It’s been ten days since I last updated you on my grandson’s progress. He continues to do well in therapy. He can walk moderate distances now, and has learned to roll his own wheelchair around. He appears to have control of all of his appendages, but has some issues that are being worked on in therapy.
He still has trouble with fine motor control. What this means is that he cannot control his fingers individually, so he eats like a small child by grabbing whatever he wants to eat in his fist, then cramming his entire fist in his mouth before opening his hand. That’s one thing that we have been working on with him- trying to get him to pick up food with just his index finger and thumb. I was using M&M’s to try and get him to feed himself.
He is still non-verbal. He can make the “f” and “s” sounds, but can’t seem to use his vocal chords on a voluntary basis, nor can he move his mouth for other sounds. This seems to frustrate him while he is trying to talk. I’ve been working on any word at all. The one he seems to enjoy shooting for is “fart.” After half an hour or so of trying he begins getting angry and stomps his feet. I can’t imagine what that is like, to want to communicate and be unable to. The family has been taking bets to see what his first word will be. I don’t care what his first word is, he can shout an expletive for all I care, as long as he can come back to us.
The therapists have given him multiple cognitive tests, and have determined that his thought processes are working fine. In fact, he is reading at a 5th grade level, so he is far ahead of where he should be.
There are a few personality changes that have become apparent. Foods that he used to enjoy, he can no longer stand. The neurologists say that this is common in people that have sustained brain injuries- as the brain rewires itself to route new pathways around the damaged areas, some things will be different.
All in all, he is making what they say is good progress, and is on the path to recovery. When that will happen is anyone’s guess, but typically it takes anywhere from a six months to two years to see a complete recovery. The goal right now is to get him to a point where he can be home schooled, so that we don’t see him fall too far behind his peers. In the short term, getting him moved from an inpatient status to home health care is on the horizon. We are hoping that he will be home with his family in time for Christmas.
It’s easy to forget that eight weeks ago was the last time he was well. Just six weeks ago, he was still in a coma and we were worried that he wasn’t going to survive. Three weeks ago, and he was still in the intensive care unit, with doctors telling us that he would likely be paralyzed for life. He continues to improve, one week at a time. Whatever the future holds for Rion, it will be better than the one he had just a week before.