Hi everyone. Wish I had more time to update. But, both Godfrey and I have been updating the following Facebook site when we get a chance:
Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement!
One evening, Charissa says to me “Mommy, don’t cry. Just relax. Jesus loves you. He puts a band-aid on us, so that we are not sad.” And then she went about her business playing with her toys and jumping on Godfrey’s hospital bed.
But, yes, I realized that Charissa is absolutely right. God does put a band-aid on us- sometimes physically, but most importantly spiritually.
And, it is for that reason that we have decided to move back to California. Godfrey is at a point where encouragement is probably as beneficial (if not more) than his therapies. Being inside over half the year due to the weather also isn’t fun. And, we look forward to the opportunity to going to church as one family again.
And, with that, God has opened up doors for us to move back to California: a job for me, an approval from Godfrey’s doctor to fly back first class with medical escort (much less expensive than air ambulance!) and a cozy one story home to rent that fits our family’s needs.
Of course, there are many things that we will miss about Chicago… the skyline, the food, and the people. Special thanks to a “Friday night” group of people who consistently came to get Godfrey into the stander, prepare food for our family, and play with the kids. And, thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and therapists here... he arrived comatose, but is now returning to California awake and able to communicate. We look forward with much excitement, along a little bit of fear of the unknown, to being back in the west coast again.
Thanks to everyone in Chicago who has helped us, and who has prayed for us. We are grateful for your care.
Research shows that getting Godfrey into the stander for 45 minutes/day will greatly increase his health.
Following his ankle surgery, Godfrey is back in day rehab. He attends therapy 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. He receives speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy and will do so until mid-August. After that, it’s up to us at home to continue the things we learned in therapy, and to repeat repeat repeat. This is how his brain will be able to relearn things again.
If I had the time, ability, and energy to get him into the stander everyday, as well as do range of motion on him, I would. Just like many other people who are primary caregivers for their loved ones, however, we are under-resourced. It takes a minimum of two people (sometimes three) to get him into the stander safely, and it takes a lot of work.
Our resources as a family are pretty limited at the moment. My father was in a bad car accident recently where the car was totaled (thank goodness Charissa wasn’t in the car because her car seat broke). He has a C6 fracture and needs to wear a cervical collar for several more weeks. My mom was also recently diagnosed with Shingles and is at her home resting and trying to endure the pain that comes with Shingles. I work nights and come home to a household of people I need to care for during the day. We have a couple of the ladies from my parents’ church that come and babysit Ana Joy and Charissa, but even with that, Charissa likes to find her way into the room while I’m sleeping and play her drums or try to open my eyelids.
Thank you to all those who have volunteered to help us during this tiring time. If any of you are willing to learn how to get Godfrey into the stander, I may take you up on the offer!
VoicingLast month, the occupational therapist asked Godfrey what his goals were. On his lightwriter, he typed “Get my right arm stronger so that I can carry my girls.” Admittedly, this will be a long-term goal for him, but Godfrey continues to work towards it.
I know that many of you have been asking for an update and I apologize that this has been long overdue. Here are some updates:
· THERAPY. Since returning home, Godfrey has been in and out of physical, occupational, and speech therapy at an outpatient RIC site. Once his progress “plateaus,” he becomes ineligible for therapy (according to our health insurance) until practice at home results in more progress. He is currently receiving speech and occupational therapy 1-2 times a week, 45 minutes each session.
· TALK. Your prayers for Godfrey’s voice have begun to be answered last February. One morning, I was hanging one of his feedings when I heard him say “I have pain.” I stopped, turned to him, and said “What?!” He said again “I have pain.” “Ummmm, hold on” I told him as I ran out of the room to find my mom. She brought a diaperless Ana Joy into his room (she was in the middle of changing the baby when I told them) and Ana Joy was able to hear her father’s voice for the first time when he greeted her good morning. Godfrey is only able to speak 1-3 words at a time after much effort. And, it is sometimes hard to understand him without context. It is, however, a goal we celebrate. He still continues to use his lightwriter as a means of communication.
· EAT. Godfrey’s main nutritional needs are met through a feeding tube. The speech therapist continues to work on his swallows. The latest video swallow has cleared him to advance to soft foods (like pasta or casserole consistency), as long as he takes small bites alternating with small sips of fluid.
· VISION. After a visual evoked potential test and visits to a neuro-ophthalmologist, it has been determined that Godfrey has lost vision in his right eye, and lost peripheral vision in his left eye. He is still able to read and has recently gained enough strength in his right arm to begin using an Ipad to read books.
· MEMORY. Godfrey’s memory is still pretty much intact. He remembers people, birthdays, and events. He doesn’t remember his original hospital admission for the blood clot, and his first memory post-injury is being at Charissa’s 2nd birthday party at RIC.
· SPASTICITY. Because of his brain injury, the neurons fire abnormal messages to his muscles, resulting in spasticity (tightness of the muscles) which impairs intentional movement. He has an internal baclofen pump that delivers medication to his body in an attempt to reduce this spasticity. Too much of this medicine, however, can result in drowsiness and weakness. His dosage is currently being adjusted every couple weeks. The spasticity in his ankles has resulted in the need for surgery. His legs are currently in casts for a duration of six weeks.
· FUNCTION. At this point, Godfrey is dependent on all activities of daily living. He requires someone to push him in his wheelchair as he only has trace movement in his legs. With therapy, he is now able to bring feeding utensils to his mouth with his right arm. We also have a stander at home that brings him to a “standing” position.
· MIND. Basically, Godfrey is the same person inside, but is “trapped” in his body. He hasn’t lost his intelligence nor his faith. Because of his impaired motor skills, his means of communication is limited and slower. His brain is also re-learning and making new pathways to compensate for his injury. Research supports the practice of repetition, repetition, repetition. The more a movement is done for him and the more often he practices an intentional movement/task, the better chance he has in re-gaining that movement or task.
As a brief update on our family, we have now fully relocated to the Chicago area.
· Charissa Faith recently turned three and loves anything princess or pink. She still loves to sing and dance, and I have since enrolled her in ballet and music lessons. She makes up stories about princesses, princes, and dragons and has figured out how to make simple animated movies on Godfrey’s Ipad (e.g., dolls drinking tea from cups). She makes castles with her Legos and only eats princess food and “pink” milk (the color of her cup). Charissa is truly a girly girl.
· Anastasia Joy took recently took her first steps before the age of ten months. She likes to play with cell phones and remote controls and allows her older sister to stick band-aids all over her. She likes to crawl all over the apartment and is currently growing her third tooth.
· Since November 2011, I (Corinth) have been working full-time at RIC on a state-of-the-art research rehabilitation unit. It is an exciting newly built unit designed to combine medical research with inpatient care. The unit is designed to help people walk again after an event like a stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury and boasts an “anti-gravity gait track.” Some information about the unit can be found here.
To ensure that Godfrey was being covered by health insurance, I needed to work in California until the end of January 2012. The craziness of working 60 hours/week between two states could not have been done without much help. Thank you to those at Woodbridge Community Church who took care of me while I traveled to California every other weekend to work. I always had rides to and from the airport, a place to stay, a car to use, and food to bring to work. Many of the students and parents also took care of Charissa when she traveled with me to California. Thank you WCC for your love and for being my family while I was away from Godfrey and the girls. Also, a big thank you is owed to my parents who held down the fort at home while I worked. I know that taking care of two young children and Godfrey while working full-time jobs is a big sacrifice that they never expected to make, but they continue to do it willingly out of love and without complaints.
There are, of course, many others who have helped us and continue to help us through this unexpected journey. Personally, I couldn’t do this without all of you. And, it’s unimaginable to think where Godfrey would be without your prayers and generosity.
It has been extremely difficult to post updates with all that is going on in our family, but I will try to be more consistent. I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and encouragement.
Since February, my family and I have spent much of the time apart from each other, sometimes even in different states. Whether it was me working in California, or Godfrey in the hospital, or Charissa living with grandparents, there were very few times when all of us were able to spend time together. This was such a drastic change compared to our lives before February. Godfrey had always intentionally spent a lot of time with Charissa, bringing her along with him to his students’ basketball games and concerts or being the lone father at her toddler gym classes amongst the moms and nannies. And, because I had worked a part-time job, I was able to spend a lot of time with both of them.
The beginning of August marked a season of celebration for our family. On August 4, Baby #2 stopped being likened to a fruit or vegetable. Our second daughter, Anastasia Joy (a.k.a. Ana Joy), brought much happiness to our family with her birth. And, because the hospital was a block away from RIC, Godfrey was able to meet her on her birth day. Several days later on August 10, our family was reunited as Godfrey was discharged home from the hospital. As a wife and a mother, these events brought much joy, peace, happiness, and a huge sigh of relief.
Godfrey continues to attend rehab Monday through Friday at a satellite RIC location, but is now able to return home after three hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. This is a next step on this long journey for our family, but thank God it is a step in the right direction.
Here are some updates and prayer requests:
· Godfrey continues to communicate via a keyboard called a “lightwriter” with his right hand. He does tire easily, but can now type up to a couple paragraphs at times. One of his prayer requests is that he would be able to speak again. Please pray that his voice would return. He is scheduled to see an ENT in several weeks who will take a look at his vocal cords.
· Godfrey depends on a wheelchair to get to and from the rehab facility. One of his prayer requests is that he would be able to walk again. Please pray that he would be able to walk. “For nothing is impossible with God.” –Luke 1:37
Ongoing prayer requests:
Our lives remain crazy, but at least our family is now together. And, our God continues to remain present and unchanging. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.
Over the past several weeks, I have been trying to understand more about what it means to be Godfrey’s “help meet.” For those unfamiliar with the term, it is used in the book of Genesis where God creates Eve, a wife for Adam, to help Adam fulfill God’s call on his life. I’ve heard Godfrey preach on this topic and passage several times, especially in the high school and college setting, as questions about calling (e.g. What should I major in?) or questions about relationships (e.g. Should I tell this person I like him/her? Am I ready to be in a relationship?) often come up. But even while one is in a marriage relationship, this question remains important: How can I help my spouse fulfill God’s call on his/her life?
While Godfrey has been here at RIC since July 6, he has been busy with physical, occupational, and speech therapy. As part of their program, they also have a psychologist come to meet with him and also has technology part of his schedule where he visits a technology center equipped with devices to help him communicate while working on his voice to return and motor strength to improve.
It has been through a couple of these devices, mainly through an alphabet board as well as a querty keyboard called a “lightwriter” where Godfrey has communicated his thoughts and his needs. One time, when my father, mother, Charissa and I were feasting on McDonalds in his hospital room, he typed out “MCNUGGETSYOURESOBLESSED.” With that comment, I understood that 1) he is still the same Godfrey… still a foodie at heart who is waiting for that first slice of deep dish Chicago style pizza and 2) helped me as a wife in being more sensitive overall in honoring his thoughts, feelings, and needs.
Despite all that has happened over the past several months, Godfrey and I see this upcoming time as a special season of celebration for our family. He will be discharged from the hospital soon, and Charissa’s younger sibling will be joining us soon as well!
Here are some updates and prayer requests:
Ongoing prayer requests:
Thank you for your thoughts, well wishes, and continued prayers for us. We are so grateful for the continuous outpouring of love through this season. Although I haven’t been able to thank you individually for your support, please know that I do not take such actions of love for granted.
P.S. Godfrey wants you to know that now at 39 weeks, Baby #2 is the size of a small watermelon! It really is a miracle that this baby has not been born prematurely. Praise God for his protection over this baby who is due on August 5!
Three words are better than two… sometimes. Update 7.7.11.
I can see hints that our daughter Charissa is beginning her terrible two stage. She has an opinion on her nightly attire and last night, she slept with both legs through one leg opening of her shorts. I don’t know if that is an improvement on wearing two pairs of shorts (at the same time) to bed last week. She started “school” several weeks ago and after her first day, she came home with two words newly put together: “no way.” Her response to everything for the next several days after that was “no way.”
But Charissa wasn’t the only one communicating in a new way. On June 15, the day after I returned to Chicago from California from one of my work trips, I attended one of Godfrey’s therapy sessions. The speech therapist told me that Godfrey has made a lot of progress while I was away and that he has begun writing. “Whaaaaat?!” She turned to him and asked him if there was something that he wanted to say to me. With his pencil in hand, he wrote three words: I LOVE YOU.
Over the next several weeks I continued to see my husband working hard during his physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions. He would leave his sessions exhausted, tired, and drenched in sweat. To those who know are close to him, this isn’t a surprise. My husband has always been so hard-working and so determined.
I was met with another praise report as I got off the plane at Chicago O’Hare after this most recent trip to California. Godfrey has been accepted and has returned to RIC to continue his therapies! God has given him another opportunity to attend the #1 rehabilitation hospital in the country.
I apologize for not updating sooner and we are so grateful for those who remain so steadfast in prayer for us. I hope that you are encouraged to learn about how God is answering those prayers!
Immediate prayer requests:
Ongoing prayer requests:
Personal prayer requests:
P.S. Godfrey would want you to know that baby #2 at 35 weeks now weighs the same as a honeydew melon (which happens to be my favorite boba tea flavor!).