Friday, February 1, 2008

Big Mama's Home

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't updated in a while. Everything has been kinda crazy lately. most of you know, Big Mama is home now. She came home for good on January 12th. She started therapy at White County Medical Center a couple weeks ago and is doing well. She goes 3 days a week for 3 hours at a time. She seems to like it & loves the therapist that are working with her. She did have a minor set back last week. She began having dizzy spells and becoming more confused. We took her to Dr. Faith and then she had another MRI. The MRI looks good and her dizziness is getting better. Not sure what caused it, we just keep praying it will resolve. Big Mama still has a long recovery ahead of her. Her eyesight is she not up to par and she still gets confused about what things are sometimes. Dates, time & numbers mean nothing to her right now. But the doctors have explained that is normal considering where her bleed was located. She can fool ya though. Big Mama is really good at hiding her deficits, at least for a little while! The important thing is that she is home & doing well. Thank you all for your continued prayers!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Big Mama got to come home again. This time Papa O picked her up on Saturday (their anniversary was Friday) and she got to stay until Wednesday morning. While home this time she got to go to a movie & out to eat with some friends. We had our family "thing" at Big Mama & Papa O's house on New Years day. Lots of good food & family fun. She really enjoyed herself. I think she would like it if we had days like that everyday with a house full of family (lots of kids), friends & good food! Her only complaint was having to get up so early on Wednesday to go back to Timber Ridge. She did very well going back though, no crying or whining! We still don't have the reports of the MRI or Arteriogram , but when we do I will update again. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season & a blessed new year to come!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Big Mama had a good trip home for Christmas. We picked her up Sunday (23th) afternoon. When we got ready to leave Timber Ridge she cried a little because she said she was going to miss all her friends she has made. She had to give everyone hugs before we left. She has truly made an impression on lots of the clients (patients) and staff members at Timber Ridge. Everything went well while she was home. Big Mama & Papa O had Christmas lunch at Teresa & Freddy's house then we had Christmas dinner (pizza, we were all sick of turkey & dressing!!) at their house. The kids had a ball opening their gifts and playing with Big Mama. She enjoyed watching them open the gifts. She even said Papa O did a good job picking out the kids presents, except the purple lap desk thingy that he wrapped & put Asher's name on and it was suppose to be Andrea's, Asher's was the black one!! lol Some of the rest of the family came over also that evening. Including the newest addition to our family...Bryson Tyler...As noted by the picture I think that was actually her favorite part of her trip home!!! She did well going back on Wednesday. But as soon as she arrived back at Timber Ridge she was already counting down the days until she gets to come home again! We will pick Big Mama up again on Sunday December 30th early in the morning, she should be home by noon or so. And she will get to stay until the early morning of Wednesday Jan. 1st. If anyone would like to go visit her I'm sure she would love it. Papa O (Owen) just asks that you call first in case they go out to eat or something, that way they don't miss you. We should be getting the results of her MRI & Cerebral Arteriogram sometime within the next week or so. I will update again when we get those results and also again after New Years. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We love you all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Cantata

Big Mama got to come home for the first time in 3 months!! Papa O picked her up from Timber Ridge on Sunday afternoon. She got to attend the Community Choir practice and then come home for some good 'ole Pizza Depot pizza!! Monday, Big Mama had lots of visitors throughout the day from her fellow school teachers. She enjoyed every bit of it. Monday evening was the Community Choir Christmas Cantata. She had to wear her tennis shoes because she has a brace that she has to wear on her right ankle and she didn't have any other shoes that had a back on them. Even though she was wearing white tennis shoes with her black outfit she still insisted on wearing black socks. But for some strange reason we could not find any of her black socks so in the end Teresa letting Big Mama wear her black socks and Teresa wore a pair of white socks with her black outfit. Thank goodness she had on boots and you couldn't see them!! lol Big Mama did fairly well at the cantata. She did begin to tear up when she first got on stage, but that didn't last long. When she practiced with the CD's Mrs. Gibson had given her, she knew almost all the words to all the songs. But for some reason she didn't sing very much, she kept looking through her music book. Come to find out the book that they had given her didn't have the pages in the right order. But she couldn't have seen them very well anyway. Her eyesight is getting better but she still has problems seeing little words (and music). After the cantata we had to take Big Mama into a separate room because she was getting very overwhelmed. She got to see lots of people that she hasn't seen since her injury and she really didn't want to leave but we had to make her. Papa O had to take her back this morning (Tuesday). He said she whined a little about having to go back but when they got there she was fine because she knew she was going to get to come back at Christmas. Overall things went well and we were all sooooo glad she got to come home for a bit. Thank you to everyone who came to see her or called. She enjoyed it so very much.

PS. Please continue praying for Big Mama. She is having another procedure on December 11th. to look at the vessels and arteries in her brain to see if there is any further damage or anything else that might cause more damage.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Feast - with Pickle Hors D'evours!!!!

We all had a great time on Thanksgiving Day. We picked Big Mama up around 9am and made it back to Viriginia's (my mother-in-law) around 10:30. Big Mama walked in the door and said "Okay, I'm ready to cook. What do you want me to do?" She made her famous Pickle Hors D'evours. By the time she was finished she had cream cheese up to her elbows but she did a great job and they were delicious as usual! She also helped me make a pumpkin cheesecake and helped with a few other simple little tasks. She still has a lot of spontaneous movements that she has no control over in her right arm, hand and leg so things did get a little messy. But all in all she did very well. The food was excellent and I saw her eat more than she has in the past couple of months. The blouse that she was wearing was given to her by Sue Collison and we heard that SEVERAL times throughout the day because she does still have some short term memory loss. The one thing she did not forget was that she was going go to the Community Choir Christmas Cantata and stay overnight in her own house!! After lunch we all just lazed around and watched a movie which Big Mama really seemed to enjoy. All the way back to the ranch Tucker (my pug that she calls her granddog) laid in her lap and slept. We got her back to the ranch around 6pm and she was a little tearful. This was the first trip where she got to stay away from the ranch all day. It really wore her out but she really enjoyed it. She said to tell everyone hello and she loves them and to come to the Christmas Cantata and listen to the beautiful music!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day Trip on Thanksgiving

Well, our family certainly has a lot to be thankful for this year. Our Big Mama, who was very near to death a couple months ago, is alive and is getting to come home for Thanksgiving. Well, not exactly home but close enough. Big Mam is actually getting to leave Timber Ridge and go to my in-laws home in North Little Rock for Thanksgiving day. Normally the entire family (aunts, uncles, cuz's & all) go to Big Mama's house Thanksgiving evening to eat and play games and just enjoy being together. And Big Mama always cooks. She is bound and determined she is cooking this year but she's not quite up to it yet. Although we will let her help with some things and she is going to get to make her famous pickle things!! YUMMY! We are going to pick her up Thursday morning and spend the day at my in-laws then she has to go back to Timber Ridge. But this will be the first time she has been on a day trip with us. She has been on small trips to Wal-Mart and things like that, but not all day.

However, she is going to get to come home and stay the night on December 3rd. She is determined to sing in the Community Choir Christmas Cantata. She has sang every year since they formed the choir and said she was not missing it this year. We discussed it with her doctors & clinicians and they said okay! However there are some stipulations that will be announced to the audience before the program. Big Mama still does not need a lot of people trying to talk to her at once. And the clinicians do not want anyone addressing her medical "conditions" when they do talk to her. They are sending a letter with us to read to the audience before hand so everyone will know what to expect.

Mrs. Gibson and Teresa have visited Big Mama every weekend and they have been practicing the music with her. The lodge at the ranch has a piano where they can practice in addition to the cd of the music that Big Mama can listen to. Just pray that everything will go okay and that she will still be willing to go back to Timber Ridge to finish the much needed therapy!!

Family Meeting with Timber Ridge Staff

On Wednesday November 13th we had a family meeting with the Timber Ridge Staff. Papa O (aka Owen), myself (LaTasha) and Pop (aka Louie, Big Mama's dad) all attended this meeting. The overall reports were great. Everyone said she has made great strides in her improvement since she arrived but she still need lots of rehab to get her back to functioning on her own and being able to take care of herself with minimal assistance.

Kerry, the Physical Therapist, said she has made huge improvements. She is able to walk on her own for short distances but gets to going to fast to ambulate safely by herself so therefore still needs assistance. To this Big Mama's reply was "they're just slow pokes and need to learn how to keep up". Typical Rhonda!! They tried to give her a regular walker with wheels but she would take off going 70mph so they had to take it away! Kerry said she is doing great, she just needs to slow down.

Christine, the Speech Therapist, said Big Mama's vision is still impaired which is hindering the progression of some things. She is still unable to read (which we all know is one of her favorite things to do) but she is enjoying some books on tape/cd that Teresa sent her. She is able to write her name very well now even it it may not always be directly on the line b/c she can't see it well. Sometimes when shown a picture and asked to name the item, she still needs a hint (like the letter it begins with) to get the word out. She knows what the word is but processing the information and getting the word out orally is still something she is working on. Christine said she is doing better but needs to slow down when trying to perform tasks.

Taylor is Big Mama's Occupational Therapist. When Big Mama first began working with him she told us that he was a young handsome guy and she wanted to keep him around a while! Taylor also said she has improved. She now needs virtually no assistance with bathing, dressing and applying make-up. (They do have a female OT tech that helps her with this part!) When we arrived Wednesday Big Mama was dressed and had make-up on but couldn't find her mascara and really wanted it on. We went back to her room and found it for her. I was going to assist her with applying the mascara but she wanted to do it herself, and she did, very well actually. Big Mama is also still having some numbness in her left hand and fingers. Taylor said when they are assisting her in doing her laundry, she does not sort the clothes well because she is going to fast and she would do much better if she would just slow down.

Ken, the Psychiatrist, said the Big Mama's overall outlook has gotten much better. He said that she talks often and fondly of family, friends and her career & children at school. He said that he can tell that Big Mama normally has good morals and high expectations of herself and others. There are some things that other clients do and say that really bother her. He said they are working on helping her to understand that even though she may have control over what someone else does, she does have control over the example that she sets for them. He said that she is doing well and just needs slow down and think about her feelings and emotions before getting upset or angry.

Sarah, the Behavioral Specialist, said that Big Mama's overall affect has been much more positive and appropriate.She has improved and is participating much better in her sessions. She was having several "crying episodes" that would last anywhere from 30 seconds to many hours. In the last week she had a total of 5 minutes of crying. That is 5 minutes in the entire week!! She still has very limited safety judgment when it comes to herself. She does things by herself that she is not supposed to like transferring herself from her wheel chair to the couch or getting up and walking without assistance. She said they had a cooking session in which they made pb&j sandwiches. Big Mama got in a hurry and was trying to do everything to quickly and had peanut butter & jelly everywhere. Sarah said that Big Mama just needs to slow herself down and she will do fine.

Okay, did ya notice the common thread in all of these reports...SLOW DOWN... I can't remember a time in my childhood when my mother was ever taking it slow. She have some short legs but she still walked 90 to nothing & I had a hard time keeping up with her while walking through a store. She never sat still and probably never will! Even if she was sitting and watching tv she was crocheting, reading or something else. She was always going and it was never slow! This is her main area of concentration at the moment. All of them agreed that Big Mama has made great improvements and once her vision is better and if she would just SLOW DOWN then she would do even better!!