International wireless communication and
satellite Internet technologies make this post
possible. Daniel's mother Margarita is there
at Kindred in San Marcos, cellular phone in
hand, and I am south of a fishing port on the
shore of the Gulf of California in Baja California,
Mexico. I post this message with the help of
solar panels and batteries powering my laptop
and transmitting it to a tiny satellite up there
somewhere in the backdrop of our galaxy and
Margarita reports that the Baclofen is giving
Daniel respite from the posturing, he is definite-
ly more relaxed, rested, and this has facilitated
more progress with physical therapy. He is able to
sit for longer periods. This has enabled family and
friends to take him out to the patio more often for
fresh air and natural light. Daniel's brother, Victor,
assesses Daniel's strength and takes him for
extended tours of the hospital grounds outdoors
Changes that were made to his nutritional diet
resulted in a one pound weight gain. Small but
significant incremental steps. Once he is able to
swallow puree he will definitely put on more
pounds. The physical therapy will keep him flexible
and prevent atrophy.
As most of you know, Daniel has been a strong
supporter of Barack Obama. Margarita had the
television news on when a sound bite of Pres. Obama
making some remarks seemed to catch Daniel's ear.
It appeared that Daniel did a 'double take' to catch
a glimpse of the image of Obama on the screen!
There are thousands of 'blogs' on the Internet dealing
with every imaginable topic under the sun. Recently I
have been reading blogs posted by families of patients
with brain trauma injuries. They are very informative
and consoling in that these families have traveled this
same journey and want to share their experiences of
fear, anguish, adaptation & adjustment, hope and faith.
Each and every family shared stories of dealing with
mindless insurance companies and the inhumanity of
their profit driven policies. Families are forced to move
loved ones from one facility to another at the dictate of
insurance company claims adjustors. An all too real
story of frustration and seemingly endless battles putting
families under more duress in stressful times.
Many of their loved ones were at various stages of coma
or in their second, third, or fourth year of rehabilitation.
Almost all have shared that the first prognosis given by
neurosurgeons was bleak and without hope.
Understandably, doctors are faced with many
unpredictable factors and avoid giving loved ones false
hopes. Those families took the dire prognosis with
mixed emotions and set out in heroic ways to intervene
and give their loved one a fighting chance to return to
some degree of normality.
There is one recurring theme or stream of advice that I
found in all these blogs, the urgent message from
families and the victims of brain trauma:
'Don't give up!', 'Don't quit!'
It has taken some of the patients a year or two or
more to regain consciousness, it has taken another
year or more to regain speech, it has taken a year or
more to learn to walk, .....all those attributes that we
take for granted loom as multiple marathons for
patient and family alike. One young male patient
relates that over the arduous span of three years
many of his friendships fell by the wayside. This
journey has taken it's toll on everyone, but we shall
continue to stand by Daniel.
Take care of one another..... value health.