Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28 Palm Sunday noonish, Lisa

Dear Family and Friends,

Lots of news to report but needed to wait until family had been notified before blogging it.

Many of you have asked about visiting Joe, and though we appreciate your friendship and support, Joe isn't ready for visitors at this point. Rest assured that a family member is with Ginny most days, with a break here and there as she needs. Mom and Dad Leahy were with Joe and Ginny last week, and yesterday left Atlanta for Madison where they will stay until Joe and Ginny return. Thanks to all the wonderful neighbors and friends in Madison for keeping an eye on the house and helping out Mom, Dad, Keith and Stephen. Brother Paul arrives today in Atlanta and will stay until Tuesday, and sister Patty will arrive on Holy Thursday. Patty will help Ginny move out of the Shepherd apartment efficiency as the 30 days allotted to patients' families are up on Good Friday. Mark helped Ginny find a nice apartment across the street when he was in Atlanta last night. Mom, Dad and kids will come back to Atlanta on Saturday and leave Sunday. Stephen will be competing in the state science fair on Friday so congratulations on getting to state, Stephen, and good luck! We are so proud of both you and Keith for all you have been able to accomplish during this ordeal.

Now for the updates on Joe's condition. I will heavily quote from Ginny's email to the family. Again, apologies in advance for anything I might say that is not technically correct from a medical perspective.

This last week has included some amazing things. After a change in Joe's medication to help his brain make connections more easily, Ginny has witnessed major progress in Joe's level of awareness and attention span.

Physical Updates
He has been able to feed himself pudding and applesauce, brush his teeth and perform basic hygiene. He is getting his appetite back and craved tomato soup the other day, which Mom Leahy retrieved from the apartment and brought over for Joe. Due to his jaw fracture and until the follow-up surgery in Huntsville, Joe is only allowed to eat soft and pureed foods It is so wonderful for Ginny and family to see Joe feeding himself with utensils, but his vision from his left eye is inconsistent as is his tendency to open or shut the left eye (note the left eye is the uninjured eye). The Neuro-ophlamologist will see Joe this Thursday about his eyes.

Joe is still experiencing some respiratory issues. Cat scan doesn't show any reason to be alarmed, and though the mucus is greatly decreased the docs still don't feel he's quite healthy enough to plug the trach yet.

A major improvement is Joe's ability to get around. We were first pretty happy that he is pretty facile in walking his wheelchair (he uses his feet to move the wheelchair forward), but even more exciting is his improvement in walking. He walked pretty well with only the support of Stan, one of Joe's favorite nurse techs. from the gym to his room, and then e hsat in a regular chair while Stan retrieved the wheelchair. Of course we were all elated by this news.

Mental/Emotional Updates
Joe strung large wooden beads onto a string with color identification,e also wrote some "microbiology" formulas and related information for his therapist Allison who
was very impressed with his "brain work and organizational skills", commenting that she would have enjoyed having him for a professor.

Joe has recently requested to use Ginny's laptop to google various things. He asked Ginny to search for Building DNA Computer Models and even added when she should add a space between words. After sharing the results with him, Joe indicatdthat none of the hits were what he was looking for but he would do more research later. (Lisa note: I can't remember what Stephen's science project is, nor do I begin to understand it, but I wonder if these search parameters are relevant to Stephen's science fair project??).

According to Ginny, Joe is less content, perhaps even melancholy, compared to a week ago. He often wants to go home, indicating that he has work to do. Ginny has explained to him that he is injured and needs to stay a little longer in the hospital. Despite Ginny's relief that Joe understands and accepts the situation, he nonetheless is sad that he is away from his home, his sons, his friends, his work. So many of the books on brain trauma indicate that increased self-awareness is certainly a reason for celebration,yet the sobering reality can cause sadness and even anger. Though we are aware of this, it doesn't make it necessarily easy to deal with so please continue to pray for Joe and all of us.

We are nevertheless filled with much hope and optimism, and we are continually grateful for the miracle of Joe's survival and the generosity of so many friends and even strangers who have fed both our bodies and souls since this ordeal began on Feb 12. The generosity witnessed in Madison and Huntsville has continued in Atlanta, as Peggy, a sister of Kathy Bradford of Madison, has organizred a group of ladies in Atlanta who have provided a steady stream of food and have alleviated Ginny's concerns about shopping and food for Easter. Thank you Atlanta ladies!

Ginny's thoughts after Palm Sunday Mass
I went to early Palm Sunday Mass today at Christ the King. A Father Lopez presided. He gave a wonderful homily about trying to be like Jesus. He reminded those folks who currently are suffering to avoid being whiny as surely Christ was not a whiner! Instead he urged us to unite our sufferings with Christ and rejoice in having something in common with our Lord, and he asked us to remember that the Resurection is a just a short week away. When I returned to Joe's room I displayed the palm branch, and I reminded him of the reading of the Passion in today's Mass. He seemed to appreciate it. So happy Palm Sunday to all of you. I had not idea this is what "family" means. Love, Gin

Well, folks, that's all for now. The enire family thanks you again for all your prayers and suppport. God Bless All of You!



  1. Happy Easter to you all. Hope you can all find a moment together. We love you all and pray everyday for a speedy recovery. Tell Joe, Aunt Joyce asks about him daily. We keep her as updated as possible. Again, I am amazed by Joe's brilliance which probably does make it more frustrating for him. Good luck to Stephen and we wish you all the best!

  2. Your comment about the "sobering reality...doesnt necessarily make it any easier to deal with" gives us far more insight to the prayers and stregth you all need, and are beginning to need even more. I can only imagine how much all of you want to be home, if only for the logistics. I am sure his immediate dept. people want to be with him. We will continue to pray daily.

  3. Thank you for the update. While we don't know your family personally, I check this blog daily. My son will be a freshman at UAH next fall and we've been very impressed at the way the campus has handled this situation. Our family will continue to pray for yours.

  4. Thank you for the update. It's great to hear of the progress Joe is making and continues to make on a daily basis. I keep cheering him on in my heart, thoughts and prayers.



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