Monday, September 15, 2008

Update on Gloria

Here's the email her dad sent out... it gives more detail than I can. Please continue to pray for Gloria.

Sunday, September 14th, was the 49th day of Gloria's stay in Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. The first 7 of those days were in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Until September 5th, the outcome for Gloria was not looking very good. All concerned were very worried about Gloria and praying for a miracle.

On September 5th Gloria started tracking movement with her eyes. We started to notice improvements every day or so. Since then we have seen improvements at an accelerating pace. It is clear that she is definitely on the path to recovery. How complete her recovery will be from her stroke is unknown. The doctors are unable to predict any scale of recovery that she might have - minor to full. However, a child's brain structure is much more able to repair and rewire itself than an adult's.

The following is the list of improvements noted in Gloria on Sunday.
1. She is moving her left leg much more. She seems to be moving it to get it in a more comfortable position (more self-aware?).
2. She held her head up and turned to look to the left. She has done this before but really held her head up higher and longer than before and slowly set her head back on the pillow.
3. Sunday was a bright sunny day in Seattle. Therefore we took Gloria out of the hospital building and into the sun. Her nurse tracked us down so she could give Gloria a shot of insulin. She noticed that Gloria's pupils were contracted. Later, back in the room, the nurse tested Gloria's pupil reactions with a flashlight. Her pupils were contracting when the light was shined into her eyes. Her eyes had not been doing this previously, and the nurse considered this a big improvement. (Pupil dilation is not an automatic response. It is done by the brain processing the incoming light level and directing the pupils to adjust accordingly. This means Gloria's brain is now more fully engaged in her vision process.)
4. Gary has been letting Gloria's left hand grasp the fingers of his left hand. On Sunday Gary made it as difficult as possible for her to easily do this. The result was a struggle that basically ended up as a thumb wrestling contest. She did not win but the will to win was there.
5. Gloria has continued to enjoy the paper bird mobile. Gary has tried to get her to hold the red bird. For her to do it he had to put her hand on top of the bird with the support string between her fingers. On Sunday when Sherry came into the room, she found Gloria holding on to the bottom of the red bird. This means she raised her hand and grasped the bird herself.
6. A plastic music box was playing a tune while on her pillow. Gloria reached over with her left hand and pushed the music box up to the top of the pillow. This was done with deliberate intention and perfect muscular coordination. She did what she wanted to do!

Also early on Saturday morning, the nurse noticed that Gloria was making sounds and moving her mouth. She believes that Gloria might have been trying to talk. We have been watching but have not noticed any repeat of this action.

Monday will be the 50th day at the Swedish Medical Center. We have been scheduled to move to Ashley House on Monday, and this time they "promise" that it will happen. We will now have a 15 minute drive to Ashley House as opposed to the I-5 expeditions to downtown Seattle. It will also allow more focus on her rehabilitation which is really happening now. The goal at Ashley House is to qualify Gloria to get into the rehabilitation program at Children's Hospital. To qualify, Gloria must understand and obey commands to perform a task and be able to participate in the treatments for 3 hours per day. Presently, Gloria cannot do any part of the requirements.

For Monday and Tuesday, I request that there be absolutely no visitors or phone calls to either Swedish MC or Ashley House. These will be very hectic days with the transfer from Swedish and setup at Ashley House. We need all of the time available to mesh with the staff and accommodations at Ashley House and to ensure the supply chain of venders of medical supplies and medical services are in place. Remember, there is only a small staff at the Kent Ashley House and they should not be put in the position of entertaining visitors. Visitors should coordinate their future visits to the times Gary or Sherry are present.

That said, I invite you to participate in Gloria's recovery. At Ashley House we are much closer to her circle of friends, and her recovery is making very good progress. The highest priority helpers would be the people she is most familiar with, which include her peers at St. Anthony School and her neighborhood friends. Seeing your faces, hearing your voices and listening to your conversations are the stimuli that are needed for her "awakening". Other volunteers are also welcome to read to Gloria, play music for her, or interact in any other way to engage her (thumb wrestling?).

The easiest way to schedule volunteer visits would be to email me the days and times you are available. I could then determine an open time for the visit and email you back. Please be sure to include phone numbers for a quick call back if the visit has to be postponed at short notice.

Visits should go well now since Gloria has a very normal sleep pattern. She has occasional short naps during the day if she tires out due to stress. If she starts to nap during a visit, please let her sleep since she needs the rest. It will not be long before she wakes up from her nap. Gloria is still being fed only through a tube that goes into her stomach. Do not bring any food or drinks for her.

Many thanks for the prayers for Gloria given by her friends and relatives and by all of the participating prayer chains across North America and Europe.

1 comment:

Soulfull Sister said...

angie, found my way here through it is so awesome that gloria is progressing. with God, all things are possible!

btw, i'm adding you to my bloglines feeds. your blog is so interesting!