Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sydney came home today after 44 days in the hospital! She will really miss the nurses, therapists and patients at the hospital. They all treated her like family and provided so much service to her while she was recovering. She feels fortunate to have them in her life.

She received such a warm welcome home from the ward! Please see the picture! Each of the ward members brought Sydney a bouquet of balloons, forked them into our lawn and attached notes in ziploc bags! It is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I made an early trip home from the hospital to bring Sydney's things, and while I was home I kept seeing neighbors drive up to the house to bring bouquets of balloons. What a touching act of service! Sydney felt a lot of love when she pulled up to the house and saw all the beautiful balloons, notes, signs and yellow ribbons on all of our trees! Thank you everyone! We are spoiled to have the best ward, neighbors, friends and family in the world! Jill and Ruth also brought us a delicious dinner – thanks!!

After a rest, it was time for Night Terrors! Sydney invited a few close friends, her brothers and her new friend Lance to go through with her. We all got scared :) (Cole screamed like a girl the whole time! ha ha!) I was so glad Lance was there, as he kept Sydney safe while she walked up hills, over some pretty rough terrain, and through a weird psychedelic surprise at the end! When Lance left Sydney cried. She said “Mom, he is one of my best friends.” We are grateful to Lance for always believing in Sydney, for supporting her, and teaching her to walk! He has a big heart and really cares about his patients. Sydney plans to visit Lance at the hospital from time to time as she continues to make progress in outpatient rehab.

Speaking of outpatient rehab, Lance tells us that Jason, our new outpatient PT, just received the Physical Therapist of the year award at the conference Lance was attending. We look forward to working with him!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zombie day! We have found that rehab is such a fun place to be! Since they are having an inspection on Friday, and most of the regular staff does not work on Saturday, the hospital staff made Thursday their official Halloween party day – with a theme of Zombies. It was so fun to see everyone dressed up! Of course Sydney did not want to miss out on the fun! She slept in curlers, and then got up early and fixed her own hair and make-up to become the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland! She did a great job – and won 1st place in the costume contest! I will post a picture of her and the staff.

The staff brought a delicious potluck lunch, and during lunch Sydney and Josh did the Thriller dance routine for them. Josh is so much fun!

Wednesday October 27, 2010

Today was a travel day (ha ha!)

While Sydney was practicing rolling a suitcase down the hall, we heard an announcement over the loudspeaker something like this: “Hello. This is your pilot. Thank you for flying with us on flight 1222. You may safely stow your luggage in the overhead compartment. Please take your seat and prepare for departure. We will be traveling at 500 mph. The weather will be sunny and 68 degrees. etc....” It was so funny!!!

Sydney had a great day in Therapy today! Lance and Ron and Josh are making sure she is ready to go home with the skills she will need. Today she learned some techniques for carrying her school books.

Advantage: she can take it up and down stairs or through tight spots or crowded halls, and it frees up her hands.
Disadvantage: it is heavy and could strain her back.

Rolling Laptop Suitcase:
Advantage: takes the weight off her back, and is not too difficult to roll down the hall.
Disadvantage: it is much heavier than a backpack, which is important if she needed to lift it up stairs or through tight spots. Also, she can only use 1 cane; and actually preferred using no canes and pushing the suitcase in front of her.

The Young Men and Young Women from Uncle John's ward came up to visit Sydney in the evening and entertained her with skits. That was a lot of fun!

Last night a surprise visitor dropped off some flowers and a very nice note telling Sydney she had been selected for the Woman of the Week, aka WOW award! What an encouraging gesture!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hi everyone! I think I will start posting updates about once a week now that Sydney is doing so well. I'll let you know how she does once she gets home, and will also update you when she starts outpatient rehab. We are looking forward to many milestones in the future – so I will be sure to keep you updated!

The therapists are starting to prepare Sydney for her transition to home. Lance is working on a sheet of exercises she will need to do daily at home. We are anticipating about 4 hours a day of exercises, walking, and stretches to continue her progression. She can do some of these on her own, but currently will need someone assisting for most of this time. Sydney has not had her outpatient rehab eval yet, but we are anticipating that we will take her to Salt Lake twice a week for guided therapy, and then the other 4 days we will do the therapy ourselves at home.

We also need to build in time for her school work, as she will need to make-up her school work for Term 1, and then catch up on Term 2. And of course we need to give her time to rest, as the therapy really wipes her out! She will be plenty busy at home!

Today in PT, Lance showed her how to use the stationary bike to strengthen her quads, and had her practice walking down the hall sideways while bouncing a ball back and forth with the PT Aid, Dave. He also took her for a long walk outside, up and down stairs, and bought her an ice cream cone to eat while walking (that part was fun!)

In OT, Ron had Sydney play wii boxing with another patient to work on balance. I'm sure Sydney's brothers will volunteer to help her with this part of her therapy at home! :) He also had her vacuum the staff break room, where she got a few offers for housecleaning employment!

This evening Sydney worked on her Chemistry homework (I'm sure Ms. Wenz appreciates this!) Overall, she has had a very happy and productive day! She has built a lot of friendships with the staff and patients in rehab. She will really miss them when she goes home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, Sunday & Monday October 23,24,25

Hello Everyone! Look at the top of Friday's entry, as I have added a link to Sydney's and Christian's dance routine! (You will notice that the professional videographers definitely do not have any competition with our home videos! Not the greatest quality! But we still enjoy them!) I will summarize the last few days below:

After a morning session of therapy, we brought Sydney home for an overnighter! It was so nice to be home! Her brothers were very excited to hang out with her, and drove us crazy racing the wheelchair around the house and taking her canes to try them out. They were also very nice to Sydney, and when she went upstairs to have a rest they kept asking when she would come back down. Sydney had a chance to see what it would be like at home, and we found a few tweaks we needed to make (such as a bedside lamp so she won't have to get out of bed to turn off the light), but other than a few adjustments I think everything will work out just fine. We worked out a system where she can use her cell phone to call us when she is done resting during the day so we can come and help her get her brace on. She also calls us when she needs something at night (the home version of a nurse call button!) Yes, we do go in to check on her, but she has a quiet voice so we won't always know when she needs something.

Another bit of good news – Sydney doesn't need blood thinner shots anymore! She has been getting a shot in her stomach every day, and her stomach is pretty black and blue at this point, so she won't miss these shots!

When we looked out the front door, someone had brought a big hand-carved jack-o-lantern with arms holding a bouquet of balloons, and a cute note welcoming Sydney home! How thoughtful and fun!

Sydney was really looking forward to going to church and seeing everyone again. We ended up being late because we started walking, but then became worried that her canes might slip on the wet sidewalks (it was raining), so we turned back and decided to drive (we live right across the street from the church – so we never drive to church!)

As we walked to the chapel doors, we realized the meeting had already started. Just then, the Bishop, who was conducting, looked up and saw Sydney at the door and choked up a bit and said “there's Sydney Heyrend”. Everyone turned to look and it seemed that the congregation became hushed. This choked up Sydney and intimidated her a bit and she didn't want to walk in late in front of everyone (she was already a little nervous!) The Bishop seemed to sense this so he started conducting again and pretended like he didn't notice her, so she got up the courage to walk in. After she sat down our sweet friends and neighbors would turn and smile at her to encourage her. She became quite teary and we had to borrow some tissues from Darcy to get her through the meeting. She felt quite overwhelmed to be in church with all these sweet people who had fasted for her recovery, who had been praying for her every night, and who were either providing service to her and our family or were anxious to help her in anyway they could. She has been so strengthened by the prayers, and is so grateful for everyone caring for her enough to fast for her recovery.

She stayed for all 3 hours and was so happy to be surrounded by friends and neighbors. We brought her a soft chair from the Relief Society room to sit on, as the other chairs were a bit too hard.

After church we had dinner, and then took her back to the hospital. Sydney's Uncle John had invited BYU's Young Ambassadors to come to the hospital to visit Sydney as she loves singing and performing – so he thought this would be a special treat. And it really was! We invited the other patients and staff into the hospital break room, and the Young Ambassadors performed a very inspired program for everyone! We thought just a few Ambassadors would come, but around 20 came! Everyone was teary during this program as well – they had chosen some very inspiring songs and hymns, and it was a very touching evening. They left Sydney with a Young Ambassadors T-Shirt, a bracelet that says “Anxiously Engaged”, and a Halloween bucket of treats. Sydney had a wonderful time, and we really enjoyed meeting these amazing young people! Sunday was such a wonderful day!

After a day of rest, it was time to get back to work! Remember how Sydney walked the whole floor in 2 minutes and 26 seconds with just 1 cane? Well today she walked the whole floor in 2 minutes and 27 seconds without any canes! Wow! Lance holds onto her safety belt, but the faster she gets walking, the better her balance is. Lance then worked with her on some technical aspects of walking, such as starting, stopping, 180 and 360 turns, and walking backwards and sidewards. He also worked with her on bending down to pick something up off the floor (without tipping over!) With good concentration and technique, she picked something up that was 11 3/4” off the floor without falling!

In OT, Ron had her work on balance and core strength. He had her stand and wash his office window. Next he had her bend to pick up bean-bags out of a bucket and throw them through a target. We keep thinking Sydney might come out of the hospital with more sports skills than she had before the accident; but actually she hits about the same number of targets as she hit before! (Don't ask her about her aim!) 4 more days until Sydney comes home, but then who is counting!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

We had so much fun watching Sydney, Christian and their therapists perform the “Word Up” routine today! Try watching this on youtube:

You may also want to check out the video on Christian's blog:

Christian is the other featured dancer; he is Sydney's friend in rehab recovering from a mountain biking accident. He went home on Saturday! Sydney's amazing Physical Therapist, Lance, is the guy with the big hair (he also chose the song and assigned Sydney and Christian to create the dance routine!) Josh, holding Christian's belt, is Syd's Occupational Therapist and he helped with the dance moves! Kris, short blonde hair, is the Recreational Therapist (she arranges fun outings for Syd like Halloween costume shopping!) Sarah, with short brown hair, is Syd's new friend and is a former rehab patient, recovering from a paragliding accident.

The video quality is not the greatest, as Tim was sitting so close he could either tape Sydney's and Christian's face or legs but not both!

Other activities on Friday:
Sydney walked around the entire floor with only 1 cane in 2 minutes and 26 seconds,
breaking the record she set with 2 canes! She is becoming a very good walker! She also walked around the entire floor once without any canes (Lance held her safety belt to help her balance).

We are really looking forward to having Sydney come home tomorrow for the overnighter. Remember to not visit her at the hospital on Saturday or Sunday as she won't be there! We will be going back to the hospital by Sunday evening, as the Young Ambassadors from BYU are coming to the hospital to sing to her and the other patients – which will be really enjoyable!

For those who live close, Sydney is looking forward to seeing you at church on Sunday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just a brief entry tonight...

Sydney is getting ready for her show tomorrow, so she and Christian spent more time today coming up with and rehearsing their dance moves! They are looking good!

In addition to her dance rehearsal, Lance helped Sydney with exercises and stretches. She had a busy but fun day!

Here is the 1st verse of “Word Up” by Cameo (you can hear the song on YouTube):

Yo! Pretty ladies around the world
Got a weird thing to show you
So tell all the boys and girls
Tell your brother, your sister and your mamma too
we're about to go down
And you know just what to do
Wave your hands in the air like you don't care
Glide by the people as they start to look and stare
Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick mamma
Come on baby tell me what's the word – Word Up!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today the staff lined up at the break room to watch Sydney rehearse (rock out!) Lance knows Sydney likes to sing and perform, so he burned her a copy of the song “Word Up” by Cameo and asked her to create some dance moves to go with the song and perform it for everyone this Friday! She and Christian (her good friend and inspiration in rehab – recovering from a biking accident) will be the featured performers, with Lance and Josh holding their safety belts from behind just in case they get too into their moves! Who said therapy couldn't be fun! Watch out Paula Abdul – Sydney has some good dance moves!

This morning we visited the 2 outpatient rehab centers we are considering for Sydney. One is Neuroworx, which was a very impressive site. Dale Hull is the founder. He was an OB/Gyn, but suffered a broken neck about 11 years ago in an accident and became a quadriplegic. He has regained quite a bit of use from his legs and arms through hard work and applying the latest research for recovery. They have a state of the art facility.

We also visited TOSH, which also has a good reputation for rehab, with two very experienced therapists who come highly recommended.

After discussing the pro's and con's of each, Sydney currently is leaning toward TOSH. She connected more with the therapists, liked the facility better (more windows – not as claustrophobic), and she is far enough along in her recovery that she does not need the specialized equipment at Neuroworx.

In PT today, Lance had Sydney walk with “moving parallel bars” (the Moses staffs held horizontally by Mom and Grandma). She practiced moving her arms in sync with the opposite legs. (These are things you and I don't even think about – we just do it naturally! Sydney is having to consciously think about these techniques and practice them to relearn this skill). Of course, in the afternoon Sydney was back outside for her all-terrain hike! Lance had her walk all the way to the end of the hospital grounds and back. By the way, Sydney invited Lance to go through Night Terrors with her next Friday – and he accepted! (Mom and Grandma are secretly relieved as he could catch her better if she trips!)

Sydney had a very fun and productive day! It was capped of by a visit from the young women from Sydney's church! Thank you everyone for your support! It has been such a privilege to watch Sydney's faith and hard work through this miraculous recovery! It has also been humbling to see the outpouring of love, prayers, support and service from all of our friends and family! Thank you! We love you all!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Well, Sydney went jogging today! Twice! (She is trying to keep fit! Ha ha!) Lance held one hand and her safety belt, and Brad held the other hand, and they ran her down the hall! She said this was very hard! She buckled a few times, but Lance held her up. It was pretty amazing to watch! Lance says that if she trips while walking, it is important to be able to speed up her gait (jog) enough to catch herself. She also walked across the gym again without using canes, with Lance holding onto her safety belt. Next, Lance had her walk with 2 big poles which helped her balance, but did not allow her to lean her weight on them (like canes). She looked like Moses with the 2 big staffs! We can't wait until she can walk without any assistance – that will be such an amazing day!

Of course, you know that Sydney tries to break her own records, right? Well today was no exception! She walked 500 yards in 2 minutes and 32 seconds, breaking her previous record of 3 minutes! She is getting fast! She can do this without any assistance except when she starts getting tired. After her successful morning session, Lance told Sydney he does not want to see her in the wheelchair around the hospital – only the canes. She can now walk down to the gym, around her room, etc. which gives her more time to practice her walking!

For her OT session, Sydney walked down to the hospital credit union with Ron and withdrew some money, and then went to the cafeteria to order Ron's lunch. (She ordered him a salad – which will keep him healthy!) She then carried the bowl of salad in one hand, and used a cane in her other hand and carried this back to the elevators and to her room! Quite the balancing act to carry something and use only 1 cane! Ron held onto her safety (gait) belt to assist.

For the second session of PT, Lance took Sydney outside for more all-terrain training! They went up and down a flight of stairs on the way out, and up and down a flight of stairs on the way back in. Outside she walked up and down a fairly steep wheelchair ramp (walking down was much harder). She also walked across rocks, wood chips and across inclines and slants. She is going to get such good balance!

It is so wonderful to watch Sydney's progress every day! We feel so blessed that she is recovering and doing so well! Thank you for your service, prayers, love and support!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

You won't believe it, but Sydney walked across the gym without any canes today! Lance held onto her safety belt to help her balance, but she made it across! She was so excited! This was definitely the highlight of the day!

After all this excitement Lance gave her back the canes and took her outside for another “alternate terrain” session. Sydney told Lance a couple of weeks ago that her goal is to be able to walk through Hee Haws “Night Terrors” when she leaves. Sydney worked at Night Terrors last year (yes, scaring people!) and she wants to be able to walk through this year to prove to herself she can do it! To help her reach this goal, Lance had her practice walking outside with canes over rocks, wood chips, up and down small hills, etc. He also had her climb up 19 steps (very hard!) and back down those same steps on her way back into the hospital (this is the 2nd floor bedroom goal!) He had her do a 180º and a 360º turn, and walk backwards and sideways. Quite the workout! Lance realized today he only has 2 weeks left to work with Sydney – not very much time! There is so much more he wants to do with her, but some of it will need to wait for the outpatient therapist. It will be hard for Sydney to not work with Lance anymore!

We are discussing the possibility of having Sydney come home on Friday the 29th instead of Saturday the 30th, as she wants to walk through Night Terrors on the 29th. It probably doesn't make sense to drive back to Salt Lake late Friday night to sleep at the hospital for a morning session of therapy. We will let you know for sure what we decide.

We are planning to have Sydney come home this Saturday the 23rd for her first “overnighter” at home. We are excited! We will have the house ready by then. Sydney is a little nervous, but mostly excited!

Thanks for your love, support and prayers! We look forward to each day to watch Sydney's amazing progress!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Watch out! Once you time Sydney she always tries to beat her record! Today was no exception! Sydney walked 500 feet in 3 minutes, crushing her time yesterday of 4 minutes and 30 seconds! She can now walk as fast as the average walking person!

OT worked on standing and sitting from a low surface. They also discussed backpack strategy. How to get it on and off a wheelchair, and what to do with your books if you are walking with a cane (we want to try a rolling laptop case, but didn't have one with us).

In the afternoon Kristen took Sydney outside and had her walk over wood chips, rocks, up and down curbs, and across inclines and declines. She walked for over 20 minutes with only 1 rest! After this endurance marathon she was totally wiped out! She slept for almost 3 hours – totally knocked out!

By the way, we sure have fun asking Sydney to wiggle the toes on her right foot for us! Such a thrill!

Thank you for your love, prayers and support!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today Lance worked on Sydney's balance and control. The sport of choice was....Soccer! Pretty scary to lift one leg to kick a ball! Sydney is really going to like sports by the time she finishes therapy! She also walked through a grid of shoebox compartments Lance placed on the floor. She had to concentrate to lift her foot and precisely place it into a compartment; and then repeat the process with her other foot to walk across this grid.

Next Lance worked on Sydney's speed. He had her walk 500 feet using 2 canes, and clocked her at 4 minutes 30 seconds - which is really good!!

The highlight of the day was Halloween costume shopping! Sydney found a great costume, but I won't spoil the surprise of what she is going to be – you'll have to wait for Halloween! While she was shopping, she picked up a wig for her therapist Lance, since he is stylishly hairless! I'm sure he appreciated it. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We had some more miracles today! You may remember that Sydney has been unable to move her right leg below the knee (flex her foot, wiggle her toes, etc.) We were wondering if the recovery she was blessed with perhaps did not include her right foot and some other functions, and we did feel very blessed with the recovery she has already had. Then Sydney received a blessing from her Bishop where she was told these areas would heal. Tim prayed about this blessing a week ago and was distinctly told the Lord was waiting to bless Sydney, but needed her to exercise faith in Him for these ongoing miracles. These experiences were very heartening to Sydney, and she has exercised faith that these miracles would happen, despite medical expectations. Today her faith paid off! She can now slightly wiggle the toes on her right foot! WE ARE SO EXCITED! We are so grateful! Prayers are being answered! She is healing in every area!

Since this news is so exciting, a report of the rest of the day will seem very mundane! But I will tell you what Sydney did today anyway, as we want to look back on this experience and remember her progress. Today Lance had her walk with canes through environments more challenging than the hospital hall. She walked around the therapy room where she had to walk around objects, turn, walk sideways in a tight spot, walk backwards, etc. Then he took her outside and had her walk on grass, walk across a slant and up an incline. This was all very challenging, but she concentrated and did very well, and we know her strength will increase. Lance also had her climb up and down 2 stairs using just canes and not the rail. This was also very difficult – but she did it! We are so grateful we have Lance as a therapist! He knows exactly how to further her progress! He says Sydney's miraculous progress makes him look good; but we also know his skill and insight are just what we need to help Sydney progress to her full potential!

We are so excited by Sydney's progress! We feel so blessed! We are so grateful! Thank you for your continued prayers for her. Tomorrow is going to be a blast, as Sydney LOVES to dress up for Halloween, so OT and RT are taking her on an outing to shop for a Halloween costume! You will HAVE to trick-or-treat at our house to say “hi” to Sydney, as she is coming home on Halloween! Thank you for your love, support and prayers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Although Sydney has never been into sports and working out before – she is turning over a new leaf! In addition to working out every day, she played baseball with Pam today! This was very tricky trying to balance and not fall over, while also trying to hit the ball (which was hard for Sydney even before the accident!) These therapists are so creative!

Sydney has also discovered that you don't need any special “Stairmaster” equipment to get a good workout - just climb stairs! She had quite a workout climbing up and down 14 stairs with assistance (yesterday was just 3 stairs). This was very difficult. She is trying to build her strength for climbing stairs in our home, as her bedroom is on the 2nd floor! You are thinking we are really mean parents to make her return to her 2nd floor bedroom! Sydney is the one who really wants to return to her bedroom; but we do have a backup plan of putting a bed in the dining room if the stairs are initially too much.

She did some more walking – holding one cane, and holding Grandma's hand. Lance also had her workout on the mat to strengthen her balance.

In OT we talked about how to adapt our home to accommodate Sydney's current level of mobility and strength. We tried out a few different kinds of chairs to put in the shower, talked about different kinds of wheelchairs (she currently doesn't have the endurance to walk long distances), and discussed wall rails and other conveniences to make it a little easier once we get her home. This will be an adventure – we will be so excited to have her home!

Thank you Ms. Wenz's chemistry class for the fun poster! Thank you everyone who visited this week! Thank you for the sweet letters and notes and kind acts! Sydney loves you all and is so cheered up by your support!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sydney had another fantastic day today! Lance decided to increase the challenge. Why just walk down a hall? Sydney climbed up and down stairs holding to rails. Although this was very hard, she did a great job! Lance also took her outside to practice stepping over a curb and onto a sidewalk with the assistance of canes. Although this was also very hard, she did very well! So many muscles to train!

Speaking of muscles, Lance had Sydney practice standing and sitting, and also had her work on strengthening her core muscles by kneeling on the mat in front of a big plastic ball while her mom hit balloons to her. She also practiced getting out of her chair and crawling up onto a raised mat. We are so grateful to have a therapist who knows what he is doing! He knows how to zero right in on areas to strengthen!

In OT, Ron let Sydney cook her spaghetti dinner! Delicious! You gain a new appreciation for everyday mundane tasks when you see how much effort it takes for someone without full strength and abilities! Altogether, this took about 2 hours (4, 30 minute sessions). Of course much of this time was spent learning how to go about a task (for example, how do you get a big pot full of water and onto the stove?)

We believe Sydney will come home October 30th (Halloween – one of her favorite holidays!) We are looking into outpatient rehab facilities to take her to once she gets home. We'll know more in a week or two. Meanwhile, they told us she can have an overnight “pass” to come home on a weekend to explore how we manage in the home environment. That will be fun to have her home for a night!

For those of you taking a vacation over Fall break – have a great time!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

You will never believe what Sydney did today! She walked 200 feet just holding Lance's hand! She looked like a beauty queen strolling across a stage! So composed! I caught her first walk of 100 feet on camera and will try to get it to Carin to post on the blog (maybe this weekend?)

To work up to this amazing feat, in the morning session Lance had her practice standing up and sitting down from her wheelchair without a walker in front of her for support. She did well with this; so next he had her stand and balance while he nudged her to see if she could regain her balance. She did well; so next he asked his assistant Brad to throw a big ball to her to catch. This forced her to maintain balance while reaching outside of her comfort zone to catch the ball. After these exercises, Lance gave her canes and she walked 350 feet! We were quite amazed by this! Little did we know that Lance was planning to have her walk without canes! In her second PT session, he and Brad walked on each side of her holding her hands and holding the safety belt around her waist. She was so excited to do this! After a little rest, she did the beauty queen walk – holding just one hand! Wow! And this was without a brace on her left leg! Unbelievable! This has been such a memorable day!

In OT, Sydney learned how to navigate around the hospital kitchen to prepare her spaghetti dinner. It takes so much planning to do this! Getting into the right position to open the refrigerator door, reaching to get the food out without losing balance, carrying food to the counter and setting it down without losing balance... She started chopping the vegetables standing up, but after awhile was pretty tired so she sat down in the wheelchair to finish. She didn't have a chance to actually cook the dinner, as another patient was using the kitchen in the afternoon. If you are hungry tomorrow – come to the hospital for lunch! She is going to prepare a great meal!

Since the kitchen was occupied, Ron put her to use wheeling up ramps and opening doors. It is SOO hard to open those big, heavy hospital doors from a wheelchair! You will have to try it sometime! I have a new appreciation for the buildings with a button you can push to open the door!

Today was another miraculous, stupendous day! Every day we think it can't get any more exciting, and then the next day we are surprised by something amazing! Thanks for your prayers and support! It is so fun to watch this miracle unfold!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today was relaxing and fun! Sydney went to church in the morning. We counted about 80 service missionaries in attendance who come to the hospital to provide the sacrament to patients and provide comfort and blessings. What a nice service they provide! They say they love what they do – they love helping and comforting people.

Sydney also played dress-up today; she fixed her hair and make-up and looked so gorgeous! It's fun to do this when you can. :) She also enjoyed the visitors who came to see her. It is so nice to see friends, neighbors and relatives! She is feeling well enough that Sundays will be open for visits from anyone who wants to come and see her. She gets pretty wiped out during the week, but Sunday will be her well-deserved day of rest!

We are thinking Sydney will come home around Halloween. It will be nice to have her home! She will continue out-patient rehab when she gets home. Once we adapt to a routine at home for a couple of weeks, we are thinking she could go over to the school for maybe 1 class a day; with a goal of being at school full-time by Term 3.

We are so grateful for her miraculous recovery! Thank you again for your support and prayers!

I'll close with this quote the young women in her church framed for Sydney:

“What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Anybody need help with grocery shopping? Sydney is your girl! She went grocery shopping at Smith's today, and bought all the ingredients for a Spaghetti dinner (which she will cook on Monday!) Riding over in the car made her a bit nervous (which is understandable after being in a car accident!) But when she got there she transferred to a wheelchair, then to a walker, then to a grocery cart! She pushed the grocery cart around the store and loaded her items into the cart! The biggest challenge was reaching the spaghetti sauce on the bottom shelf! Josh (Occupational Therapist) gallantly let her sit on his leg (a.k.a. emergency backup chair!) so she could reach the sauce. She then unloaded all the items from the cart at checkout, and Josh paid the bill. Wow! She is doing great! Miss Independent!

When she returned to the hospital, Kristen handed her the canes, and Sydney walked 520 feet with only 1 stop! She is cruising! Kristen then challenged her to transfer out of her wheelchair onto the floor. This was very difficult so Kristen assisted her. She then wanted Sydney to lie down, roll over, get into a crawling position on all 4's, and climb onto the mat. This proved to be a bit too difficult, but now Sydney has a new challenge!

Mr. Smith and Miss Plain will be excited to know that Sydney did some Calculus homework today – that is dedication! As Saturday is a lighter therapy day, Sydney has a goal to do homework on Saturday mornings. What fun!

Last night, Sydney received a visit from Sarah, a former rehab patient who was able to learn to walk after breaking her back paragliding 4 months ago. It was very encouraging to see how well Sarah is doing, and it gave Sydney a chance to ask her a lot of questions about what she was doing to adapt at home.

Tomorrow is Sunday, which is a day open for visitors. We look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow! Thanks again for your prayers and support! We are grateful for Sydney's miraculous recovery!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today was another momentous day! Lance gave Sydney the forearm crutches this morning and she walked 210 feet! She looked so good that in the afternoon session Lance gave Sydney canes to walk with! After she made her way across the gym and back, he said “I have good news and bad news.” Grandma Joyce said “we only want good news.” Lance said, “Well it is the same news. We are only going to use canes for now on!” Sydney considers this to be GREAT news! She told him last week that her goal is to be able to walk with a cane by the time she leaves. She is well on her way!

During her mid-day session, Lance had her practice the same exercises on the mat she did yesterday. (For example: lie down on her side, swing legs up, roll to back, roll to stomach, roll to side, sit up.) This was quite a challenge yesterday. Today he said he was going to time her. The challenge was on! He punched the stopwatch and she started flying! She flew through the whole routine in 10 seconds! He was so shocked he couldn't stop laughing! (Lance is a pretty reserved guy – so not a typical reaction!) He said “I should have clocked you ages ago!” He timed her for the other routines with the same results! When Sydney was done and went back to her room, she couldn't stop giggling, and then she started crying she was so happy!

The last event of the day was a trip to the Mall! A necessary skill for a teenage girl! Sydney bought a pretzel and practiced skills such as transferring from the wheelchair to the walker, walking to a table, sliding a chair out and sitting down in the chair. The fun part was going to the Sephora make-up counter! You don't really have time to put on make-up in the hospital! She walked up to the counter in her walker and balanced while applying eye make-up! (She even insisted that Josh try a little, and being a good sport – he did!) When she got back to the hospital, the therapists all gathered to her room to see how the trip was, and Lance took her picture since she was all dolled up!

She had such a happy day today! She is so excited about her progress! We are very grateful for how much she has been blessed. Thank you for your love, support and prayers!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Watch out – Sydney is back on crutches! Today she tried out fore-arm crutches! It is quite the technique to learn how to walk with these crutches. She had to really concentrate to place each crutch at the right time and then take a step while maintaining her balance. As she was precariously taking a few steps she said to Lance, “I hope you don't mind if I don't turn the corner in these” as she was sure she would wipe out! Lance said “what if I do mind?” Then he had her perform a U-Turn right in the middle of the hall! He also had her slowly take a few steps backward to her wheelchair! She was amazed she could do this without falling! She went 108 feet in the crutches and was completely exhausted from the exertion of balancing by the time she was done! But she was so excited to be on crutches!

The other PT session was focused on strengthening exercises. She practiced sitting up, lying flat and using her elbows to prop her up, and for the first time he had her lie on her stomach (although he was careful to not strain her back). In OT Sydney worked her arms with big elastic bands.

We are learning in the morning sessions, that “hydration is key” (a favorite saying of Sydney's nurse Janet!) With spinal cord injury patients, it is a challenge to maintain high enough blood pressure. When Sydney gets up in the morning she is very light-headed and weak. We have to make sure she has been drinking enough to keep her pressure up, and we also wrap her legs in “grandma tights” and ACE bandages to force the blood back up to her upper body. If her blood pressure drops too low, she takes some medicine to increase it. This will improve as she gets more mobile.

Overall it was an exciting day! As a reward for her hard work, she ate dinner in the cafeteria with Grandma, rather than having a tray in her room. Much more social and fun! Tomorrow she has a big day planned – it will be her first “outing”! Check back to see how it goes!

Love for Sydney continues.....

To date, over 3,100 visits have been made to Sydney's Journey  to follow the progress that she is making.  That is since her accident just a few weeks ago. 

Many neighbors and friends comment on how they anxiously check on Sydney's progress each day.  As one of them, I am grateful that the Lord has been so good to Sydney and her family.

So Sydney, you indeed are a Rock Star....with over 3,000 views from your loyal fans:)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sydney had a great day! She walked 382 feet in the walker without stopping! Her endurance is improving every day. She has been wearing braces on both legs to keep her feet in a flexed position, which makes it easier to move them forward when walking. Today Lance took the brace off her left leg, which will make it much harder. Sydney says it is like learning to walk all over again, as she needs to work to move her foot now too. But she is excited that Lance feels her left leg is ready for this.

They took a break from crutches today, as she had some electrical shocks in her back when trying them out yesterday. They did a cat scan and everything looks OK, but they are just being cautious. It is probably just a shock to her back to try to balance on the crutches. Maybe she can try them again tomorrow or in a few days.

For OT, they took her outside in her wheelchair and had her wheel for a full mile! She is going to have buff arms! I forgot to tell you that yesterday they had her practice “wheelies!” Her uncle Gary will love this! Sydney did NOT enjoy this! She gets scared when it feels like her wheelchair is tipping back, so they made her tip it backwards on purpose to show her that it has little wheels in the back that will catch the chair before it tips over.

She fixed her own hair in a ponytail again today – and she did it without grabbing the sink! Her balance is really improving! She also practiced standing from the wheelchair to the walker and is getting much better at this.

It is so exciting to see the progress every day. One of the nurses called Sydney a “rock star” today! I think she is a rock star too! Thank you for all your love and support!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sleep, glorious sleep! Sydney had a great rest last night! She felt like a new woman today!

She started off the morning by getting dressed all by herself – which really impressed the OT!

In PT, she walked 282 feet without stopping! She is looking so smooth and controlled! She did so well, that Lance said she was ready to try crutches! It was a whole new technique to try to balance with crutches! She learned to carefully put the right crutch forward and out, and then take a step with her left foot; then carefully move the left crutch forward and out, and take a step with the right foot. She is very excited to learn how to balance while slowly using crutches. With the walker she could use her arm strength and lean forward to balance; but with crutches it is a whole new ballgame. She loves the challenge.

She practiced car transfers, getting into and out of her mom's car. Which means her mom could get cleared in the future for a “pass” to take her on an outing! Something to look forward to!

Pumping weights is paying off, as she can now lift herself from the bed to the wheelchair without a transfer board. Lance also said she can soon start using her walker in the room instead of the wheelchair; although this will officially be cleared after we see the results from a cat scan they took today, to make sure her back is healing properly. (The x-rays from yesterday look great – now they are just checking the tissues).

We hope you are all doing well! We can't wait to see what Sydney does tomorrow! Ciao!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do you ever have one of those nights where you don't get any sleep? Sydney does too! We talked to the nurses today about how to help her get a better rest. We are thinking better night-time pain management will help. We asked them to provide her pain meds at a scheduled time during the night rather than wait for her request. Otherwise, she wakes up in pain in the middle of the night and can never quite get on top of it. We'll see how the plan works tonight.

Today Sydney was pretty tired so mostly yawned through therapy and then went back to her room to catch some early Z's. Lance had her practice pulling herself up from her bed to a standing position in her walker – which is so hard! If she gets good at this, she will be able to use a walker in her room rather than a wheelchair – which would be so exciting!

Radiology took some new X-rays today to see how well she is mending. We are anxious to see the new images! She is the new Titanium Girl!

Sydney and Grandma ran into Dr. Maughan (the neurosurgeon who operated on her) on Saturday. He was so thrilled to see her up and moving about! They told him all the great news about Sydney's recovery and he was very pleased. He said she should only need to wear her TLSO (turtle brace) for another month. It will be SOOO nice to get rid of it! As fashionable as it is, she won't miss it!

We got some other great news today – Sydney now has a home/hospital teacher! The teacher is from Murray High School, which is right across the street. She will come 2 times a week for 1 hour each session. Although Sydney has been pretty fatigued during this recovery, we will see how reasonable it is to squeeze a bit of homework in here and there.

Thank you for all your support! We are blessed to have such great friends and family! Sydney feels very loved – her room is decorated with posters from her friends at church and at school, and with cards and stuffed animals from family and friends. It is by far the most festive room in the whole hospital! (The radiologist did a double take today when he came in the room!) We love you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday October 2 & Sunday October 3, 2010

Saturday October 2, 2010

Sydney is now officially buff! She can press 100 lbs – more than her body weight! She also walked 500 feet with only 3 stops! She had a lot of pain issues today, so the weekend therapist wanted her to take it easy and not push so hard, but she was very determined and did all that walking through a few tears.

Sandy Dougall sent a note to Sydney that quotes Jeffrey R. Holland:

“When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we have ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised: I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left. My spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up.”

I thought the morning session of conference was so applicable. President Uchtdorf talked about how we should slow down when we hit turbulance (many of us have a tendency to speed up and try to work/rush through it). Elder Holland talked about how much God loves us and how blessed we are to have so many who provide faithful service (I thought of all of you!) And Brother Christofferson talked about a consecrated life.

After listening to the afternoon session of conference and resting a bit, Sydney hit the books and finished 2 chapters in Fitness for Life. It felt great to study again!

Thank you to all of you who continue to provide acts of service for our family! We love and appreciate you!

Sunday October 3, 2010

Today was a day of rest – which felt nice. Sydney had only 30 minutes of therapy (which helps to prevent her muscles from stiffening up), and then enjoyed a day of watching conference and resting. I think it will be good for her body to rest. She also enjoyed some visitors, which lifts her spirits. Feel free to come and see Sydney on Sundays! She looks forward to your visits!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

All the young ladies and women out there (and men if they will admit it) will relate to a key skill Sydney worked on today – self grooming! Today her OT had her stand up in front of the bathroom sink and fix her own hair! Boy, was it ever hard work! It is a killer to get into a standing position from the wheelchair (hence the intense arm workouts!) Sydney did it with help from Josh. The next step was to balance against the sink with weight on both legs, and be brave enough to lift both arms up. Scary! She did it! This morning she was probably wondering if having long hair was really worth it, as she had to brush it out herself! She was able to do this (with a lot of grabs for the sink!) Next she whipped it into a quick ponytail (the preferred hairstyle for rehab), and wala! She self-groomed! She felt quite a bit of self-accomplishment from this and was grinning from ear to ear! We know she will continue to get better at this as she gets stronger. She needs to work up to curls for Senior Prom, right?

Which reminds me of Audrey Hepburn's favorite poem (and one of my favorites too!) It reminds me a lot of Sydney.

Time Tested Beauty Tips
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

Now we know Sydney tries to break her records every day, and today was no exception! She walked 196 feet without stopping! Wow! In the afternoon, she paced herself to work on endurance, and walked 350 feet while taking a rest every 50 feet. We want her to work up to walking to school, right? :)

For OT, Sydney practiced rolling her wheelchair up a ramp – which is harder than it looks! But if she can climb Timp, she can do this – right? And she did it! She also practiced car transfers (getting into and out of a car from a wheelchair). She is working up to her big outing next Thursday – going to the Mall for lunch! An essential outing for a teenager!

Although Sydney's first priority is to work hard to get better, she is slowly going to “dip her toe” into the schoolwork arena to see what she is able to do. Thank you to her school teachers, counselors and principal for working with her!

Last, I thought I would mention something that gave me a sigh of gratitude. Yesterday I obtained a copy of the medical records to send to the insurance company. As I read through these sobering reports last night, I came across the assessment of Sydney when she was admitted to Rehab. Naturally, as the doctor examined Sydney's physical state, he was sobered by the severity of her injury. As the doctor described Sydney and her physical condition he said “She has a pleasant affect possibly disproportionate to the degree of her disability.” I believe he was quite taken aback by her pleasant, optimistic and calm demeanor when faced with what he anticipated to be a bleak future. We are so grateful for the blessing of recovery Sydney received, for the power of the fast and prayer, and for the tender mercy of the Lord to allow her to recover use of her limbs. Because of Sydney's great faith, she has been able to be at peace and optimistic through this experience. We are grateful for this.

To you all, we appreciate all the support, love, prayers and kind acts you have shown to Sydney and our family! We love you and appreciate you all!