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Four months on, and Jennie today took her first tentative steps. Three steps forward with lots of huffing and puffing and then 3 steps back with no huffing and puffing, the seat behind her acting as a magnet!

Real progress is now being made with Jennie able to swallow fluids, eat soft food and transfer on a banana board from her bed into a wheelchair.

Still a long way to go as her left arm remains very weak and little grip with either hand. Having said this she has mastered the art of turning the pages of her magazine collection with her good right hand and is reading again and changing channels on the TV in her room.

Another milestone!


It’s like a baby becoming a child.  The parents don’t see the change as the child grows older.  The change is gradual, imperceptible but real all the same.  The grandparents see it.  A lot changes in two weeks, a month since the last visit.  A little more steady on the feet, a few more words. Change.

It’s the same with Jennie.  Two weeks ago she saw her grandchildren, she couldn’t reach out to them, hold their hands.  Her hand would drop to her lap and she would need help to get it back to the arm rest.  Two weeks later and she can extend her right arm.  It can move down, she can raise it up.  She doesn’t see it but she is making amazing progress.  She really is getting better.

A month ago the discharge date of the beginning of December seemed like a pipe dream.  Now it is looking realistic.  She’s got her goals set and shes meeting them.  On friday she was standing.  Yesterday she could extend her legs up and out.  The left arm is still a little slow and the fine finger movement isn’t there, but change is certainly in the air.  GBS- Getting Better Slowly.

Whilst the swallow is beginning to come back, Jennie is still being fed liquids through a tube directly into a stomach (to avoid the risk of aspiration pneumonia the tube is still considered an essential for fluid/ medicine intake).  Yesterday the tube fell out.  It was kept within the stomach by a balloon which appeared to have burst and without this in place Jennie could not receive liquids. Fortunately the nurses were able to replace it with a catheter which kept the hole intact.

Usually Gastric tubes have a life span of about six months but not this one, so yesterday Jennie was ambulanced to the General Hospital for its replacement through the existing passage without an additional endoscopic procedure. This lasted just a few minutes and Jennie was safely returned to Rehab.

Apart from this bit of excitement very little is happening on the movement front but Jennie is perervering with her physio and elocution practice and happy that some progress is being made. However she can’t wait to get off the pureed food.


October 2009
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