Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Update - September 26, 2012

The past week goes down as a most memorable one in Allison's ongoing story. Every weekday she had a few hours of therapy at the ABI rehab clinic, and came home in the late afternoon for dinner, returning around 7:00 P.M. ready for bed, so she would be well-rested for more therapy sessions the following day. Plus, for the first time she had a weekend pass, subject to 24 hour supervision by family, and injections given at home. This went well, but it was not without its priceless moments.

The Sunday evening benefit concert (which Allison did not attend, as we think it would have been overwhelming for her) was successful beyond belief. Marya, with the aid of an exceptionally talented and dedicated group of friends and performers, put on what was truly an extraordinary event. With almost 400 advance tickets sold and a walk-up attendance estimated at around another 200 (with people turned away at the door) the Southminster Church was packed. And people were treated to a gem of a concert.

As a fundraiser, the event was a smashing success. Host Rob Clipperton announced at the concert that total donations and ticket sales reached $35,000. This is far beyond anyone's expectations and is a huge boost in funding for Allison's rehabilitation and related medical expenses! While the performers all deserve enormous accolades for their wonderful contributions, Doug and Pat MacDonald did a splendid rendition of the Duke and Duchess, with eloquently re-written G&S lyrics featuring Allison and her husband.  This script is available for your reading pleasure here. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Update - September 18, 2012

Allison has had yet another good week and there is a lot of good news to report. On Tuesday last week she moved from the Neuroscience InPatient Unit at the Civic Hospital Campus to the ABI Rehabilitation Centre at the General Campus.  After a short transitional period during which Allison wasn't totally convinced that the ABI Rehabilitation Centre was the right place for her (as compared to home, for example) she now seems to be quite on board with the ABI program, which typically includes several different therapy sessions in a day (Hallelujah!).

Then on the 111th day Allison actually went  home for a few hours on a day pass! She walked in as if she owned the place, stated that "It's so nice to be home," looked around a bit on the main floor, and then promptly sat in her favourite chair. She later went upstairs to enjoy the sunshine on the second floor deck. Realizing some of the furniture was out of place, she quickly re-arranged it, and returned the garden hose to its home.   One of the highlights of the day was that although for the last several weeks Allison hasn't been able to indicate where her passport was in the house, when asked her about it again on Sunday she walked over to and pulled it out of a vase in the living room. This was quite timely as the passport is needed in order to renew Allison's Ontario health card very soon.

Allison is doing very well on the speaking front after only a couple of speech therapy sessions, but there is a lot of work to be done by Allison in re-establishing her understanding of how words relate to objects and the like; however, there is no evidence of her being daunted.  We look forward to seeing the results of the music therapy, which begins this week.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Update - September 11, 2012

Allison has had another good week and events are finally moving quickly! Allison had her missing skull piece replaced with titanium mesh last week and she is no longer required to wear a helmet. Plus, the ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) clinic where she is going next for aggressive rehab has had a bed open up much earlier than expected and Allison is moving this Thursday. She isn't thrilled about not coming home at this juncture, but she understands that the therapy work now begins in earnest and that there is a ton of work to be done to re-establish her speech, etc.
In that regard we met on the weekend with Cheryl Jones, a music therapist who has excellent credentials and a wonderful manner. Allison was going to start music therapy sessions with Cheryl right away but now we'll wait and see how the music therapy fits in with the comprehensive ABI program before proceeding.  Some of the training Cheryl received was from the same doctor who trained the music therapist who has been working with Congresswoman Gifford to restore her speech after she was shot.  Cheryl established a rapport with Allison in a short time and Allison is keen about proceeding with the music therapy.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Update - September 5, 2012

Allison has had another good week in the Neuroscience InPatient Unit. Because of the large gains she's made in the past while, she's been accepted into the aggressive rehab program at the Acquired Brain Injury ("ABI") Clinic (connected to the Ottawa General Hospital) and she is on a three week waiting list. Allison will be evaluated when she arrives at the Clinic and a therapy program planned for her. We visited the Clinic last week and in Marya's words it looks "hard core". 
We are expecting that Allison's bone flap / skull surgery will take place sometime this week, although it remains subject to scheduling. Allison has recently been walking up a storm - to such an extent that she has to wear an electronic bracelet so the nurses can keep track of her.  When leaving the 7th floor with Allison, we have to check in with the front desk so the alarm can be turned off when she goes by.
Allison has been playing the piano a fair amount lately. Although her playing doesn't meet her own exacting standards, it is thrilling to see her able to concentrate on something for such extended periods. 
All of this is, of course, very positive; however, there is a considerable distance to go. Allison's conversation is quite often difficult to follow, her memory is a work-in-progress, and although she is physically stronger, she has balance and stamina issues which we expect to fade with time.