Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

On Thursday, September 27, 2018, Mel had a stroke (specifically, an acute infarct in the left corona radiata) some time during the night. The wonderful news is that he's going to get better. His brain is rewiring itself despite the clot, and he is mentally all there. They are treating his symptoms with medication and a variety of therapies. He is experiencing some difficulty with speech (clear at the best of times, a bit garbled when he's tired), a lack of fine motor skills in his right hand, and a bit of peripheral vision loss in his right eye. These symptoms have improved over the weekend and will continue to improve with therapy. The doctor is very optimistic that he will make a full recovery. He is currently being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center and will probably be released this week.
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Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Mel had a good day today. He worked with all of his therapists and made good progress but it’s still very tiring for him. Thank you to those who are here and want to visit. When he has made the move into therapy and gets on a more regular schedule, it will be great to have visitors and we’ll let you know what that happens. We are hoping he will be moving into the inpatient rehab center in the next day or so where they will do intensive therapy for three hours a day for two weeks. Thank you all again for all your prayers and loving support!

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Mel had a very busy afternoon with all his therapy after moving into the rehab unit today. This therapy is going to be demanding but we can already see the good effects it’s going to have on him. Instead of out patient therapy which is only a few hours a week, this is three hours every day, plus they encourage the family to practice with him as well. He’s in good spirits. They gave him a lovely large room with a gorgeous view of the mountains and the fall foliage. His therapists are all wonderful caring people and we feel like he’s in good hands. We took him outside tonight to get a breath of fresh air and to visit his ‘grandpuppy’ Piper who was overjoyed to see him. Thank you all for your wonderful words of encouragement on here. He’s reading them all and we can tell it truly makes a difference. Love you all!

P.S. I’m going to stand on a soap box for a moment and tell everyone to get educated about strokes. I knew how imperative it was to get someone to the hospital while having a heart attack but I didn’t know anything about the ‘window’ for a stroke. We couldn’t determine Mel’s window because we couldn’t figure out exactly when it did occur. Please find out what action you need to take if you suspect someone has had a stroke. It could make the critical difference in their recovery. I’m getting off the box now. :)

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Sorry, I didn’t update this last night. Thank you all for your continuing comments and support!! He loves them.

Mel looked better yesterday than at any other time this past week. You can see the determination in his face and hear it in his voice. His natural competitiveness is helping him get through the demands of therapy. We watched him do some really difficult things yesterday. The therapist explained that they challenge the patient as much as possible with things that are specifically harder than anything he’d be called on to do in real life so that when he returns to his regular daily routine, things will seem easier. We’re really proud of him and the strides he’s already made in just a few days. His PT told him he did a great job at the end of the day.

We are really hoping to be able to bring him home for a few hours on Saturday so he can relax and watch football here—-those of you who know him well know that when college football starts, the only place he wants to be is in his recliner in front of the TV so we’re trying to make that happen. 

The therapists should have their evaluations done by Friday (we hope) so that we’ll know how much longer he’ll be in therapy at the hospital. 

Jennifer left last night, Todd leaves Saturday night and Kaitie will stay another couple of weeks or at least until Dad has been home for a week. I couldn’t have gotten through this week without the three of them. They were a Godsend. It’s always better to have another pair of eyes and ears when you’re going through something like this and they asked questions I never thought of and made sure we got answers. It sure didn’t hurt that Todd has so much medical training and that Jennifer is a health care attorney. I’m pretty sure that’s why he got such an amazing room right across from the nurse’s station! 

The nurses and therapists are wonderful and keep a close eye on him. We had a lovely surprise visit from his endocrinologist the other night who just stopped in to see how he was doing. He’s not even affiliated with this hospital but it was obvious he really cared about how Mel was doing.

All of this support and care he’s getting has been helping him get through this difficult challenge. Thank you again everyone!!

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Hey all! REALLY excited because Mel’s therapists have given him a ‘pass’ to come tomorrow for a few hours which will be great because Todd is still here and he can help assess how well Mel does in his own home. And, happily for Mel, he can relax here in his own chair and watch college football! He deserves it  because he has worked SO hard this week. We’re seeing improvements every day. Thank you all for your prayers and support! Your comments here really mean a lot to him. Love you all!

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Well, we had quite an unexpectedly eventful evening. My dear friend, Jean, fell and broke her wrist. It was one of those crazy accidents where she just stepped back one step, lost her balance and put her hand out to break her fall—literally! We were in the ER until after 2AM but thankfully all got a good night’s sleep afterwards. She’s going to have to have surgery on it at some point. Her husband, Pete, is out on St. Lawrence Island closing up his business after thirty-plus years so we’ve decided to open up the Lynch Rehabiliation Center here. Although she broke her left wrist and she’s left handed, she’s one of the strongest women I know and this won’t keep her down for long. Pete will be here as soon as he can and thankfully, Kaitie is here. 

Mel is definitely coming home on Wednesday and we’ll be setting up new therapists for him to go to and then we’ll decide exactly when we’re going to go to Georgia. The house is a better set up for him and Larry will be right next door plus I don’t want him to have to navigate the ice that will be setting in here in another month or so. Hopefully, before we go, he’ll be able to have visitors. His speech is improving every day but all this therapy is very tiring. 

So, needless to say we need some additional prayers right now. The love and support you’ve shown has been wonderful and we are forever grateful to all of you!!

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Well, Mel had a good day here for about five hours watching football. He still has a ways to go to learn how to slow down a bit—you all know what a hard charger he is—but we believe that tenacity will get him to where he wants to be. His speech is really improving so we’re hoping that very soon he’ll be wanting to see friends or be able to talk on the phone.  

He’s coming home on Wednesday and will start outpatient rehab soon afterwards. 

Jean, bless her heart, insisted that she felt strong enough to go home so we spent the evening with her at her house. She did great! I’m surrounded by tenacious people! She just texted me this morning and had a good night sleeping in her own bed. It looks like she’s going to need surgery on her wrist and the doctor thought it would probably happen within the next week or so depending on the surgeon’s schedule. He’s supposed to be the best hand doctor up here. 

Please keep our daughter-in-law, Becky, in your prayers. She started chemo a week ago for breast cancer and she got dehydrated two days ago and is in the hospital but her levels are getting back to normal and she hopes to be home in a few day. Todd got home safe and sound and I’m thankful that he’s there now to help her. 

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I know I keep saying that but it’s because they mean so much to us. We couldn’t get through this without friends and family. In the coming weeks, I promise if we need help, I’ll let you know and I appreciate all the offers!! 

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

This is Mel’s last day in rehab at Providence! He’s come a long way in just five days of therapy. The therapists are pretty confident that he will make a full recovery. It will just take time and practice which he is anxious to do because he’s already seen the benefits. 

We’re going to be busy going to follow up doctor appointments and setting up his outpatient therapy plus we are going to try and leave for Georgia earlier since we will be closer to family. I know many of you want to see him and we’ll try to make that happen if at all possible. 

Just know that all your prayers and support have been working and we are forever grateful. Love you all!

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Needless to say, Mel is very happy to be home and we are very happy as well. He’s getting around just fine. We gave him the day off from all his therapies but we’ll be working with him over the next few days until he starts ‘for real’ again next Monday. 

He actually said he wished he could have spent another two weeks in the inpatient therapy at Providence because he saw so much improvement and the people there were wonderful. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he will be able to get into see Dr. Harvey at the Shirley Ryan Abilities Lab in Chicago. They have been very helpful and encouraging. Dr. Harvey literally co-authored the book on stroke rehabilitation and has all the latest therapies there, so fingers crossed and prayers going up that we can make that happen. 

Looks like we’ll be heading to Georgia in conjunction with that ‘hoped for’ appointment in Chicago and we’ll let everyone know when we’ll be leaving. We want to be sure to get down there before we have to worry about the ice up here. 

Love you all!!

Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Our family and friends support has been wonderful and we are so grateful for each and every one of you. These last two and half weeks have been really busy but fruitful in so many ways. Mel was discharged by occupational therapy and only has to do three more sessions of physical therapy which is fantastic progress! We finally found a wonderful speech therapist who actually makes house calls!!! After evaluating Mel, he said the exercises we were doing were too simple for him and gave us more difficult ones to challenge him. He’s also having Mel call him every other day and leave him a 30-second voice message so he can determine his progression on a regular basis. We’re very happy he’s back on track with someone who understands what he needs.

After much deliberation, I decided to take Mel out and let him drive the car—first, we did a school parking lot and then I let him drive me to take the trash to the dump which is all on back roads. He did great. He’s chomping at the bit to get his freedom back (who wouldn’t?). We haven’t had any luck finding anyone to evaluate him for driving although his physical therapist tested his peripheral vision and had him do some obstacle course walking with his vision partially covered and he did fine and I gave him the same test the doctor in Chicago gave him (that he originally failed) and he passed that, so I made an ‘executive’ decision to let him try it. The next step is, of course, is driving in traffic. We’ll try to ease into that over the next week or so and see how he does. He’s highly motivated so if I can just get him to keep both hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road, I think he’ll do fine. Keep us in your prayers—LOL! 

The house is coming together slowly but surely and we’re enjoying the lovely fall weather we’re having (sorry, don’t mean to rub it in Alaska friends!). We had horrible weather for the first ten days so we really appreciate seeing the sun again. 

And, for the first time in over thirty years, Mel and I will be spending Thanksgiving together at the hunting camp where I’ll finally get to try some of this scrumptious Southern cooking (all cooked by the guys, thank you!) that I’ve been hearing about for three decades. Have a wonderful day wherever you are and whoever you are blessed to be with. Love you all!
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Mel’s Story

Site created on October 1, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and close friends updated in one place. As you can imagine, the road to recovery is a deeply personal one, and while we are happy to share Mel's progress here, we would appreciate if you did not share on social media. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love, prayer, support, and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.