News & Updates

Entries for October 2011

Since Bryan returned to rehab we have seen improvements. His memory, while often times off, is incredible for his type of injury. His answers are sometimes wrong, but the fact that they are right most of the time is amazing. Sometimes, we see a difference in his personality but other times, his old self shines through. While physical therapy and occupational therapy are very difficult for him and exhausts him, his determination is great to see. He can only do about 3 hours of PT and OT a day, spread out, but he goes through the motions and his therapists all report there’s definitely a change in his stiffness and his ability to move. He complains about a lot of pain, sometimes being 10 out of 10. Doctors say it’s probably due to his extra bone growth so they work around that pain cautiously. He’s also able to stay in his wheelchair longer now without getting tired so that means more trips outside, although, gasp…he seems to like the shade!!!
In speech therapy they have been working on reading (he reads great for the most part!) and basic math skills. 7 x 3? Yeah…he knew the answer!

Before, when we said his old personality comes through, we thought we would share some examples. One day, when his speech therapist was working with him, the TV was on and she noticed Bry wasn’t paying too much attention. So, she asked what he was watching. On the TV was a female news reporter and Bryan said, “Ohhh, she’s hot.” Yep. That’s our Bryan. We made a CD of the music from this site to play for him. The other day Home Sweet Home came on and he mouthed the words while moving his head to the beat. One day one of his nurses came in and said, “Heeeeyyy Bryan!!” Bry said, “Heeeeyyy, what’s goin’ on?” He then got the biggest smile we’ve seen to date (even the biggest smile is about a half smile, but still). The other night when Bonnie was there she was saying she was leaving and he said ok. He closed his eyes and about two seconds later opened them and said, “Why are you still there?” She said, “Because it’s only been a couple of seconds, geez,” and he said, “Oh.” Bonnie also asked if he wanted her to shave his head or if he wanted hair and he said, “Uuhhh, I want hair.”

We try and keep updates positive with all the good things going on with Bryan, however we don’t want to give a skewed impression of his recovery. Getting to even this point has been a very long process and “this point” still weighs heavy on our hearts as we see him have difficulty with even the easiest movements such as moving his arm. The doctors are very happy with how far his brain has come, but his body has yet to catch up. He now has kidney stones, extra bone growths, blood clots and is still very stiff. Bryan has made it this far by determination, power of prayers, amazing doctors and support from you all. We’ve made it this far with the love of each other, our family and friends, and of course, all of you. We have a great support system to lean on and couldn’t have made it these past 7 months without it. There’s a group, the Bryan Brigade. This video was made by a member to support Bryan and we just had to share it. With all of this support from everyone…how do we even say thank you?

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It’s been a crazy week that has again felt like months. After a few days in the rehab unit, Bryan was transferred to the trauma rehab unit because of a fever caused by possible infections. His physical therapist was still able to come in and work with him. Bryan responded well and was exhausted by the end of each day. While in the rehab trauma unit, his team started to lower the third anti-seizure medication Dilantin. His EEG report showed no seizures and his fever was gone, so he was able to go back to the rehab unit last night. We are hoping that by lowering the Dilantin it will help his confusion and his slow to no responses.
It’s been a very humbling and emotional experience for us to see how dependent Bryan is, while also learning to help take care of him and participate in his rehabilitation. He continues to prove how strong and determined he is to get through this, and that is amazing!
Tyler and Tabitha got to experience taking their dad to a patio outside in the sun. They were beyond happy and to hear them talk about it with the excitement in their voices was truly heartwarming.
For a 3rd update in a row, our song is from Queensryche. We find it ironic that since their visit with Bryan, their songs have been the perfect fit to each update. We couldn’t find a video showing the lyrics, so we have included both because some of the words are so powerful and fitting.

I want to be a busy man
I want to see a change in the future
I'm gonna make the best of what I have
I want to write for a magazine
I'm gonna be the best they've ever seen
I know I'll win if I give it all I can

And I won't let go, gotta make the grade
No, I won't let it go
To be the best man, the best man that I can

Back street hoop star you've got it good
You were the wonder of the crumbling neighborhood
Now taking bids on the next six digit plan
Showed me that my will survived
when tragedy that came into my life
giving me hope and the new start
that I have

And I won't let go, gotta make the grade
No, I won't let it go
To be the best man, the best man that I can

Step by step I dream the plan
From my chair to walking man
This constant dream is on my mind
Chase the light I see ahead
Luminate the path I tread
I live to be the best I can

Now I'm moving forward
And I'm never looking back
Straight ahead, focused on the big attack
On a roll and I'm never slowing down
I won't be torn between
The man in the chair
And the man that's in my dream
I'm going to melt the two men into one

And I won't let go, gotta make the grade I set
No, I won't let it go
To be the best man, the best man that I can
The best man that I can
The best man that I can

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After almost 5 months at San Francisco General Hospital, Bryan was moved to a long-term acute rehab facility Tuesday morning!! We have to say a HUGE thank you to AMR San Francisco, Judy, Max and Scott for taking the best care of Bryan and for taking care of us as well. The transition couldn’t possibly have been any smoother. We said our bittersweet goodbyes to the amazing people at SF General. Like in LA, we were sad to say goodbye to everyone from the Café employees, the janitors, the nurses, the Chaplains and the doctors. SFGH also brought us together with some great families. The Nelsons, McGoverns and the Minis…both their loved ones are in rehab as well.

After arriving at the rehab facility Bryan got settled in, his pictures got hung up and he got right to work. The physical therapist, speech therapist and the occupational therapist came in to do some work with him and to assess him.

While Bryan knows the answers to some questions he is asked, he also has moments of confusion and he answers personal questions incorrectly. This is a big move for Bryan; a step forward in terms of progress. We know that we all have a long road ahead of us. With all his progress, Bryan still has a lot of work to do, and he has a long way to go. As always, the outcome is unknown and that is very difficult. But we are very determined and excited to start this next chapter and to help Bryan in any possible way we can.

The song for this update is another from the band Queensryche, who visited Bryan in SF. A part of the song is our message to Bryan. “I will be watching over you. I am gonna help to see it through. I will protect you in the night. I am smiling next to you.”

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Happy October!

Hard to believe the 6 month mark just passed. The day we got that phone call on March 31st seems like almost an eternity. Bryan continues to show good progress and while we are so excited and grateful, we pray it continues.

An ultrasound showed that Bryan still has blood clots. While they haven’t gotten smaller, they also have not gotten bigger so that is good. The doctors are still working on getting the right amount of blood thinners to get the clots under control.
Bry’s trach was finally removed and the site has closed up and healed, which makes him much more comfortable. Bryan continues to talk with a stronger and clearer voice, but he gets very tired easily and when he doesn’t want to talk, he doesn’t.

Bryan had an exciting week. On Saturday, Bruce Bochy came to visit. He gave Bry his signed SF hat that he wore in. He spent about 45 minutes talking to him and telling him that he wanted him at Spring Training! As he was leaving, Bryan said to him, “Bye. I love you.” Mr. Bochy said I love you too!

On Sunday, Bryan’s friend arranged for one of Bryan’s all-time favorite bands to visit. Queensryche was playing in SF and came by before one of their shows. When they first got there and were outside his room gowning up, Bonnie said to Bryan to look out the doors; that Queensryche was right outside. He looked out and said, “They are all dressed up. I’m not dressed up.” We assured him he looked great and had to laugh because in true Bryan fashion, he was concerned about how he looked. When they walked in, Bryan got a small smile. Erin asked him if he knew who they were and Bryan said, “Queensryche. My favorite band.” The band stayed for about 45 minutes, asking questions and talking with Bryan. As they were leaving, Bryan actually asked them to dedicate a song to him. We later found out they dedicated our song choice for today’s update.

We love it when Bryan says things that are his own, as opposed to repeating things we say. Once, Erin and Bonnie told him that thousands of people were looking forward to him throwing out the first pitch next season. Bryan said, “I’m there.”

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Stow Family Album

Bonnie, Bryan & Erin