Friday, 7 December 2012

Update - December 4, 2012

Allison has been home for five weeks since her discharge from the Rehab Centre and has gotten into a solid routine. She has been having two speech therapy outpatient sessions at the Rehab Centre, two music therapy sessions at home, and two fitness sessions with a personal trainer at the YMCA each week. Allison also plays piano, works at Sudoku, does speech and music therapy homework, goes for walks, and has been attending a number of musical performances (Welcome Winter, Bach Christmas Oratorio, Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, Orpheus, etc.). She has also enjoyed musical Sunday afternoons at home with friends. We are hoping for more of these musical Sunday afternoons, as Allison’s music therapist says that music, music and music are all important to Allison’s recovery!

Allison’s speech therapist at the Rehab Centre says that Allison hasn’t hit a plateau, and that she is now making particularly good progress at being deliberate with alternate word selection after recognizing that her initial word selection isn’t correct. This is a big difference from when her outpatient speech therapy started a few weeks ago, as at that time Allison used a lot of jargon and her speech was confusing. This morning Allison aced a few speech therapy exercises that she had struggled with previously, to the extent that the speech therapist accused her of showing off for her husband. However, naming objects continues to be problematic for Allison at times.   Regarding Allison’s continuing good humour, the speech therapist says that she’s told her own husband that if she had to have a brain injury she “would want to be like Allison because her good humour gives her about 50% more function.” Unfortunately the Rehab Centre outpatient speech therapy will not last much longer, and we will begin the search for a private speech therapist soon. However, Allison’s speech therapist says she has recommended that Allison begin receiving occupational therapy at the Rehab Centre as an outpatient in the new year, as her communication skills have improved enough that she will now be able to benefit.

A representative from the Aphasia Centre attended for an initial home visit with Allison last week, and set up a follow-up meeting with Allison at the Centre. Beginning in the new year, Allison will also be able to attend a weekly two hour session at the Centre. The Aphasia Centre representative explained that aphasia affects (1) word processing; (2) reading ; (3) writing; and (4) comprehension in varying degrees, and emphasized that often the effects are not fully apparent in individual cases until well after the brian injury occurred. The speech therapist at the Rehab Centre is encouraging Allison to take advantage of the Aphasia Centre’s group sessions, as the group environment will present new challenges.

The less-good-news is that a bare spot has appeared on Allison’s head, where the incision was made to insert the titanium piece in place of her missing skull section. Dr. Peters, the plastic surgeon we met last week, says that as the titanium piece is no longer sterile it has to be removed, and replaced with a new titanium piece in an operation which will involve skin grafting. Allison’s neurosurgeon Dr. Lesiuk and Dr. Peters have scheduled the surgery for this Friday, and Allison is expected to be in the Hospital for a few days afterwards. Allison’s attitude towards this new development is that regardless of what has to be done, she will just keep dealing with any and all obstacles until they are overcome. Remarkably, over the past twelve or so months there have never been any “Oh woe is me” comments or reactions from Allison.

Marya and Allison have jointly taken on the traditional Christmas treat-making that Allison has done over the years, so no worries about a treat deficit over the holidays. All for now and best for the season!

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