Update Page for David Hanson - March 2013
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3/1/13 (Rachel Hanson) Keep praying! I feel like the Lord is answering some specific prayers for faster recovery for David. After the seizures, David has had a hard time managing his saliva, especially with transfers when his head is down. Today, I didn't see any drooling with transfers. Yay! The PTA noticed a little increased strength in his legs compared to yesterday. With speech therapy, he was able to mouth numbers 1-5 and a few letters of the alphabet as well as the word "mom". He was able to voice the word, "hi" to a couple people in the day room. His right elbow got casted again today but I think this will be the last one. David seemed kind of sad this evening and after several questions, he indicated that he was discouraged at the speed of his recovery. I tried to encourage him because he does give 110% all the time and the Lord is really the One that dictates how much and how fast his progress is. I think about the verse in I Corinthians 3 that says, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." We can try all we want, working our tails off, but if God isn't in it, there won't be any "increase".
It has become less frequent that I notice this but when David's brain becomes overstimulated, it manifests itself physically. Tonight, his arm pulled out sideways stiffly and his head pulled forward several times. David indicated that this was not something he could control and it was painful. I took him to a quiet place and it all went away and he relaxed.
So many of you may have wondered what David was mad at yesterday. I misunderstood him. This is what I had gotten written on the white board, "I am mad lyin l..." I got the spaces in the wrong spots and we finished the sentence today to read, "I am madly in love. " :)
Keep praying for speedy recovery of David's strength in his neck, arms and legs, and swallowing/chewing.
3/4/14 (Rachel Hanson) I found out today David has a colon infection called C. Diff. He is in isolation and being treated by antibiotics. The good news is his snoring roommate had to move so hopefully David will have less trouble falling asleep at night! This may be a mysterious answer to prayer because I'm not sure the sub-acute facility will let David come until his infection clears up. Pray that he will have energy to still make progress. He said today that he feels the same amount of tiredness but I'm sure it's not real fun.
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes. 5:18
3/8/13 (Rachel Hanson) The pressure to move David within the next week or so seems to have been lifted and it seems God has granted David more time to recover, which is a big relief to me. David's doctor also put him back on amantadine which he seemed to do well on before. And after the c. Diff has resolved, may try to back off some of the other medications that are making David drowsy and ultimately, making progress difficult.
Yesterday, David was pretty sleepy and didn't have much energy to put into therapy. His swallowing and saliva management seems to have actually back tracked a bit since last week. But, in PT he got to go down to the spinal cord injury gym with some lively music and was able to pedal the bike for about 15-20 minutes (the machine did it for him at first and then he was able to do it on his own!). :) I encouraged the PT to do this with David often because I think it makes him feel successful at SOMETHING. On Wednesday night, some friends visited and were able to get David to smile at a funny story. :) Last night, David wanted me to read to him out of the Bible. He kept wanting more and more so I ended up reading the first 8 chapters of I Samuel! I feel a connection to Hannah because I asked God for a godly husband (in contrast to her asking for a son) for many years and shed a lot of tears over it and told the Lord that I'd give him back to Him if He chose to give me a husband. I've been given a wonderful, godly husband and have been challenged the last few months to surrender him back to God. The encouraging part about Hannah's story is that, after she gave Samuel to the Lord for His service, she was given 3 sons and 2 daughters! Much more than she had asked for! Just to clarify, I'm not wanting another husband or more husbands!! But just that it seems as if, when we surrender truly our most desired possession, even a gift we believe God gave us, His interest to us for "lending" our gift back to Him is WAY more than any bank will pay on an account we have with them.
3/10/13 (Rachel Hanson)There isn't a whole lot to report as far as physical improvement. The C. Diff is still present. David does seem to be able to hold his head up better though. He got another cast on his right arm because the OT wasn't satisfied with the results of the last one. In between sleepiness, David is communicating very well with his thumb and finger for yes and no. His sense of humor comes out occasionally (or maybe stubbornness?? ;-P) when he sees certain staff members coming to do activities he's not thrilled about doing and suddenly closes his eyes and plays possum. He even admitted he was playing possum!
David is a huge inspiration to me and humbles me. Last night I asked a question I've been curious about for a long time but didn't have the guts enough to ask him until then, "Would you be content if you were in this condition the rest of your life and God chose not to give you any more healing?" He answered yes without any hesitation. Wow. I felt my heart exposed and challenged by my husband's readiness to be content in the state he found himself in, resting in what God had given him for the moment. He's seemed real happy the last few days, smiling a lot...which is a gift to me in the midst of a trying week.
I haven't been very successful using the letter board much with David. He is pretty sleepy when he's not in therapy and his attention span is short but today, when I asked him if he had anything on his mind, he said yes and he wrote out, "Loving you so..." and then he got tired and couldn't finish it but looked me in the eyes and wiggled his eyebrows and twinkled his eyes with a smile. :) ...ah, nevertheless, a happy day for me. Can you tell we're still newly weds? ;)
3/12/13 (Rachel Hanson) Today was a great day for David! He is no longer in isolation because the C. Diff is gone! He is moving his right arm more and was able to put on deodorant and scratch behind his ear (things he hasn't really done for 2 months). He is mouthing words again. We painted a bird house together tonight. I had to help him quite a bit but he was able to brush up and down and side to side a little. He picked the color scheme, the butterfly on the side and what style of bird house he wanted. He got fitted for his own wheelchair today and got to pick out a brilliant blue color for the frame. He was pretty alert most of the day until 9pm tonight with a couple good naps. Usually he's wiped out by 7:30pm! We enjoyed Romans tonight. I gave him a challenge to try to remember our baby name we picked out and what chapter of Romans we're on. Pray for his short-term memory. He has excellent long-term memory but I've noticed especially since the seizure, he has a really hard time with short-term memory, like from one day to the next. This is a common complaint with brain-injury victims, even with concussions. He is smiling more and using the left side of his face more too. When I put lip balm on him tonight, he automatically stuck his tongue out to lick it off. This is actually really good because the speech therapist has been putting thickened apple juice on his lips to try to get him to lick his lips, so it seems to be becoming more automatic. :) Keep praying for direction for where to go after the hospital. It seems there are no options right now, not even second-rate options. We are having a meeting with the team tomorrow so I hope we can come up with some ideas or options that work or at least negotiate maybe a little more time in the hospital.
(Rachel Hanson) Good news and bad news today. I'll save the good news for dessert. Bad news is so far we've only been able to negotiate one more week stay at the hospital. But, we may find a little more grace with the insurance company if David makes significant progress in the next week and the team can prove medical necessity for staying in the hospital longer. The other bad news is we still don't have an ideal discharge plan, i.e. place for David to land after the hospital.
Ok, now for the good news. :) David had another really good day. God is granting miracles again. David helped with dressing and is able to scratch his face independently. He sucked on some ice and had a faster swallow afterwards, less choking on saliva and minimal to no drooling with transfers. In speech therapy, she asked him to spell out one thing he did in physical therapy today and he was able to spell out "stood" quickly. He was able to remember our baby's name and the chapter we were on to read tonight. Usually, David has a hard time holding his head up in good alignment in his chair when it is tilted at about 22 degrees. He is much more alert the last two days. Tonight, he was holding his head up for a couple hours at 5 degrees tilt and could put his head back when it fell forward without help!! He also gave me the first voluntary hug in 2 months. :) We watched some patients here make little volcanoes with baking soda and colored vinegar...a little slice of science for the night.
The weather here has been fabulous. Being outside on the patio soaking up the sunshine and watching couples with a dog jog along the sidewalk and neighborhood kids play basketball really gives me spring fever and an intense longing for us to be home. We still have a measure of joy but the hope of being home together as a family is still many months away. Sigh.
3/17/13 (Rachel Hanson)David kept surprising me tonight with all the things he was doing! He fed himself ice chips with a spoon and didn't choke once. He was also doing heel lifts, knee lifts and kicks with his right leg in his wheelchair. He is getting much more accurate with mouthing words and more alert throughout the day. When were watching the news tonight, he couldn't decide whether to put his arm around me or hold my hand. So we were just watching the news and eating ice chips with my husband's arm around me, but it sure felt like a date night watching a movie and eating popcorn to me. It helps to have a prolific imagination sometimes. :) when we read Romans tonight, I gave him a challenge to remember the chapter we're on tomorrow tonight. He flashed 7 fingers three times in a row to try to commit it to memory of his own volition.
3/21/13 (Rachel Hanson) It's beautiful weather here again. I guess David and I were enjoying the sun a little too much because my poor fair-skinned husband's arm and hand got fried. :( next time, I'll lather him with sunscreen!
His swallowing and secretion management are much better but I guess still not good enough to start a PO (by mouth) diet. When the speech therapist read him a boring paragraph about little details of the state of Montana, he was able to answer all the questions except one correctly, all from memory. This was impressive to me because I am not an audio learner at all so I knew I probably would have failed that test on a good day! Even though he excelled at this test, he still frequently has trouble completing what he wants to "say" or remembering things from the day before.
The PT tried him in a normal Wheelchair and he was able to propel himself with his right leg mostly by himself, although very slowly. His head control continues to get better and can tolerate having his wheelchair be at a no tilt position for quite awhile. He was able to hold his head up by himself in standing for about a minute.
Tonight, he showed that some motivating factors make a difference in his strength and active range of motion. :) we attended "furry friends" and David was able to reach out his right arm and open his hand really big to pet a dog. He also wanted to give me a real hug with TWO arms tonight. He needed a little help with the left arm but initiated the movement all by himself!
As a side note, we are completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown to us the last few months. It reminds me of the verse in Malachi 3:10 "...try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, 'if I will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it'" Thank you so much for your prayers for David, for me, for our marriage, for our baby, and our families. I have been taught so much through this, and I'm sure I'm not done learning. It's humbling to be in a position where neither of us are working but all our needs are being more than met. It's humbling to be the receiver for so much and not the giver. This isn't the life we dreamed of at all but it's a happy life and its the life story God's scripting so it's the best life to have.
David continues to improve steadily. This is such an answer to prayer, to have him improving/improved as my due date quickly approaches.
He is still at the hospital, which is good for now. I heard a report that I have yet to confirm that 4 weeks more have been requested at the hospital. I don't know yet if the insurance has agreed to this, but it would really be fantastic if they did because that's when a bed availability opens up in our first choice facility.
David's parents arrived last Saturday and have been an encouragement and motivation for David and I. David is continuing to get stronger in everything: swallowing, lung capacity, arms, legs, neck, trunk and even has a wider smile! :D I wasn't there to witness it, but David had really good head control yesterday, did a few squats in the standing frame and was able to pull his shorts up from his ankles. He is able to mouth a lot of words now. Sometimes if he doesn't feel like using the communication board to express himself, he'll write the letters on my hand with his finger. Today, I asked him what he was thinking about. He wrote "complicated" on my hand. After asking a bunch of questions, I found out he worries about being a good husband to me with all of his handicaps...but I can't really ask for a sweeter, more godly, hard-working, inspiring husband!
A couple days ago, I kidnapped him to the cafeteria and he was able to eat a whole cup of pudding while I finished off an ice cream sandwich. :) yay, we're able to enjoy simple pleasures together again! It's amazing what the simple ability to eat something with your husband does to a soul. So far, the speech therapists don't think he has the endurance for a whole meal yet but he's getting stronger.
The staff had a baby shower for us on Tuesday. David tried desperately to be engaged despite battling sleepiness and managed a few bites of homemade mango ice cream to celebrate and smiled for a few pictures. :)
Update: I forgot to add that David has gained back 20 of the 35 pounds he initially lost. :) that's why he looks so good!
To contact David Hanson's family, please use the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org