Hi, it's Josh. As you probably know, I suffered a brain injury in a car accident on December the 12th, 2010. After 3 weeks in the Paoli Hospital ICU, I was transferred to Bryn Mawr Rehab to begin my recovery. On May 24th, I was discharged to home to finish recovery in the BMR day program. Friends originally set up this blog to help my family more easily communicate with everyone. Please leave a message or comment below (if you choose to) or contact me on Facebook or Gmail. Thanks!
Sunday, December 9, 2012
We have been so busy, Josh has not has a chance to post in a while. The fan base has let us know they miss him, so I am posting a short update in the interim.
We are celebrating Josh’s second full year in recovery from his accident. He completed the Communications Therapy program at Bryn Mawr Rehab and now visits twice a week for Physical and Occupational Therapy. He has also enrolled in the Fighting Back program, which is a one on one strength building program. This program has helped many people to gain independence after reaching the end of mainstream medical treatment. Josh has gained tremendous strength in his legs and core through lifting weights, rowing and stretching. His walking is still coming along, needing only a small amount of assistance with balance. He has also started biofeedback therapy. (You can Google if you like for an explanation.) Josh turned 21 in October. We celebrated with a really great trip to meet up with Uncle Moon and Aunt Susan on Hilton Head Island, SC while Hurricane Sandy hammered the Northeast.
Josh is doing some great stuff unassisted; standing out of his chair to brush his teeth, doing several sit ups at a time, and peeling oranges with two hands. Miracles come in small packages.
Hopefully over the holidays we will be able to make a full post.
Oh yeah, then there was the beard growing contest for "No Shave November"...
I've been going to my new program, “Fighting Back” for three weeks now, and I've been really enjoying it. It's all physical work, on balance, walking, and stretching. My energy level has improved, and been fine throughout.
I also got approved by the insurance company for 12 more weeks at Bryn Mawr Rehab for therapy. They gave me this because of my updated goals, which are to learn to use an electric wheelchair. I feel very negative about this, as I've said before, and this is because of the image it projects to people. My therapists have said that it will just be a temporary thing to gain more independence while my walking improves, but that doesn't change how I feel.
On a lighter note, my 21st birthday is quickly approaching. I will be spending that time down on Hilton Head Island, SC, with my parents, and my aunt and uncle. I expect that this will be lots of fun.
My sister, Rose, is touring with her circus troupe across the country. Go see her if you have a chance.
She has been in Milwaukee, Chicago, New York and Detroit so far.
I have concluded my communications therapy program at Bryn Mawr Rehab and enrolled in the Fighting Back program in Malvern. Below is an interview I conducted with my CT therapist, Laura, on my last day.
What was my memory like when I first came to the Day Treatment program?
It was “severely impaired”. It was difficult for you to remember names, events, even after a short time. For example, when asked to remember three items after three minutes, you would only be able to remember one. Today you remembered all three without any problem.
You also had difficulty with orientation in time, unable to remember or keep track of the date, day of the week, year or time of day. Today you know all of that without having to refer to anything.
I know that my memory has improved since then.How do you as a Communication Therapist measure that?
We use standardized tests, we therapy activities, observation, and patient/family information.
On the first day at the day treatment program, your immediate memory was in the fiftieth percentile and your recent memory was in the sixteenth percentile.
Today, your immediate memory is in the ninety-fifth percentile and recent memory is somewhere between the seventy-fifth and eighty-fourth percentile.These tests evaluate my memory over a couple of minutes. As more time passes, I may have more difficulty.
What challenges and improvements in my memory do you see in my future?
I think that your memory will continue to improve gradually over time. I believe the more responsibility and initiation you take in your daily routine, the better your memory will become. Look for opportunities that have a routine to give your brain multiple opportunities to remember as it needs repetition right now for things to become ingrained. You must challenge yourself, really dig into your memory, going step by step if are trying to recall something.
I will be doing Fighting Back 2 days a week and waiting to hear from the insurance company regarding future therapy at Bryn Mawr.
Hello people, it’s Josh here again, writing another entry from Speech Therapy at BMR, this time about my challenges. I’ve been thinking it over, and it doesn’t take long to figure that the most difficult part of my recovery has been my lack of a decent memory now. I’ve been told that it is tremendously better, but to me, it won’t have healed at all until its back to how it was. Right now, only 45 minutes later, I barely remember eating lunch at all. Intellectually, I know that I must have taken in some form of food, but I don’t remember doing it at all.
Along with that is remembering to use my right hand so I gain more movement with it has been very difficult for me. I've had to resort to using a glove to remind myself, and even that doesn't work sometimes.
My Long-term memory has some deficits as well, such as not being able to remember my last few years of high school or anything but some names of people from college.
If I see you, I’ll recognize who you are, the names rarely elude me. I have been thinking a lot about our yearly trips to the Farm Show lately. I’m remembering the horse pulls, and the livestock exhibitions.
Hello everyone, this is Josh, the subject of the blog. I’ll be updating the blog from time to time..
How are you guys doing?
Please input your feeling on this, or any other matters in the comment area!
I’ve been going twice a week to rehab for therapy, which seems to be going well in my view. I’m still doing Communication Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and I do a Psychological check-up every month.
In CT, I do logical activities, and work on my memory. We are talking about taking a class online or volunteering at the rehab center, doing some computer work.
In OT, we usually play a board game or work on my right hand, regaining strength or control in it.
In PT, I work on my balance, so I can walk again on my own!
On my off days, I ride a recumbant bike, lift weights and use gaming to improve my hand / eye
It is great to be writing my blog now. Check in from time to time and see how things are going.
Last week, Josh was approved for 8 more weeks of therapy. This was
after the insurance company had us wait 2 weeks for a decision. While
we were waiting, Josh and Darling worked every day at home, and
actually made significant progress with his walker.
Week after week, he always shows improvement. It is hard to believe
how far he has come.
Hit Josh up on email or Facebook. When he is not exercising, he is
guaranteed to be on some form of technology or another.
Josh made the journey to Alabama and back last week. It was a long trip, 2 hours by plane and 6 hours by car, but we made it. It's about as far south and west as you can go in Alabama. It was the first time that Josh had seen his maternal grandparents since his accident.
Luckily, we missed the floods in Pensacola that had occurred a few days earlier. The weather was warm and the sea breeze made it comfortable.
We left the wheel chair in the car most of the visit, letting Josh walk with assistance into and out of the house. Josh cleaned up winning both mega family Scrabble tournaments.
The airlines and airports were very accomodating. Everything went very smoothly.
We hope you are having a great summer. Josh would love to hear from you or see you. He is also
on Facebook daily, when he is not at day treatment.
Today is the one year anniversary of Josh's homecoming from
Bryn Mawr Hospital. It is hard to believe!
We wanted to say goodbye and good luck to Michele, Josh's
physical therapist, who has left Bryn Mawr and moved with her
husband and children to New Jersey. You will be sorely missed Michele.
Michele has been an integral part of Josh's recovery in the day treatment program.
Rose graduated from the Professional Training program at NECCA last
weekend. Darling, Josh and I made the trek to Vermont to see her
performances, which were amazing.
This was also significant as it was Josh's first road trip away from
home since his accident. Everything went very smoothly.
In 3 weeks, we are flying with Josh down to visit his grandparents in Alabama
for the first time in several years. We'll let you know how that goes.
Enjoy your summer!
This is post # 103.
This coming month will mark the first anniversary
of Josh's homecoming. Hard to believe!
Josh walked with only min assist from Darling,
all the way from the car, up the ramp and into
the house last night. He is really making progress.
He is also now off all the blood thinners.So, no
more shots in the morning.
Josh is going to visit his grandparents and aunts/uncles
in Alabama in June. We have been looking forward to this for
a long time.
We will try to post at least once a month, especially when
we have some good pics or exciting news.
Thank you again for following.
Josh continues to work hard in therapy and always shows progress. He is walking with min assist and using his walker. His memory also continues to improve.
In CT, Josh has been reading Hunger Games. We all went to see the movie with friends last week. He also has been working on a report about social networking, which he presented to therapists and patients last week. He is now preparing a Powerpoint presentation on Facebook for this week.
Josh now spends his spare time at Bryn Mawr Hospital in the greenhouse. It is a wonderful space that provided us with a much needed boost during the long winter months when Josh was in patient.
He loves your cards, emails and messages. Thank you!
It dawned on me this weekend that in 10 weeks, Josh will have been out of the hospital for 1 year. Time has flown.
Based on his progress, Josh was approved for another 8 weeks of day treatment, 3 times per week. Despite his gains, we were worried, as always, that the cost of treatment would overshadow the progress he continues to make, in the eyes of the insurance company. Luckily, we were wrong.
Josh is now using the walker to get around the house some, with minimal assistance. Or next goal is to leave the wheelchair at the front door, only using it for trips outside the house.
For now, we are thankful for such a mild winter. This meant less wood to split, carry and burn and not one cancellation of day treatment due to snow. We look forward to warmer days where Josh can continue his recovery in the warm air outside.
Until then, thank you for following. You can contact Josh daily on Facebook if you like, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org He would love to hear from you!
Josh continues to thrive under the guidance of the Bryn Mawr Rehab team. He is in the pool every week now. Despite his protests, he always has a big smile on his face while he's in the water.
Josh is walking in the pool with little or no assistance. He can stand at the wall unassisted.
Josh is walking in the gym with and without a walker with minimal assistance. He can stand at a wall or with a support on one side unassisted.
In OT, his arm and hand strength continue to increase and his right arm gains more mobility and dexterity week after week. "Righty", as we call him, is helping with dressing, eating, grooming and on the tablet computer.
Josh's memory issues seem to come and go to a varying degree. For the most part, he is coping, and learning skills to help overcome this.
At home, Josh is assembling wooden models, paper crafting, baking and working on his stand up routine. Thanks to Abilities in Motion for finally getting us some assistance in the home a few hours a week and finalizing some minor alterations in the bathroom.
Things were a bit hectic last week. As Mike was flying in from a trip to Chicago, Darling was driving to Vermont to help out Rose who was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever. Everyone is doing better now and back at home this week. It's always something...
We are thankful for the progress Josh is making and for the continued love and support from our circle of family and friends.
We had a great holiday filled with many emotions; celebrations of Christmas, a New Year and the life of Josh, as well as, difficult memories of Josh's accident brought to the surface by the time of year.
We are so grateful for the second chance we have been given with Josh. He understands how blessed he is and demonstrates this through his hard work in therapy. He is standing and walking with little or no assistance in the pool. We believe his "dry land" skills are about to make another leap to a higher level.
Josh is also using a very interesting new program at BMR on the Ipad which tests, tracks and monitors cognitive skills in many areas. Josh picked it up immediately, of course, and it looks like the Ipad has become the tool of choice at the rehab center.
We are so thankful for all of our friends, family, co-workers, and strangers who dropped everything in their lives to be at our side in our time of need, a year ago. This has been a truly life changing experience in so many ways.
So now we move ahead in a new year, cheering Josh on, day by day, on his race to recovery.