Wednesday, November 22, 2006

November 22, 2006

This is a picture of Mack at MCV in the ICU in early September. He was very much still in a coma and barely able to open his eyes when we spoke to him. Your many prayers have helped him to progress to the point he is at now.

This is Mack last week drinking water from a sponge. He can hold his head up and even sit up in his bed with a bit of help. He is brushing his teeth mostly by himself now. He still has issues with his left side - arm and leg movements are slow in coming and seem to hurt him when he does move around. The doctors have ordered more tests to try to find out why he is having so much difficulty moving his left arm and leg.

Richard and I gave him a haircut and shave last Sunday, then shampooed his hair for him. He loved getting his hair shampooed and held really still for it. Most of the time he squirms around like a little kid, like when they have to do something they don't want to do.
Richard and Belinda took Alex, Mack's dog up to visit him last Tuesday. Mack just looked at him with a very puzzled look for several minutes, taking it all in, like he wanted to say "what the heck are you all doing bringing my dog into the hospital?" Alex jumped up in the bed with Mack and laid still for Mack to pet him and touch him. Mack even started pulling Alex's ears and Alex let him, never whimpering a sound. Richard videoed the visit of Alex with Mack, as well as Mack brushing his teeth on his own. I'm sure he'll share it with you if you come by and ask him to.
This picture is of Mack looking a pictures of Alex and Cesar, his dogs, and a picture of Misty, our dog, that he brought to us. (I know, he looks like he's asleep, but he actually blinked when the camera light flashed) He seems to want to hold on to the pictures for quite a while when we show them to him. I've also taken a small picture album up to the hospital for him of other family members and events he may remember. We're trying to stimulate him with everything we can think of to jog his memory. We're still waiting for Mack to start talking again. He makes sounds occasionally, but not regularly. If you go to visit him, please encourage him to talk with you. Once you have spoken, wait a couple of minutes to give him time to process what you've said to him. If he heard you and understands, he usually looks toward/at you or does what you've asked him to do, if he can. You never know, who might be the person to help him break through.

The doctors and social worker are still trying to get Mack into the Richmond Nursing home on Hilliard Avenue. It's a good possibility that it may happen since the entire family is highly opposed to him going to Roanoke, because it is so far away.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, 2006. We are thankful for the skilled doctors and nurses at MCV that kept Mack alive and are grateful that he is getting better each day. We are thankful for the many friends and family members that have been praying for Mack and have been at our side when we need them. I am especially thankful to Mr. Tom Arrington for repairing my mother's heat pump last week when she had no heat in her house. I pray that each of you has been blessed in many ways too this year. Oh yes, I am also very thankful that I don't have pneumonia to deal with over the holidays again this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Ruth & Richard

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Viet Nam Women's War Memorial in Washington D.C. - October 2005.

Richard and I spent a week's vacation in our timeshare in Alexandria, VA last year. We toured all over Washington D.C. and Old Town Alexandria the entire week. I highly recommend traveling via The Metro (subway) opposed to driving in that horrendous D.C. traffic. It's even bad at 3 a.m. Besides, there's almost no place to park in D.C. either.

Did you vote yesterday? I sure hope so because there are many men and women overseas, putting their life on the line, fighting for your right to vote.

UPDATE: (Sorry I'm so slow in doing this update, but the blog has been locked up for a couple of days and I couldn't upload anything into it.)

It seems that Mack has improved quite a bit in the past three to four days. On Sunday, when Richard and I visited him, Mack seemed more alert than usual. We took him pictures of Alex and Cesar, his dogs, and a picture of Misty, too. He held the onto the page and seemed like he was looking at the pictures for several minutes. Richard then shaved him and brushed his teeth. After he brushed his teeth, Richard put a cap full of mouthwash in Mack's mouth, with the intention of suctioning it back out, but Mack swallowed it before he could even blink an eye. Since Mack acted like he was really thirsty, we took one of the sponge swabs which they use for swabbing his mouth with medicine for thrush mouth, put water on it, and started swabbing his mouth with water. Mack latched on to it hard, had the water in his mouth in short time and then, swallowed it as well. Then, Richard gave him Pepsi on the swab. You can imagine that went over really well with Mack. He swallowed it as well without any problems. On Monday, Richard talked with Mack's doctor and asked him to do a swallow study on Mack to see if he can, in fact, swallow. The study came back positive and the doctor ordered Mack to have up to 5 teaspoons of water at a time. We are not supposed to give him anything else just yet. But that's a huge improvement! Oh, we can't give him the red sponge heart anymore. Mack took a bite out of it! I think the boy is HUNGRY!!!

Today, Richard called the nursing floor supervisor and got permission for us to bring Alex up to visit Mack. We will do that this weekend because Alex needs to have a bath before he goes up there - plus we're also making sure that Alex has had all of his shots, etc. Alex is the calm dog where Cesar is the hyper one, which is why we decided to take Alex up. I can't wait to see Mack's reaction when he sees Alex and gets to touch him again. I hope that will be the thing that will help him snap out of the twilight coma and come back to us, alert all the way.

Oh, one more piece of good news - Richard went up to visit Mack this afternoon, as he usually does. He shaved him and started brushing Mack's teeth, when Mack reached up with his right hand, took the toothbrush in his own hand and started brushing his teeth himself. Mack's nurse saw him do it too and noted it on his chart for the doctor. Of course Mack didn't do the best job of brushing his teeth, but he did do it by himself, without Richard holding his hand.

Today is the first day of month four since Mack's accident and we're hoping and praying that his progress continues without too many complications from here on out. We ask that you please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. God's working on his own timeline here.

We hope everyone had a Happy and Safe Halloween.

Love, Ruth & Richard