Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007 - E-mail from Kristie

This is Mack and Jason at our house in Chester on New Found Lane when they were about 12 or 13 years old. They were best friends even then.
Jason and Kristen are planning to come up from North Carolina for Mack's birthday party.

Kristie tried to send two pictures of Mack, but for some reason, they didn't come all the way through. Hopefully, she'll try to resend them. If they come through, I will post them.

Hey guys! Let's see since then he has had quite a few snacks. He ate 50 % of his breakfast one day, 75% of his breakfast today. He loves to drink from those 16 oz bottles of minute maid fruit drinks and some sodas. They are good for him to control without spilling hardly anything. He's quite the drinker now. In regards to birthday, anything goes. However, don't expect him to reach for anything off the table (on a plate of course ;) ) to eat, but if you hand it to him or on a utensil with food on it, he will do his thing. So yes, self-feeding is very realistic. Love the blog!! Talk to you soon! Kristie his speech therapist.

Mack's Birthday party is planned for Sunday, March 11th, starting about 11 a.m. We're hoping that having his party early in the day will allow him to enjoy it more, as he won't be as tired in the morning as he would be in the afternoon.

Jason, if you are going to follow us down to Farmville, could you and Kristen be at our house at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday? If we can get down there by 10:30, we'll have time to decorate the dining hall for the party and his room a little.

Have A Great Weekend,
Ruth & Richard

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mack's Swallow Study Results

Winter - 1986/87

This picture is of Mack and Jimi playing together on their sled in Chester, I think about 1986 or 1987. There was a fairly long hill at the other end of our block that wasn't paved, but was great for sledding. They had a great time together in the snow that day.

February 17, 2007
Mack had the barium swallow study done on Thursday, instead of Friday. Richard called Kristie on Thursday to ask her to ease up on Mack's physical therapy for the day so that he wouldn't get worn out before going to the barium swallow test on Friday. She told him that it was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, not Friday, and that he would be at Johnston Willis about 1 p.m. as the study was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. So, Richard left work and met them there in time to be there for the study.

I'm happy to say that Mack did very well during the study and as a result, can now start eating some regular foods under Kristie's supervision. Mack does have some difficulty swallowing some things like pudding, for instance, but that should clear up as he uses his throat muscles more often. He will still be tube fed for a while longer, along with eating regular foods, to ensure he gets proper nutrition. As of yesterday, Kristie fed Mack 3 chicken nuggets and some french fries, which Mack devoured. I know that everyone is happy to hear this good news. However, we have a request - please help us to ensure that Mack continues his progress without difficulties by getting Kristie's approval BEFORE giving him anything by mouth except water, juice and ice for now. He still has quite a way to go before he can eat normally again. He's come a long way in the past seven months, and still has quite a hill to climb ahead of him.

Next project - getting him to talk or write. We got Mack an etch-a-sketch recently. Whenever we go to visit, we pull out the etch-a-sketch and encourage him to write on it. He usually scribbles, but he is trying to do something. When he's done, he wants to put the stylus in his mouth to chew on it and we have to pull it away and tell him no, that's not food. I've written his name on it for him and took his right hand to trace over it. I've also written "yes" and "no" on it and asked him questions so that he could point to the answer. So far, he hasn't been able to respond to this other than doing the scribbles. I think if we repeated that process often, something might click in his brain and surprise us. If asked, he will blink his eyes responding to yes and no questions. Kristie has gotten him to nod yes or shake his head side to side for no, but he has to be in the right mood to do that. Richard told me that last night he got Mack to turn on his electric razor and tried to shave himself with it. So, progress is being made with little baby steps, but it's progress none the less. I will say this, Mack's occasional stubborn streak didn't leave him when he had the accident, and he will use it when he doesn't want to be bothered. When he gets like that, Kristie and Richard are persistent in their requests to him, and eventually get him to do whatever they need him to do. There are times, usually later in the day after a long day of therapy, when Mack tries to comply to requests, but he doesn't succeed because he is too tired.

These pictures were taken at "sled hill" at Enon Elementary School around the same time in 1986.

We're very happy that Mack has had so many people pulling for him (and for us) and are happy to share his progress and successes with everyone who reads this blog site.

Thank you all for being there for us.

God Bless,
Ruth & Richard

Monday, February 12, 2007

Correct Mailing Address for Trinity Mission

One of the nurses at Trinity Mission gave Richard a card with their correct mailing address this evening and I want to make sure that I passed along the correct address on this blogsite.

If you would like to send Mack mail please address it to:

Richard M. Manor (Room 131)
C/O Trinity Mission Health & Rehab of Farmville
P. O. Box 487
1575 Scott Drive
Farmville, VA 23901

Phone Number is (434) 392-8806

Sunday, February 11, 2007

February 11, 2007 - At Trinity Mission

Mack has been at Trinity Mission for nearly a month now and seems to be adjusting nicely. His speech therapist, Kristie, his speech therapist, has been working with Mack quite a bit since he arrived, and as a result, Mack has shown big improvements in his motor skills over the past few weeks. As you can see in the picture, Mack is holding a glass of water and drinking tiny sips on his own. He is also showing some response to commands, such as putting his chap stick on both of his lips on his own. Also, he has been responding to picture recognition.

Mack had his first vital stim treatment on Thursday, Feb. 8. to stimulate his throat muscles and allow him to swallow better. Kristie has given him water, graham crackers, and had Mack feed himself pudding with a spoon without any complications.
Next Friday, Feb. 16th, Mack will be transported to Johnston Willis for a modified barium swallow test. If he is successful, he may be able to start eating some regular food soon under Kristie's supervision.

Mack has recently started showing emotions, like a little smile and sometimes his eyes will start welling up with tears while we're talking to him. And, he has started making more sounds, moving his mouth like he's trying to talk.

Yesterday, Richard, Belinda and I took Alex (Mack's dog) to visit with Mack. Although Mack was tired already from sitting up in his chair earlier in the morning, he was happy to see us with Alex when we arrived. Alex jumped up in Mack's bed and Mack held on to Alex's harness for a little while to keep him near him. We even got Mack to pet Alex on his own. When Belinda sat on Mack's bed and hugged him, Mack raised his head toward her face to kiss her several times. She held him for quite a while and I think he was happier to see Belinda than he was to see Alex yesterday. That was the most deliberate move I've seen Mack make yet. It brought tears to my eyes to see him react to Belinda that way because it shows he remembered that he loves her and that, although he can't tell her yet, he showed her that she is still a very important person in his life.

March 12th will be Mack's 27th birthday. We're planning to have a little family-type birthday party for him on Sunday afternoon, March 11th, at Trinity Mission. We'll bring him balloons and decorate his room a little for him. If Mack is successful next Friday with his barium swallow study, we also plan to have an ice cream cake for him to enjoy at his birthday party.

If anyone wants to send Mack a birthday card,
address it to:

P. O. Box 487
1575 Scott Drive

We want to thank all the nurses, care partners, his doctor and Kristie, his speech therapist, at Trinity Mission for making Mack feel comfortable and "at home" for the past few weeks.

Please keep up the hope and prayers 'cause, as you can see, it makes a big difference.

God Bless all of our family and friends,
Ruth & Richard