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December
14
2018

Dec 13, 2018 - Counting the days to Christmas!

It’s been over 3 months since Caroll came home and I am in awe of his determination to heal!! He looks amazing and his great spirit, humor and courage are contagious. I have a feeling this is going to be a “magically blessed Christmas!!! 

As we get closer to bringing this unbelievable year to a close, we wanted to check in and update you!! 

Caroll’s Progress Update

We want to share that on Nov 16, Caroll had a surgical procedure and had an internal  cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted. The procedure was fast and very successful. Dr Mazel performed the surgery at the Washington Hospital Center. Caroll was back home the next day 😊

“An ICD is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate. Thin wires connect the ICD to your heart. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat if your heart is beating chaotically and much too fast. ICDs have been very useful in preventing sudden death in patients with known, sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. Studies have shown that they may have a role in preventing cardiac arrest in high-risk patients who haven't had, but are at risk for, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.”

In simple terms, if he were to have another cardiac arrest episode, this defibrillator will automatically shock him and restart his heart! Just another preventative step. I must admit, after this procedure, my levels of anxiety have slowly decreased! It’s such a relief to know he has this extra protective measure now in place. The recovery time is fast, after 1 month (Dec 16) he goes back to all his normal activities. The new heart technology continues to amaze us! 

Therapies

Caroll has now completed both his Physical and Speech therapies. He is committed to the rigor and disciple of his Occupational Therapy and his Cardio Rehab sessions which continue 3 times a week.  He is doing great and it keeps him in fine form, getting that heart pumping is the goal. He is also practicing walking without his cane and doing really well with that too. 

Eye Therapy 

Most recently he began neurological eye therapy, to address his left vision neglect. We go once a week to see Dr Benshir, who specializes in neurological optometry. She is an expert in helping stroke victims overcome their vision challenges. She explained this is not “an eye thing, rather a brain thing.” Meaning Caroll’s sight is fine, it’s the brain connections signaling to his eyes that are bit off. She saw him during his hospital stay and commented that he has made great progress since then. The brain will continue to heal but added eye rehab will jump start the recovery!! 

A Social Butterfly

Caroll keeps so busy with his social life that I can’t keep up. He recently enjoyed attending his 1976 Good Counsel HS reunion where he reconnected with his buddies. 

He also attended his first Holiday Party at our son Andrew’s home. He cooked his famous Italian Sausages!!  

We enjoyed The Beach Boys in concert with our friends Billie and MaryJo! 

He has has gone to lunches with friends and walks with neighbors. As well as catching up with faraway friends and family by phone. 

He joined me to attend a church holiday luncheon and silent auction. We also attended our friend’s Santa Baby Bazaar! 

The 4 Majors Musketeers also escaped for a week to Bethany Beach for much needed R & R. A special time to heal! 

Back to his Projects

We had new garage doors installed and a new master bedroom closet installed with Caroll overseeing everything! Thank goodness he was there, he is so knowledgeable!  

He has completed several projects such as installing speakers, drywall and painting and purchasing replacement parts for our dishwasher and instant hot!  He also diagnosed an engine warning light in my car and we took it to the shop to get it corrected! He’s back!! 

As you can see Caroll hasn’t missed a beat, he seems to savor life just a little bit more now ❤️

As we welcome this “special” holiday season, it hasn’t escaped me how truly blessed our family is to have Caroll with us. We want to give thanks to everyone for your continued friendship and encouragement for Caroll. This is the true spirit of Christmas, friends and family sharing love and caring for one another.

From the Majors home to yours we wish you Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful families! And we pray for the beginning of a special and joyful New Year!!🎄❤️ 🙏🏻🎄

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October
5
2018

Oct 5, 2018 - 1 Month Later

It’s been exactly one month since Caroll returned home!  It is also my birthday, one that I will cherish forever! He is my best gift.  

 

Home healing is the best therapy! 

 

Since he has immersed back into his ordinary life, Caroll continues to make more significant recovery.  Sleeping in his own bed brings him so much peace and a profound sleep he has needed. Preparing his coffee, walking down to get his paper in the mornings are part of his daily routines again.  His home is a safe haven. He does need constant watch and walking assistance with his cane. Doctors have instructed that he cannot be by himself.  However, I find that everyday he is getting more self sufficient and stable. While I am alongside, spotting him, guiding him, I know the safety of our home is the right place for his healing. Walking in his garden, feeding his fish in his pond and just listening to the birds brings him so much happiness. 

 

Chef Caroll is back!  

 

He has started cooking again!  Making French toast, a tasty salmon, bacon, omelettes.  He hasn’t lost his culinary skills.  Part of his occupational therapy is encouraging him to use his ordinary skills and abilities. Getting back to doing the things he loves to do. While we have to be vigilant of the stove, sharp knives, hot water, etc. he so much enjoys his kitchen. He also made his first Costco run, he was in heaven, he loves that place. 

 

Zoom zoom .... my Miata!  

 

Cecilia Marie moved home for a little bit which was a huge help!  Lots of daily medicines and exercises. She also treated Caroll to his long awaited spin in his beloved convertible Miata!  Given that he will be unable to drive for at least 3 - 6 months, this was special for him!  

 

Caroll the builder!

 

He finally got back to a “home” project, that would be at Andrew’s home. Before this event, they had some kitchen cabinets ordered. Finally, last weekend Caroll put on his work clothes and between his guidance and Andrew’s muscle they began putting them together.  He also assisted Andrew as he installed his new Nest thermostat!  Andrew was so pleased to have his “mentor” back!

 

Endurance and strength

 

One of the important lessons for a stroke survivor is to learn how to conserve his energy.  Those are both his physical and cognitive energies. Caroll has to build energy reserves, as his brain depletes them faster than a normal person. So if we have an outing later in the day, Caroll has to rest in the morning and not exhaust himself. Therefore, he still requires long naps and rest periods. We have learned to adjust and everyday I see him able to last a little longer. But I can assure you by 7:00pm, you will find Caroll in bed, after a long day. 

 

Outpatient Therapies!

 

He is well into his new rehab appointments, three times a week!  Fortunately they are 3 min from home at the MedStar Montgomery General Hospital. He is undergoing physical, occupational, speech and has added cardio rehab! 

 

He is walking up to 30 min a day, which we have been building up to. Caroll said that is 7/10 ths of a mile. Sometimes he walks with his friends or neighbors who come to pay a visit.  One day we hope to get back to our daily 2 mile walks! 

 

Look in Leftlandia....

 

We heard that phrase in the hospital, which is our way to remind Caroll to scan to the left when seeing things. He still continues to work on his “left neglect vision.”  This was caused by the stroke and is a lack of awareness of visual space to the left. Lots of his therapy work is focused on this.  

 

Cardio Updates

 

Alongside his stroke recovery, are his next steps with his heart care!  Since leaving the hospital we have been busy with Dr. Gallino, his cardiologist. He has undergone an eco cardiogram and a nuclear stress test. The doctor will make a final determination about a further need for a defibrillator (external or internal).  All his initial reports are showing positive signs of his heart functions with good blood pressure. We monitor him daily.

 

Making New Memories

 

Caroll does not remember too much about his event. His recollections are a bit vague, maybe that’s for the best. Since many of us wish we could forget them!  He is determined to move forward, continue healing and re-engage back to having fun in life!  We do a lot of celebrating now. Seems like everything is more precious now and we realize the importance of spending quality time, making new memories!  We have had lots of visitors, phone calls, mail, etc. Thank you all for your generosity and for keeping Caroll in your thoughts and prayers! 

 

I have been asked repeatedly on keeping this journal updated, so you can continue to stay informed of Caroll’s progress! He sends hellos, hugs and love to everyone!

 

Blessings to all of you and please remember how special life is, give a warmhug to your loved ones today!

 

The Majors Family

 

September
12
2018

Mixed feelings of remembrance & blessings today!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 🕯

 

We can’t help but recognize the importance of this day and remember all the lives lost. 🙏🏻

And what a blessing It truly is to have Caroll home now for 7 days!  It seems surreal when I look over in the middle of the night and watch him sleeping. I put my hand over his heart and feel that steady beat and the warmth of his presence. God is good!  

 

Caroll is so happy to be home. His beautiful smile never seems to fade. From his first day to now he has become more at ease in his familiar surroundings. He feeds his fish in his pond! He picks up his mail. He loves sleeping in his own bed the most I think. Little things we take for granted are special!

 

Cecilia Marie moved back home for 2 weeks and has taken over his daily therapy regiment!

Caroll says she is stricter than the hospital staff.  With daily walks, warm ups and warm downs, Ceci monitors her Dad’s progress.  There are daily medicines to be administered, blood pressure and vitals to be recorded!  He needs supervision 24/7.  He is walking with his cane and everyday we see him increase his endurance and confidence levels.  He is slowly becoming stronger and longs to get back to his daily routines.  

 

Outpatient Therapies 

 

Yesterday he started his outpatient rehab therapies, which he will undergo 2 days a week at our local Montgomery General hospital. PT, OT, and ST all are great and look forward to helping him. We have also scheduled his doctor follow ups.  

 

Highlights of his return home!

 

You would think that all would be calm and quiet after such a long ordeal, but that’s not our Caroll!!

 

The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew

We attended services this past Sunday, which was Caroll’s first official outing. He wanted very much to give thanks. This church is very special to us, it is my sisters church and they have been generous lifting Caroll up in prayers. The pastor welcomed him back by name and the congregation broke out in applause!  Caroll felt like a celebrity!  They described him as a “living testimony.” A very special moment 🙏🏻

 

We are also thankful for his daily visitors who have welcomed him back with love & lots of home cooked meals this week!  My family has been incredible visiting and making sure Mr. Majors is well fed.  Thank you to the Winters, Choquettes, Taramonas, Janice & Bill, Erica & Dario, Caswells, Drehers, Sandra and Matathias for your gracious attention & yummy food this week!  Also a shout out to all the visitors who have dropped by this week; Steve, Mateo, Billy, TJ, Mike and Caroline.  Of course a thanks to all previous visitors too. Also, we appreciate you chatting with him by phone, he loves his callers and if I let him, he would be on the phone all day long. 

 

And God bless his Good Counsel friends, they are plotting to steal him for a “Happy Hour.”  We are currently negotiating the “terms and conditions” of this release!! 👮‍♀️😍

 

Special thank you from Caroll!

 

Caroll would like me to share his deep and heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has prayed for him and has sent him loving thoughts.  He says he feels blessed for this love and support and that it has contributed tremendously to his recovery!  We are forever grateful!  Thank you so very much ❤️

 

Visiting

 

Caroll welcomes your visits and calls.  Please let us know if you want to stop by.  Also his number is 3014667590, feel free to text or call him, he checks it all day long, what a teenager! 

 

He does go to sleep early around 7:00pm and Mon and Wed he is tied up with therapy appointments.  If we can work around that, it would be greatly appreciated!! 

 

There is no place like home ❤️

 

The Majors Family

September
6
2018

He is safely home ❤️🙏🏻❤️!”

September
4
2018

Sisters of Calcutta ~ Mother Theresa Center

As we wait for 1 more day here at the hospital, Caroll was graced with a visit from the Sisters of Calcutta from the Mother Theresa Center!

They gave him a special blessing and prayed for his healing. They also left him with a silver medallion. When they learned he was being released tomorrow they were joyful. They shared that Sep 5th is the Feast Day of Mother Theresa and to pray to her for a safe journey home. I truly believe God is sending a message to Caroll, so much recovery and a real testament of his faith!  I wanted to share this special moment. 🙏🏻

September
2
2018

They say home is where the ❤️ heart is!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

 

With over 2,000 site visits, Caroll’s Caring Bridge journal rolls into month #3!  They say the 3rd time is a charm and for our beautiful Caroll it may be true. Under God’s watchful eyes and prayers from all over the world, Caroll is finally coming home!

 

His Doctors gave us his official release date of Wednesday, Sep 5th. We are beyond gratefulNeedless to say Caroll has already packed his bags and counting down the days ~ 3 more to go!  

 

His medical status: 

 

He has been a model rehab patient. Attending each therapy session, battling fatigue, following instructions, learning from all his coaching, making friends with other patients, understandingp his limitations, and showing his determination to overcome them.  He is a very impressive individual, but I think we all knew that about him.  Nurse Fudee said today, “Your husband is a very special man.”  Yes he is. 

 

He will still need additional therapy, but it will be outpatient, twice a week at Montgomery General Hospital, which is 3 min from home! We are happy about that.

 

He is walking well with the assistance of a cane for balance until he can build up his endurance. He will not need either a wheelchair or a walker. He has gained back 10 pounds and is eating very healthy! His PT regiments are now like having a “personal trainer.”  We asked John (PT), if we can take him home with us, he has been so great and encouraging. He walked 720 steps the last time!

 

His speech therapist continues to work with him!to help improve his reading and writing.  Eye coordination for his left neglect will be a primary issue.  Dr Lin, specifically said, he will recover fully from this with time.  Hence driving in 3 months is possible!!

 

I think Caroll will miss Olivia, his Occupational Therapist, the most. She has been hands on, working on all aspects of returning to normal day to day activities. She even got him to do yoga!  She has indicated that he needs to continue to stay connected to his “community activities” like going out to restaurants or movies with friends. She said the key is learning to conserve his energy, by practicing pacing himself, resting and getting plenty of sleep.  She has trained Ceci and I too, teaching us caregiving techniques to help Caroll.  

 

It’s all a little bit scary....I will admit! 

 

A lot of thoughts go through my mind, wondering if we are ready to help him at home. What if something else happens? What if he falls? But Caroll once again, puts me at ease. He said to me, “I am going to be good, you don’t have to worry about me. I just want to come home, it’s time.”  Love him so much and yes it’s been too long being apart, the house misses him too!  

 

Surviving such an ordeal would have been impossible without your compassion, kindness and support. The prayers you bestowed on Caroll’s behalf were heard. We are forever grateful!  

 

Stay tuned for some homecoming updates.

 

Just remember God makes the impossible possible! 

 

❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️

 

August
29
2018

45 Days & Counting...,,

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
 
It has been 45 days since Caroll’s event.  In talking with many of you throughout this ordeal, I get insightful perspectives of the magnitude of this life changing experience. Sometimes I am so close to it, that I have to step back to embrace the impact this has had on so many lives.  Many of you have openly expressed how scared you were, how deeply you were moved and how important Caroll is to you.  I have a new found respect for the beautiful impact his life has had with people and how truly loved he is by all of you.  Thank you for being there for him!
 
Most recently, when visitors come to see him and see how incredibly wonderful he is and back to “his old self” he is, they are moved to tears.  It touches me deeply to see that humanity and expressions of affection for him. Sometimes he gets caught off guard and listens as people relive their “fears” with him, of those tense times. I watch his face and I wonder how much he remembers. Caroll has a tremendous ability to overcome adversity.  His positive spirit and empathy is contagious and he quickly reacts to put people at ease. This even includes his miracle worker Dr. Gallino, who visited yesterday and conveyed his deep relief for his remarkable recovery. He said “I have been doing this over 30 years and I have never seen anything like this!”  Caroll is a real live “hero” in this story!
 
Updates on Caroll
 
It’s been about 1 week in his NRH journey.  It feels surreal to continue to report on his epic progress, but it really is a “miracle.”  I feel like we overuse the word, but you will agree there is no other word to describe it.  I have been told over and over, that this facility is the best in the country for rehab, and it has lived up to that reputation!  
 
Caroll is now walking with a cane and today he practiced walking without one. His balance continues to get better and better.  His mobility on the left side has returned. Now, it’s about building his endurance, balance and muscles. Maybe it’s the 7 hour daily rigorous regime he goes through. Possibly, it’s his own body coming back at an incredible rate.  Or I believe, God continues to carry him through this journey to wellness. I guess it’s a bit of all of the above.  
 
They have a replica floor with a car, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, bank ATMs, stairs, etc. They take patients through these simulations, as they prepare them to return to their daily lives. This week they learned of his culinary skills and will be cooking with him. They better be careful, he will be grilling up a gourmet meal for everyone!
 
Along with PT, OT and ST, he has undergone neurological psychiatric evaluations. This is common for stroke victims.  It’s testing through a series of questions and discussions, proving his mental health. Grateful to report that he shows a healthy outlook here, especially with the love and support he is surrounded with. 
 
Doctors answers to some of his questions:
 
* No driving for 3 to 6 months
* No alcohol for 1 year
* No plane travel until next spring
 
Cover your ears, he asked about sex of course! 
Answer: Wear the LifeVest and be creative!
Leave it to my husband, after all he has been through, making this one of his top questions! 
He’s back 💘 
 
Here is some more good news. I was also informed that we do not need to make any modifications to our home, as he will be walking on his own, probably with just a cane for assistance. The only recommendation they made, is to add bars inside the shower, which is something we all need as we age in place.  This was a relief to hear! 
 
A possible light at the end of the tunnel!
 
The doctors are already discussing a possible “release date” for sometime next week. Unimaginable, we are seeing a light at the end of this very long tunnel!  Don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, so please stay tuned.  He will continue to do outpatient rehab after he leaves here. But at least I will have him back home! ❤️
 
A hospital stay just isn’t the same without a special daughter’s manicure for her Dad! Cecilia keeps him well groomed 😍
 
We thank you for keeping Caroll in your prayers throughout this journey!  If you wouldn’t mind saying a little “extra” prayers “to bring him home safely!”
 
God bless to each of you and we are so grateful that you are in Caroll’s life!
 
Judy, Cecilia & Andrew
 
 
 

August
25
2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

Updates on Caroll

Caroll is breaking in an entire new set of doctors, therapists, nurses and attendants at the Cardiac & Stroke unit at NRH.

NRH - An Acute Rehab Experience 

The first day, Caroll underwent intense assessments with all the doctors & therapists. He is working with. Dr Lynn, his attending doctor (the big boss, overseeing everyone caring for Caroll) she is excellent! She immediately connected with Dr. Gallino too. And she gave us praise and encouraging words, when she learned about how all this unfolded. From the CPR to the life saving events. We talked to her in length and she asked Caroll what his goals are. Simply stated, he said “he wants to go home!” Along with the PT, OT and ST, they are coordinating their efforts to meet the recovery goals for Caroll. 

At this hospital they work him from 7:00am until 4:00pm, literally. They share a printed daily schedule with him of his activities. He took his first shower as part of his recovery. The Cardio rehab nurses are well trained. They help him be independent, assisting him in grooming himself, eating, preparing for his therapy sessions, picking out clothes, and letting him dress himself. Always with cautious, attentive assistance. Finally, he likes the food! I must agree it’s good! He has a daily menu of options to pick from, so more his culinary style!  

They have state of the art rehab gym facility and equipment here. Yesterday, he walked for the first time with a walker!  He also climbed stairs. He had a 1 hour session with his Speech Therapist. And his occupational therapist, gave us an excellent prognosis, based on his progress. She said most likely he will be here less than 2 weeks. At which point she mentioned, he will be ready to go home. After such an ordeal, I couldn’t believe I was hearing such long awaited words.  

Here the nurses and attendants work as a team to administer the doctor and therapists’ guidelines during his stay. He has an assigned wheelchair and walker to help transport him, and he will graduate to a cane as he shows more strength and endurance in his recovery.  

Lessons to be learned...

I believe that there is a lesson to be learned from Caroll’s strength through all of this. Just imagine going through this traumatic event and having to continuously adjust to new hospital settings, medical personnel and new routines. This, while your brain is healing and rewiring.  Even for a healthy individual it can be exhausting, frustrating and overwhelming.  It is for me, but I soldier on knowing if Caroll can do it, then I can too!  Caroll takes it in stride, being courteous, adaptable and making friends. It’s a team effort, we are here for one another. Even as he recovers, he is very considerate of my well being.  That is what I love about him, always taking good care of me. He shares his meals with me, he encourages me to go home at a decent time, he holds my hand with promises of us being together soon. He continues to bring me much needed smiles. ❤️

They have a beautiful outside garden which we strolled through today as a family. It has a pond with koi, his favorite. He also has a room with a beautiful view!  

One day at a time, step by step!  

Visiting & Mail

If you would like to visit, we suggest after 4:00pm during the week. During the day, just like a college kid, Mr. Majors has a very tight learning schedule.  Weekends are a little more flexible as he has no therapies. Just let me know, 3014667591, if you would like to stop by, he wants to see everyone! 

Cards, flowers, etc are all encouraged! Here is his new address: 

Caroll Majors
MedStar National Rehab Hospital
East Building
2nd Floor, Room 211b
102 Irving Street NW
Washington DC 20010

Caroll personally asked me to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. He is also inviting everyone to our annual Halloween Party!  I love it!

We thank the Lord for his continued blessing and his loving grace, as Caroll continues his recovery!

 

Judy, Cecilia & Andrew