I’m happy to let you know that everything is going well at Melinda’s Long term home-away-from-home. The staff seem willing and intent on accommodating our preferences and wishes for Melinda’s care. That has not been the case at other places! The management is working hard to create a wonderful atmosphere there and all of the staff are friendly, helpful, and seem happy to be there. The plan is for Melinda to be in a wheelchair three times a day and spend a couple of hours in the recreation room so she can be out with others and be stimulated by the activity around her. The long summer months were spent entirely within four walls and was depressing for me, so I can only imagine how hard it was for her!
The speech therapist is on board with my request to at least get her to the point of being able to eat and drink again for oral gratification, not expecting to reach the point of meeting all her nutritional needs that way. I want to bring her French fries again, fruit cups, tea & scones, chocolate - anything to brighten her life a bit. So prayers that she can reach that point again would be appreciated.
Some days Melinda sleeps through my visits, but other days she’s very awake and responsive and cracks me up with her candor. I am comforted by my sister’s true company on those days. They don’t happen frequently, but are so sweet when they do!
Her birthday is Oct.31, so if anyone would like to send a card for me to share with her, you can mail it to my house: 2027 East Mount Vernon Ave. Orange, CA 92868
I was taken by surprise that my sister was being moved to her new long term home-away-from-home last Monday already! A bed opened up so they moved her late Monday evening. This is the place only 5-10 minutes from my house, so life will be considerably easier for me. BUT, the most important thing is that the care is excellent. Too soon to tell, but the staff I’ve met so far have been friendly. Yesterday I was playing some music for her from my phone for awhile, including Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise Up”. A nurse came in and asked about the music and if it was music my sister liked. Yes, I replied. She thanked me and told me how much she liked it and how much the songs touched her heart. We talked about the lyrics for a few minutes and the hope they speak of for all people who put their hope in Jesus. That was all there was to the conversation, but it reminded me once again that God has a plan for all of us and puts us where He wants us. My sister’s life still serves to glorify God!
Melinda finally moved to a new healthcare center this week- St. Elizabeth’s in Fullerton. I had a chance to visit it prior to the move and really liked the atmosphere. Melinda seems to be settling in well. I was VERY excited to hear that they’ve already had her in a wheelchair and washing her hands at a sink as part of occupational therapy! We’ve always been told she can’t go in a wheelchair because she’s not strong enough. Finally someone tried it and she had no problem! I’m hoping this is the beginning of many steps forward after so long with no improvement due, in my humble opinion, to no one believing she’s capable of more. But if you know my sister, you know her iron strong will and determination! So if any of that is still in her I know she can and will get stronger if given a chance! We’ve been praying for this change for so long and as always, God’s timing is perfect. The plan is to move her to a sister facility as soon as they have a bed available and that location is only 5 minutes or so from my house. I’ll be happy to stop making the long drives on our So Cal freeways!
Melinda is finally having her kidney stones removed first thing tomorrow morning as an outpatient. Asking for your prayers that everything goes smoothly. It should, nothing complicated. She’s in God’s hands!
Dear friends, I apologize for not adding to the journal sooner! Melinda has had a bit of a difficult summer. She is STILL at Kindred but ready and able to be transferred to a long term place, although no one is accepting her. It’s a confusing system where, even if you have decent insurance, they still don’t want you based on other factors that they won’t admit to. Because she’s still in a hospital setting and not a long term place, she hasn’t received physical therapy in all of this time. Nor has their speech therapist approved her for eating or drinking anything - not even water - because of fear of aspirating. In addition, she’s had a persistent cough, breathing issues, and other symptoms off and on. Multiple x-rays show no fluid in her lungs or anything else to explain. She had an appointment with one of her UCLA neurosurgeons about 2 weeks ago and he was very thorough and took the time to look at everything. He has her on a careful schedule to adjust her medications one at a time to see if that helps with her various symptoms. I am much reassured that the best eyes possible are looking at things for her. For the first time this summer Melinda has been agitated and anxious, very difficult to witness! Fortunately most of that has gone away. Although it’s impossible to know for sure, we fear she might be experiencing depression. And who could blame her? I continually pray for God’s mercy for Lindy. All of this is so awful. But I trust that whatever the tribulations are now for whatever reason, salvation is ours and the race is already won for us through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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.
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