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May
24
2021

May 23, 2021

Quick Vernie Update

Vern was moved to the Renown Rehab hospital last week. She has a busy, rigorous schedule which constitutes of two hour therapy sessions, three times a day with rest in between. Audelia and Carlos are the only two allowed inside to visit per COVID rules. They have been able to be there during her therapies and have been told numerous times that Vern performs much better with family there. That isn't surprising to any of us who know how important her family is to her. We are so grateful to have a great, local rehab hospital to allow her family to be there as much as possible.

Her reading, writing and comprehension are doing really good. Her speech is still very confused, but slowly improving everyday. In physical therapy they are working on her left side which she is moving a lot more and getting stronger each day. She can get up on her own and walk with a little support and wheel herself around in the wheelchair. We are still waiting to hear from the doc when they plan to put her skull piece back in, but for now she wears a helmet to protect her head. They are tentatively planning on sending Vern home with her mom as her full time care taker June 4th. Once home, she will continue at home care therapies.

Her doctor said with the amount of progress she has made in just one week, on top of her great attitude, that she has a very good chance of being our Vernie again or as close to it as possible. There is still a very long road until then, but we are so thankful to see her improve as much as she has.  

We know how many people love and are rooting for Vern and we appreciate each and everyone one of you. All the nurses, therapists and doctors have said how much they love Vernie too and boy do we appreciate them!

Please keep Vern in your prayers,

The Hernandez Family

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May
13
2021

May 13, 2021

This past week has been a huge step forward for Vernie on all fronts.

They have taken the trach out of her throat so now Vern can talk freely and is having full conversations with everyone. Breathing and speaking are not labored at all anymore for her. She is still in the confused stage, so her conversations are all over the place, but speaking with her, it sounds like her wit and humor are coming back. Vern has successfully been eating mostly soft, mashed food, but has done a good enough job with swallowing that they have taken the feeding tube out. Yay for no tubes!

Vern has been crushing PT. She started out moving both legs and taking small steps while holding onto the parallel bars with the physical therapist's help. She is now walking hand in hand with her PT. Her left arm is moving more, but we are waiting on her clavicle X-ray to see if it has healed enough for them to start PT on that arm. She is wearing her helmet all the time now since she is very active and they won't be putting her skull piece back in for awhile.

There are still talks of moving her to a rehab facility, but with all the progress she made this week, they are talking about sending her to a more advanced one since she is eating and has the trach out. I will definitely update when we get the word that she is ready to move. For now, she just needs to keep healing and working on all her therapies. 

The Battleborn Classic was a huge success and we were able to raise a little over $4K for Vernie on her healing Journey! If you missed buying your Vern shirt, no worries, the shop has reopened by popular demand. Here is the link https://stores.inksoft.com/CalaveraBarbell/shop/home. It will close at NOON on MAY 16th, so don't wait! A huge shout out to Cece, Celeste, Steph, Kennedy and Becca for setting up our Vernie booth to sell shirts, collect donations and run a successful raffle with the grand prize of a Mother of Macros Gift Card kindly donated by Alyssa. We can't thank all the amazing humans enough who are all on Vern's side in this fight. 

We will never be able to thank the nurses and therapists enough for what they do, but thanks to Cece we were able to show a small piece of our gratitude with snack baskets for the ICU nurses when Vern was in the ICU and donuts for the neuro unit nurses this past week for nurses appreciation week. 

Thanks for all the love, prayers and support for Vernie,
The Hernandez Family

April
30
2021

April 29, 2021

My apologies for the length of time between updates. This will be more common moving forward as Vern has been stable for some time now and is slowly healing and taking baby steps back to us through her therapies.

Since Vern is stable and really just needs time and therapy, she will be moved out of the hospital soon into an acute care facility which can still give her the around the clock care and therapy she needs to get her more independent. I will definitely post when she gets moved and where she gets moved to.

For Vern's speech therapy, they are working on building stamina while breathing with the speech valve covering the trach. Imagine breathing through a snorkel then being handed a straw to breath through. It will take some time to get used to. While having the valve in she was able to say her first word yesterday which was "mami" with Audelia in the room. Today when Carlos was there he was trying to get her to say "hi" and instead she said "hola"! Show off. Here are the next things for her to work on, on top of tolerating the valve and speaking: opening her mouth more on command (which see does, but not consistently), purposefully swallowing then eventually eating which will take awhile to get there, but she keeps moving in the right direction.

For Vern's physical therapy, she has a new, smaller helmet, since swelling has gone down, that she constantly tries to take off with her right hand. Her left arm and leg still have little movements, mostly involuntary, so we are still waiting for the right side of the brain to heal more to see what sort of physical therapy she will need on the left knowing there in no spinal cord damage. Her right side, on the other hand, is very busy. She uses her hand to grab the rail and try to pull herself up. She taps her hand on her leg to keep the beat when someone plays her music. She waved to her nurse who came in and said "hi Vern". She somehow remembers her handshakes with her brothers and does the correct handshake with the correct brother. She gives thumbs up, peace signs and head nods when asked questions. She has correctly identified her family members and even flipped off her best friend Lucy (if you know their relationship then you know this was an awesome event) which gives us great confidence that our Vern is still in there! Richie's friend Sergio hooked Vern up with some glasses with her prescription that flex on the sides to comfortably fit her head. Her first time wearing them, she gave a thumbs up. The nurses sit her up and try to move her often to prevent blood clots. Today she got to go in the hallway sitting in a chair. For us this is no big deal, but for her this is very exhausting working harder to breath when sitting up and being around so much stimuli, but she did great with over 3 hours in the chair. My favorite Vern hospital story to date happened today. While the nurse was moving Vern out the door in the chair, she paused right by the hand sanitizer dispenser and Vernie reached her right hand out and took two pumps of hand sanitizer and used her fingers to rub it in on  that hand. While Carlos and the nurse laughed, Carlos said "good job Vernie, safety first". I was laughing so hard. Covid has us so messed up that even a traumatic brain injury patient is still hand sanitizing. Hahaha

Thanks for reading the long post. I will update anything important and the not so important silly stories of Vernie that we have to log and tell her when we get her back. As always, keep her in your prayers, we are determined to do whatever it takes to get our girl back.

Love,

The Hernandez Family

 

April
22
2021

April 21, 2021

Today was a good day for Vern. Yesterday they moved her into a room on the neuro science floor and out of the ICU! Richie got some hard hand squeezes from her last night and Carlos got a peace sign and thumbs up when he asked for them. The biggest feat for today was when Carlos asked her if she knew who he was and she nodded her head. Then he showed her pictures from the poster asking if she knew specific people and she nodded her head. Yay! Let's go Vern! Currently, they are working on getting more commands from her as she is still in and out of alertness since healing your brain is a tiring process. Now that she is in a room with a window they are also working on having her up more during the day and sleep at night. It will take awhile before she can talk, so for now they are getting her used to breathing with a speech valve covering the trach. She seems to be tolerating it with no problems. These are all the proper baby steps in the right direction for our girl.

Our gym Calavera Barbell will be donating all proceeds of our upcoming weightlifting meet, The Battleborn Classic, to Vern on May 8th. To go along with that we are selling shirts and donating those proceeds as well. Check out the pictures above of the shirts. You can buy them online up until 4/30. If you are out of town you can have them sent to you. Otherwise, they will be sent to our gym by the meet on 5/8. Here is the link to the store: https://stores.inksoft.com/CalaveraBarbell/shop/home 

Thanks for checking in on Vernie's Journey. We will try our best to update as much as we can and we appreciate how much you all care for Vern. Keep her in your prayers.

The Hernandez Family

April
20
2021

April 20, 2021

Wow! Check out this video message from Andre "The Hawk" Dawson for our Vernie. If you know Vern, you know how big of a cubs fan she is and The Hawk is one of the greatest Cubs of all time. This video means so much to our family we can't thank Nerd and Rayna Lontoc enough for making this happen. Richie and Carlos will be playing this to her everyday at the hospital. Of course she will never stop flying the W! Andre Dawson is who Richie and Gladiss named their son, Dawson, after. See Tia Vernie holding her nephew and flying the W in the pictures above.

April
20
2021

April 19, 2021

Hi everyone,

The last few days have been pretty uneventful, which I'm learning is part of the healing process. Sometimes there will be good days and sometimes there will just be days. Vern was moved to a room down the hall since her vitals have been stable for some time now. Our amazing friend Amanda Cook made posters full of pictures of family and friends to hang in her room for her to see. Click on the gallery to see those posters. Vern is still breathing well and successfully made it for the 24 hour test breathing on her own. As I understand, the next step it to put a speaking valve on the trach which essentially closes it up and forces Vern to breath from her nose and her mouth on her own and allows her to eventually make sounds and speak. Updates on that to come.

Right now I would like to give a huge shoutout to Crossfit Bangarang. This past Friday they did a workout at their gym named "Burn for Vern" to raise money for our Vernie. Crossfit Bangarang is a huge and vital supporter for our annual fundraiser, Pulling for our Little Heroes, and is such a great community partner. A group of us decided to join them for the workout and let me tell you it sure did burn! Also, a bunch of weightlifters doing crossfit was quite a site to see. It took the last team (which included me haha) 24 minutes to complete it. See pictures of the workout in the gallery. In such a short time Crossfit Bangarang was able to raise $2,225 for our girl! We are so blown away and thankful to everyone involved. Grateful can't begin to say how we feel about Vernie's support.

Keep our Vernie in your prayers,

The Hernandez Family

April
16
2021

April 15, 2021

Today was another good day. Vern began the day on an 8 hour breathing on her own test. Once she made it to 8 hours, the specialist decided to let her go to 12 hours. Last update we received, Vern was at 13+ hours! 

Vern's GCS score (see April 13th post for info on this) has improved from an 8 to an 11 in 2 days! This is largely due to her motor responses and following commands. Today, while Carlos was visiting, the nurse asked Vern to put up the number 1 with her finger and she sure did. Carlos also said she is making more intentional movements like trying to scratch her head. Baby steps!

We are so grateful for the community outpour shown to our Vernie and our family. The crossfit gym Bangarang, owned by our good friends Iain and Laura Dykins, are doing a workout fundraiser tomorrow (4/16) for her. Chuy's Mexican Restaurant will be donating a portion of their Cinco de Mayo proceeds to Vernie (5/5). Calavera barbell will be donating all proceeds of our upcoming weightlifting meet, the Battleborn Classic (5/8), to her and our amazing friends over at Hassle Free Barbell club, Kevin Doherty and Ben Hwa, will be doing the same for their next meet in California! This experience has reminded us how much good is in the world and we are thankful to be surrounded by it.

Also, a huge thank you to everyone who has donated on Go Fund Me. Every bit helps to relieve the stress of paying these medical bills. We only want Vern to have to focus on healing and not stress about paying bills. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

If you would like to donate make sure to click "ways to help" then on Vernie's Go Fund Me link. If you would like to donate and avoid the fees, please email Paige: integr833@gmail.com.

Keep the prayers and positive vibes coming Vern's way.

Love,

The Hernandez Family

April
15
2021

April 14, 2021

Impressed was the theme of the day!

Vern's breathing specialist was impressed with her breathing today. She did the whole 4 hour breathing test on her own today! The nurse said usually around 2 hours patients start to struggle. Because of this, they are moving her to an 8 hour breathing test tomorrow. One step at a time Vernie.

Vern's doctor, Dr. Moore, is also impressed and happy with where she is at right now in her recovery given her injuries. That's our girl!

Earlier today when Carlos went to visit Vern, she was tracking Carlos with her eyes and he felt like this was the biggest connection he had gotten from her. Isidro, Richie and Carlos were able to facetime her later today with Audelia at the hospital. Vern was reacting to them, tracking with her eyes and blinking when they asked her questions. It was a joyous day at the hospital today. The nurse said she is so pleased that she has such an amazing family who visits often so she can hear familiar voices. Little does she know that if there weren't covid restrictions, Vernie would have the maximum amount of family by her side all day and night. And when I say family, I mean, blood and not blood, because everyone is family to our Vernie. If you are reading this post it means you are someone she loves and we are grateful for you all!

Keep the prayers coming. Slowly but surely Vernie is fighting her way back!

Love,

The Hernandez Family