Family and friends of Lori Sloan are raising money to pay for uninsured medical expenses associated with Catastrophic Injury.
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September 4, 2014
From August 28th:
Oh, it’s so hard when so much time goes between updates and I apologize for that. I’ll chalk it up to a leveling off in mom’s therapy and my return to my internship/school and my own healing process. However, the last week has seen a lot of activity and I am here in Atlanta participating in the rehab process, and Oh, am I excited to share! I’ll try to not bore you with the redundancy of my excitement and over use of exclamation points with which I am so prone. But the reality is that things are pretty phenomenal here.
It may have been a while since I have mentioned this in an update, but Traumatic Brain Injuries take time. We heard “it’s a marathon” so many times, and oh, it’s so true. The brain is able to relearn so much, but it takes time. It takes work. It takes repetition. And does it ever take patience. Mom is the perfect expression of the joy in the simple things and each moment I am with her I am so deeply thankful for the patience I learned from her. She is relearning daily activities that come so natural to you and I, and instead of expressing her frustration, she is so thankful to be able to do it at all. Yes, she knows it takes her a long time to put on her shoes, but by golly, she can put on those shoes. (Sort of—depends on the shoe, just to be clear.) She watches non TBI people walk and can express how challenging it is to walk, but in the same breath expresses how inspiring it is to watch other patients she has been in rehab with walking and how thankful she is to be able to take the steps she is able to take. There are so many levels to what she is doing daily, but I tend to focus on walking. I believe my mother will be able to do these updates herself soon, and out of respect for her privacy, I choose to focus on walking as an example of her progress until then. It is a fine line of what to share and what to keep private. Walking is also such an integrated part of our lives that we do not often think of what this ability creates for us until it is taken away. So if you are trying to picture what this looks like for Lori, just imagine learning how to do absolutely everything you do on a momentary basis. Her heart has always been beating and her lungs have always been breathing (mostly) but even breathing takes coordination with the brain for much more than you would imagine. But enough about TBIs for now—let’s get to the good stuff!
I have been in Atlanta for the last couple of days for “Family Training.” Shepherd Center is an amazing rehabilitation facility and I will sing their praise for a very long time. They strongly believe in the role of the family in the patient’s rehab and do so very much to facilitate the process. They actually provided me with a flight to and from Atlanta to assure I was able to best be prepared to support my mother in her future care. I could go on and on about the level of care that my mother is receiving. I’ll use some of the examples of my training, though, to update where mom is at in her recovery.
I have been signed off by Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Recreational Therapy. This means that they have trained me in what they feel is essential to know for her care and safety. Safety is the key word here, because while she is exceeding everyone’s expectations, safety is still a very primary concern. Mom still needs assistance and supervision with pretty much everything. They do a score to measure her functioning level and, while she has already met the goal originally set for her discharge, this still is pretty much everything requiring supervision. I will tell you though, she is at full functioning at “social cognition” and almost there for “memory.” Evidently this doesn’t happen, pretty much ever, so rest assured, she is still the Loving Lori you know and love. And she’s still sharp—she keeps everyone in line with how much she remembers things. Oh, and she almost beat me in Scrabble today. Granted, I am embarrassingly Horrible at Scrabble, but I’m pretty sure the Speech therapist and I barely edged her out. It was awesome.
We did a flight of stairs together today. She is rebuilding strength and coordination and teaching her brain how to do these everyday movements. Practice makes perfect, right?
Part of mom’s discharge plan was a 3 hour long neuropsychology evaluation. Direct quote as she exited, “man, I am wasted.” Man, did she work hard, though. The goal was to evaluate her strengths and weaknesses to best direct her last week here and guide the goal setting process for her outpatient rehab which should begin shortly. She plans to remain in Atlanta in the Shepherd Center outpatient program and we are quite excited. This is a good thing on so many levels, but one of the unforeseen perks is that her case manager and one of her neuropsychologists will be transitioning with her. To get into the details of her evaluation here is crazy and inappropriate in this setting, but I will say that she totally rocked it out in memory and most cognitive tasks. She struggles primarily with motor skills and visuospatial elements. It is still waaaaaay too early to know what this will look like long term, but we, and her team of therapists, are very optimistic. The brain is a mysterious entity and her type of injury manifests in many ways because not only did she have specific area injuries, her injury has a diffuse quality, one that occurs on neuronal level undetectable to many imaging machines. Ai.
We have officially left the building. Temporarily, albeit, but still… the feeling tonight of pushing mom down the sidewalk of a busy Atlanta street on our way to a yummy vegetarian meal probably shouldn’t have felt as good as it did. But, wow. Who knew watching your mother maneuver her wheelchair through a dining room could bring you go tears?? Wow.
August 13, 2014
First—a message from Lori. She would like to thank you all for the cards and love. They mean so very much to her and all of our family. She sends her love back to you and wants you all to know she is working hard and getting better. She wanted me to doubly reiterate how much they mean to her, especially today.
I’m actually a bit jealous to not be reading her “love notes” to her myself. It was always one of my favorite times of day with her, having the opportunity to read her the love sent in her direction. I have been back in Portland for most of August, returning to school and my clinical internship in Horticultural Therapy. I extended my stay a few days after her surgery, and apologize for the long delay in updates. Time got away from me. But—she’s doing great! So, I’ll try to be as brief as possible, while trying to catch you up on all of the wonderful details.
I’ll start with my info from today, and try to back fill when necessary. 🙂
Today mom finished her antibiotics. Three of the “big dogs.” Yay. Glad she’s done with that. No going back, please. They took the PICC line out today as well, so I feel that’s a good sign. No more invasive devices in her body, thank you very much. I am thankful for all of the things saving her, and ready to be done with anything that goes in her body other than food, hydration and vitamins. The wound vac has also been taken off and her wounds are healing well. Be gone infection forever!
Lori is regaining strength and movement in her hands. This evening she was able to feed herself a bit with her right hand, which is great. Her Occupational Therapist told me early on that they weren’t very worried about teaching her how to do things with her left hand because they believed mom would regain use of her right hand. I know mom is very relieved to be seeing this occur. I can’t find it, but I was shown an image that shows the disproportionate amount of brain space that goes to making your arms and hands work. It’s pretty crazy, but makes it very clear why it takes a little longer for the hands to do what you want them to do.
From the beginning, mom’s legs have regained strength faster than her upper limbs. Her left toe was the first thing we saw moving, as she tapped it to the music soon after the accident. Over the last week and a half, mom has gone from taking her first steps to pacing the halls. I exaggerate a bit… She has been walking with what they call the “big walker.” I don’t have a picture yet to be able to accurately describe it to you, but go with it. I think it has been supporting her upper body. Yesterday she walked with a walker like you are used to seeing and also walked a bit just on her feet with her Physical Therapist assisting. Lori is very happy to be making progress on her feet.
More to come soon…
November 10, 2017
Last night I was unpacking boxes of books and came across a 30 year old yearbook and in it, remarks from Mrs Sloan. I began to consider who I was at 13 years old and how it all got better once she became my teacher. I am incredibly late on this one and I ask for forgiveness. Lori Sloan has had a subtle yet powerful impact on my life. It isn't coincidental that I began to love school and realize my potential as a person during the same time she became my science teacher. She wasn't a native of Franklin County, which I beleive played into how our interaction differed from that of my other teachers. Having said that, I can't point to a single thing she taught me! But what I do remember is how she made me feel, and how that impacted the way I saw myself and my potential. I am grateful to Mrs. Sloan and please let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you.
November 22, 2014
Hello to Lori and her family. I am so sorry that I am just hearing about Lori. Lori I love you so much and my prayers are with you. You are such a strong and wonderful lady. I will never forget our first meeting in my interview with the middle school. You were why I took the position and had the great pleasure of learning and working with you at the middle school and CATCE. Love you and keep fighting you can do it!!
September 11, 2014
Thank you again for the update. I hope you feel the joy we all share in your triumphs, Lori, Jenny and Rick. We are continuing to lift you up in prayer and also to give thanks to God for your amazing progress. Please know we love you so much and hope to see you home soon.
Ruby Nester and Bethany Family
September 5, 2014
joy joy joy ~ Isaiah 55:12 ~ Tha gaol agam ort
thank you for the post