Melinda has been doing very well at Kindred Hospital. It’s amazing how strong her body is! The strong antibiotic needed to knock out the ecoli infection caused some kidney damage and an enlarged heart, but both those conditions have improved and she’s been regaining her strength. Monday she has an appt. to consult with a urologist to have the kidney stones removed. Hopefully transport will go smoothly. Medically Melinda doesn’t need to be at Kindred anymore -subacute level of care. But once again I believe God is working in His wonderful way to extend her stay there. Another Kindred hospital in Orange County is dealing with a CDC level breakout of a bad bacteria, so none of their patients from any location have been able to be transferred out until the CDC clears them. Which has worked well for us since my sister has been able to receive a higher level of care than her condition calls for - according to insurance standards. I have no idea where she’ll be transferred to when it happens. We WILL NOT go back to her previous long term facility! So prayers for a wonderful facility willing to take her. We are also dealing with insurance issues once again - prayers for wisdom and the untangling of a complicated situation there. Finally, prayers for Melinda’s Peace of mind and spirit as so much happens around her that she probably doesn’t understand. Her communication is still very limited and her memory is almost nonexistent - short and long term. But in a way I think that helps her mentally to not stress over everything. She exists for today, this moment, and for now that is a blessing.
The previous journal entry should have been posted last Wednesday, but I guess I failed to follow through! We expected Melinda to get discharged on Thursday, but her ‘home away from home’ didn’t have space for isolation - necessary until she’s finished the antibiotics. Friday morning she experienced a seizure and was moved to a new floor that treats patients in that area so they could keep a close eye on what was happening. She experienced one more in the afternoon, but the cause was most likely her antibiotic. Once they switched her meds, she hasn’t had any more complications. So the next concern was where they would discharge her to. Our wonderful patient advocate insisted on Kindred Brea - a facility I visited 16 months ago and really wanted for her, but they didn’t have space. I’m thankful to say she is being transported there right now! We’ve prayed for a new place for her for over a year, and once again, it’s amazing to see how God answers prayer! So for tonight and the next few days, prayers that the transition is smooth, the my sister is comfortable, and that the facility lives up to my hopes, and continued healing.
Melinda is doing very well! The surgery to bypass the kidney stones went great. The infection numbers are all going in the right direction. She’s awake and alert and seems to be perfectly comfortable. Hoag is a wonderful hospital with a great staff. We’re both enjoying watching HGTV together - something she hasn’t had access. The kidney stones will be removed in a couple of weeks when there’s no trace of infection. Thank you all for the many prayers and support
Melinda is doing pretty well. Vitals are all good. No fever. But they’ve discovered kidney stones creating a blockage. She doesn’t seem uncomfortable and says she feels ok. Tomorrow morning they will insert a tube to bypass the blockage. When the infection is cleared they’ll remove the stones. I’m amazed at how strong her body and spirit are! I know it’s the Holy Spirit within her giving her the strength she needs.
Today the lab results came back and show that Melinda has an ecoli infection that is resistant to antibiotics so they’ve put her on something much stronger until they isolate the DNA and can pinpoint the correct antibiotic. It sounds grim, but she was looking better and very wide awake and alert today and no fever. So God is at work healing her already and making her stronger. So grateful for your prayers! She’ll probably be in the hospital until Tuesday and another round of labs comes back.
Melinda does have a little bit of pneumonia in addition to the UTI so they are admitting her. But her breathing and heart rates are much better. They just want to get her hydrated and the strong antibiotics in her before sending her ‘home’. Prayers for peace and comfort.
Soooo sorry an update is long overdue! I can blame it in part on tech challenges, but still... Melinda has been doing well - no huge changes, but definitely some positive steps. Because I’m around her so often it’s hard to see her advancements. But when I stop and think about where we were 6 months ago, I know she is much more aware and interacting on a higher level. When we FaceTime with my little granddaughters, my sister smiles the whole time, waves at them, makes short comments, and even joined me in singing the ABC song once. On good days I FEEL my sister’s personality and presence in a comforting way. She’s takes part in real conversation with me.
Two new steps forward on treatment to tell you. She is undertaking a 6 week sound wave therapy for increasing brain function. Using sound waves isn’t new, just new to me. The doctor treating her works with the Pentagon on treatments for PTSD and stress in the military. He’s treated stroke patients, accident victims, and more. He studied her MRIs and imbeds specific sound waves in relaxing music and all she has to do is listen. Each week he tests her progress and adjusts the protocols. This is week one. I’m so very grateful for the Go Fund Me money that makes this possible!
Today was a very exciting step forward. A new physical therapist at her facility worked with her and got her standing up using support equipment! First time a therapist has worked with her in months due to lack of progress in the past. Insurance won’t cover. She did foot lifting exercises while standing, amazing the therapist at the amount of muscle tone she retains after 17 months in bed. He will work with her again tomorrow and Friday. If she continues to respond over the next 2 days, he can report the progress to insurance and that should trigger coverage. So prayers for the next 2 days that she will be alert and participating in the therapy. And prayers that the music therapy will be effective. Lindy still seems to be calm and at peace psychologically, so thankful prayers for that.
On a a funner note, she nibbled at her favorite See’s candy - a Bordeaux egg - for a special Easter treat!
Since her swallow test turned out so well last week I decided to treat her today. I brought Lindy French fries and a chocolate shake from In-n-Out and boy did she gobble down the fries (minus several that disappeared in transport😁)! I was tickled to see her truly enjoy something for the first time in over a year. When she got down to the small crispy pieces at the bottom I asked if she was done, but no, she was determined to eat those too! She liked the chocolate shake, but didn't have a lot of it. I'll work on bringing more nourishing foods in the future, but this was pure fun!
Time just flies and I can't believe it's been so long since I gave you an update. Melinda is still at Newport. I've learned a lot about the relationship between insurance companies and facilities - Blue Shield in particular. They are not well-liked because of their slow approval and payment process and so facilities find other excuses to exclude a patient. No progress on finding a nicer place, unfortunately.
But my sister is receiving decent care and physical therapy. Two big goals that we could use your prayers on is getting weaned from the feeding tube and progressing to a wheelchair. Friday she passed an important test towards eating more normal food - a barium swallow test. So now she can progress to more solid food, not just the unappetizing pureed food she is reluctant to eat. One step forward!
Yesterday we Facetimed with her niece and 3 month old grand niece. Melinda had a smile on her face, was engaged in the conversation, and told them "I love you" when we said goodbye. It was a good day! Prior to that she didn't want me to clip her fingernails and grouched a little about rushing her to spread lotion on her hands by herself. Both reactions were so good to see as they are indications of her asserting her will and knowing her own mind again, as opposed to being completely passive. Little by little, sometimes unnoticeably, Melinda is coming back.
Thursday I think she was reading from a Thomas Keller book on her own! She didn't want to read aloud, but she told me what it was about. Communication is still difficult as words come out scrambled much of the time, but I think she knows what she's saying, even if we don't yet.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support!
It's been an incredible blessing since Dec. 2 to see how many people care about my sister and are praying for her! A friend guided me to this website as a way for you to hear how my sister, Melinda, is doing in her recovery since her tragic fall from a ladder putting up Christmas lights.
She is a resident in a sub-acute healthcare center in Costa Mesa, CA. Recovery is very slow, but there is progress. The first month after the accident she was in a coma or vegetative state. The 2nd month she was awake, but unresponsive. This last 4-6 weeks we have seen her attentively listen at times, nod her head at questions, track things with her eyes, and even show small controlled movements with her right hand - swiping through photos on a phone! It's unclear how much she understands since she is unable to speak due to a tracheotomy performed at UCLA after the accident. I believe she recognizes family and friends because she definitely perks up when we are with her. Hopefully she will soon be returning to UCLA for surgery to put her bone flap back in place on her skull.
According to neurologists this is a critical period in her recovery to have as much brain stimulation as possible. So visitors are welcome! You might not detect a response in her, or she might sleep through your visit, but she is definitely aware on some level. If you are interested in visiting her please email me for more information.
Please continue to pray for my sister - for healing and the peace that passes all understanding. Pray for the process I am struggling to work through with insurance, disability, and financial resources.
One promise and comfort I cling to throughout all of this is that my sister is still the child of God He made her to be. Circumstance have certainly changed. But His promises, love, mercy, and grace are still hers through her baptism. God is good and he is holding her in His hands. I don't know what His plans are for her, but I know they are good. Cathy, Melinda's sister