and even uses it to push her own wheelchair in therapy occasionally. Her short-term memory is slowly improving.

-Dan, Mom, Dad


July 15, 2004
11:39pm


Jill is doing great yet again today. We talked a lot about the accident this evening. She is still (for good reason) struggling to come to grips with the severity of her condition. This process is definitely not aided by her memory issues. Each time that the subject comes up, however, she seems to get a bit more complete picture of her prognosis. Jill enjoys all sorts of food these days. She isn't too excited about the hospital rations, but she'll wolf down all sorts of take-out that we bring in from the "outside". She is also working hard with her right hand. She signed a birthday card for one of the other patients today and really wanted to work on using the right instead of left hand. Eventually she gave up and signed the card with her left hand, but it was really cool to see her making the effort.

A few weeks ago Jill said that she would like to put a message of her own up in the updates section (she decided that after I told her about how people get updates about her condition through the site). I reminded her about it tonight and she dictated the following to my mom. I was extremely impressed with the appropriateness of her comments.

To all-
Thank you for your support for the past however many months. I really thank you all for your support of my family. I am doing well in a wheelchair. Thank you all for sending cards over the course of this hardship. Thank you all for visiting this site. I couldn't have made it without you - neither could my family.
Jill


-Dan


July 14, 2004
12:24am


As of today, Jill's feeding tube has been removed and she is cleared to drink water. It is amazing how enjoyable a drink of water can be after 3 months without...

-Dan


July 12, 2004
11:57pm


The rehab doctors are starting to talk about removing Jill's feeding tube in the near future. She has shown the ability to eat enough by mouth to sustain herself. Water-thin liquids are the only things that give her any trouble these days. It is pretty exciting for her to get that silly tube out of her belly. Everything else went as planned today. Lots of tiring and painful therapy sessions...

-Dan


July 11, 2004
9:49pm


Jill had some more birthday festivities today. We had cake and ice cream down in the courtyard of the rehab unit after lunch. She has been craving chocolate cake for quite a while now. We are starting to notice some small improvements in Jill's memory and logic from day to day.

-Dan


July 11, 2004
12:46am


Jill had a very full day today. The blood clot filter went in as planned in the late morning. The procedure was done down in radiology under a light general anesthetic and took around an hour and a half to complete. She seemed to be relieved after it was all through. She was pretty nervous about it last night and this morning. She was tired in the afternoon due to lack of sleep and the lingering effects of the anesthesia, but still managed a few reasonably productive therapy sessions. This evening she had a pretty special feast after her nap. Jill was actually able to eat pizza! She had been craving it for a while, so this was quite a monumental occasion for her. Her therapists have finally cleared her for pretty much a normal diet (although she is still not allowed to have un-thickened liquids and foods that are overly difficult to chew).

-Dan


July 9, 2004
9:42pm


Jill had a lovely birthday today, and greatly appreciated all of the visitors, flowers, cards, and gifts. We spoiled her with various forms of real food (burrito, smoothie, candy, cheesecake, pasta....). She had lots of visitors which kept her nice and busy when combined with her full therapy schedule. The physical/occupational therapists are beginning to work with Jill on the muscle movements required to push her own wheelchair. This is extremely difficult for her due to the lingering stiffness and range of motion problems in her arms (especially in the right arm, which is nearly immobile at this point...although it does seem to be improving slightly). In the middle of the afternoon socializing session we got a bit of serious news about Jill's medical condition. She will have a small "filter" inserted into a vein in her abdomen to prevent a blood clot that has formed in her leg from traveling up into her lungs. This commonly performed procedure for patients who are immobile for a long period of time.

-Dan, Mom, Dad


July 8, 2004
11:58pm


More real food for Jill today. Instead of pureed meals, Jill is now on the chopped food plan. This is good because it means that her meals look (and taste) more like normal food. In addition to the hospital rations, she got another smoothie today and some soft chocolates. The speech therapist seems to be very impressed with how quickly Jill has re-learned her eating skills. In other news, Jill got the cast on her left arm removed today. She seemed pretty excited about having the cast gone. The hole from the trach appears to be healing normally.

I am absolutely blown away when I look back at how far Jill's come just in the past two weeks. She still definitely has a long way to go - but she continues to fight like mad to recover from this thing. Thank you all for your continuing support.

-Dan


July 7, 2004
9:05pm


Jill's trach is out! She seems to be talking ok still (despite the doctor's warning that she may have troubles after the hardware removal). When I talked to her tonight she was even more excited about the fact that she got to eat a Jamba Juice along with her dinner. She has been getting pretty bummed about her pureed mystery meals so the smoothie was a welcome change.

-Dan


July 7, 2004
12:14am


Jill will have her trach removed tomorrow sometime. The doc said that she'll probably have a hard time talking for a day or three before the wound closes up. Jill is very much ready to get that thing out of there. Also, an x-ray will be taken of her left arm/wrist to see if she can finally get the cast off. Jill seemed to be in good spirits today. She ate well all day (pureed food only still), and hardly requires tube feeding to supplement her normal intake. Talking seems to be coming quite a bit easier for her these days.

-Dan


July 5, 2004
11:39pm


Jill had a pretty good weekend. Her mouth and throat muscles are starting to get used to eating again. The amount of tubefeeding that she requires is greatly reduced. She had a few words with my parents about her legs over the weekend. She seems to understand that something is terribly wrong with them and has talked a little bit about being in a wheelchair. The regular rehab schedule starts back up tomorrow. Hopefully this week she'll be able to get rid of her trach and start eating some better food...

-Dan


July 3, 2004
1:06am


In just her second day of eating meals by mouth since the accident, Jill has grown tired of the pureed mystery meat and mashed potatoes - imagine that. She eats at least part of the meals like a good sport, but has been asking for bigger and better things like chocolate cake, smoothies, and pizza...and all sorts of other good stuff. The therapists are already talking about trying her on very small and soft REAL, unblended food (like corn, peas, or diced chicken meat) sometime within the coming week. Jill laughed a bit for the first time today. It was not out loud, but it was definitely a prolonged laughing spree. Jill's short term memory seems to be improving slightly although it is still pretty sketchy. She still asks to go home with my parents and/or I just about every evening, and has trouble understanding why she can't simply leave the hospital. As she becomes more aware of her own condition she struggles to comprehend the severity of the injuries that she has sustained.

A quick programming note: I'm taking a few days away from computers this weekend so I probably won't be able to do another update 'till Monday night or so. Have a safe and enjoyable 4th.

-Dan


July 1, 2004
10:19pm


Jill had her first meal (by mouth) since the accident today. For dinner she had some sort of pureed meat food, pureed cooked carrots, and some mashed potatoes. That may not sound too appetizing, but Jill was pretty excited about the mashed potatoes. They were the most normal thing on her plate and she seemed really excited about being able to taste her food again. She washed it all down with a little thickened cranberry juice. Over the next few weeks the doctors will continue to give her food through her feeding tube to supplement the relatively small amount food that she is able to eat. Getting food in through her mouth is still quite a tough task. Her voice is still getting stronger...

-Dan


July 1, 2004
10:30am


Jill is still doing quite well. She had lots of visitors yesterday. She has been dealing with groups pretty well actually. The only time that she seems to be indifferent about her surroundings is when she has just been awakened from a nap (that is not too much of a change from before the accident though...). I talked to her on the phone last night and I noticed a definite improvement in her voice strength from my visit the day before. Her therapists are starting to work with her memory and logic on a daily basis.

An event plug: Members of our extended family in Davis are throwing a fundraiser for Jill on July 14th from 4-9pm at Lamppost Pizza (on Lake Blvd.). If you are hungry for pizza and are in the Davis area, please stop by and mention Jill's name with your order. They will donate a % of the sale to her trust fund.

-Dan


June 30, 2004
8:30am


Jill is getting stronger every day. She can project her voice a bit more lately and she is building up the stamina to use her voice for longer periods of time. She talked to my dad on the phone last night for probably 5 or 10 minutes. Talking takes a great deal of physical and mental effort still though. She appears to be noticeably drained after trying to use her voice for brief stretches - but this is definitely improving. She had applesauce again today. The docs had talked about removing her trach sometime soon, but she still occasionally has issues with managing her phlegm. She has been able to cough quite forcefully, but she still occasionally has to be suctioned. Hopefully it'll be out in a week or so.

-Dan


June 29, 2004
8:37am


Jill had a big day of therapy yesterday as usual. She ate some applesauce with the speech therapist. For the past few days Jill has been alluding to the fact that she wants to eat real food... It will be a while before she regains the skill to conquer solids though. The doctors were thinking about taking Jill's trach out yesterday, but they decided to wait until she is a bit better at coughing. We have seen her cough pretty forcibly, but the nurses still have to suction her occasionally. Jill is still making great progress each day...

-Dan


June 26, 2004
10:13pm


Despite the fact that Sunday is technically Jill's "day off" from therapy, she continued to forge ahead with her recovery. She attempted to teach herself how to throw a ball, and eventually was able to propel it a foot or two with her left hand. I was extremely impressed given the relative complexity of the act of throwing (grabbing the ball, getting her hand going, and then letting go of the ball at the right time is not a trivial thing). She was also able, with significant effort and some coaching from my parents, to sign a b-day card for me and a "new baby" card for one of her close work friends. Jill is still concerned, however, with the fact that her right hand is essentially immobile still despite her efforts to get it working correctly.

Even with all of the activity, she enjoyed a few afternoon naps and chose to get up into her chair only once today. After a long bout with the hiccups (first time since the accident - she was a pretty good sport about it despite how uncomfortable it must have been) during the first part of her chair session, she got neck massages from my parents and looked pretty darn comfortable. Now Jill needs to rest up for the long week of rehab ahead...

-Dan


June 26, 2004
10:49pm


Jill had yet another great day today. She was a little tired since she had some pretty intense physical and speech therapy sessions throughout the day. Her voice is getting a bit stronger each day. She is able to string a few words together every once in a while. She said that she was hungry today and so one of the therapists let her have a taste of cranberry juice. I told her that I was maintaining a website to update people on her condition and she said that she wanted to put something on it from her. It seemed to be a bit of pressure though, and she said that she couldn't think of what to say. She continues to work extremely hard in all of her therapy sessions.

-Dan, Dad, Mom


June 25, 2004
10:51pm


Jill continued to make great progress today. She has increased the amount of sound that she is able to make. She actually vocalized a few sentences today! Speaking definitely does not come easily, but when she can muster up the energy she is able to string together a few words every once in a while. Jill got to eat some yogurt today (1/3 container...vanilla). It was quite a chore, but she got it all down and seemed to enjoy the eating experience. She is now choosing what music to listen to and directing traffic within her room (Jill said, "Mom, don't worry about it" when she was straightening up the room). It was pretty hard to leave once again tonight. Jill was very clear about the fact that she wanted to come home with us. It is heartbreaking to witness, but it definitely feels like a step in the right direction.

-Dan


June 24, 2004
11:34pm


More good news today - Jill continues to work extremely hard on her recovery. She was able to eat some applesauce today. She had ice chips a few other times this week, but this is the first time that she has eaten any type of food with her mouth since the accident. One especially good moment from my visit was when Jill blew a kiss at her friend Heidi as she left (before I was there she apparently blew a kiss to Grammy as well). She has been working extremely hard to speak lately. She is able to move her mouth and exhale so that it almost sounds like she is whispering, but no sound really gets out (that's what I mean when I say that she "mouthed" something). Today while my dad was talking to her on the phone she tried to say, "Hi dad. How are you?" She mouthed it once or twice and then the last time was able get out a few sounds. My mom and I were very impressed and my dad was even able to hear it over the phone. The hardest (but probably most hopeful) moment of the day was, as my mom and I left, when she mouthed, "I want to come home with you guys."

-Dan


June 23, 2004
9:54pm


It was yet another great day for Jill today. Despite being a bit sleepy (because she wanted to try to go a night without her sleep medication last night), she had a productive day of rehab. Her trach is pretty much "capped" all of the time now and she seems to be dealing with it quite well. She was mouthing lots of words today, but is still having trouble making sounds. She is becoming pretty effective at communicating using facial expressions and nods.

Also - I just updated the main page with some new visitation info...here it is so that you don't have to click back and forth: "The best time for visitation is 4-8pm on weekdays. Jill is in the "Neuro Rehab" unit Rm. 49 (second floor in the "old" section of the hospital). Weekends tend to be more crowded, mostly with Jill's fantastic (and huge) extended family, so if you're from the area try to come on the weeknights."

-Dan


June 22, 2004
10:12pm


Jill had another good day today. She is still communicating with her head extremely well. She also was trying to use speech more today even though her trach was not plugged. I talked at her on the phone tonight and my mom said that she was mouthing words back to me the whole time (she still is physically unable to talk due to her trach). Also, she is becoming much more active with her left arm. My mom said, however, that Jill seems to be worried about the tension in her right arm. When the therapist was working on it today, Jill implied that it hurt her to work on the arm, but that she wanted to press on with the therapy anyway. Keep it up Jill...

-Dan


June 21, 2004
10:21pm


Jill had a phenomenal night tonight. For the first time since the accident, Jill was really actively communicating with us. She was smiling, nodding her head yes and no, and making all sorts of other facial expressions. Becky, Kina, Danh, and I were blown away to see the way that she reacted to our stories/conversations about past events. It also appears that Jill can smell now. She got a new trach in today that seems to route more air through her nose. We had her choose which kind of hand lotion for us to put on her based on smell (she really liked two, but turned her nose up at the third one...). The doctors will cap off her trach and try to get her to make sounds during her upcoming speech therapy sessions. Based on how she's doing currently, it seems that she probably has the mental capacity to talk, but I'm not sure that she has the muscle control yet. She appears to be having periodic muscle spasms in her neck and jaw. This could also explain some of the frowning that she does from time to time. Regardless, I left her room in awe tonight. She seems more determined than ever to work hard to bring herself back. Her tenacity appears to be paying off...

-Dan


June 21, 2004
7:50am


Jill had lots of family in town yesterday to hang out with. She was up in her wheelchair with her neck brace off for ~90 minutes. It is apparent that she has to work pretty hard to keep her head up, but it's impressive that she still can hold it up at all after 2.5 months in bed. She was very attentive with all of the visitors around. Towards the afternoon she seemed to get a bit uncomfortable. She developed a bit of a fever and was having some phlegm issues. Overall she is really making good progress lately.

-Dan


June 19, 2004
9:39pm


Jill didn't seem to be feeling quite as well today, but really worked hard in therapy and enjoyed her visitors. She displayed a variety of emotions today. We think that she is becoming more and more aware of her surroundings as the time goes by.

-Dan, Dad, and Mom


June 18, 2004
9:25pm


Jill had yet another good day today. She has been pretty expressive with her face lately and that trend continued. We asked her to stick her tongue out at her dad this afternoon and she was able to... then she went on to do it twice more just for fun. She is also extremely attentive when the nurses come in to work on her. She has really taken an interest in what they are doing lately.

-Dan


June 17, 2004
8:35pm


Jill was able to eat some ice chips today. This is a big step towards eventually being able to eat on her own. Her head control is improving daily and the speach therapist started to teach her to nod "yes" and "no". The doctors upped her sleeping and seizure medications today. She has been having issues with getting really sleepy during her therapy because she has not been getting much rest at night. Her hands are getting more flexible. More smiles today for the doctors as well. Good progress these days...

-Dan


June 16, 2004
10:58pm


Jill was doing pretty well again tonight. She smiled a few times - and was able to lift her head off of the pillow to look around the room. She really seems to enjoy visual stimulation within her room (things like people moving around and the TV being on). It is good to see her beginning to become more aware of her surroundings.

-Dan


June 15, 2004
5:31pm


The news is more of the same from the hospital these days. Jill is becoming much more consistent with her responsiveness. Also, she doesn't have to wear her neck brace while she's in bed these days. Sorry for the brief updates lately, I have been sick since last Friday so I haven't been able to see her first hand.

-Dan


June 13, 2004
9:42pm


Jill had a really good day today. She smiled quite a few times throughout the day (in response to my parents and to some of her college buddies). In addition, she was able to follow a few simple commands - things like looking a different objects throughout the room and opening her mouth for the nurses. She is a great deal more expressive with her face and just seems more alert in general. Keep it up Jill...

-Dan


June 13, 2004
10:02am


Jill is all settled in at rehab now. Now that she has the internal shunt the therapists are able to tilt her bed up for long periods of time. She has been pretty alert over the last few days as well. She tracks her doctors and visitors pretty well with her eyes as they move around the room. Another bonus about her return to rehab is that this time she got her own room...for now anyway.

-Dan


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