Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Day Off

Lynn had absolutely nothing on his schedule today. It was very quiet around here with only one PT on duty. Several visitors did help fill up the day.

I also went to Sports Authority and got him gloves to use with his chair when he goes on longer walks.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Tonight I feel relaxed for the first time in three weeks.  Why?  I saw a health and confidence in Lynn from the moment I walked into his room this morning.  He was up , dressed, groomed and ready for the day.  In the gym he sat on the mat easily and moved with confidence in every direction.  In the afternoon we went out with Shannon, the PT, for  a long walk around the U of O area and he was enjoying the challenges he faced with moving his chair along the way.  He even began to learn how to do wheelies which is a necessary wheelchair skill to negotiate curbs and raised obstacles in your path.  As I left him today, he was talking to a former football player of his, now a coach, who called him from the Shrine Game to see how he was doing.  It had been a good day!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today during PT Lynn's therapist, Shannon, did a test where you get poked in different quadrants with a safety pin.  When he first came in on the 16th of July, they did the same test.  Lynn scored a ZERO in EVERY quadrant from above his waist on down.  Today he had strong feeling  in every quadrant on his left side down to his knees and on the right side down to his upper thigh.  On Tuesday the doctor said Lynn could regain felling and motion up to six months after the event so we were cheered by this test after  only19 days.  Please keep praying that this will improve week by week.

We also moved out of the room for meals today and ate both lunch and dinner with the other residents.  Lynn is moving back and forth from his chair so well now that this is possible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remote report

Today was the first day I did not go to the hospital since July 10th.  Lynn was ready for me to stay home so he shared with me about his day.  From his report I missed a very busy day.  His PT took him outside the hospital for the first time.  He went around the block surrounding Sacred Heart and learned that in a wheelchair he must be very vigilant.  I guessed he almost biffed it when he underestimated a curb cutout situation.

He also met with the wheelchair makers and ordered his chair.  They had a demo model just like the one he is having made so they are letting him keep the demo until he leaves.  That was an unexpected blessing.

He also changed rooms AGAIN.  They were getting in three new patients so Lynn agreed to move. 

All in all he was pretty exhausted when I talked to him because he had been up and in the chair for all but one hour today.  I am hoping he does get a break this weekend.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conference Day

Every Tuesday the team of professionals meet and discuss the progress of each patient and set new weekly goals.  Lynn had a very positive assessment.  His target discharge date right now is Sept. 3rd.  He already today began doing some things on his own.  He needs minimum assistance into his chair for an example.  He also was able to go from a lying position to sitting up on his own.  If I may brag, he is AMAZING!  Thank goodness he has stayed physically fit, especially in his upper body.

We learned today that he could also drive again even if he doesn't walk.  Cars can be adapted to hands only driving!  Boy, did that cheer him up.  No special bed will be needed.  They are getting him ready to return as much as possible to the life he led before.  That is their goal.

Another positive note was that Dr. Weller believed she saw tightening in his muscles in his inner thighs today when she asked him to try and bring them together.  She told me that healing could take up to six months so keep hoping that movement will move down his torso into his legs.

As you can see, your prayers for healing and strength are being answered.  God bless!  Nancy

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rest Day

Maybe Lynn did a little too much yesterday.  His back pain flared up so they decided to give him a day off of PT.  Again some problem solving was involved because his lower back pain seems to involve his neck muscles and how much he uses them to do certain exercises and activities.  As an example he moved his eating surface way up and that really helped him while he was in his wheelchair.  I love the way they tackle barriers to wellness in this place!

Another first today was to do his own grooming at the sink.

Maybe the big news is that Lynn is getting more and more feeling back between his waist and his knees.  This gives us hope that in time it may extend down to his feet and toes.  His team members rally us each day to say never give up hope.  We really have come to have much confidence in this place.  They are amazing.

Finally, Lynn moved rooms today so he can have more privacy.  He is now in room 582.

Thank you for all the cards, emails, visits and verbal support.  His spirits remain steady and hopeful.  God bless!  Nancy

Sunday, July 25, 2010

No resting on the Sabbath

Evidently there is a policy with medical insurance that once you come to Rehab you have to be involved in a certain number of hours of therapy each week. Since Lynn "lost" a day last Monday when they were doing his MRI, today was not a rest day. It was full throttle therapy. Add several visitors and he had a very full day.  This also marked his first meal sitting up in 15 days!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Good News!

Dr. Weller came in and suggested today that Lynn's PT try out a new cushion and a lumbar support pad for his wheelchair to see if it would replicate how he feels when he is sitting on the hard mat in the gym (by the way these are raised mats). And the good news is....IT DID!!!! His pain level in the chair went way down and he was up for over 2 hours with only a small, tolerable amount of discomfort, not pain. Hallelujah! We watched a little bit of a ball game together in the common room and went to the gym for OT in the chair. He may be able to eat sitting up by tomorrow or Monday at the latest we think. He just felt wonderful over this latest development.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Pain in his lower back has been, since coming to the Center, the biggest challenge whenever he is learning new things.  I think with a combination of the right medicines, time, and many prayers from so many people, his pain is being conquered.  Today he was able to lay on his back several times without significant pain.  When he was sitting on hard surfaces today in the gym area, the pain was better.  The one place it remains problematic is, unfortunately, when he is sitting in the wheelchair (though even that is better than 2 days ago).  This prevents him from being upright for more than 1 hour at a time.  The PTs and OTs are trying to problem solve with him why this might be.  PLease continue to pray that this lower back pain will be reduced to a level that he can eat sitting up and spend more of his day in the wheelchair.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's the Little Things! July 22nd

Last night Lynn had his first shower in 12 days and got to wash his hair. It made him feel so good! Good thing! He really got serious about his physical therapy today. Transfers to the wheelchair are going more smoothly and more often plus there is only one PT present now. Being an athlete and coach he responds quickly to instructions and understands body movement. I even got into the act and learned how to tip the chair back to give him pressure relief. Another good day!

PS My mom's surgery went well.

PPS Here is a better number for the Rehab Center. Dan Tow tells me the one I posted before doesn't work. 541-686-7400 Room 589

Thank you all for EVERYTHING!!! Nancy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to Back Good Days

Another thumbs up day. Lynn had been in a wheelchair before today but this was different. He was on less pain meds than before and still managed the transfer and he did his own wheeling (not sure that is what you call it though). His pain level was definitely lower. The PTs and OTs were very happy about his progress.
Thank you for those who called about visiting today. It wasn't possible but he sure did appreciate hearing familiar voices! Again I think weekends will be best right now but call. Each day is new and different.
PS My mom is having a kidney removed tomorrow and if you could keep her in your thoughts and prayers that would be great! Nancy


In talking with the charge nurse this AM, she suggested I tell you that it would be a good idea to call Lynn before you come to see him to see if it will be okay. There are things even in the after 4:00 hours that may prevent him from visiting with you. Again during the day on weekends  is better overall. Sorry this info. is ever changing and evolving.  Sacred Heart's phone # is on the previous post.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MRI and Progress

First - the MRI showed no further need for surgery and that the spinal cord is stable. PT and OT will NOT cause further damage

Second - this means a pain management strategy will be put into place so Lynn can participate in PT and OT as actively as possible. They put him on the same med he was taking for his shingle pain last year for an example.

He was able today to assist in getting on a pair of sweat pants AND he tolerated sitting on the edge of the bed and putting on his SHHS football T-shirt today. Huge jump from the past four days. It has been a good day.

He can have visitors after 4:00 PM. I have better directions. Follow signs to U of O. Turn right on Patterson. Parking garage is on the left. Take elevator to third floor skybridge. Go across skybridge to hospital. Follow signs to Elevator C. Push up button on Elevator but also push small black button on side of elevator. Inside select 5R button. Go through Rehab door. Lynn is in 589 Bed 2. (He is getting a roommate tomorrow.)

If you call Sacred Heart, the number is 541-341-3002. I don't know if that is direct to his phone or if you have to give his room number 589
Please keep praying; it means so much. Gratefully, Nancy

Monday, July 19, 2010

Late MRI - More news tomorrow

It is 6:30 PM. Lynn has waited for his MRI all day. Long story BUT he is in the test right now. It will be late before I get home so I am writing this now for those who check every day. Originally there was a possibility he would have to wait until tomorrow for the MRI so it IS good news it was done today. The waiting has been a lesson about the need for patience. Your prayers have sustained us. Love, Nancy

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quiet Day July 18th

The goal today was to relax and be pain free to be ready for the MRI tomorow. When I got here around 3:00, I would say that the goal had been met. His spirits were good and he was medicated enough to be comfortable. Yeah! His mom visited him for the first time before I came so that was good too. They have asked me to be here early tomorrow so I can speak to his physician team. Please keep praying.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - July 17th

The Good -  The OT helped Lynn put clothes on and he got out of his hospital gown for 3/4ths of the day.
The PT  and aides helped him make a successful slide move into his wheelchair and he took a tour of the Center.
I found out there is a public computer on the floor so I can blog during the day instead of waiting to come home.

The Bad - There was a higher level of back pain today doing these activities in spite of pretty heavy doses of pain medication.  The doctor ordered a post operative MRI to see if there is something visible causing the pain.

The Ugly - Sacred Heart does not do MRIs on the weekends so Lynn had to be transported to River Bend.  When he got there, however, inspite of a pain/med cocktail, he just couldn't take the pain in his lower back for the 45 min. he needed to be flat on his back and still.  They had to stop and send him back to the Center.  The plan now is for him to do this at Sacred Heart on Monday and be under sedation to go through the testing.

Me?  I can handle any changes this event brings except seeing him struggle with this pain,.  Please pray for the doctors that they can determine what is causing this and get a plan to get on top of it.

In gratitude, Nancy

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lynn's new home

This was a long day but a good one.  The transfer from Good Sam to the Rehab Center went very smoothly.  I was very emotional about leaving the wonderful, kind and caring people of the third floor Central Unit.  Lynn received such good and loving care there by all but it was time to go on to the next step.  At Rehab most of the day was taken up by different members of the Rehab team evaluating where Lynn is at to get a baseline picture and begin to set up tomorrow's goals.  These will be set daily and then each week they have a team meeting to discuss progress and then the next week's daily goals.  Many people in this Center have worked there for years and are outstanding at what they do. How do I know this?  Well, a blessing today came from a visit of Lynn's cousin, Marilyn, and her  husband, Tom.  Tom spent five weeks there 15? years ago after suffering a traumatic brain injury.  They were a wealth of information and assurance.

Lynn is continuing to show some small signs of recovery of feeling in the groin area and in his left leg.  The right seems stagnant right now.

I asked about visitors and the y said absolutely but here is what you need to know.

The first week if you were to come before 4:00 on a week day, the visit would last only 10 - 15 minutes tops because that is work time.  After 4:00 is best.  On the weekends, things are a little more relaxed especially on Sundays so duirng the day you may get to stay longer but after 4 is still best.

You would park in the parking garage for Sacred Heart Hospital off of Patterson street.  Take the elevator to floor 5R and follow the signs to Oregon Rehabilitation Center.  Lynn is in room 589.

After the first week this could change.  I'll keep you posted.

That's all for today.  Grateful for all of you!  Nancy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We're on the Move! July16th

I am writing this later in the day because I had to wait for the official word that came late this PM that Lynn will be moved by a private transport company to the Oregon Rehab Center in Eugene tomorrow at 9:30 AM.  There he will begin intensive physical and occupational therapy to get him back home and on with his life.  It will not be easy.  Today he had two grueling sessions with getting into a wheelchair - one successful (afternoon) and one not. (morning).  In the PM session he was able to stay in the chair the longest he has thus far AND I was able to wheel him out of the room and around the center third floor unit one time.  He was exhausted afterwards but this kind of "work" will happen to him 3 times a day in Eugene.
Right now he continues to have more feeling in his left leg each day but he still cannot move his toes on that foot.  His right leg is still pretty paralysed and there is only a tiny amount of feeling.  He also reports he is feeling a little more in his groin area each day so that is good.

His first job at rehab is to stabilize his core area (trunk).  Sitting up in a wheel chair and doing exercises in it will help with that.  He also must strengthen his triceps because he will use his upper body strength for everything.

How is his mental state?  Really amazing given the circumstances.  He has such faith that God is traveling this road with him.  And,as I have said before, your prayers and well wishes sustain Lynn, our kids, and myself.

Visitors?  There will come a time where I know this will be important.  I will let you know through this blog.  Cards, emails, comments on the blog are shared with him and give him much happiness.

Got to go!  I need to get my rest to help Lynn.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Up the Roller Coaster Wed. July 14th

The strategy we developed yesterday plus all the prayers worked!  This AM Lynn was able to move into a wheelchair and sit there for almost an hour!!!!!!!!!!!  This was a huge step forward from yesterday.  He has not had any IV pain meds for almost 24 hours.  Remember this is a criteria for being discharged to the Rehab Center in Eugene.  The spasming in his back is much lessened.  Cold compresses all night and some heat packs this AM have eased the pain from spasms.  Plus a good conversation this AM with the neurosurgery nurse, Vivky Beck, really helped too.  What was happening is that yesterday when the back began to spasm, he was mentally thinking that he was about to relive the initial trauma event.  This, of course, caused him to tense up which resulted in more spasms.  Vicky explained the that the pain he was experiencing in his lower back was from the disc pressing on the spinal cord and that he would NOT experience the total seizing up of his body.  That was over because they did the surgery.  The relief on his face was striking.  Later in the conversation he explained how yesterday he dreaded the PT, Greg, coming in but now he would embrace and look forward to his arrival.  This was a HUGE!!!!!!! mental shift and I believe led to what he did today.  The new plan is for him to go to the Rehab Center tomorrow or Friday.  They have a bed open then.  My new prayer request for him is that he continue to progress here with his physical therapy and that his Fear of the "next step" will be minimized.  I will say this again and again.  The "thought" of all of you praying for him is such a help to both of us and to our children.  I can't imagine going through something like this alone.  God bless all of you!  Nancy

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sudden changes - July13th

This is going to be a roller coaster ride, dear friends!  When I got here this AM, things were not good.  Lynn's lower back was spasming and the pain was intense.  He had to be given IV pain medication.  He can't leave here until he only needs oral pain meds.  This was a set back so his surgical neurology team convened and a new plan was developed.  Goal # 1 - To stop back spasms.  Plan:  A regimen of oral pain medications and continued PT here to stretch and relax those lower back muscles.  Yesterday he was going to go to an interim skilled nursing facility in Albany, i. e. like the Mennonite Home before he went to REHAB. New Plan -  He will go straight to the Oregon Rehab Center in Eugene.  This is excellent news as far as Lynn and I are concerned as these are the experts with spinal cord recovery. We have heard nothing but positive things about the work they do there. To get there, though, he needs to NOT have to have IV pain meds.  So that is what we need prayers for right now.  Thank you so much.

PS  He continues to have more feeling in his left leg and foot but there is a slight improvement on the right - not much a little.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, July 12th

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers for Lynn and his situation.  It has truly held him up during this incredibly difficult, and life changing time.  Let me try to explain what happened.  In the early morning hours of Saturday Lynn experienced a ruptured thoracic disc in the T-10 area of his spine.  This is an extremely rare occurence (the neurosurgeon last performed this kind of emergency surgery 5 years ago!)
The rupture caused his body to seize up and evetually the discs pressing on his spinal cord caused first paralysis in his right side from above his belly button on down and then on his left side.   He was operated on to remove the disc pieces and the operation was completely successful from a technical stand point (no further damage to the spinal cord).  Right after surgery,however, he still showed paralysis from the waist down.

Why did this happen?  Lynn did nothing to cause this.  It was a combination of his skeletal makeup and the aging process.  It was not caused by any event.  The doctors keep repeating that so Lynn stops feeling responsible.  

Where are we as of today?  Well, each day there is some feeling returning to some parts of his lower body.  Is it enough to have hope he will be able to walk again? Not sure yet.  So keep the prayers of healing flowing!  He did survive two PT (physical therapy) sessions today.  PT right now consists of him tring to sit unassisted at the side of his bed for 15 minutes.  Tomorrow they will try to get him into a chair to do this.  His right leg has little feeling but his left leg is better.  No real toe movement yet and that is key I gather.

I hope this isn't more info. than you want to know.  It is amazing how grateful you become for even the smallest improvements, i.e. rolling into a new postion, for instance, with less pain and more fluid motion.  Things get stripped down to the very basics.

Again, thank you so much, all of you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unexpected News

Most of you know by now that Lynn had an unexpected disturbance to his life on the morning of July 9th. Two discs in his upper spinal column ruptured leaving him paralyzed from the chest area down. He had emergency surgery in Corvallis to clean the rupture, but time will tell as to the permanent damage his body has taken.

This blog has been started so Nancy can let us all know the progress Lynn is making through his recovery efforts. As of today, Lynn has minimal feeling in his left knee area and has been able to move his left foot ever so slightly. He is expected to be at the hospital in Corvallis for another two to three days and then transported to a rehabilitation center in Eugene. Please keep Lynn, Nancy and all their family in your prayers through this journey of faith, frustration, strength and the celebration of small miracles.