Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009


i'm pregnant!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kicking it up a notch

We're going to kick Kira's therapy up a notch. 24 Hour Fitness (very close to us) has all brand new state of the art equipment and they provide childcare for children 6 months old and above. The Kid's Club is enclosed in glass so all activities are visible to exercising parents at all times. Parent is paged over the loudspeaker when diaper change is needed. Thought that was pretty funny.

Kira is now a member of the gym. She signed up on member appreciation day, so she got 13 sessions with a personal trainer for the price of 10. One of the personal trainers has special training and experience in stroke rehab so that is the trainer that Kira will be working with. The trainer will contact us to set up her first session. Baby Ross will be able to make some friends in the Kid's Club too!

Kira's right arm is really making some great progress! Her muscle tone and strength have improved dramatically over the last 2 weeks. Experts say that the arm wakes up starting at the shoulder and then works it's way down. The hand is the last to "come back". When she was first able to move her arm it was because she was moving it at the shoulder and none of the muscles in her arm contracted. She can now open the frig with her right hand and when she does I can feel her entire arm muscles tense up just like one would expect. Very exciting.

Her left vocal cord is still paralyzed, although every once in a while we can tell that it's moving because her volume level will increase. Last night I heard her loud and clear from an adjoining room in the house. That was the loudest I've heard her. We're going to arrange to see a specialist to assess her vocal cord. Even though the vocal cord and her aphasia are completely unrelated, the vocal cord problem does add to her frustration level and seems to be counterproductive to aphasia progress. So we'll know more on that later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Under Construction & More on Kira

We discovered that we had water under the flooring in our family room and kitchen a little over a week ago. A part on the back of the refrigerator had broken so water had been seeping in where it could - under the floors. Somebody had to come out, rip up the affected flooring, and left some very high-powered ... very noisy ... fans in the house for a few days to dry out some sheetrock and cabinets.

We'll be picking out some new flooring and getting it installed before Christmas.

Kira continues to improve. She absolutely never wears any leg braces and walks around in tennis shoes, flip flops, or sandals. Her walking needs some fine-tuning to be real smooth, but she has great balance and control. Her right arm is starting to come around, but it is a slow process. It starts with the shoulder and the fingers are the last to wake up. I attended one of the therapy appointments and learned something very interesting - therapist said that exercising after a stroke is completely different than exercising after any other type of injury. The brain has to connect to the body part that is being rehabilitated and much of the energy it takes to do this is in the concentration. I was amazed to see how much more she could move her arm when she really focused on it.

Kira's speech is also improving. A lot! The left vocal cord that was paralyzed from the operation is slow to recover, so there isn't much sound, but she is doing so much better getting the right words out. We aren't needing to guess at what she is saying anymore and only need to ask for clarification once in a while. She does need to spend more time doing more deep breathing exercises to get her diaphragm working more efficiently and help with tiredness.

Still going to occupational and speech therapy twice a week, but her physical therapy has been cut down to once a week.

It is so exciting to see the tremendous amount of progress that Kira has made in less than 2 months! Full recovery can't come too soon for her. You know how impatient these "youngins" are - wanting immediate results and all.

One of the most amazing things to witness is the way that Kira is coping with all this. She has her moments (and certainly has every right to have them), but she has her eye on the prize and knows that if she weakens and gives in to self-pity she won't progress. What a gal!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Today's therapy appt...and more...posted by Mom

Kira had her appointment with speech therapy and physical therapy today. The physical therapist said that Kira is making such wonderful progress that she's going to dig out some exercises with a higher degree of difficulty for the next session. The therapist also said that Kira doesn't need to wear her night boot brace and she can go without her walking brace during the day for periods of time. The speech therapist was also very impressed with her progress and gave her lots of homework.

The shower chair has been cast aside and it is keeping the cane company.

Grandpa and I went to Babies R Us a couple of days ago and left with a bouncy thing. Some assembly required. Baby Ross really took a liking to it and he's literally a bouncing baby boy.

Here's another pic from today:

new pictures, just gotta go down....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Update from Kira's Mom

I’m so glad to be posting this update – and not just because it’s my first experience with blogging.

Kira has been home now for a week, and it is so wonderful for all of us that she is here. The hospital discharged her with several pieces of equipment as follows: Wheelchair, cane, walking leg brace, night boot, and bedside commode.

The wheelchair is being used regularly – not by Kira, but Ross enjoys playing video games from the chair and has also mastered several daring wheelchair tricks. It is very entertaining. We also have a scooter at the house that we’re test-driving for possible use by my mom one day, and we put on some amusing family parades from time to time.

Kira used her cane for the first 4-5 days she was home, but it became more of a nuisance than a help, so it has been cast aside.

The walking leg brace was custom made for her and it is hinged at the ankle. The purpose of this brace is to keep her foot and ankle positions stabilized while walking to reduce the risk of damaging her ankle and/or foot. Her foot muscles have a tendency to turn her foot inward and the brace corrects this. She wears the brace all day and it has helped her walking tremendously. The night boot is a soft blue stabilizer that she wears while sleeping.

The commode is being utilized as a shower chair and she is showering all by herself.

Kira has a number of prescriptions also. The least favorite is Heparin, which is a blood thinner that has to be injected into her abdomen every day for 2 weeks. Only a short way to go and she’ll be done with that.

Ross and Kira went on a little road trip yesterday. They drove up to Boomtown and had a great time. Here's Kira right before they left:

Thursday was Day 1 for outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy at Mercy here in Folsom. Several staff members remembered Kira from last year when she was caring for my mom and taking her to the same place for rehab from her stroke. She was pregnant at the time so they were excited to see Baby Ross when I picked her up. The occupational therapist asked that the baby attend her next session so she can get some pointers on caring for him until her right arm “wakes up” all the way. She will be attending therapy sessions twice a week.

Progress is being made all the way around. We’ve been doing a lot of massaging of Kira’s right arm and hand and she has very recently begun to move them a little bit voluntarily! Prayers and well-wishes are so very much appreciated and they are helping. It is so exciting to see the progress that she is making, and it is an honor to witness her strong will and her outlook on what she has been through. Being proud of her doesn’t even touch it. My daughter is my hero!

Monday, October 6, 2008

new pics

i'm doing ok just wanted to thank everybody who sighed up to pay me. thank you everybody. thats all i can write now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Going Home!

Today is the big day! Kira is going home after almost a month in the hospital! Hooray!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Walking unassisted

Kira is making good progress!

Today she was walking unassisted, and without a cane! She even walked up and down some small flights of stairs. The doctors are giving her an anti-spasmodic medication and keeping her right foot in a brace to help keep her foot stabilized while she is walking. She hasn't been eating much, probably because the pain medication (fentanyl patch and Norco) decreases her appetite. But, her need for pain medication is decreasing and that is a good sign.

Kira's therapy has been stepped up a bit so that she is working hard enough to get tired. The therapists were emphasizing how important it is for her to rest in between sessions, but she wasn't getting tired enough to rest.

Baby Ross visits his mom at the hospital every day and she has been changing him with her left hand. Kira's mom reports that the baby is very calm with her and can sense that something special is happening. For now Kira is requesting that her visitors are limited to only her immediate family, but she knows that we are all thinking about her and anxious to visit with her when she is ready.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some updates from the last few days

  • Kira is speaking in complete sentences. She is getting bored and then sad between therapy sessions, so they are looking into increasing the amount of therapy she receives.
  • Discharge from inpatient rehabilitation should be in one week.
  • Yesterday she changed the baby using only her left hand and did a good job.
  • Today Kira squeezed her left index finger with her right hand.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Doing Great!

Kira is making so much progress! She's up for most of the day in a wheelchair and even doing a little standing, bearing her weight on left foot. Her speech is getting better, and today she moved her right hand, on purpose, three times! She has regained total feeling in her right arm, which is fantastic!

Kira is getting physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech therapy every day. Her therapy schedule changes every day. When she first arrived at Mercy, they had some major difficulty getting her pain under control. Now that they've figured that out, Kira is able to work hard on regaining her strength. The therapists are great! They are young, energetic and encouraging. They are working on stretching exercises on her right side, so that when her muscles "wake up" they will be ready.

The wound care specialist came by. Yikes!!

Yesterday Kira had a wonderful visit with Baby Ross. Her mom says when he was in his mother's arms they were just looking at each other and he knew he was with his mommy. One of the therapists came in to do a session and saw the baby and said she knew how important this time was and would come back later. We think Baby Ross is a critical part of Kira's therapy and great motivation to keep her working hard.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

No news...is good news

I haven't heard much in the way of updates lately, but wanted to post something in case anyone was getting worried. Yesterday I heard from Kira's mom that she was getting acclimated to the Mercy General rehab unit. Once they got her pain under control Kira was able to to do 3 therapy sessions. Go Kira!

Before leaving Stanford:

After the long trip - now settled into Mercy Sacto:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 12

Today's progress includes:
  • Kira was able to have a phone conversation with her mom today. She said one word for every breath she took, but she is getting some sound back.
  • Kira will be transported back to Sacramento tomorrow, to Mercy General's acute inpatient rehabilitation. Doctors are estimating she will spend three weeks in rehab as an inpatient, then continue being seen as an outpatient.
  • The clot in her brain has dissolved and she is not in danger of having another stroke. She will have follow up appointments with cardiology and neurology in two weeks.
Once Kira is settled back in Sacramento, Leona will let us know if she would like visitors.