Formerly "Neil Stone Updates"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

Much love from the Stone Family!

We call this work therapy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Calendar Boy

Here he is folks, Mr. July!

Let me know if you want a calendar or three. They sent us quite a few!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Few of Our Favorite People

On Saturday, Neil and Scott went to Robert Wood Johnson hospital to meet with some very special people. They saved us and kept us going last January--Neil's life, literally, and Scott's and my emotional lives. Here are some of them:

Glen on the left, Regina in the center, and Neil surrounded by nurses and staff from the SICU West.

Glen was waiting, just like Scott and I--sitting by Regina's side during those dark coma days. When the nurses kicked us out--er, invited us to leave--during shift change twice a day, we'd trek down to Cool Runnin's on the corner for a little curried chicken to bring back and eat in the atrium together, or just sit in the hospital cafeteria and dream out loud of a future reunion when Neil and Regina would both be awake and well and able to meet each other.

We had that reunion this past summer, and have been getting together ever since. But Saturday's trip was back to Cool Runnin's for Jamaican food and a trip to see the nurses we love so much. Even though they are strangers to Neil and Regina, the former patients were no strangers to them. I'm glad they could see the result-in-progress of their dedication and hard work.

We love you SICU staff! We love you Glen and Regina!

See here for Neil's first reunion with the hospital staff last April.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't Panic!

Jenga "therapy"

There are several theories out there about the prognosis for a brain injury. Some of the scariest ones say you pretty much get all you're going to get by one year--maybe 18 months. Fortunately, many, many individuals who have suffered TBIs have proven this to be false. Some say you can see progress for eight to ten years, maybe more. But there is much evidence that shows that relearning does begin to slow down at some point. Neil's physiatrist told us that by the end of year one, you're pretty much in the ballpark of where you are going to be. What does that mean? I don't really know, but it gives us a sense of urgency. I see Neil continuing to improve for years to come; I see his ballpark as very, very big. But I want him to be farther than he is now when that one year mark rolls around. We're almost at 10 1/2 months. I think it's time for some cramming.

Some who've helped along the way:

Erin--Speech Therapist Extraordinaire!

Samantha--Occupational Therapist student with a very bright future!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Note to Self: Next Time You're On TV...

...remember to get plenty of sleep, have someone else fix your hair, and EAT first! Two days ago it was time for more fun with the True Life crew.

I'm glad the camera was rolling as we got the good news that Neil's vision is improving. It was pretty exciting to hear his eye doctor say that he probably wouldn't need surgery. He gave him a lower prescription prism for his left lens and some new exercises to work on and wants to see Neil again in a month. We're so encouraged!

When we came home from the appointment, the tv crew sat us down for "formalish" interviews. They expect to use this material for voice-overs, but some of the video may by shown as well. Some of the questions were about details of the night of the accident--including how we were notified. (Two uniformed policemen knocked on the door at midnight, asked if I was Neil's mom, then asked me to sit down--in case you were wondering.) Of course I had a hard time keeping it together as we talked about such emotional stuff.

Some of the questions were very personal. It's hard to keep your head when a sympathetic producer is asking in such a kind way. Neil and I both felt a little nervous after it was all done--like maybe we talked too much, or shared some things we shouldn't have for a televised audience. I know their intent is to inform the audience and teach about what it's like to live with, and try to recover from, a brain injury, but will they care enough about Neil personally not to embarrass him in the process? What will be left in, and what will be left on the floor of the editing room? I'm having second thoughts, but it's too late--I already signed the release. They own our souls...I mean, whatever we said on camera.

And this brings me to the lack of food and sleep. I couldn't figure out why my mind kept going blank as they asked me questions about things I've talked about a hundred times before. Where was the information? I felt like I had a brain injury myself. It wasn't until after they left that evening that I realized I was running on half an apple and a little peanut butter, and maybe five hours sleep for the last few days. Low blood sugar--of course! And poor Neil! His neuro-fatigue may have started manifesting itself a little early because of the excitment of the day.

So, as I said, next time you're on tv...