Journal entry by Gigi Lynch

Hi everyone,

Thank you for continuing to follow Mel’s journey. The week before we left was a blur of therapy and doctor appointments, getting medical records (literally six times to the hospital), packing, shipping boxes, and getting the house ready to close up for the winter which we’ve never done before-now there’s a learning experience for you! You wouldn’t believe the kind of things you forget to do that wake you up at 3AM! However, for the most part, they got done, or, as my friend, Jean, who has been doing the snowbird thing for 25 years says, “If it doesn’t get done, let it go.” Words of wisdom for sure. 

Anyway, Mel finished up with therapy in Alaska. It all went well. He also had to do an additional sleep study ordered by his neurologist last week and we are SO happy to report that it went very well. He knew he had sleep apnea and has been faithfully using his CPAP for five years but the doctor was worried that maybe the machine was not detecting everything it should. Let me just say this in case you don’t already know (because we didn’t)—check in with your doctor once a year if you have sleep apnea because if you’re still tired during the day, then something else could be happening. The neurologist said that the ultimate test is this: Can you stare at a blank wall for thirty minutes with no outside stimuli and stay awake?” Well, any of you who know and love Mel know that he can’t do that—so now they’re considering some additional medication for him. Sleep is SO important. It’s the time our bodies and especially our brains take to heal and if you aren’t getting restful sleep, the stress it adds to your body is extremely harmful...especially to your brain as we’ve been learning while we’re here in Chicago. Did you know that untreated sleep apnea is the number one indicator that you could have a stroke? No? Don’t feel bad...We didn’t either. 

We got to Chicago and we were so happy to have Jennifer join us Monday. She paved the way with her friends here at the Shirley Ryan Institute and it was just wonderful to have her here. Wish she could have stayed the whole week but a long planned work lunch called her back to DC the next morning. Mel did great in all his sessions and we walked away from each of them with some nuggets of knowledge that we hadn’t gotten before. For instance, the PT examined his neck and larynx and told him that he was holding a lot of tension there and his larynx was really high in his throat and that was one of the reasons for the hoarseness he is experiencing that is inhibiting his vocal projection. Today, he finished all his therapy appointments (PT, OT, speech and orthotics) so we celebrated by taking an architectural tour by boat on the river here. It was a lovely fall day and we got to relax for the first time in weeks.

We meet with Dr. Harvey on Friday and look forward to his recommendations for further therapy and then on Saturday we head to Georgia! Stay tuned! Love you all!

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