This CaringBridge site that has been created to keep friends and family updated about Liesl's progress since her injury on August 10, 2008.
(More... click "Read My Story" below)
Liesl was in a car crash on the night of August 10, 2008, after she left her brother's wedding reception near Shreveport LA.
She was the only person in her car and she was hit by another car with only one occupant. (He suffered only mild injuries.)
Liesl was transported by ambulance, within minutes, to the LSU hospital in Shreveport. Although she sustained no exterior injuries, she was in a coma as a result of the crash (that is, the coma was not medically induced), and she remained in the coma for 16 days. She officially sustained a “closed head injury”. We later found out that Liesl had in fact sustained bruises on her brain stem. Thankfully, and miraculously, it appears that she did not suffer diffuse brain injury which would have been expected in such a crash.
She began to awake from the depth of the coma on August 26. “Waking from a coma” does not happen in real life like it does on television, as we soon discovered. It takes place over many months. We have been told that such a recovery generally takes place over 12-24 months.
By the time she left Louisiana, the tubes that had been placed in order to drain fluids from her brain to relieve inner cranial pressure had been removed. She still had a feeding tube and trach tube in place, however.
Liesl was transferred from the LSU hospital in Shreveport on August 29 to Baptist Restorative Care (Long Term Acute Care Hospital) in Memphis TN. There, she continued the work of waking, although her movement was extremely limited. When she left the Restorative Care Unit, Liesl was able to move all of her limbs (some better than others), sit and hold her head up for a couple of minutes at a time, and speak. Her trach tube was removed just prior to her discharge, which made speaking possible, although difficult.
On October 3, she was well enough to move to the Baptist Rehabilitation Center in Germantown TN. While at Baptist Rehab, she gained strength through intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapies for 3-5 hours each day. She used a wheelchair to get around, and started using a walker in therapy classes. By the end of her stay at Baptist Rehab, she was able to transfer herself from her bed to wheelchair with minimal assistance, was beginning to take slow steps on a treadmill, and could engage in her activities for several hours each day. Her last tubes were removed (feeding tube was the last to go!) and she was able to eat pureed foods, and some soft mechanical foods. In her last few days there, she started drinking fluids (although very carefully).
On November 7, Liesl moved to Irving TX for more intense and directed therapies. At the Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS), she continues to participate in physical, occupational, and speech therapies, along with educational and counseling sessions each day. She has 6 hours of scheduled “classes” each day. At the end of the day, she takes a CNS bus to her apartment about 4 miles away. There, she continues to work on her daily living skills, such as planning her menus, preparing and cleaning up after her meals, and going on outings to movies, church, restaurants, and stores. She can do some of the work involved in these activities, and is helped by a full-time caregiver to do those things she cannot do on her own.
As of late November, she is not able to walk on her own, but generally operates from a wheelchair. However, she is gaining strength and balance daily, and we sure expect her to be walking on her own without the aid of her walker as time goes on.
We are so happy that Liesl seems to have retained her great sense of humor, as well as her long term memory. She seems to remember what she learned at St Louis University. (For example, while at Rehab, her Dad asked her a Calculus question, which she answered quickly and correctly, even though her last exposure to the subject was during her Freshman year at SLU!). She has short-term memory loss at this time, but this is something one would expect with her type of injury. And, this is a major area being addressed at CNS.
The support given to Liesl and her family on this Caringbridge Site, as well as the numerous emails, letters, gifts, meals, and prayers, as sustained Liesl and her family through some difficult days. Liesl and her family thank you and wish you all Great Blessings from Our Wonderful God.
I want to let you know that that this is going to be my final Caringbridge update.I feel I have progressed enough to discontinue writing about my progress.But as I sign off, I want to tell you a few things I am happy about:
I am progressing on my weight loss; I am still a few pounds away from my normal weight, but I have already lost ten pounds – and that’s exciting for me.I am guessing that I will lose much more over the next few months, and when I begin running, things will get only better. Also, I have great opportunities to work out at my father’s university facilities this year, as I did today.I plan to exercise every day. Call me if you really want an update, but be aware know that my voice is not quite right yet!!
My walking is slowly getting faster.Everyday I can feel improvements, even though I may not be able to see them right away.I have a feeling I’ll be running soon! :)
Again I would like to thank everyone who has kept up with my progress.Today, several people at my father’s university (Christian Brothers University) told me that they were still keeping up with me on here.Even for those who I am still not aware of them checking up on me, I really appreciate it.
Finally, I would like to re-thank my family (both immediate and extended) for all their support and assistance during this past year.Every kind word and encouragement has been very important to me.
So, yes, this is my final post.I hope everyone has a blessed end of the year, and that your future years are wonderful.
(This is the time that you should finally just sign your name in my guestbook…I want to see who read this when I’ve updated!)