Barbara tries to accomplish normal tasks (i.e. pre-accident activities) in spite of living with constant pain. In addition to the broken bones and head trauma Barbara suffered injuries to her kidneys and spleen. As a result, her Urologist has tried different procedures to alleviate severe bladder issues. Although to date, the procedures have failed, we are hoping the next one succeeds so that Barbara can get a full night's sleep. Other issues include extreme pain in her right foot and in her left leg. Even though she has had many tests, (x-rays, MRIs etc.) and extensive therapy her pain has not ceased or eased. We have seen several specialists and their conclusion seems unfavorable with one exception. Her Spine Specialist has recommended Cortisone shots. Barb is on a waiting list for this process and we are hoping it works. Meanwhile she still wears the very fashionable purple brace and a collection of compression stockings.
Every day free of doctor appointments or therapy Barbara works in her vegetable garden or does household chores. She stays in contact with friends mostly through facebook. Recently, a friend called her with news that her teenage Godson drowned and the family couldn't afford a funeral. Barbara initiated a fund raiser for the family. She met with the food Truck coordinator and contacted the local NBC news station. The food trucks donated their day's proceeds, Barbara was interviewed on live tv and the family was able to put their son to rest. Barbara is once again a local celebrity. We arrive at a doctor's office or in a store and people say, "I saw you o TV".
Barbara's memory and comprehension have improved but, still have a very long way to go. Her primary mental exercise is playing Words With Friends. She usually has several games going simultaneously. So if anyone wants another Words partner just send her a FB message.
Once again thank you for your prayers and donations. Since employment is not in the forseeable future we are extremely grateful for your support. Remember to keep Barbara in your prayers.
It has been one and a half years since Barbara suffered horrific injuries. Over the course of this time she has endured therapy, multiple tests, medical procedures, and various medications. While her memory is getting stronger she still has a long way to go before she regains comprehensive skills and short term memory. She has progressed physically as well as mentally until this past week. She now seems to be in the most pain since her release from the hospital. Last week she saw 4 doctors: neurologist, urologist, nerve specialist and spine specialist. After it was determined that she has nerve damage and a pinched nerve she was prescribed nerve medication to ease her pain but it doesn't seem to be helping. She has left a message for the Neurologist who prescribed the nerve med and is waiting for a response. This morning we were able to get her PC's office but, because she has two dental appointments this week, (one of which is surgery) she cannot be seen until Friday. Pool therapy has been recommended but Barbara cannot climb up the stairs to her pool deck so we are waiting for a call from the Rehabilitation hospital. She has also been referred to Pain Management so that's another call that we expect. The spine doctor has referred Barbara for a series of steroid shots to relieve the pain caused by damaged vertebrae. We are waiting for that call as well. Meanwhile she has been taking Tylenol regularly between the doses of Tramadol.
In spite of her pain she is being typical Barbara. Her young friend next door was hurt during his Little League game yesterday. So Barbara is baking him cupcakes in ice cream cones decorated with frosting, sprinkles and cherries so they look like Carvel Cones.
Please keep Barbara in your thoughts and prayers with hope that she will soon feel better.
The New Year has been very busy for Barbara. She spent a few weeks in New York after the holidays. Once she was home UK Dental began preparation to repair the damage done to her teeth. During the extraction surgery several broken bones were found in her gums. The surgeon was able to remove the splints before inserting the temporary bridge for her lower teeth. Barb thought the students did an amazing job creating her temporary apparatus!
A recent visit to the Spine Clinic revealed additional problems including some scoliosis, collapse of disc height, fluid collection surrounding her right hip bone, irritation of nerves due to weak discs. Additional therapy for hip was added to the mix to alleviate her pain while standing and walking. Therapy continues on her shoulder where surgery was performed to reduce swelling and scar tissue. She also continues therapy for her lower right and left legs.
Barbara's neurologist increased her memory medication and I have noticed her cognitive skills improving.
Through all this she remains in good spirits. March Madness brackets are keeping her busy! This week she is testing a batter for cannoli shells for a customer order.
In a few weeks she will be travelling to Kansas City for Liz's confirmation and Sweet Sixteen.
Dear Family and Friends,
We are grateful for your prayers, generous support and good wishes. We could not have survived without them.
This past year has been a long, tedious and painful journey for Barbara. Our days continue to be filled with doctor visits, therapy sessions, MRIs, x-rays and other tests. As her brain continues to heal Barbara still faces many challenges. She is now working with a psychologist to help control anger issues and mood swings. She is on a waiting list for additional speech therapy. She continues to practise memory games and mind skill excercises. Barbara enjoys playing digital Scrabble often beating friends and family members, (not usually Lizzie).
Currently, Barbara's physical injuries are being addressed. She was fitted with a foot brace and had the first of several surgeries last week. Hopefully when all are completed her pain will subside and her gait and range of motion will improve.
We have also addressed Oral Reconstruction to repair teeth that were lost, cracked and misaligned during her trauma. She has been to the University of Kentucky Dental School for extensive examinations and will begin treatment early next year.
As we start the second year Barbara's journey to recovery continues. She approaches each challange with amazing determination and strength and we, her family continue as caregivers.
We wish to thank you again. Your prayers and kind thoughts have meant everything to us.
We wish you and your loved ones a Blessed and Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I has been almost ten months since Barbara was injured in the most horrific way resulting in never ending health issue. She tries to stay strong by preparing amazing food for her food truck as she deals with the frustration of not being able to physically get into it. This past Sunday the truck was at Equus Winery so we went and Barbara happily hung out seated on the bottom step. Also this week some friends from Andover Country Club stopped by to see her. This was great since she has gone from a person who was constantly active to one who has become lonely only spending time with family and health care professionals. We try to keep her cheerful by finding different activities like art fairs, shows etc. Hopefully we will get a day without rain before the recetrack meet ends so we can go to Keenland. Barbara enjoys the races and enjoys stopping by the track kitchens to see old friends and co-workers.
She is still seeing multiple doctors and going for specific therapies. Often when she addresses particular pains she is told that the symptons are cause by nerves in her brain sending wrong signals.
We are currently addressing Barbara's dental issues. The accident resulted in missing and cracked teeth.The injuties also prevented her from regular dental hygeine because of her shoulder, neck and head injuries. After seeing her dentist we decided to just let him do a deep cleaning because his office does not take insurance. Therefore we went to the UK Dental Clinic were she had an initial exam. She has to wait a month to start treatment but a $5,000 bill as opposed to $15,000 private dentist bill is easier to deal with. This week, after four appeals, approval for medical coverage starting November 2013 was finally approved. So the weekly telephone calls and $92,000 bill from UK ICU will be paid.
This week Barbara was referred to a Sports therapy Clinic because she still cannot lift her right arm and her shoulder pain is constant. After reviewing x-rays and MRI it was determined that the bones and tendons have healed but the rotator cuff tendons remain swollen. Barbara was given a cortisone shot and a prescription for additional physical therapy. She is scheduled for reevaluation in a month. Another issue is her thyroid she was referred to and Endocrinologist because her thyroid has not been stabilized through a monthly increase in the hormone prescription. The other speciality appointments go on. Barbara's ear pain is constant so she was referred back to ENT. That's on for this week. Also this week is her appointment with the Foot Ankle Specialist. This is another issue where the x-rays and MRI indicate the bones and tendons heve healed but she is left with an Achilles Heel condition. Since physical therapy has not helped and she cannot walk without surgical boots the condition is being evaluated again. Because each doctor is highly specialized she is still waiting for someone to examine her left leg. At the time of injury it was pierced by an object that left a hole that went through her calf to the bone. We remain grateful to family friends co-workers for kind wishes, prayers and donations. Traumatic Brain Injuries change a person's life forever. A new normal needs to be developed. This can take many years and Barbara still has a long way to go.
When Mom left and I returned to Kentucky earlier this month Barbara still seemed to be in a foggy state. The first week she had an appointment with her neurologist and urologist. The Neurologist added a new memory medication to her regime and submitted new speech therapy orders to help improve her memory. The Urologist told us that the bladder spasm medication counteracts the memory meds therefore, Barb should discontinue the bladder medication. This was the best advice given so far! I have noticed considerable improvement since she stopped this :).
The Neurologist examined Barbara's right ankle and is now concerned with her Achilles tendon being overstretched. We now ice her ankle frequently throughout the day. Her physical therapy has been adjusted and the next steps are still being determined.
Barbara had her right shoulder re-x-rayed and has an MRI scheduled. Dr Bernert believes there is a problem with the joint.
Barbara also had her thyroid rechecked and will be seeing an Endocrinologist in October.
Barbara has been staying busy and has been in a good mood. She made oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies for her food truck. She also made s'mores cupcakes for her neighbor's son birthday. They were tasty!
Next weekend her church is having a garage sale and picnic. Barbara brought items to donate for the sale. For the picnic she is making orzo pasta salad and volunteered to serve food.
We continually see a little improvement in Barbara's memory, (mostly long term) and reasoning skills. She still needs to write everything on her daily sheet. She feels as though she has a fuul time job consisting of various therapies and doctor appointments. We have been very concerned because her pain level has not decreased since she started therapy. her Neuroligist finally ordered an MRI of her foot and ankle. The test revealed torn tendons on the ankle of the foot that was broken when she was hit. Now we are waitng for an orthopedic appointment to determine if surgery is needed. In spite of her pain Barb still makes desserts for her food truck. Her therapists love that she uses them as testers for new recipies. On free days Barbara loves to work in her gardens which look lovely.
Barbara is improving every day. As soon as I returned and saw her my reaction was, "Barb you are walking so much better". While she is still not walking well, the improvement is significant.
Last week we had a Family meeting with her therapy team. Myself, Charlie and Michael were joined by Linda and Laura via teleconference. Each therapist reported progress and percentage of goal so far acheived. Physical progress has been impressive. Memory and speech still need a long way to go. Barbara relies on her daily sheets to remember what she is supposed to do each day. She needs to practise concentration skills. Speech still needs improvement. Family disagrees with Speech therapist who thinks Barbs progress is very good. Of course she is a Southern gal and does not appreciate someone who never lost her NY speech paterns and pace.
When not at therapy, Barbara is keeping busy cooking, baking and gardening. She planted tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and other herbs. She was able to visit old friends this week. It was her first solo social event. She did very well according to Susan who took responsibility for her for two days.
Barbara continues to make progress. When I arrived back in Kentucky early last week I noticed improvements. Barbara speaks clearly sometimes and does a better job having a conversation. Before she struggled remembering what items were called when we talked. She doesn't have that problem the majority of the time.
Her all day therapy continues twice a week which cannot be increased until she becomes more mobile and the pain subsidies.
She is doing a great job writing things in her book that she wants to do during the day. It helps to keep her on task.
Barbara has been complaining about her ears hurting more. This is also causing her equilibrium to be off. Left a message for her brain doctor - we know the pressure in her ears will improve as the brain trauma heals.
Mom has added alot of doctor appointments to her schedule working with her PCP. She has a general optometrist, a neurological optometrist, a urologist, the list goes on and on.
Assistance from doctors and lots of positive energy are going a long way.
Barbara is improving slowly every day. On Friday the Bluegrass Foodtruck Association held a fundraising rally for her. Both tv stations, WKYT(CBS) and Lex18(NBC) gave the event great coverage. Of course they were anxious to meet Barbara snce, they covered her story and interviewed the family in December.
We went to the rally at about noon and there was a reporter and camera man waiting to interview her. This was not too successful since it was Barb's first social outing since she was injured. We talked briefly with reporters. Then she visited with her many Food Truck Friends. After resting we returned to the rally in the late afternoon. Again being met by a reporter. This time Barbara was very confident and answered questions slowly and her speech was quite clear. I was really proud of her. Although Barbara was happy to see friends this was an exhausting and emotional day.