Dear Family and Friends,
I might not be the most coherent as I'm piecing together various conversations I've had with Ginny and others but here goes.
Joe is getting 30 minutes a day of PT, OT, ST twice a day with rest in between. Respiratory therapy is there quite frequently, and the neuropsychologist will see Joe 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes. Family can be in Joe's room but typically don't follow him around to therapy. Yesterday, however, Ginny and Mom and Dad Leahy were able to follow him around to therapy, and then they had a late afternoon meeting with Joe's primary doctor as well as the neuropsychologist.
One of the primary goals (again, apologies to any medicos out there), as I understand it is, to close off the trach (also refered to as buttoning the trach or capping the trach--think these all mean the same thing). I think Joe made through last night with it closed off. This is good news.
The therapists are continuing to work with Joe on swallowing, and they put some thickener in the liquid--maybe apple flavor. This is also an obvious important goal so that Joe can ultimately take more and more nourishment through the mouth and ultimately wean off the feeding tube--this will be a long process, however.
Today they put a cast on Joe's left leg that covers his foot and comes up to this knee and it is fitted with a walking boot. Though Joe has no broken bones this is apparently a pretty common practice. Joe's left leg is weaker than his right and this will help him with walking. Yesterday, once Joe got his bearings sitting on the side of the bed, he stood up and even stretched his back.
I think I forgot to note that Joe has to wear a helmet to protect the soft part of this head where the neurosurgery took place to remove the bone fragments and other damage caused by the bullet. He may have to have a plate put in at some point from what I recall from the docs at Huntsville Hospital.
The endocrinologist has been monitoring Joe's blood pressure, sodium, etc. Sodium level is a point below normal so starting to ease off the medicine to help with that. On blood pressure meds as it had crept up a bit. Always a delicate balancing act but the endocrinologist is all over it.
Joe is generally in good spirits and very talkative when he is laying down; Ginny thinks that when he is sitting in his wheelchair, all his energy going to the physical aspects of sitting up and he is less chatty then. At some point Joe asked where he was and when Gin told him, he clarified his question, saying, "no, I mean where are we metaphorically?" Gin said Mom was quick on her feet responding "on the road to recovery." Good job, Mom!
Mom and dad left this morning for their condo in Florida. We hope they take time to rest up but know taxes need to be finished and other annoying life chores. Paul (Joe and my brother from Indianapolis) arriving tonight from a business trip in Orlando. He will stay until Saturday morning and then Keith, Stephen and Ginny's bro Ed will arrrive on same day and stay until Wednesday. After that Mark (my husband and fellow blogger) will stay with Ginny for a few days. Don't remember after that.
I'm sure I'm missing some details but that is all for now. I think I'll try to post more often with briefer reports as Ginny is able to fire off a quick email or text.
Please, please, please keep up the prayers for Joe and family
Blessings and Love to All,
Joe has a cast on his left leg with a walking boot