Thursday, December 6, 2007


I got an email from my friend Jenn asking about my cousin Garrett who had the gymnastics accident. I know many of the readers of this blog are my family, but for those of you who aren't, I thought you'd be interested in these updates from his sister, Jessika. (There's several of them, so read 'em or scan 'em or skip 'em. Bottom line, Garrett is AWESOME and working really hard in rehab. Because spinal injuries are *SO* difficult to assess right away, they're still in the waiting and see stage whilst working like crazy. As you can read from the latest entries, Garrett's starting to have some sensation which is SUCH a good sign and the family has nothing but positive things to share about Garrett's attitude and work ethic. I think about Garrett and his sisters, mom, and brother all the time and am so impressed with HIS tenacity AND his family.

November 15, 2007
Well to put today in Garretts own words--"It was a good day!" Garrett is doing very well and we were granted another miracle--on his initial CT scan there was a mass in his stomach that to the doctors caused some concern and may need additional surgery so they ordered another scan tonight and it came back clear with no sign of a mass!!! Garrett looks great and tonight was more talkative and welcoming visitors. After being adjusted a little bit in his bed he made the comment that it felt like something was under his neck- he could sense a little discomfort so we asked the physical therapist who had just moved him and sure enough his gown had gotten caught and gathered under his neck brace!! He was able to feel that and that was a great moment. Tomorrow they are going to do a little physical therapy it sounds like and maybe get him to sit in a special kind of chair for a little bit. Our faith is strong and we can truly feel all the prayers and thoughts. Garrett is being very strong and brave and tells us not to worry because he's not scared. We love him so much and are so grateful to see some progress in the right direction. It will be a long process of ups and downs but everything is going to be okay!!

November 16, 2007
Today a team of physical therapists came in and worked with him. They focused on his arms and biceps because right now that is where he has some movement. When I got to the hospital they had him sitting up in a special chair and the nurse was feeding him solid food and he ate almost all of it so that was really good and it was great to see him looking so good. He for the most part is being positive naturally he has had times of feeling discouraged but he knows we just have to be patient and let time and his body take it's healing course. He likes having visitors as it helps take his mind off of everything going on. Thanks again for all the continued love and support and I will continue to post updates to keep everyone up to date.

November 17, 2007
There weren't really any changes today. This morning they did a minor surgery using a local anesthetic and inserted a screen in his groin area so that they can keep a watch out for any blood clots and if some do develope keep them from getting to his lungs. He had a lot of visitors today and his room is now officially decorated. : ) He is eating well, he looks awesome and is in amazing spirits. It's amazing when people come in and they at first might have a hard time Bubba just looks at them with this comforting smile letting them know its okay. Today he said "I notice that when I get discouraged or have negative thoughts I get a fever. Then when I think positive and keep good thoughts I feel tingley." He truly makes everyone else feel better and calm when it should probably be the other way around. I told him today that Devin was coming home tonight and he got a little emotional and I told him that I didn't mean to make him upset, that he looked great and I love him. I had to leave his room for a minute to take a phone call and when I came back he said, "J, when I cry it doesn't mean I'm sad...don't feel bad." That is how amazing he is. I love my baby so much!!!! He says hi to everyone and loves you all very much. He would like me to thank you all for the thoughts and prayers.

November 18, 2007
The physical therapist came in today to work with Garrett and she said that he is doing phenominal!! She said that he is able to perform some things that most people don't start until they get to the rehabilitation area. She gave him some exercises to work on to continue strengthening his arms. Of course Bubba asked if when he got into rehabilitation would they stand him up? Her response was "They may but it's not going to be in your first week!" She had him work on pushing buttons with a pencil eraser and he was able to use hand eye cordination to push the nurse call button and also change the channel on tv!!!! Then she placed a fork in his hand and with the help of supporting his elbow on a pillow he was able to do the motion as if he were scooping food up and lifting it up towards his mouth!!! Today they also explained to him what all would take place in therapy and told him that there are 3 teams of therapists and they weren't sure which team he would have. So Garrett asked them which team was the best and their response was they are all good. Garrett said "well if anyone is recruiting I want the best team!" Dr. Theodore who performed the surgery also came by his room today and said that Garrett is doing far better then expected. Garrett says he has been feeling some tingling in his legs and he could feel his hands and forearm better as well as a little lower on his chest where he couldn't feel so much before. Dr. Theodore ordered another MRI for tomorrow morning to check his spinal cord and see how everything is looking. When people ask him if he can move his legs he simply replies "Not yet". Tonight when Colby, Devin and I were leaving he was having a hard time coughing so the respiratory therapist was helping him clear his chest and they are going to do a chest x-ray at 4am just to make sure he doesn't have fluid building up in his lungs--the nurse said his lungs sound good they just want to make sure. A quick story--Yesterday when the respiratory therapist was working on him his nurse had him rolled over on his side and Garrett commented that he felt like he was going to fall. His nurse assured him that she wouldn't let him and joked that that would require way too much paperwork. Garrett goes "good 'cause I'd sue" Both nurses laughed and the one holding him said "Smart man." All the nurses really like Garrett and they can feel his strength and strong desires to get better quick. I will let everyone know how the XRay and MRI look tomorrow!! Garrett said when he was laying on the mat at the gym and couldn't move he asked for his Grandpa Tanner to be with him and he could feel his presence and he hasn't been scared since. : ) WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!

November 19, 2007
Garretts chest XRay came back and it was clear and his lungs look really good. We didn't get the results back on the MRI yet and the nurse said the doctor will probably come by tomorrow so I will let you all know how it comes back. Today when they put him in the Cadillac chair for therapy he said he felt the blood rush down his legs to his feet! Garrett asked the nurse if her arm had brushed across his feet when she was working on him and she looked down and in fact she had. Then Devin was rubbing the arches of Garretts feet and a couple minutes later Garrett asked if Devin was rubbing the bottom of his feet. It seems that he is beginning to feel some things just a little delayed. I left my camera with my mom in case I don't get there before the therapists do because they are going to have him try and brush his teeth and I want to get it documented and maybe try and email it out to everyone that and or a picture of him so you can all see how great he looks. His hair is getting long and he was asked how long he was going to grow it out and he said probably til he walks. When asked how long he was going to be in the hospital he said until he gets up and walks out. The nurses love him! He has had quite the appetite..LOL. We tease him because we are sure no other patient is having Chipotle, Sushi and Pei Wei for dinner in the hospital. He might be able to get out of ICU in the next day or two. Mostly all they are waiting for is for him to be done with the treatment that is keeping his blood pressure strong to keep a good blood flow thru his spinal cord. The medication it requires is only allowed to be given in intensive care.

November 20, 2007
Garrett has been sleeping a lot today which is good. Dr. Theodore came in today with the results of his MRI!! He said everything looks beautiful. The compression and pressure on the spinal cord is completely gone there with the new vertebrae they made for him his spinal cord has plenty of room. There is still a lot of swelling so in the doctors own words "We are beginning in the healing stage". He said that he let rehab know about Garrett and that he would like to get him in there as soon as he can. He asked a physical therapy girl about a bed and she said it wouldn't be available until end of this week probably first of next. He asked Garrett if he had any questions and Garrett said he sometimes thinks of them after he leaves and Dr. Theodore said to have someone write them down and he promises to come in and answer them. He's amazing and is SO kind!! That was around lunch time today and later this afternoon my mom got a call that there was a surprise opening in rehab and a room would be ready for him tomorrow!!! My mom is home with me right now and we just got a call from Devin that they are moving Garrett in 15 minutes so we are heading back to the hospital. I'm not sure if it's to rehab already or if it's to an inbetween room but I will write again when I get back from the hospital.

Garrett is out of ICU!!!! He got moved up to the 5th floor in a normal room and he is off all of his IV's except for a couple antibiotics!! He's off the insulin and the medicine to control his blood pressure. He's getting used the that- that was a little rough on him. My mom has started a notebook to write down cool things Garrett says or funny things that happen so that will be fun to share with you all because there are some pretty good stories that just aren't as good when typed out. Garrett should get to rehab tomorrow so until then good night and love you all!

November 22, 2007
He is now in the rehabilitation facility at the hospital. He will start therapy on Friday and he goes from 7:30am until 3pm. The doctors said that we can work out with him and help him with his therapy and I am really looking forward to that. Sometimes I feel so helpless but this will be a chance for us to really support Garrett and really help thim thru this. It is going to take a lot out of him and it's going to be a lot of hard work. Today the therapists came in and did some exercises with him and they bent his knees up and had his feet flat on his bed and he was able to hold one of his knees up on his own for a few seconds. Garrett is going to have good and bad days coming up as he begins the healing process and with that will come probably some realization of what his limitations are and he will be wanting to be able to do more than he can. We know it's going to take time and a lot of patience and prayers. A nurse tonight said she has had patients who waited three months to get a bed in this facility and we were so fortunate to only have to wait just one day. Garrett felt a lot better today. Last night after a really rough day he said, "I had a bad attitude today- thank goodness for new days". My family and I have SO much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and we are definitly not taking anything for granted. Thank you all for your continued support!!

November 23, 2007
Today was a really good day. Last night Garrett didn't sleep much because to describe it the way he does "you know when a tv has the black and white fuzz, that's how it felt all thru my body". My mom said he was up all night with that feeling and an anxiety of not knowing if it was good or bad. They asked the nurse and she said if you're feeling things where you haven't been able to before then that is a good sign- it could be his nerves starting to wake up and start working again. They gave him some medicine around 3am and he was able to sleep until around 1 this afternoon. Colby and Adam brought Thanksgiving dinner to us at the hospital and we all sat at a table and ate together. Garrett got to try out his wheelchair today and he didn't mind it- he liked being able to be up. After lunch we went for a walk outside and he got some fresh air for the first time since his accident. You could tell he really enjoyed it and he looked to be doing a lot of thinking as he looked at the sky and the breezr blew by. He starts rehab at 8:30 in the morning and he wants to start documenting everything. Today while we were out he asked if I had my camera because he wants to remember everything--I now know to not go anywhere without it. He is anxious for rehab they say its going to take a lot out of him so please pray for him to be patient and mentally strong also for those that live close and would like to visit we ask that you not come until Saturday or Sunday he is going to need a lot of rest. I'm excited to update ya'll on tomorrows therapy!! Wish him luck!!

November 24, 2007
Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy started today. After physical therapy he felt pretty nautious from motion sickness I think. They put him in a chair lift to get him from bed to his chair and then they showed him how they are going to work with him so he'll be able to turn himself over on his side in bed--the back and forth and flopping around got to him a bit. Every Thursday he has a class so because yesterday was Thanksgiving he had a class today. A lady named Carol teaches it- she is the Spinal Injury Coordinator and she also worked with my grandpa when he was here after his accident a few years ago. What she teaches is facts and how to care for the injury and what to kind of expect. She said that Spinal Cord Shock lasts for 6-8 weeks so it's not until about then you start to know how much ability you'll get back. The nerves and cells need to relax and swelling has to go down. For Occupational therapy they got Garrett into a motorized wheelchair and with the little use he has of his right hand he could use the joystick enough to drive himself a little bit and turn. That brought a big smile to his face and I think will help him feel a little more independent soon. His physical therapist is a dark haired Kathy Griffin!! LOL There is a lady named Candy whose husband is a patient there and today she came up to my mom and asked if her son was the gymnist and my mom said yes. It turns out that Candy's brother was the paramedic that worked on Garrett!!! He mentioned to her that there was a young gymnest that they worked on and sent to St. Josephs so she asked the nurse and sure enough it was Garrett. We were wanting to know which station it was to thank them for the excellent treatment and fast response that Garrett received the night of his accident. Also one of the physical therapists is my good friend Maggie Germaines brother in law. It really is a small world. After a good nap and shower Garrett felt better this evening and hopefully will get some good sleep tonight- it's been a couple of days since he's gotten good rest. Tomorrow he will have modified therapy at 10-12 and then 1-3, nothing on Sunday and then they will go hard at it on Monday.

November 26, 2007
Garrett had an ultrasound on his liver today because his red blood cells were a little elevated and they wanted to make sure it was just caused by the strong antibiotics he had been on and not due to stones. He hasn't been able to sleep very well the last couple nights- he's having a hard time staying asleep. Tonight he got some sleeping medicine so he'll get some good rest for physical therapy tomorrow. It really is like a family there with all the other patients and families. There is a guy named Charlie who is 24 and another guy named Chris who is probably in his late 20's early 30's but both are really gung ho on getting better and we think they will be good for Garrett in keeping him motivated and they will all encourage each other. Charlie's injuries are a lot similar to Garretts and it's been a month since his accident and already he has shown great progress so we're hopeful it will be the same for Garrett. The nurses on Friday during physical therapy were really surprised it had only been 8 days since his accident because he's doing really good. To us it seems like it's been way more then only now 10 days since his accident but when you put it in perspective he really is doing well to already be out of surgery, ICU and into rehab. He has been so patient- he was the worst patient after his appendix in May- he was really ready to get out of the hospital. This time he said from the minute he landed on the mat he knew it was going to be a long road ahead but decided that in the big scheme of things when he looks back on it it will only have been a short time. I created a photo album titled "Bubba" with some pictures from his recent 20th birthday, him with some of his students and then one from the other night at the hospital. I'm starting to take a lot more pictures at his request and also we learned that they are totally okay with video taping the therapy sessions so I'm excited for that tomorrow- we were a little hesitant on Friday ' cause it was crowded and we were new to all the rules but tomorrow is full on therapy so I'll get it on tape!! Love you all. I hadn't written an update yesterday--it was kind of a noneventful day but it's a new week with new updates and stories so there will be updates.

November 27, 2007
Well it was Garretts first real full day of physical therapy. After his morning session he was really worn out so after a nice nap and lunch he went for round two and he felt really good. He really likes his occupational therapy because it is more geared to strengthening his upper body which is all he has at this point in time so it doesn't seem as discouraging for him it seems. We also got to see the MRI and CT scan of his injury the night of the accident and then one done the other day. He has two rods in his neck one on each side and a total of 8 screws in his neck. It's so weird because it really doesn't even look like anything is wrong. Garrett said "It doesn't look as bad as I thought it would". He was sound asleep today by 5:30 but needed to eat dinner and get ready for bed so hopefully he'll be able to get a good nights rest when it was actual bedtime. Therapy went well and we video taped it all- he was excited about that. Today he wore a some shorts that are blue, orange and white so his therapist Breanne aka Kathy Griffin asked him if they were a particular schools colors or anything and Garrett goes, "No, I got them at Bashas for three dollars." We all started laughing and Breanna was so curious to know more and how he ever thought to go to Bashas grocery store for clothes! We got that on video, it was funny. Some of the other patients asked him how he was feeling today and how therapy went and they all said the first week is hard and it takes time but it gets easier and you get stronger--they are all very encouraging and we greatly appreciate it.

November 30, 2007
Garrett is doing really good! He is starting to feel more comfortable with everyone at the hospital and is really getting into therapy. They are working on teaching him to roll over himself onto his side by using his biceps and they help him sit up and support behind him but he looks so good sitting up-"he has great posture" says the nurses. They are all happy with the progress he has been making. Tomorrow he gets to go on his first field trip to a mexican restaurant for lunch. I'm glad he's going to go because when he first got into rehab and they mentioned activities you could tell he didn't seem to keen on the idea of having people look at him in public but he's met other patients who have been amazing and encouraging with him so I think that's made all the difference. There are so many amazing stories of peoples experiences what they were doing before their accident. Last night at the hospital they had a comedy group come in and was good to hear Garrett laugh. He is really liking therapy--he's always sure to be on time and he just turns his wheelchair and away he goes down the hallway and thru the double doors. When he's doing an exercise and they tell him to do that exercise two more times he says he'll do three. Today Katrina, one of his physical therapists, asked him if she were to say four more times would you say I'll do five..Garrett said probably. That is just the attitude he has. He is so determined and knows he needs to work hard and he is all in. The hospital food is terrible so we've been spoiling him a little bit but he said he's going to be in there awhile so he just needs to get used to it. He's excited because he is going to get a massage on Monday and can't wait for that. I will add some pictures of him sitting up this weekend and some pictures we've taken from therapy. Still no movement or feeling in his lower body but amazingly enough it's only been two weeks and one day since the accident. Colby's boyfriend saw him today and was really surprised to see what progress he has made with his arm movement--where before he'd lift his arm up and his hand would just flop in his face and now he can hold his arm up for a few seconds...this is his first week of therapy and only time will tell!!!

December 3, 2007
Garrett did so good in therapy!!!! Friday they helped him sit up and at Katrina set behind him for support. They put his legs in the butterfly position and then put his hands under his legs so he could use his biceps to hold himself up and he did!! He was able to find his balance and sit there on his own strength for a little bit- Katrina totally took her arms and hands off him!!! They taught him how to protect himself if he were to sit up and fall back how to catch himself with his hands and arms. He's been getting fevers at night and their not sure why because all of his blood work and other tests have come back clear. He's been saying that his legs feel like they are on fire especially at night so that may be it if his cells are starting to wake up his body may be reacting. Nobody really knows but they are giving him medicine for his legs and he slept really good last night my mom said. Then yesterday (Saturday) we were eating pizza with another family there and Garrett was sitting in his chair and when we looked over he had brought his arm up and was rubbing his nose and his chin 'cause it itched!! That was a first for him to have enough strength and control in his arm to keep it up and with his lower arm get his itches himself!!!! We were so excited!! We went outside again yesterday after it rained and it was kind of cold outside but Garrett loved it- he said it felt really good. He's able to stand being in his chair a lot longer and his neck doesn't hurt as much. He's the greatest kid!! I love being around him!!! The schedule for Garrett in rehab is 8-10 weeks. Every week they do a progress report to check status so it could be longer it could be shorter and then once he's out he will do outpatient rehab.

I thought I'd include this update, too, about baby boy.
Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and he's around 5 inches long. The umbilical cord, his lifeline to the placenta, is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby can move his joints, and his skeleton — until now, rubbery cartilage — is starting to harden into bone. Some of it will remain cartilage for years after he's born. A newborn's skeleton has 300 parts (a combination of bone and cartilage). As your child grows, some of these parts harden and fuse together. By the time your baby reaches adulthood, he'll have just 206 bones.
I have another ultrasound scheduled for the beginning of January and a Dr.'s appointment week after next. I've still been having some bleeding (maybe that's too much info for you), but I figure that means what's inside is getting smaller. Hopefully. The Dr. said last appt. she was concerned because the bleed hadn't gotten any smaller, but as long as it didn't get bigger we won't have to get too worried.

And, one more. I've finally started my laundry for the day. Woopee!

1 comment:

Jenn S. said...

Thanks Sarah, I'm so happy to hear that he is making such great progress. :)