Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday

Another day of sitting with our boy. I think he would prefer to be at Parachute rather than sitting on a bed in a room with his parents. Progress today?...well it seems every day that we see a little bit more of Joel as he was. He scored 12 out of 12 on the PTA [Post Traumatic Amnesia] test that they give him every day ... this is the first time he's managed to do this but he needs to get them all right for 3 days in a row before they say he is out of this stage. He is moving around stretching on his bed a lot more and he is managing to move his left leg while on the bed without asking us to move it for him.The spot rashy thingy on his leg has just about disappeared and we think it is probably a reaction to something in the strapping of his leg brace which they have still been using to stop his tendons shortening. In that there is no physio or OT in the weekends, it was all a bit of a yawn for us all. To break the day we had some rellies come in and visit which was great and Cheryll and I gave him a hair cut. A #2 was the order of the day so that it sorta matched the real short side where he had his surgery. The scar can still be seen so he may have to go to a longer hair fashion style in the future...perhaps the mullet should return? if any of you are out West Auckland feel free to come for a visit, just contact us re time and day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday

3 sleeps to go until Joel's birthday :-)  The physio wants Joel to be able to stay up in his wheelchair twice a day for 2 hours a shot. He can't quite manage 2 hours at a time yet as it is pretty tiring sitting using different muscles and keeping his head up.  Still he did an hour and a half this afternoon before demanding to be put back to bed ... politely of course ... the staff are all commenting on his manners and think he is the politest boy ever!  He did 45 minutes in the gym today.  Remember that isn't bench pressing 120kg!  He just manages 1 kg arm curls.  He was put up on the tilt bed thing so that he can stand while being fully supported.  It was pretty painful for him as it stretches all the tendons and muscles in the backs of his legs and after a while he was begging to be released from the torture.  The physio had to bargain with him to get him to cooperate and mentioned that this was important for him to get him to walk ... and if he didn't walk, that the girls might not be so interested in him.  His reply was that he would cross that bridge when he came to it!

One thing I noticed today was a red area on his leg that is painful to touch.  The staff are going to monitor it tonight and watch that it doesn't get bigger.  So could you please pray that it is nothing of concern and disappears.

Kevin arrived back tonight and Joel enjoyed being with his old man again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday 28th Jan

Well it has just been me and Joel today as Kevin and Hannah have been sorting things out back in Hamilton and Tauranga. Every day now Joel is able to stay up for longer without nodding back off to sleep soon after waking.  He is also sleeping through the night so it is great that his body clock is getting back to normal. There's been more progress with his left leg today ... the physio was really impressed with the improvement :-)  He managed 40 minutes in the gym with Ann, his physio.  I was so proud of him as he put in a lot of effort to do things that most of us can do so easily and just take for granted. 

Something I've just noticed in the last day or so is that he is often closing one eye when he is trying to focus on something in the distance and he also told me tonight that he sometimes sees double.  I haven't checked this with anybody on the medical team yet ... but that is something to add to your prayers ...

He's becoming familiar with his surroundings.  We thought it was funny yesterday when Kevin was pushing him outside for a walk around the complex ... as we were coming back to the house that he is in he said, "and here we are back at my little slice of paradise!"  Yeah, what ever Joel :-)

He's scheduled for a haircut on Saturday at 11:00 ... performed by me with the clippers ... followed by a shower at 11:30.  It's all officially written up on his timetable they do for him so I guess I better not be late. The half of his head that was shaven is starting to grow now, so if I give him a 'number 2' all over it should make him look a tad more handsome.  I said to him the other day that I was going to give him a haircut and he said no thanks ... until I told him that one side of his head had been shaven and the other side had quite long hair.  He felt up around his head and said, "yes, there is quite a difference"...and agreed that a haircut would be good.

We're so excited with his progress and so, so grateful to God and to all you guys who are standing with us in faith believing for his complete restoration

The day after the 21 day mark

Joel had an interesting day yesterday. He was fairly awake all morning and then after lunch was hoisted into his wheelchair which I pushed up hill to the physio gym. Then he was hoisted out of the chair and onto a bench bed thing where they started working with him to get him to sit upright without leaning or falling over. Again it became obvious how much energy he was using just to concentrate on sitting unsupported. He did crack the physio and OT up when they asked how he was doing, to which Joel replied, “great, I could do this all day.” After about 15 minutes you could tell he was tiring. The good thing is that he tuffed it out in his chair till 4-00 in the afternoon, which is all good for him. He seems to be retaining more info from a day to day basis which is also good news. And what we are really excited to see is that he is managing to move his left leg around a bit while on the bed. The weight of it is too much while sitting, but it is moving.

Can you please remember us in your prayers as we start building relationship with the other families with kids in the unit. I was chatting to one yesterday and when asked if I could pray for them and their teen, it was a resounding yes with tears! God is opening doors to minister to some very hurting families and we need wisdom above all.

I’m heading back to Tga today with Hannah and so that leaves Cheryll here holding the fort while I’m away.

We’ve now also got accommodation for the next 3 weeks out at Laidlaw College (the old Bible College of NZ campus) in a self contained student flat. So God just keeps providing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

21 days…or 3 weeks later

Yesterday I had to swallow hard. Not because I had never pushed someone in a wheel chair before but I hadn’t pushed one of my kids in one before. Joel was fitted out with a racey little number and given leg exercises and stretches to do while sitting. All progress… all be it too slow for a father who wants his boy back. I wonder what God the Father went through while He watched His only son die…and had to wait patiently for 3 days before he was raised back to life. I know my Joel is coming back and we see small glimpses of that every day… he is off his slop diet and onto chewing stuff now; not being fed as much as in hospital, but it’s all good. He is starting to remember short term memory stuff like names of staff and where he actually is and Joel is managing to move his left leg while lying in bed. Still can’t move it while sitting but the physio says she can feel the muscles twitching which means the message is getting through but isn’t strong enough yet to get the desired response. Patience! Joel has his 17th birthday next Monday so that will be a quiet celebration… but a celebration indeed! Now that he is more responsive we are praying with him rather than just for him. He knows his God.

If you want to come and visit could you please just arrange it with Cheryll or myself and limit it to a couple of people at a time. This is to give his brain as much ‘down’ time as possible.

Hi Cheryll here… When I look back at the photos I took nearly 3 weeks ago I am amazed at where he is now. Back then we were so delighted when he would squeeze our hand on command and here he is having small conversations. Last night Hannah asked him what he was thinking… he gave the right response …he told her he was thinking how pretty she looked … and how annoying the fan was!
We are still blown away by all the prayer that has gone up for Joel (and is still going up) and all the emotional and practical support we have received. Specific things to continue to pray for…

Left leg and side to gain more strength and movement

Determination for Joel to put in the effort during physio sessions etc

That he would be more awake in the day and sleep well during the night

That he would get through the stage they call PTA [post traumatic amnesia]

Patience for Kevin

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Moving day

Did you miss the blog entry last night? We couldn’t find any where to plug in so when you get to read this you will know that we have made a connection!

Where to start with yesterday? Cheryll had to be at the hospital by 8.00 in the morning to travel with Joel. Someone more urgent than Joel needed the ambulance and so they had to wait for the next free one. It made a long start to the day but hey, what’s a few more hours sitting in the hospital?!

Eventually we made it to Ranui. Let the fun begin. Cheryll was helping to wheel Joel out of the ambo, lost her footing and fell with one leg caught between the two ramps. She must have been close to snapping her leg and bruising and swelling started nearly immediately. So she is walking…just. Joel was stuck in his room and we got a tour and explanation of what goes on. It creates funny emotions being here. on the one hand hope and expectation and on the other, when you see the severity of others, it is a fairly heavy sorta place to be in. then that turns to excitement when you see how well Joel has done and realize the extent that his healing has progressed and that almost makes you feel guilty when you look at some of the others.

Joel was adamant that he had been on two ambulances yesterday. He couldn’t work out where the other one had taken him and seemed confused and got a bit ‘towey’ when we said there was only one trip. Explaining that he had come from Hamilton Hospital to Auckland to the rehab center wasn’t enough for him…then…we realized we were a bit slow; he was having memory snippets of the accident. He kept saying that the other trip didn’t take long and that it was real short (unconscious at this stage).

Most of the time what he says is in the right context, particularly any comments to do with the immediate or the distant past. But sometimes he comes out with something that shows confusion. He told Hannah that this morning he had gone for a walk with Mathew and then went for another walk with Adam. Both Mathew and Adam had visited the previous day; sadly the ‘walk’ was wishful thinking at this stage. But it is encouraging to see him start to recall stuff that would be classed as short term memory. He also found his remote for the bed and started pushing the button and went up then down. The up and down went on for a while and when asked what he thought he was doing he said he was bored and that it was helping. He starts working with the physio and occupational therapist today.

So we continue to pray for his restoration to be complete and it seems that God hasn’t finished with us either. He is continuing to ‘deal’ to us and we have bouts of ‘leaky eye syndrome’. Thank you for everything.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last night in the Waikato

The big shift is on tomorrow! Joel is off to rehab (not drug & alcohol); a special unit that helps rehabilitate from brain injuries, more on this soon.

Today Joel was very sleepy in the morning which wasn’t much fun for his mates that arrived from Tauranga but he perked up in the afternoon to greet Adam with a “wassup bro.” As the afternoon wore on he came out with some more of his sense of humour and even made comments on how ‘phat’ Joe’s Honda-saurus was. He has moved a little more sometimes pulling himself around on funny angles on his bed by hanging onto the edge of it. His left leg is still not moving so that is something we can all pray for. He has great recall of the past but still not much short memory which is normal as he doesn’t have the brain energy to remember and then recall. Ask him who visited yesterday and he will name someone but not the ones who were actually here. In saying that, some ‘special visitors’ he does remember. The thing that the nurses were most happy to hear was that he asked for help re certain bodily functions instead of just letting rip! These are all important steps.

If any of you want to write to him the snail mail address is:

Joel Robertson

c/o ABI Rehabilitation

180 Metcalfe Road

Ranui

Waitakere City

Auckland 0612

There is no point in txting him as he does not have the capacity to use his phone yet. As far as visiting is concerned it will be at the above address but can you please contact us first. From what we can gather the staff work out a weekly schedule for him and visiting must then work round these times. It is also restricted in numbers and the length of stay so that Joel will use the energy he has towards his improvement. So what I’m saying is I don’t know yet. Keep you posted. God has been very gracious to us…we got a phone call and have been offered a house for the first week in Auckland. Its an interesting part of the journey but God has already showed us that we can trust him!

(Cheryll writing now): Just one other thing before we move on from Hamilton… while Joel was in ICU we met an amazing lady named Beatrice whose husband had been very, very sick for some weeks. She was almost like an angel that God sent for me and we often met in the waiting room or the corridor and would hug and pray together. Please pray for healing for her husband Russell and strength for her as she walks this journey.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday evening.

Here we are at the end of another day. Cheryll and I have just spent the last half hour of visiting up with Joel. He was fast asleep so I held his hand and prayed. And also reflected back on some of the journey…the three major ‘bad news’ reports from the medical staff and the amazing recovery so far from Joel…the little stories of how this has affected and challenged people and their faith in God, including our own…the incredible prayer support we have heard about and felt…the fantastic practical support from the people here in Hamilton…and the terrific friends that Joel has and the love they show to him and us…and I could go on but won’t bore you.

Joel has improved a little more today. He tires very easily when there is a group of visitors and nods off to sleep readily. The conversations he had showed that there’s nothing much wrong with his long-term memory. He was able to recall most of what was being talked about. He is also getting a little more assertive that he wants to get out of bed, which is a good sign. He alternates between a lazy boy chair and his bed. He rang his buzzer for the nurse today, not once but 3 times, which indicates an ‘emergency’. They all came running and then he calmly said, “Can you move me into my bed please?”

Thank you for all the comments that people have made on this blog … just like some of you have told us that you look forward to reading the blog every day … we too look forward to reading your comments. We’ve also been told by quite a few of you that for some reason you are unable to post comments on here … so there must be something not quite right with it.

We are praying:

For Joel to be able to move his left leg around more

Movement to become more smooth and automatic

For his short-term memory

That God continues to restore the areas in his brain that were affected by the knock

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hi friends.

Have you found that our postings are getting a little lighter in nature?



Cheryll went back to Tauranga for the day so that she could sort out her class room and school stuff. Hannah went back as well so that she could work for 3 days which is good ‘normal’ stuff for her to do. And all this meant I was to hold the fort here and do all the visiting by myself… but some others turned up which is what happens when your son has such great close friends. I want to share three things which happened today.

First was… we haven’t had any real contact with the top dogs of the neurological team since being on their ward. Visiting doesn’t start till after they have finished their rounds. We knew that if we had questions they have been available but we have been rapt with the nursing staff and the info we get from them. Any way today I was walking down the passage of the ward and one of the neuro surgeons came towards me. I said, “my boy’s doing well isn’t he?’ to which he replied “Well? Your boy is a Lazarus.” They don’t chuck words like that around often!

Second was… a good friend, one of his many ‘lady friends’ came today for a visit. She had bought over a photo of some friends which also included her. We are starting to collect these for the team in the rehab to use for memory work etc. Well I asked Joel if he knew the people in the photo, to which he said yes. I pointed to the first of the 5 in the photo, Joel responded with “me”, the second he said “Lewis”, to the middle person in the photo, who happened to be the young lady standing next to me, he said, “some random chick” then he went on to name the other two in the photo, “Luke and Georgina.” I asked him again about this random chick and told him to look at who was standing next to me. I said, “is this just a random chick?” to which he replied, “Oopsy”. I think he still has his sense of humour!

Thirdly… we have our marching orders. On Monday morning at 9.00am Joel is leaving Waikato Hospital and moving to the brain injury rehab in Ranui. So we will all become ‘Westies’ for a while. Cheryll will travel with him by ambulance and then Hannah and I will follow up behind to start the next part of the journey. We’ll keep you posted.

PS. Joel ate all his dinner tonight. He had asked for a McChicken burger but had to eat slopsy stuff. When he was all done the nurse asked him if he was full. “Yep” he replied. When she had walked out he turned to ‘the young lady’ visitor and said, “to tell you the truth I could eat all that again.” Ha that’s my boy. Speech is still slow but improving and his ‘food tube’ is out and so is the ‘other one,’ so it’s all looking very positive. Thanks again for your prayers, love and encouragement.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hi… are you waiting for this?

Joel has had a huge day. We have been amazed at the progress and the staff are also rejoicing at how good Joel is at this stage of recovery. He has talked to the physio, doctors, nurses, visitors and family today. By talking we mean a couple of words and answering questions. He is aware that he is in Waikato Hospital and was able to tell the nurses the date of his birthday and the year he was born. He said to Hannah that she was looking good and was asking us to move his legs around to get them more comfy. He also wanted to know where his cell phone was. The youth of today eh … can’t live without the cell phone! When we told him that Rory probably had it, he was confused as to why. We have been told that short term memory is usually a problem area but we will wait and see what God has done. This evening he asked for pillows to be put under his legs and said those wonderful words, “I love you.” He has also eaten all 3 meals and is only getting the stuff down the tube at night coz he isn’t eating enough to keep his calorie count high enough. The biggest delight for him today was seeing Logan, Amie and Sienna for the first time since being in hospital. There are still some major hurdles to face but we are confident in what God has said; that he will recover completely. One of my personal prayers has been answered. I have daily prayed that Joel would be peaceful as he wakes and this is how he is. A lot of patients recovering from head injuries wake very disorientated, aggressive, agitated and with some very colourful language. Joel has skipped this part which is great. Please keep praying for his full recovery and specifically at the moment for his left side to become more mobile and in particular that he is able to move his left leg around the bed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

YAAAHHOOOEEEE!!!!!

Just went up to Joel for our ‘goodnight’ visit. Met in the ward by some very happy nurses….here is the story.
Joel had woken enough to eat his dinner. While eating (being spoon fed by the nurse) she thought he was looking a little uncomfortable, this is what happened.
Nurse: “Joel what is the matter? Talk to me Joel”

Joel: “my leg”

At this the nurse nearly fell over in shock!

Nurse: “what is wrong with your leg?”

Joel: “it’s painful”

Nurse: “which one?”

Joel: “my left one”

The nurse continued to feed him after moving his leg…then asked
Nurse: “Joel for pudding do you want custard or jelly and ice cream?”

Joel: “both”

He got both.
When we got there the nurse said to Joel “mum is here, say hi to mum”

Joel: “hi mum”

Mum says, “say hi to Dad”

Joel: “hi Dad”

Then he drifted off to sleep.

In the nurse’s words “it is a miracle!”
Much excitement. Thank Jesus for answering our prayers.

Wednesday 20th 2 weeks since the accident!

THERE IS ANOTHER BLURB COMING IN A FEW MINUTES. WORTH WAITNG FOR.!

This was going to be the original report for the day but a new one soon.
Not much to report tonight. It’s been a day of sleeping. A bit like watching grass grow. When we got to Joel’s room there were two physios strapping Joel into a bed contraption thingy and he looked a bit like Frankenstein with big body straps across him. Then they pushed the button and over the next ten minutes, with breaks for rests, the bed slowly went upright. He ended supporting a little of his weight on his legs in a standing position, still strapped into the bed. After a few minutes upright he was slowly lowered and then hoisted into his lazy boy. The physios were rather amused as they had never had a patient who had remained asleep for the whole procedure. He remained in his chair and then while we were having lunch he was stuck back in his bed and there he stayed all day. The only thing that changed was if he was snoring or not. We have come to accept that after a good day comes a sleep day. Logan and Amie will visit for the first time tomorrow as they have been in Gisborne getting over an illness.
If you would like to pray lets ask God that Joel starts waking regularly to eat so that he can have his food tube removed.
There have been some questions asking if Joel is still in a coma. Medically he is not. Apparently they work on a system of grading from 0 through to 15. When we are awake we are at 15 and if we have just had an all night bender we are probably at 14. 0 is dead and at 8 a person is flipping between coma and not in a coma. The last we were told Joel was at a level of awakness of 11. So when we talk about him being awake it is a very dozzy in between sorta wakeness. Not asleep but not fully alert like most of us. Does this explain it? Probably not but you could Google it for more info. Any way what I’m trying to say is he is not in a coma but he isn’t as awake as we are but he does the sleep thing very well and the snoring has been perfected as an art form!

late last night

Last night after we did the blog Cheryll got a phone call. It was Waikato Hospital. Heart racing…it was Joel’s nurse and she was so excited coz she had just feed him his dinner of minced up vege and he had eaten it all. Now I’m not surprised that he ate it all he always does with food, but it was great news. He drank about 50 mls of water from a glass to wash it down. We went out to celebrate at a cafĂ©. We all had coffee and Cheryll and Hannah had this flash Italian pudding thing…and I wasn’t allowed one coz they reckon I’m getting a bit porky but the coffee was good, so it’s all good news. We are just going up now to see him this morning. Thanks for your love and prayers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday evening up date.

Keep praying! As already reported this morning Joel was playing doctor during the night removing his drip lure twice and his food tube as well. So today he had his arms restrained, which apparently is good news. When we are there visiting the restraints are removed coz we can monitor and stop every attempt to remove all irritating tubes. This morning he had a shower, physio and then slept, yep with the ever present snoring. But this afternoon the speech therapist came to check him out…and he started swallowing! Started with water from a teaspoon and then drinking slowly from a glass, swallowing! The up shot of this, they will try to feed him puree (baby food) tomorrow when he is awake enough. We are overwhelmed with praise, thanks and joy. When he eats enough to keep his calorie count at the required level he will have the food tube removed. But wait there’s more! He is moving both his arms and hands slowly but deliberately itching and rubbing his face and of course having a go at that tube. This is all done in very slow motion. We also got our first smile and a thumbs up with his right hand in a response to a question asked. The speech therapist also got a grunty noise out of him and said that he still has his voice and it is usually fairly slow to come back. What can we say? A big thank you Lord for the continued improvement and a big thank you to those who are praying.

Last night and this morning

Yesterday I had a txt conversation with a close friend of Joel’s. She pointed out that I was ‘pretty much Joel’s hero’. Great words for a dad to here but then I got thinking. If I am his hero, I can’t protect him, I can’t rescue him and as I was thinking I was holding his hand and my eyes started to leak…and a fresh lot of tears tumbled down my cheeks as again I surrendered my son to his real hero, the one who can do those things for him, and his name is Jesus.

Cheryll and Hannah just went into the ward and Joel wasn’t in his room again. This time a nurse came to the rescue. He had been a naughty boy in the night and pulled out his ‘food tube’, and was just on his way back from an x-ray to make sure they had put it back in the right place. We will keep you posted.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A verse of a song that was just sent to us.

God is too wise to be mistaken

God is too good to be unkind

So when you don't understand

When you don't see His plan

When you can't trace His hand

Trust his heart

Monday 18th Jan

Whoa, what a day. It started with my girls going in to see Joel at the start of visiting time and they had a big scare coz they went into the room and he had vanished. Being simply human, at those moments we tend to jump to wrong conclusions. No staff helped, but they found Joel stuck in a room of his own and that is actually good news. It means his medical condition has progressed to the point that he doesn’t need 24 hour observation. Then they saw that he was slumped in a chair not looking too flash! But he had just been plonked in a lazy boy to give him a change from those real comfy hospital beds. By the time I got in he had been straightened up and was looking comfortable. And there he sat all day snoring! Not one moment of awakeness at all, just sleeping and snoring…even when they sawed the plaster cast off his foot! Apparently this is just what he needs (not the snore but the sleep). He now has no breathing monitors or heart or oxygen monitors. He still has a drip line in his arm for medication and the food tube in the nose and the ‘other tube’. So we sat with him and his other visitors and prayed and watched him sleep. Hard for mum, dad and sister coz we want him to talk and answer back and be smart …but he will! Before we got there he had seen the doctors, the nurses had bathed him and the physio had given him a workout so we aren’t surprised that he slept so much.

Then we met with some lady who was in charge of organizing his rehabilitation for when he moves from hospital and this is when we got the next ‘whoa’ of the day. The time frame they are talking about now that his condition is stabilizing is just a matter of about a week. Flip… just a week. We were shocked coz he isn’t talking or eating or moving much…but apparently the hospital can only treat his medical condition and he has to move when stable enough to start re learning everything. Then everything just got a bit fuzzy. We were given several options as there are only 3 facilities in NZ that deal with brain injury rehab and the probably the best care and programme for him is in Auckland. The more we are involved in his care etc the better his chances so it looks like a shift is going to be in order. But the better news is that most patients have about 90 days of rehab…ones that do well about 60 days…and a few who really get a wriggle on only need 30 days. So I have settled for the 30 day one! The head spins. Joel’s biggest draw back at the moment is his level of awakeness and resulting from that his swallowing reflexes. If he hasn’t learnt to control swallowing before leaving hospital they ram a tube in his tummy straight to his stomach for feed. I don’t want this. He has had enough things poking holes in him. So we have a couple of days to decide what we are doing so as to get the wheels in motion.


So we praise God:

He is well enough for his own room.

His monitoring is far less because he is in a more stable condition.

He sleeps!

He is still controlling his temp.

He had his cast off his left foot and they haven’t had to replace it.

He sleeps!

For family and friends who pray, love and encourage


Together we Pray:

that he wakes.

that he swallows.

that we would have wisdom as we make a decision for his next part of the journey.

that God’s healing power continues to restore him.

that we all stand firm for a complete recovery.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday 17th Jan

God is gracious and this morning he gave us another glimpse of the restoration He is doing with Joel. This morning our young man was the most awake that we have seen since the accident. He was responding well to small commands and was also moving his arms a little by himself, his eyes were a little more open and following movement and people. Then about lunchtime he went back to sleep for most of the afternoon snoring peacefully. Handsome as ever…but…

They are not giving him extra oxygen now as his breathing is supplying enough which is progress. It’s good to just sit and hold his hand.
 One night last week I woke up in the night (this is Cheryll writing now) and started thinking, “God, what if we get up to the hospital in the morning and find that Joel has not made any improvement, or is worse?” A song came into my head that we used to sing, which is out of Lamentations: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness O Lord. That has become a theme song for me … every day we look for the new mercies of God… and there has only been one day so far that we had to think a little harder to write down our mercies.
 Please pray that he begins to move around more and that he starts to try and use his voice … and of course that ultimately God completely heals and restores him.

Comments…

Some are having trouble posting comments. Apparently this is just one of those things us mortals have to cope with but here is a suggestion. When I make a post I write it in a Word Document then copy and paste onto the blog thingy. That way if for some reason it doesn’t load up the first time you don’t have to re-write the whole caboodle. I have had to try a few times so it is a ‘patience’ thing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

PS.

Just come back from our goodnight visit and we have been told by the nurse that the majority of patients with brain injury’s do a night day swap thingy which rights itself eventually. So at the moment some of Joel’s ‘wake’ time is at night. Comforting to know.

A Big Thanks

We want to acknowledge and thank the Hillcrest Baptist Church folk for their kindness, encouragement and practical help. Day 10 and the wonderful meals have kept arriving and we are left wondering which chef they have hired to cook for us. Thank you all so much for doing this and for your prayers.

A huge thanks to all who are praying and for the continuous offers of help. We appreciate all of you so much. Thank you!

Saturday 16th Jan

Not sure what to say. It is hard…no step of this journey has been easy but our boy just sleeps. We know this is good for him but when you miss someone who is lying a foot in front of you and you can’t communicate… it ain’t easy. Joel has a few ‘wake’ times and by that I mean he drifts into a ‘no-mans’ land somewhere between awake and asleep. He is still responding when asked and we have been told by the nursing staff that he is doing well…I suppose we just want to see something with our own eyes.

Ok … I only got 5 txts today!! We LOVE getting txts … I didn’t mean not to send them … we need your encouragement still and just to know you’re praying and thinking of Joel during the day is so special.

After the weekend his ‘food in a tube’, which at the moment feeds him continuously, begins to be put down the tube 3 times a day so as to start reminding him that there is breakfast, lunch and dinner. What the nurses don’t realize is that he has always fed continuously! He now only gets ‘woken’ to respond every 4 hours instead of every 2 and this will enable him to sleep for longer periods uninterrupted. Other than that we have not seen any change. So we wait (patiently mostly but every now and then a sense of impatience floods over) in faith and trust in the God that loves him and us.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday evening 15th Jan

We have been with Joel this evening and he is in good hands. The neurological ward is run tightly with minimal visiting rights to numbers and time allowed at the bed side. The other thing they require from visitors is not to speak to Joel while he is sleeping so as to give minimal brain stimulation. It all sounds good to us. The staff there just want him to sleep as the body starts healing. Joel is very relaxed and sleeping well, breathing well and responding (little things) when required. Again we want to thank God for what he is doing as a response to people’s prayers. He is controlling his temperature and not twisting his hands.

Today…fri 15th

Hannah and I (Kevin) came back to Tauranga today to take care of things at home. We are overwhelmed by your offers for help and for the prayers that you offer for our Joel. thanks to those who helped with Hannah’s car.

Cheryll has stayed with Joel and some close friends for support back in Hamilton. She has just phoned to say that Joel has had a very sleepy and restful day. More answers to your prayers…his hands have stopped turning in which is a very positive sign… the swelling on his noggin is starting to go down a little… he is not having any more bouts of stiffening and shaking as if he were having a fit, and the blessings of yesterday with him being able to control and regulate his temperature and the other thing. He is very peaceful and resting well. Late this afternoon he was shifted to the neurological ward. Not sure what that is going to be like but no doubt we will find out.

We continue to pray for his complete restoration which only God can do.

Txting. We love getting your txts and encouragement but please understand that although we try to return txts, at times we just can’t. It does not mean we don’t love you and are not very grateful for your concerns and prayers. Today I have received over 80 txts…. get what I mean. I’m not a teenager so cant get back that quick.

If anybody from the press or media comes across this site…I would like to remind you that it is copyright.

Final thoughts…
I have spent some precious time with a close friend this afternoon. I have left her with two verses to ponder on; “God is loving and God is powerful” and “don’t be afraid, just believe.”

And my own thoughts for what they are worth…we as Christians have often prayed to see a miracle…but have we ever considered that to see one somebody somewhere has usually gone though some form of pain, suffering and loss? So what are we actually asking for?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Woops forgot to say…

We asked for specific prayer
We have our poo.

Joel is now controlling his own temperature and it is not going high.

His hands are a little more relaxed.

Thanks so much for your prayers, mainly for Joel but also for us, Kevin and Cheryll, Logan, Amie and Sienna, and Hannah.

Update on the update

Ok. The roller coaster goes up again
We have just come back from our good night visit to Joel.

We have had the best responses from him that we have had since the accident. He gave us several winks in response to different things we said…I asked him if he wanted to give us a smile and the corners of his mouth moved up! We kept going and talked to him how good it was that Hannah is being steadfast in her faith, we said to him, “isn’t that cool”...his response? He nodded. I then talked to him about Logan and Steven going pig hunting and he gave winks and facial responses. I asked him if he wanted us to put a photo of him on this blog and he shook his head indicating a definite NO, I asked him if we could put on a photo pre accident, and he shook his head again

14-01-10

Here is the up date for today. When we first were spoken to by the doctors they warned us that we were going to have a rollercoaster ride as far as our emotions are concerned. Well they understated what it was really going to be like.

This morning Joel seemed the best we had seen him. Responding well to spoken commands, again just the little things but also raising his eye brows. These are the little things that we have wanted to see and also the small changes that the medical staff say should be happening. We also had a neat visit with a good friend of ours who has worked in this field of medicine and he said without reading Joel’s notes etc. that these signs were encouraging.

As we shared last night Joel had a MRI scan today. We waited in anticipation of a good report and were devastated when the head of the neurological team told us that Joel has suffered an ‘extreme diffused brain injury.’ What does this mean? Extreme = bad, real bad; diffused = all over the brain not just a small local area in the brain; brain injury = brain damage. Sorry it doesn’t sound better but it was devastating to us. We cried, were confused and felt real empty.

What has happened since?

Well we came back to my little flat. Cheryll, Hannah, myself and my sister Karen who had been visiting during the day. We have sat in silence for a long while and occasionally looked blankly at each other. The odd tear as well!

We have taken stock of where we are at … and really the only thing that has changed is that we have knowledge of what we are asking of our God. We need a miracle. A very big one that cuts across everything that has been told to us and restores our precious Joel back to us soon. Yesterday we were asking for his restoration, today we are still asking for the same thing! The only thing that has changed is that somewhere in our humanness we think it is harder for God.

We go over the verses from the Bible that have been given to us: Do not be afraid, just believe, God is strong and God is loving, I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. Psalm 91; Proverbs 3.

A dear sister shared with us after attending her church last Sunday that this year will be a year when God’s miracles and healing will be performed through ‘ordinary’ Christians. We are just ordinary Christians. Will you join us and together we will see God intervene on Joel’s behalf. We love you all…do not be afraid, just believe!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Daily Update 13-01-10

Today’s been a sleepy day for Joel. Last night Hannah went to the Hospital Chapel and when she went in she had the ‘feeling’ that she was to read from the open Bible sitting on the podium. The first words she read were, “and on the seventh day he rested,” out of Genesis chapter 1. Well that is what he has done all day and it is the 7th day since the accident. The doc’s have been a little worried as he has not responded consistently as he had done for the previous couple of days. Now for those who aren’t in the know, when we talk about responding it means that he follows 3 basic commands: squeeze my hand, poke out your tongue and wriggle your toes. His pupils are still reacting to a light shone in them so that is good. I have just come into Joel’s room for my night visit and had a lovely response from him. I gave him a kiss, just in the air and he slowly puckered his lips…well put his lips together in a kind of kiss, but to me it looked like a great big pucker up! Back to the day…the doc’s took him off for another scan and it showed a slight increase in swelling of the brain. Tomorrow he is booked in for a MRI scan mid-morning. He has to be totally anesthetized for this so it will be back to a respirator tube and drips and stuff. Aaaahhhh!

Immediate prayer needs.

Swelling to go down.

MRI to be ‘normal’

We need a poo. Yep the nurses have told us they get excited when someone in Joel’s position does a poo! Coz it means ‘normal bodily functions.’

Twisting of hands to stop.

He needs to start controlling his own temperature as it is still too high.

And when he is ready … to wake up properly.
Psalm 3:5 “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.”

Please read Psalm 91 as a prayer for him. This was given to us by his friends in the youth group.

GOD

As a family we have been blown away by all the prayers that have gone up around the world for our Joel. We thank you so much for praying as we believe that God has a full recovery in store for Joel. We covert your prayers, because we know prayer is powerful and God is in the business of healing. We are standing in a position of faith that Joel will be completely restored and healed…why?… because we believe that is what God has said to us in so many different ways. Hope is believing for things un-seen and while at present there have only been small encouragements about Joel’s condition … we still believe! Over the next while we will try to share with you why we have confidence in God and his love for us and Joel.

The Last Week

A week ago today Joel got a bump on the head … well ok … a severe brain injury. He had emergency surgery to remove the blood clot etc. Afterwards he was straight to ICU where he stayed until being moved to HDU (High Dependency Unit) 2 days ago. He hasn’t woken properly yet. The first day there was no response from him but since then he has had periods where he half opens his eyes and obeys commands such as squeeze hand, poke out tongue, wriggle toes. Doctors have said to expect small improvements, not big jumps.

Visiting

Due to Joel having so many friends and being so popular  (and good looking) we have had a huge number of people visit and wanting to visit. We love seeing you and all the support you guys are offering and we’re sure you’ll understand at times we have to limit visitors. At this stage both Joel and us can still only cope with family and close friends. So please understand if we say “not yet”  When you do come to visit there is no guarantee that you will get down to HDU to see Joel … it will depend on what’s happening at the time.

Information

Hi, we have started this blog so that information can come to you so that you can pray for Joel and us. We are so very appreciative of the prayer support and encouragement that we have received since the accident.
This is a way for you all to receive the same info so there’s no mixed messages floating around out there. You can either check the blog page or if you subscribe to the blog every time we update with a new post it will email to your email address. All comments that you post will come back to us by email and will be available on the blog for others to read. We will try to update daily but please be patient as we walk this journey.