Thursday, September 30, 2010
Happy Birthday, Sydney! Big 18! The nurses and staff came in this morning and woke Sydney up to sing Happy Birthday to her, and this started off her great day!
In OT she pressed 90 lbs – almost up to body weight! Lance got her up walking, and she walked 125 ft without stopping – wow! She transitioned to another wheelchair, as the “ferrari” was difficult to get into and out of, and still beat her wheelchair racing time around the floor by another 15 seconds! If you blink, you miss her! When rolling over on the mat today, she was able to bend her knees up by herself and roll over (still can't do this on the bed, as the sheets create friction and the bed is soft). When transitioning to a sitting position, she was able to slide her legs off the mat! She is getting more mobile every day!
Makenzie and Nick decorated her hospital room so cute! Makenzie, a.k.a. Betty Crocker, baked her a chocolate cake! Grandma Joyce brought more cake and cheesecake (which the hospital staff loved!) Sydney also received some thoughtful and darling gifts, cards and comments from many of you, flowers, and visits from her brothers and a few others. Her friend Christian, who is recovering in rehab from a neck injury, stopped by to visit as well.
Overall – a very fun day! Thank you for all your love and support!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Today is the one week anniversary of Sydney being in Rehab. What an exciting week! We feel so blessed with the progress she has made. We are grateful for the skill and dedication of the staff in Rehab, and we are grateful for the blessing of her recovery. Thank you for keeping her in your prayers – it has really made a difference. Sydney's Bishop visited and gave her a blessing which was needed and really appreciated, as Sydney still has some key areas in her body that need to heal and recover, so if you can focus your prayers on this, we would really appreciate it.
I forgot to update you on her hamstrings and muscle spasms (and many have asked). We put a heat pack on her through the night, which really helped; she is on a new and stronger muscle relaxer, is getting a massage every day targeting especially tight spots, and we are gently stretching her throughout the day. This is really helping. She still gets spasms and has muscle tightness and pain, but not as severe as Sunday.
Pretty soon it is going to be difficult for Sydney to keep topping her records, but she had a record breaking day again today! She is back in the “grandma tights” so her blood pressure was better today. She walked 85 feet in the walker without a rest! She was totally wiped out when she finished, but she wanted to do it again, so they put her in a harness and she walked 90 feet! Wow!
In OT, she beat yesterday's arm extension record of 50lbs. by pressing 80 lbs! She is getting closer to her body weight of 97 lbs (yes, she is a lightweight!) In the 2nd session they upgraded her wheelchair from the “sedan” to the “ferrari”, and they timed her racing around the entire 12th floor. In the upgraded wheelchair she beat her time by 15 seconds! For the 3rd session they took her in the kitchen and stood her up next to the counter. She had to hold herself up and balance while reaching up to lift down items from the shelves. This was hard work, but she did it!
Tonight her grandparents from Idaho visited, as well as the “Big Kahuna” from Fox news! Quite the surprise! (Sydney's uncle arranged this). Sydney enjoyed both visits but is totally tuckered out.
We are looking into arrangements for Sydney to finish her Senior year so she can graduate. We are thinking as she gets her strength up Saturday might be a good day to work on homework as it is a lighter therapy day. We are thinking it will be a good idea to restrict visits during the week and have Sunday be more open to visits from close family or friends (although brief visits are best – anything longer than 10-15 minutes really wears her out, and we would still like to restrict this to only close family and friends for a little while).
Thank you for all your love and concern! We feel your prayers! Sydney has great faith she will walk and remains optimistic and positive every day. Thank you for the many acts of service you provide for Sydney and our family!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Dr. Dodds visited Sydney this morning and told her “you are a star!” He and the rest of the rehab floor are so excited about her progress! When Sydney went to her 2nd physical therapy session, some people lined up to watch her (especially Pam, her CNA and new friend). Lance put Sydney on the walker again and first she walked 26 feet, then 30, then finally 46 feet! You should have seen the look of determination on her face! She was breathing so hard, and when she sat down her legs wouldn't stop shaking. What a great morning!
Lance also worked with her on the hoverboard. Sydney lies on her side, with her top leg on the board. She can then extend and contract her leg, which allows her to strengthen her leg muscles without the extra strain of gravity, as the board supports the weight of her legs. She also practiced standing and bending her legs. Ron, her OT, worked on her arm extensions with weights, and she went from pressing 25 lbs to pressing 50 lbs! She has some amazing therapists and we are so grateful for them!
The afternoon session was tougher. One result of a spinal cord injury is low blood pressure. Sydney is on medication to increase her blood pressure, and also wears tights to push the blood from her legs back to her upper body. Today they tried putting her in knee hi's instead of tights. We're not sure if that is what made the difference, but her blood pressure dropped this afternoon and she was too light headed to stand or walk in physical therapy. But overall, the day was still an amazing success!
A very pleasant part of the day is when a massage therapist came in and massaged the muscles along her spine for about 25 minutes. She felt so much better when he was done! We are hoping this helps to reduce the intensity of the back pain and spasms. She said she could breathe without as much pain after the massage. By the way, we counted the staples they removed from her back – 38! Quite the zipper!
Quote for the day: “Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force.” - Franklin Roosevelt
Thank you for all your love and support! Sydney is doing great! She is optimistic and happy and has great faith. She is such an inspiration to be around.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Today was such an amazing day! After working with Sydney in the morning, her Physical Therapist said (I will paraphrase) “I shouldn't say anything because I hate to get people's hopes up, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't learn how to walk.” What a great way to start out the day! We were on a high the rest of the day!
True to his aspirations, for the 2nd session the PT brought out a walker and assisted Sydney to stand up in the walker. We found that it takes a lot of muscles to stand and balance without tipping over (even when you are holding onto something!) He has assigned Sydney some glut and other exercises to practice in her room to help her with balance (she will be the next J Lo!) During the 3rd session, he put Sydney in a harness and assisted her with leg and other support as she walked across the room! Wow! Next, he had her walk across the room with assistance, but without the harness! We were so excited!
We talked to the Rehab Director, and she let us know that they decided in their staff meeting to extend Sydney's stay so she can work on walking skills! This is great news! We are so grateful for the support of the staff. It seems like rehab would be such a rewarding place to work! They are just as excited as we are.
Ron, the OT, put Sydney to work on the weight machine to build her strength with extensions (lifting the weight of her torso with her arms), which will help her lift to get into and out of a wheelchair or bed, and to lift to get into a walker.
The next great news came from Sydney's nurse; she took out Sydney's staples! No more zipper back! And even more exciting – now she can have a shower!
Rhonda, the Nurse Manager, dropped off a list of quotes to each patient on the floor. Here is one I will share tonight:
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” - Helen Keller
I am grateful to Sydney for looking forward to the newly opened door and being an inspiration for all of us. Thank you for your prayers and support. The posted comments and notes are wonderful morale boosters!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sydney started out the morning attending a 30 minute church service at the hospital. The room was packed! Most attendees were church missionaries assigned to minister at the hospital, along with a few patients who were well enough to attend. Sydney really enjoyed the service, but found that 30 minutes in a wheelchair is a long time! She was pretty sore by the time we made it back to her room.
On the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), the therapy sessions are cut in half, but patients still receive limited therapy to get them out of bed, out of their rooms, and to keep their muscles stretched out.
For physical therapy, Misty wanted to have Sydney practice walking again – which is exactly what Sydney wanted to do! Unfortunately, Sydney's hamstrings had tightened up so much she could hardly move her legs without triggering severe spasms in her back. After a few very painful steps, the remainder of the session was spent trying to very gently stretch Sydney's hamstrings. This was disappointing to Sydney and she shed a few tears, but we all know that any journey consists of peaks and valleys. It takes courage and faith to continue moving forward even when we encounter small setbacks and challenges along the way.
For occupational therapy she joined a group of patients to learn breathing, relaxation and imagery techniques to help you deal with stress and anxiousness related to traumatic injuries, as well as to help you deal better with pain. This was helpful and timely, and helped Sydney get through a few more painful stretches. We will need to give her hamstrings some time this week to loosen up.
When Sydney received her lunch tray, the SunChips bag said:
“Big changes can come from small steps.”
It seems that everywhere we look we receive inspiration! We believe it is through the small steps we take every day, even under adversity, that we are able to move forward! Thank you for all your love, prayers and support! Thank you also to my mom's stake which is also praying for Sydney!
1. Choose the post (or day) that you wish to comment on.
2. Scroll down to the bottom of the post.
3. Look for the link entitled "Comments", click on it.
4. There may be comments already posted, or none at all. There will be a dialogue box that you can type in your message.
5. It may ask you how you want to sign it (Open ID, your current email address, etc). Click on your choice. This is what will appear as the name that appears by your comments.
6. Verification: It may ask you to type in a word that it presents in a distorted fashion. Please do it.
I have set up this blog so that anyone should be able to leave a comment. Initially, that was not the case and I have changed that as of last Sunday evening. Please give it a try, it is not as hard as it may seem:)
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sydney is moving onward and upward! Today they took her to the parallel bars and she walked without a hoist! The therapist rolled in front of her and supported her knees and helped her balance her legs, but she supported her body weight (using the bars) and moved her legs forward and set them down. Miraculous! Sydney was grinning from ear to ear!
Yesterday the doctor walked into the therapy room when Sydney did assisted walking the first time with a hoist and his jaw dropped. She could see him in a mirror in the corner. He watched her for awhile and then left. He came to her room later and told her she was doing amazingly well! We hope he now understands that miracles can happen. When Sydney started rehab a few days ago, he did a physical assessment on her and told her she would be in a wheelchair, so they would teach her wheelchair skills then send her home. We are hoping he will now change this assessment so she can stay longer to work on walking skills.
This morning when occupational therapy came in, what they had planned did not sound aggressive enough to Sydney, so they took her down to the therapy room and had her work out on arm weights! She is going to be so buff! She is so motivated to work hard and progress, she is helping to direct her care!
As you can imagine, all this hard work really tuckers her out. She is so completely exhausted between sessions, and deals with a lot of pain at night. We know the pain will improve with time, and so will her strength, but this is definitely hard work. (I told the school she should get PE credit – don't you agree?) :)
Thank you again for all your love, support and prayers! Sydney is working hard to beat the odds. With your fasting and prayers (we feel them), the miraculous and merciful blessing from the Lord, and her hard work only good things can happen!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Today was amazing! Lance took Sydney into the rehab room to a walkway with parallel support bars on each side. They put her in a big sling to support her torso, then hooked the sling to a hoist on the ceiling. They pushed a button to pull the sling up until she was in a standing position. She held onto the bars with her hands to support the weight of her body. Lance sat in front of her on a rolling stool supporting her as well. She would then try to lift her leg with the strength in her quads and hip flexors and kick it forward to take a step. Boy, are those legs ever heavy! Lance helped her lift and move forward, but it was so exhilarating! It was hard to flex her feet to set her foot down properly, so he inserted braces into her shoes to keep her feet flexed. Wow, what an experience.
Sydney hit another big milestone. She was able to complete a log roll by herself! She did this rolling to both sides! She grabs her pajama pants to pull one leg into a bent position, which helps the momentum for the bottom half of her body, then wala! Over she goes! She used to love rolling off the bed at full speed when she was a baby – that must be why she picked up on this so fast!!
Just as we were thinking the day couldn't get any better, Josh, her OT, took her out to lunch at Subway! As Sydney has been working at Subway, she especially loves to eat there! Of course, she had to work for it! She had to roll herself all the way there, practice approaching and opening a door in a wheelchair (Josh helped), and roll herself all the way back. But it was definitely worth it! How amazing to take yourself somewhere on a beautiful, sunny day when you have spent the last week immobile in a bed!
To top off her day, her cousin Hali came down from Idaho and gave her a full manicure and pedicure, and fixed her hair. Not only does she feel great; now she looks great too! (Of course she is wearing the new PJ's Grandma bought for her as well!) Sydney had a bright smile on her face all day. It has been wonderful.
Thank you all for your sweet notes, prayers and support! Emma, Sydney's friend from Jr. Miss, called this week. She is President of the Glee Club, and they would like to dedicate their Fall fashion show and concert to Sydney and donate the proceeds to her medical expenses. What a generous thing to do! The youth of this generation are SOO amazing! Sydney's seminary class just sent a poster to her with a signed stack of cards – this is so helpful!
The silver lining to this is Sydney's parents and Grandma get to spend a lot of time with her – which is so nice! She is such an amazingly sweet, strong and inspirational girl. We are really enjoying this time with her as she usually has such a crazy schedule we only see her running out the door. We will treasure this time.
Thanks again for your support!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
It is sooo great to be in rehab! They really work you! The morning started out kind of rough when occupational therapy had Sydney reach above her head to the back of the bed to try to pull herself higher on the bed. She had some pretty severe back pain and spasms which was no fun. But the rest of the day made up for it with some exciting events.
Sydney's Physical Therapist, Lance, pulled Sydney into a sitting position and had her practice putting her fists down on the bed to push her torso up so she could slowly shift her torso off the bed and across a short board into a wheelchair. Lance helped her a lot, but it was pretty thrilling to anticipate the independence she will have when she has the strength to do this! She then rolled herself around in the wheelchair. We are all going to be jealous of her buff arms!
After the wheelchair, Lance put her on a mat, and had her practice the log roll. While lying on her back, she stretches our her arms, bends her elbows, clasps her hands together, and rocks her arms back and forth to build momentum, digs one elbow in the bed and swings the other arm over to roll her body over. This is how she will roll out of bed. Lance helps her with it now, but she is determined to get better.
The highlight of the day is when he put a walker next to the bed and had her hold onto it with her arms to hold her body up. With her legs down, she could feel her left foot, but could not feel her right foot. (Stubborn foot!)
Josh, her recreational therapist, took her outside for a spin in the wheelchair. After you have been stuck in a hospital bed for 6 days, this was a really nice change!
Shannon, a fellow Lone Peak High student, visited Sydney today. Shannon sustained a severe head injury earlier in the year in a motorcycle accident. She was in Primary Children's Hospital for 7 weeks, and had to relearn her cognitive functions, speech and motor functions. She was there to tell Sydney that it was hard work, but she was able to miraculously regain function. This was very inspirational to Sydney.
Thank you to the drama department for all the notes of encouragement on a giant poster! Thank you to Brother Graff's seminary class for their kind notes as well! The young men and young women have also written Sydney wonderful notes of encouragement, as well as friends, family and neighbors. I read your uplifting comments on the blog to Sydney every day. Thank you to the young women for picking our fruit, and for the nice ladies who taught the young women how to bottle fruit! It was a combo service and learning opportunity! Thank you to all the kind neighbors who brought meals in this week – my kids all thought I was a great cook until they tasted your cooking – now the truth is out! Your food is delicious!
We look forward to tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Sydney made it into Rehab today! They put her right to work. After sitting her up, they helped her grab her legs and pull them into a frog position; and then helped her pull on some stylish pajama pants. Yay! No more immodest hospital gowns! To celebrate, they helped her get into a wheelchair and take a tour of the rehab floor. Pretty exciting!
She met Dr. Dodds, and he explained his philosophy that after she develops enough strength to take care of basic tasks on her own, she will head home. She could then continue some therapy to strengthen her legs on an outpatient basis. He estimates her being there between 2-4 weeks; but we will take one day at a time and see what happens.
In rehab she gets 3 hours of therapy a day: 1.5 hours of physical therapy, and 1.5 hours of occupational therapy (life skills). Right now these are broken into 30 minute sessions. After therapy, she is tuckered out and falls fast asleep (I'm sure the pain meds help to knock her out as well). We have hung up all the posters and cards in her room – it is looking pretty cute!
When I was gathering some things from Sydney's room I saw a book on top of her bedside stand that was given to her at Junior Miss. It is called “The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer”. What an appropriate motto!
We'll see what tomorrow brings!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Tuesday, September 21
First day out of the ICU – and it is so nice to be “unhooked”! No more IV's! (Still a picc line, but no tethers!) Sydney had a great day today, she was feeling much better (no stomach pain).
The rehab director told us Sydney would enter rehab either Wednesday or Thursday. Sydney is excited. The director explained that the amount of time in rehab completely depends on the individual situation, but it may take about 3 weeks to learn wheelchair skills and basic self-care skills (getting dressed, getting out of bed into the chair, getting to the shower, etc.) If Sydney shows promise with leg mobility, it will take much longer to work on mobility and walking skills. We told her we are expecting a longer rehab! :)
Sydney's aunt brought a nice framed verse from the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”:
“Fear not, I am with thee oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.”
Everyone seems so inspired and provides such strength and encouragement!
We have teased Sydney about how she will set off the airport security system with her new titanium back; and after we took a peak at her incision today, we teased her about having a giant zipper on her back! The incision is down the entire length of her back and is stapled together, so it looks like a big zipper!
When physical therapy came, they found some response in Sydney's hip flexors and quads, and ability in her left foot to slightly flex and extend (with intense concentration – what a workout!!). She is continuing to struggle with her right foot, and cannot wiggle her toes or move her foot. They encouraged her to continue working on it. When a nerve pathway is damaged, it is sometimes possible for the body to create a new pathway. (You could focus your prayers on this). Sydney practiced sitting again today – she is getting good at it!
We hung up a bright, colorful poster the young women in Sydney's neighborhood made for her, and Grandma read her notes, letters and comments you have all sent in, which even made Grandma cry! Thank you for the great support!
Yesterday Sydney was cheered up by a visit from Bishop Starley, and today we were grateful for a visit from President Glade, who shared an inspiring story, some wonderful counsel, and gave her a wonderful blessing.
Thanks everyone! More tomorrow!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Monday, September 20
Big day today – Sydney graduated from the ICU! Her next destination is Acute Neuro Rehab, but as they do not have a bed available yet, she will be admitted to the hospital for a few days until they have space. The therapists have been training Mom, Dad and Grandma, and we are now responsible for passive range of motion exercises every hour (where we bend and stretch her legs and feet to keep the muscles flexible), position (where we rotate her every 2 hours from back, to side, to other side to avoid bed sores), and her fashionable sheepskin boots (which we take on/off after 4 hours to avoid foot droop). We have also learned how to put on and take off her turtle brace, and are observing and assisting with physical therapy.
Today Sydney practiced sitting in a chair. The therapist does a “log roll” to roll her on her side, pulls the blanket under her to slide her to the edge of the bed, holds her legs and torso to lift her into a sitting position, bear hugs her and pulls her into a standing position, pivots, and then sits her on a chair. Her goal is sitting in a chair for 4 hours over the course of a day. Sydney also practiced finding her center of balance so she can sit without tipping over.
Highlight of the day – getting her hair washed! She is now ready to model for VO5 commercials! (The brand of shampoo we found in the hospital). Low point of the day – the pain meds caused a lot of bloating and she had an extremely painful distended stomach most of the day – no fun! Another highlight – reading a giant card from the Primary kids, getting a cute stuffed animal and books, and a cute card from Maren. So sweet!
We have been asked about whether she can have visitors yet. In rehab visits are only allowed between the hours of 5pm and 8pm. Other than close family and friends, let's wait a while longer to allow Sydney to get her strength up. (And with close family and friends, please check with us so we can let you know if it is a good time/day). As she starts feeling better, I think she would love to have her friends stop by for a short (and positive) visit to show support and love. This is a team effort – right?! For now, it would be better to send a card or post on the blog (I will read posts to her). She gets really exhausted from therapy and is still dealing with a lot of pain. (You may want to know it is her birthday on the 30th if you want to wish her a great day!)
Sydney is so grateful for all the love and support you have shown her. She has felt your prayers and the power of your fasting – it is working miracles! Thank you to our Methodist friends who are praying as well! To all, your comments and cards really lift her spirits and keep that beautiful smile on her face. This will be a long road, so I know she will appreciate continued support down the road as she focuses on an intense therapy regimen. I appreciate the delicious meals friends and neighbors have brought in, and the acts of service such as neighbors picking and bottling my fruit (wouldn't you know it would get ripe this week!) Thank you to Carin for setting up this blog for us, and thank you so much for all your phone calls, emails, texts and notes. At some point I will have an opportunity to return all these calls, but for now know that we feel your love, it has helped us, and we are very grateful.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
When the neurologist came to visit Sydney tonight he was astounded at her progress. He did not expect such miraculous activity from an injury that was so incredibly severe! Very unexpected. Moving forward every day! Sydney is exhausted after each session and immediately falls asleep, but is determined to work even harder tomorrow. The therapists tell us Sydney is their favorite patient – so anxious to work hard, and so optimistic and pleasant to work with!
Tonight our beautiful Sydney was in a terrible and tragic car accident. She broke her back in 3 areas, and one break was very severe (a complete dislocation and twisted 90 degrees) and damaged her spinal cord. We are so grateful for the paramedics who responded on the scene and were able to slowly but carefully and safely extract her from the car and rush her to the hospital. Sydney could feel her legs when touched (which is a good sign), but could not move her legs (which is not a good sign).