Journal entry by Diana Hoffman
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Journal entry by Marianne Rochelle

Tom needs help as followings:
1.    Check to see if Tom is in a comfortable position when he is in the bed.

2.    Gently move and massage his left arm and leg to release numbness.

 3.    Exercise together with him by asking him to raise his right leg with your help (using your hand to raise together with him) for 10 repetitions, total 3 sets; And then do the same for his right arm.

4.    Ask him to raise his healthy left leg for 10 repetitions, total 3 sets; and then ask him to move his left leg to his chest for 10 repetitions, total 3 sets.

5.    Ask him to use his healthy right arm to pull the rubber band or use dumbbell (he has these in his room) exercise for 10 repetitions, total 3 sets.
6. Practice speech/talk together with Tom.
7.    You may also use your cellphone to watch YouTube videos together with Tom for stroke exercises for leg, arm and hand, so that he can remember to exercise by himself.
      Such as:
After Stroke: Seven Safe Exercises To Do In Bed- Recovery Exercises,
Best Hand Exercises for Stroke Patients at Home,
Arm Exercises for Stroke Patients,
Easy Leg Exercises for Stroke Patients.

Journal entry by sandi tomlinson

Tom was in good spirits when I visited with him today. Rich DePalma had spent the morning with Tom and said they shared great stories, a few tears and laughter.

At Tom's care meeting the physical therapist reported that Tom can walk up to 20 ft with assistance. He started eating soft food with the assistance of a therapist and when he can tolerate swallowing without concern for choking he will transition from the feeding tube. 

Hopefully this week Tom will spend less time in bed which will allow his bed sores to heal. 

Your visits make a difference in his healing and hope.

Many thanks for your visits and prayers,

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Journal entry by sandi tomlinson

Today when Jay visited Tom he moved his right leg and wrist. This is significant progress. Tom is speaking more deliberately and making requests - such as "move the plant to the window". 

On Wednesday afternoon Tom will be evaluated for an extensive speech therapy lab. Our fingers are crossed that he will qualify for this treatment. 

Here's a 20 minute video from Johns Hopkins about recovery from stroke. Early intervention and ongoing socialization is key.  Take a look - A critical window for recovery after stroke | John Krakauer | TEDxJohnsHopkinsUniversity 

Thank you for your care,

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

I just had a thought. I do not  know if Brookdale will allow a therapy dog or cat to visit, but I know Tom loves cats and dogs! I will check with them during business hours on Monday and I was wondering if any of you know of any certified animal that might want to make Tom smile???

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

Shopa (?) from Austin Therapy Centers wants to see Tom on Tuesday 10/29, Thursday 10/30 and Friday 10/31 at 1:00. Can we make this happen? I will call Brookdale and check on transportation.

Also, I have tried all day to reach Karen Langley attorney. If someone knows her would they reach out to her and have her call me. Simone, you are on her friends list.

Last but not least, I left a message for Jay's fellow Acupuncturist, Dr Luo,  and he has not returned my call.  Does anyone have another
way to get in touch with him?

I need help!

Journal entry by sandi tomlinson

Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. the insurance company and physician will determine if Tom is eligible to transfer to the Encompass Rehab facility. The facility is dedicated to rehabilitation and would benefit Tom in his recovery. 
Please send positive energy and prayer for a healing decision. 

Journal entry by Diana Hoffman

I had a lovely partner in crime today! I was visiting with Tom's support group for our Monday meeting and I mentioned to Tom did he need any chocolate? His answer was mmmmmmmm! I remembered a FB friend on his and now mine lives in Round Rock so I messaged her. Irene Shooter brought Tom 4 chocolate bars today! Irene you are my newest Tom's angel! Thank you. When I spoke to Tom a short while ago, I asked him did he eat any? Big pause.....he laughed and said MOST!
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Tom’s Story

Site created on October 2, 2019


Last week when I was in Austin, several words stood out in many of the conversations that I had… Icon. Treasure. Institution. Gift. 

Words that were used to describe my brother Tom Spencer. 

Sure, I could elaborate on the many places that through his efforts and leadership made Austin a better place to live, however I am going to take another route. 

When JFK was assassinated, Tom, a grade school kid, wept on the bus. He already at a young age had a sense of the world and how that charismatic man had made the world a better place. 

That desire to make the world a better place is something that Tom did in many little ways, not just on the public stage.

Our younger brother, Jeff, would have said Tom was a champion. Not just a hero in all their stories but someone who literally took his hand and walked him through scary places. Tom did that for the last time when Jeff died of cancer. 

Tom was an exasperation to me. He was an unwelcome intruder of my perfect world when he was born. He teased me, taunted me, fought with me and finally somewhere along the line we became friends. He was a treasure that I had at last found and my gift.

Last month Tom suffered a massive stoke. The articulate man that we all knew is silenced for a while.
He is struggling to regain the ability to express himself and let the world know that he is still here….

He is here and he needs your good will, kindness, prayers and what ever you call it to come back.

Here at Caring Bridge is a place where we can all find ways to help Tom return to self and to all of us.

Thank you,
Diana Hoffman (Tom's sister)