Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday, February 13

What a huge difference a week makes!  Mike and I rolled back in to Atlanta today and I am amazed at Bill's progress in the time I've been away.  Last week went fairly well for him although there was some disappointing news about vent weaning.  His discharge date is February 26 * but this was set before the respiratory issues started snowballing in January.  It's possible that his discharge date will be pushed back, but the folks in charge have not done this yet.  During the week, the respiratory specialist told Bill that he will not be off the ventilator by February 26.  Therefore, at this point Bill is expected to go home on the ventilator.  I'm sure everyone can imagine how hard this was for Bill to hear.  From what I understand, the issue is that his lungs are incredibly weak because of everything he has been through.  This doesn't mean he will always be on the vent, but this big piece of his recovery is pushed back and that's really tough.  It is possible that if he stays in the inpatient program a few more weeks he could get off the vent.  Extending his stay depends on whether or not he continues to make improvement and the Shepherd Center can justify keeping him here.  When I talked about this with him tonight he said that he wants to stay and show them all he can do it.  Although he wants to get home, at this point he would rather stay a bit longer in order to go home vent-free and stronger.

Even with the disappointing news about the vent I can still see a huge improvement in Bill.  His arms are both stronger and he has more coordination than he did a week ago.  Still no sign of hand function returning, but the future is vast and you just never know what it holds.  Best of all, his attitude is great and he was joking with us all evening.

Bill is also using Dragon Naturally Speaking with the laptop AEP gave him.   This is a voice-recognition program that allows him to use a computer with no hands.  In addition to being speech therapy disguised as fun (he has to speak loudly and clearly to get the software to work!) it allows him to respond to email on his own and stay in touch will all of you.  So, please send him email!  a.william.beckATgmailDOTcom.  Joy Schumacher- could you drop him an email?

*Although Bill is expected to be discharged from inpatient rehab on the 26th, the plan was for him to do 2-6 weeks of the outpatient "Day Program" here at the Shepherd Center.  The exact length of time he spends in the Program depends on his needs and what his insurance company will cover.  This is sort of a transition home: during the day he would go in for therapy and at the end of the day he would return to an apartment and we would provide most of his care.

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