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Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 7

Alicia and I ended up going to see Todd today. Wow, what an amazing visit! It was essentially Todd, the Todd we all know and love, sitting and joking in a hospital bed. I say essentially because he is still under the influence. So there were elements of "drunk" Todd. I will show you what I mean in a later video post.

Todd was taken off the food IV today. Now he is only on Nurontin (sp?) for the phantom neurological pain and another medication for his high blood pressure. While we were there they took him off the Heprin (blood thinner). They will put him on a new blood thinner that is less powerful and easier to monitor soon.

An international stroke specialist saw Todd this morning and said he is amazed at Todd's progress. Because Todd is doing so well, they were going to move him to the physical therapy section of the hospital. However, now that he no longer needs the special attention of stroke doctors at the University Hospital, the insurance company wants Todd to be in a network hospital. So tomorrow they will transfer him to either LDS Hospital or the new IMC (Intermountain Medical Center) and put him in their physical therapy unit.

During our stay, Haily (Amy's sister) came for a visit. Todd thought Oliver was with her, so he asked Amy, "Where is the one that doesn't work at all." We all thought that was pretty funny. There were many instances like that, where Todd couldn't remember a name, word, or phrase. But this isn't uncommon, even for me. Quite often I forget names of things as common as a broom and I describe them in a similar way, "The thing that you use to clean the floor." With the pain medication this is probably even more pronounced.

As we talked today I wanted to probe Todd's mental condition in regard to technical knowledge. He actually has a good grasp of the concepts, engaging in discussions that show his understanding. The only limitation seems to be his ability to grab the right words. Throughout our conversation he was talking about things that possessed all the right elements, but had some mixed-up words interspersed. The important thing is that as he is getting more lucid, he is getting more accurate.

Since this was the first time I have seen Todd remembering things so clearly, I asked him if he remembered what happened on the day he had the stroke. He said that he remembered having the attack, when he vomited and was loaded into the ambulance. He also said he remembered not being able to talk and writing on Amy's hand to communicate that he felt like his heart was beating double.

He also told me that while he was being loaded into the ambulance and during his time in the ER, he felt like he was going to turn into a demon dog and tear people apart. He said, it just goes to show how video games can mess with your head. This is a personal reference to the Silent Hill video games Todd and I played where often you have to go into a hospital that turns into an evil hospital and bad things happen.

Right before we left, Todd made me promise to "Tell grandma it's not her time to go. I've seen her. Tell her it's not her time to go. I've seen her." I should note that at this point, he was pretty tired from dinner and our joking around. So his words had more of a tired, dream-like feel to them. But I wanted to note them here anyway.

At the end of our visit I could tell we had overstayed our welcome. Todd was getting agitated. He started to proclaim that he was so tired of not being able to leave the hospital and just be a part of the normal life he had lived; playing video games, hanging out with family, and being able to express himself clearly. It was very hard not to be overwhelmed by that expression because it was so easy to understand and feel in an empathic way.

But I still view all of this, including the exasperation, as a good thing. Todd has made amazing strides over the last 24 hours. I was able to look into his eyes and talk with him. He was moving around, eating, joking, and showing signs of happiness. I am not sure of the religious background of all who read this blog, but I believe that the continual prayers and special fasts have not gone unheard. For your part in that, we are all grateful. Don't forget Todd in the weeks and months to come. This will be a long journey and he and his family will need all of you at some point or another. Don't ignore that feeling when it comes.


Jj Starwalker said...

Brett, your folks know me and my path, which is very different from yours and so as not to offend anyone I will leave it at that. I have been working as hard in my way as you have in yours, I am sure.

Having been through deep medical crises with two of my children, let me just interject my observation that yes, there IS much power in faith and the invocation of ones Deities. And even more, it has been my experience, when the petitions go out from a wide base of beliefs. Even doctors have noted to me the different feel when they have entered the room.

I do not believe, but rather I KNOW that Todd will continue to make remarkable progress -- and that the source of that progress comes not only from our prayers, invocations and faith but from his innate inner drive.

FWIW, my SO takes Neurontin for the neuropathy pain from his long-standing diabetes.

Misty and Jake said...


I am so happy that you're doing better! Pretty soon you will be home :)


Thanks for doing this blog. It is nice to be able to come and check on Todd's condition.

If you need anything let me know!

Love ya guys!