Tuesday, March 21, 2012
Today was a monumental day. Wes had all of his morning OT and PT and then at noon he had to be ready to leave for a spring training game, The Oakland A’s vs. The Chicago Cubs.
His physical therapist, Barb, came into the room at 8:00AM, which is early for Wes, to stretch him out while he was still in bed. Remarkably, Wes was cheerful for that time of the morning. Now, you may be reading this and thinking to yourself that sleeping in until 8AM doesn’t sound too bad; however, when you think about how Wes doesn’t settle down until about 11:30PM and then is woken up every two hours and rolled to one side or the other with pillows under him and then he gets up for 30 minutes at 3:00AM for 30 minutes for the nurses to check his vital and do some nursing procedures, 8AM starts to sound a little too early to be up. Since the accident, Wes has not been able to enjoy a full night of sleep. Even Barb was surprised that he was cheerful as she stretched and moved stiff and sore muscles.
On Monday night, my mom noticed that Wes was leaning forward against his chest strap in his wheelchair. Later in the morning when Wes had Barb again for more physical therapy my mom mentioned to Barb what she had noticed. Barb was a bit skeptical but shook her head in agreement. She changed her regular routine from sitting and balance to sitting and moving his head and shoulders forward.
The first time Wes moved forward like she wanted, Barb exhibited a very controlled excitement, Wes did it again and again as she excitedly encouraged him. After about 5 minutes of this Barb looked up at my dad and asked him, “Why aren’t you filming this?” My dad was so caught up in the moment he had forgotten. He began filming as Wes leaned forward on his own and then moved back… he did this over and over. Barb then asked Wes to rock his shoulder back and forth, which he was able to do. Barb then asked Wes to lean forward and rock his shoulders and was very excited to see that he could do this as well. Barb said that it was amazing. She said, “This is a big deal, it is huge.”
It means somewhere he has some stomach muscles and some lower back muscles kicking in. With these movements, given time, Wes can learn to move from one chair to another, sliding his own body under his own control. As we build up his neck, shoulders, forearms, wrists, thumbs, fingers, stomach and back, and strengthen them, miraculous things will take place. They are already taking place. Watch the recent videos and see his progress. They are posted below.
At noon Wes was loaded into one of the two buses with approximately 12 patients and addition family members and was on his way to the spring training game. My parents followed behind the bus in their car. They were able to make it a family event. Brittnee and Nate and their family along with Dallin and Ashley and their family met us at the ball park. My parents had a lot of fun with their grandkids and it was nice for everyone to be together.
For those of you who know my dad well, he does not like crowds. He would much rather be home with his family than in a crowded place. He is also not much of a baseball fan. It was interesting for him to watch Wes maneuver around the crowds and obstacles, my dad admitted that Wes navigated the crowded areas better than he did. It was a nice sunny afternoon and the weather was perfect. It was in the mid 50’s and for Wes, who loves Montana, loved the cooler weather.
They stayed at the baseball game for about two hours, my dad writes, “I never learned the final score of the game, but as far as our family goes, it was a big hit.” Wes was worn out by the event and when they got back to the hospital he was ready to pass out. He has not been feeling well for the past few days. My mom suspects that he may have a UTI, which is an infection. Wesley’s nurse didn’t think that was the case but my parents were determined to figure it out. They demanded that she call the doctor and inform her of their UTI suspicions. It’s a simple test and they will find out the results tomorrow.
Tonight, my Grandma Connie came at about 9:45 PM to give Wes a massage, which helps him relax and sleep better. She comes by frequently and works on him. She also has a friend who is a professional massage therapist, Louis, and he comes by often to help relax and stretch Wesley’s muscles.
My Dad writes, “Tonight when everyone left and things were quiet, Wes asked me to give him a blessing. He often does this and it never ceases to amaze me as to the immediate relief this brings to him. He has great faith and very frequently it seems the windows of heaven are opened and great blessings result for Wes. This was an awesome and eventful day for Wes, filled with miracles.”
Wednesday, March 22, 2012
My parents woke up early and let Wes sleep as long as possible. Every moment of sleep helps heal his tired body. As they were getting Wes ready for this day, my brother-in-law, Nate, showed up to relieve my parents so they could start the process of shopping for a wheelchair accessible van. The vans they are looking at will help easily transport Wes. This will especially be needed when he begins out-patient therapy in about five weeks. It will also convert to his mode of transportation as he learns to drive again, be self sufficient and mobile. Eventually, by remote control he will open the sliding door on the van and a ramp will fold down, he will drive into the van and his wheelchair will be the driver’s seat. He will maneuver his chair into place and it will automatically be secured. He will be able to push a button and the ramp will fold back in and the door will shut. It is a very necessary process to help him be independent and allow him the transportation he needs to go to school at BYUI.
Wes began his workouts and my parents left to look at vans. Wesley was feeling weak and one of the nurses told Nate that Wes did indeed have a UTI. They started antibiotics immediately and hopefully tomorrow Wes will start to feel better. My dad writes, “I am very grateful that Karen insisted that he be tested because it could have gone on for a few more days until it was noticed by someone else, like a doctor or a nurse or by a high fever.Our Heavenly Father is definitely helping us out when we stop to listen. Wes was not able to eat much today because the infection also caused him to be weak and nauseous. It was all he could do to complete all this therapy, the last 30 minutes of which, was done in his bed. He ate no dinner but just drank a little bit before bed. Tomorrow should be a much better day.”
My parents have been working with Wesley’s caseworker at the hospital. They have gotten permission to take Wesley out of the hospital for two very special events in April. On April 1st, he will be transported to my Grandma Benson’s house to watch the last session of General Conference and eat Grandma’s tradition feast with the rest of the family. General Conference is a televised church meeting that happens every six months. Prophets and apostles are able to speak to us. The two weekends a year that this occurs are generally my favorite weekends of the year.
The next Sunday, which is April 8th, he has received permission to attend Sacrament Meeting for his cousin’s missionary homecoming and then to attend a huge family gathering and dinner. Craig is returning home from a two year mission in Africa. In both of these cases, the hospital had to get permission from our insurance company to be able for Wes to attend. A special thanks to all those who were involved in helping to make this happen.
My Dad included one last miracle in his e-mail to me from yesterday. I’ll quote it directly, “Late this afternoon Wes started complaining about a pain in his left hip. It felt like a burning sensation and he was worried he had laid on it too long and that I might be the beginning of a bed sore. It was amazing that he was feeling the pain, but what was even more amazing, was that it was not the beginning of a bed sore, it was the scar on his hip where part of his bone was cut out to help fuse his neck. Up to now Wes has not felt any pain in his hip, which suggests some of his nerves are starting to make connections and swelling in the spinal cord is being reduced, which may result in signals getting through. Dr. Speth, in Montana, told us previously that the mot painful part of back surgery is getting the hip to heal after they have taken part of the bone for fusions. He said most likely Wes will not ever feel that pain because of his spinal cord injury. After family prayer tonight, Wes asked for another blessing to help his body deal with the pain so he could sleep. It is late at night while I am writing this and Wes is sounds asleep. I learn more from him and his faith than he learns from me.”
There are several videos posted below. They seem like simple movements but they are great improvements for Wesley. We are all thankful for the miracles that have been occurring.