Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday January 30

TGIF probably never had more meaning. The end of another week at Dodd Hall means one week closer to discharge. The day started with a vision clinic to determine vision deficiencies that may be caused by the accident. Mr. Bichler did get a prescription for bi-focals so no more wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time. The rest of the day was filled with speech and physical therapies. The morning was cognition and memory testing which continues to get better each day and the afternoon offered two physical therapy sessions. In one session we actually worked on getting in and out of my car. Mr. B was able to get in very easily but getting him out was another story. He was ready to go home. After several practice transfers we came in out of the cold. Mr. Bichler and I played a little soccer to work on balance and when the session was over we walked the 3 flights of stairs to Mr. B's room and called it a day. Probably the high light of his day was when Morgan, his recreation therapist, stopped by with her therapy dog. Her dog, Bella, a beautiful brindle boxer hopped into bed with him and started licking his face. The smile on his face was priceless! I will try to get a picture next time to put with the post. Two of his doctors also stopped by his room to discuss any questions that he might have and they talked about his progress so far. Everyone is extremely pleased by how far he has come in such a short period of time. On Tuesday they will re-evaluate his status and discuss further therapy and his discharge date. This week end we will continue to work on many of the same things he does during the week and of course we plan to watch the Super Bowl Game. Today Mr. B received more cards and especially enjoyed the hand made cards from school. Thank you so much for continuing to remember him. I have noticed that he is very excited to open and read his cards and after each card he tells me that I need to send out thank yous. So....THANK YOU SO MUCH! Have a great week end!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 29

I didn't arrive until 11 a.m. this morning so I missed the step-ups in PT but I did get there in time for the lunch that Mr. B had prepared in occupational therapy. One of his favorites on a cold day, grilled cheese and tomato soup. He ate every bite so he is feeling much better. After lunch we attended a class that explains the functional changes that occur after traumatic brain injury. At 1:30 Mr. Bichler was transported to the medical center for another swallow evaluation. Although Mr. B has been on a regular diet since coming to Dodd his swallow reflexes were not fast enough for him to drink liquids without making them thicker. Today's test was an x-ray of Mr. B swallowing different foods and drinks. We were able to see the video of the test. It would be great in science class as it showed the epiglottis closing off the trachea as the food and drink passed into the esophagus. It was funny too because it was an x-ray so Mr. Bichler looked like a skeleton with glasses as he swallowed. The good news is he passed the test and can now eat and drink anything he wants without adding thickening. After the x-ray he had one more therapy, physical therapy with Amber. It was back to the treadmill. Today he was on for 12 minutes at 1 degree higher on the incline. Tired but satisfied he walked back to his room for a well deserved nap. But first he had a ginger ale...without the honey thickener!
I tried to put all of his cards and letters on his window sill to take a picture but I was only able to set up about 1/4 of them. Today when I arrived he told me he had lots of cards upstairs to open and indeed he did.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, January 28

Well today marks one month since the accident. Still hard to believe what an emotional roller coaster ride this has been. As Trish posted yesterday, Mr. B is making remarkable progress. He did have a small set back last night as he was sick most of the night with flu-like symptoms. However, every day is a work day at Dodd. This morning he learned a new card game, 7-up, that helps with sequencing skills and visual scanning. These are things that we pretty much take for granted but brain injury patients have to really work at getting these skills back. Bet you didn't know you could get a college degree in recreational therapy and play cards and board games for a living. He also practiced his casting skills in occupational therapy so he must plan on doing some fishing in the near future. Tomorrow I think he is going to make lunch (grilled cheese and tomato soup) and I hope he feels good enough to eat some of it. Trish and Luke had to head back home to Dover today but they stopped by to see grandpa before they left. Luke gave grandpa a few tips on walking and helped him fish in occupational therapy. After lunch and a short power nap, Mr. Bichler felt a little stronger. So Amber put him to work in P.T. by having him walk on the treadmill on an incline for 5 minutes. In his second session 30 minutes later he put on the ankle weights again and did knee lifts and kicks, front, back and to the side. By 3:30 he was ready to head back to his room and wasn't feeling very well. We hope that after a good nights sleep he will be feeling much better tomorrow. Thanks again to the snow elf my driveway looked better than I-70.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 27

Well besides all of the snow we couldn't have asked for a better start to the week. Once again Mr. Bichler excelled in his cognitive tests, believe it or not they are very difficult try naming the months backwards Dec. - Jan. However the biggest news of the day once again comes from his physical therapist. I'll tell you what this Amber really knows how to work him. Guess it's payback for all the wind sprints he made other people do for the last 30 years. She had Mr. B walking stairs again however today it was 5 flights up and down. He was pretty tired afterwards but did so well that she decided it was time for him to give up his wheel chair to someone who needs it more than him. We can't say that Mr. B was to thrilled about this, non the less he headed to the elevators and then walked to his room for a little afternoon nap. So far this week has been nothing but progress and we hope to keep reporting positive news here from Dodd Hall. Mr. Bichler wanted to thank everyone for all the cards and letters they really help to break up the monotony of the evenings. The nurses are all amazed that one patient receives so many letters day after day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday, January 26th

Well it is amazing what a day of rest can do for the mind and body. Mr. Bichler had an awesome day of therapy today, he was a machine in his group speech class answering every question correctly. During his 2nd physical therapy session today his therapist Amber told him she had a special treat for him today. She led us to the staircase and Mr. B. walked down a flight of stairs to the tunnel system under the OSU Medical Center and we walked from Dodd Hall all the way to Doan Hall and back, at least a 30 minute walk. Amber was nice to him at the end of the walk and let him take the elevator up instead of the stairs. He also did very well in his individual speech class and his therapist Lisa wants to take him out to eat one day with her. She asked him if there was anywhere special he would like to go and after a minute of thinking he replied Ruth Chris Steak house. She said she was thinking more along the lines of Bob Evans or Pizza Hut but Mr. B. seemed pretty stuck on Ruth Chris, it will be interesting to see who wins that battle. So overall I would say that Monday was one of Mr. Bichler's best days at Dodd Hall, hopefully there are more to come.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday, January 25

Week ends at Dodd Hall are a little more relaxing. On Saturday the therapy schedule is limited to mornings and dependent on how many therapists are on duty. Yesterday, Mr. Bichler was only scheduled for physical therapy. He walked unassisted 500+ feet, and did knee lifts and side kicks at the parallel bar and stairs. At one point during his walk his therapist asked him to take 5 steps to the left and then 8 steps to the right. Mr. B proceeded to take 3 steps to the right. The therapist questioned him and he replied that he was where she wanted him to be. (have you done the math yet?) The therapist asked if he was trying to out smart her and he said, "it isn't that hard sweet heart!". I think this is why he had to do the stairs and knee lifts. After PT we played some rummy and Monopoly before lunch. Later in the afternoon we walked to Wendy's for a frosty. Since it was pretty cold we took the tunnel to the hospital. It runs underground from Dodd to the Medical Center. On Sunday, Mr. B slept in and pretty much took it easy all day. Luke came over in the afternoon which was enjoyable for everyone. Mr. Bichler had a hot roast beef sandwich and mashed potatoes from Der Dutchman for supper. We also watched the men's and women's OSU basketball games on tv. Tomorrow it is back to a full schedule of therapy.

P.S. A big thank you to the snow elves who have been keeping my drive way clear. What a relief not worrying about snow when I leave or return from the hospital.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday January 23

Well Mr. Bichler finished up another grueling week of therapy. After a week plus of working with his therapist they are all starting to catch on to all of his tricks and seem to be able to tell when he is playing possum. Today with a little coaxing he was able to walk 3 laps around Dodd hall a new career high. He also won a game of rummy against Mrs. B, Trish, Morgan (Therapist) and Sy (Another Dodd Patient). Before starting the game he was sure to warn Sy that Morgan was prone to cheating, so they both kept a keen eye on her the whole game. After another long day of therapy Mr. B returned to his room to rest up and eat dinner. Mr. Bichler had ordered a cheeseburger for dinner tonight however he decided not to eat it since we had a Flyer's Pizza delivered to us. While finishing up his pizza we read him all the cards he received for the day then it was lights out for Mr. B. Thanks again for all of the cards and letters they always bring a smile to his face.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday, January 22

Our oldest daughter Trish and grandson Luke flew in last night to see Grandpa B. They spent the day with Mr. B helping with some of his therapy. Luke was playing catch with grandpa to improve his hand-eye coordination and balance and the two of them walked around the hallways in the building. Luke really enjoyed riding in Mr. Bichler's wheelchair to therapy and playing with all the buttons on his hospital bed. It was great to watch Mr. Bichler showing off his grandson to all the therapists. Luke put smiles on lots of faces today, he was good medicine at Dodd Hall.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday, January 21

Another great day at Dodd Hall. The work that is being done here is nothing short of miraculous! Mr. Bichler is now working on walking unassisted. He even made apple-cinnamon muffins in occupational therapy. He couldn't bake before he went to the hospital so I guess they do perform miracles here! If they teach him to do laundry I'll be all set. Each day he seems to get stronger. Today at one of our classes we learned that for every week a patient spends in bed they lose 20% of their muscle mass. So Mr. B is working on regaining nearly 40% of his. Once the body recovers then the brain will start restoring the damage done to itself during and after the fall. So for now, we just keep moving forward, one step at a time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20

Well, lucky for Mr. B it's a four day week. He was busy all day long. He did really well though and it seems his endurance is increasing. He also was eating much better today. Guess all that hard work stimulated his appetite. Thank you so much for the wonderful comments and the cards you have sent. In the 3 weeks since the accident there has not been a day that we have not received a card or letter either at home or the hospital. Thanks, what a great community we live in!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, January 19

The week end was pretty non-eventful. Saturday was a half day therapy schedule that included sessions in speech, physical and occupational therapy. Sunday was a full day of rest that Mr. Bichler took full advantage of. Today was another half day because it was a holiday. In physical therapy he walked around the inside of the building 2 times and after lunch we played a rousing game of checkers. He didn't eat as good today as he has been. Guess the hospital food isn't as good as he thought after not eating for 2 weeks. He probably misses stealing food from the 6th graders during lunch duty! Starting tomorrow it looks like they are stepping up his work out schedule and Mr. B. is going to be pretty tired by the end of his day. He is scheduled for five 30minute sessions before lunch and then another five sessions after lunch. I'm excited to see how much progress he can make by the end of the week. Our daughter and grandson will be here Thursday so I'm sure he will want to impress them.
*Lindsey F., when I read your letter to Mr. B, his comment was "that girl is a trip and a half"!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday, January 16

I hope everyone enjoyed their day out of school. Mr. Bichler was up early and hard at work when I arrived. Dodd keeps all of their patients on a pretty structured schedule with very little down time. Since Mr. B had been confined to his bed for nearly 2 weeks following his accident and then surgery, he now has to build up his endurance and stamina. He does a lot of walking but today he was scheduled for recreational therapy where he learned a new card game, Kings on the Corners. I know he is getting better because he was trying to cheat. Tomorrow he only has therapy sessions in the morning and he will have the afternoon to rest and relax. Mr. Bichler and I would like to wish the wrestlers good luck during their big tournament tomorrow. Go Riders!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday, January 15

Mr. Bichler's first day at Dodd began with an omelet for breakfast followed by his first session which included dressing himself in real clothes. Hospital gowns are not that attractive. The first of three therapy sessions, 30 minutes each began at 8:30. These sessions were followed by meetings with a nutritionist to plan Mr. B's diet, a psychologist for cognitive testing and the team of Dodd Hall doctors. After these meetings it was time for his session with the speech therapist. Part of her job is to evaluate Mr. Bichler's ability to swallow effectively so she also went to lunch with us. After lunch he was ready for a nap. But 30 minutes later Amber, his physical therapist was back and said she had some extra time and woke Mr. B for another PT session. So he had 3 sessions of physical therapy ending with two trips walking up and down 5 steps. We had dinner together and by 7 p.m. he was ready to hit the sack. While you are sleeping in on your snow day tomorrow, Mr. Bichler will be up and working hard to get back to doing what he loves, coming to school to make your lives miserable. Enjoy your long week end! Mr. Bichler's new address is below:
Mr. Bichler
c/o Dodd Hall
480 West 10th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 14

Despite the fact that I dropped both our girls off at the airport at 5 a.m. this morning and the snow and cold weather, it was a good day. When I finally arrived at the hospital, Mr. B was not in his room. He was having an X-ray swallow evaluation to see if he would be able to eat solid food. Before he came back to the room I got the news that he would be transferred to Dodd Hall in the afternoon. At 2 p.m. Mr. Bichler was settling into his new room at Dodd Hall. The good news of the day is that at 6 p.m. a food tray was delivered to his room with roast beef, potatoes and vegetable soup and by 6:15 everything was gone. Mr. Bichler ate like he hadn't eaten in two and a half weeks (which he hadn't!). Tomorrow he gets started with his therapy sessions, a pretty busy schedule beginning at 8:30 a.m. that include physical, occupational, speech and cognition therapy. I imagine he will be pretty tired by 3:30. The bad news for Mr. B is that they don't have "snow days" at Dodd Hall. Every day we enjoy the cards, letters and comments that you have sent. They really brighten his day! Thank you again for all of your support. Just knowing how much you care keeps us going!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12th

Hey, it's Mrs. B. I am practicing how to post a blog since Sara will soon be heading back to Honolulu, Hawaii and Trish to Dover, Delaware. They will be back as needed but they have lives of their own and need to be with their husbands and Luke needs his Daddy.
We received terrific news today that Mr. B will be moving to Dodd Hall. It is known nation-wide as one of the top facilities to rehabilitate severe brain injuries. They were going to move him today but his blood results came back and his potassium levels were too high so they had to give him an IV. Hopefully they will move him in the morning. During his physical therapy he was walking without the aid of a walker but with a therapist on each side. We are looking forward to the move to Dodd Hall where he will be in different types of therapy for 3-5 hours every day six days a week.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11th

Mr. Bichler has had a pretty good weekend, we continue to see small improvements daily. The neurosurgeon saw him yesterday and is very pleased with his progress. The doctors think that he is a great candidate for the rehabilitation center at OSU. At the rehab center they will work with him on walking, talking and relearning some of the things that his brain has forgotten. We are hoping that he will get into the rehab center within the next week because he is tired of being stuck in the hospital.

I want everyone to know that he is doing better but I also want you to know that it is probably going to be several months before he will be ready for visitors. He has a lot of work ahead of him but he is a hard worker and very stubborn. He is going to pull through this as quickly as possible.

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9th

Mr. Bichler was moved out of the ICU and into a new room today. The new room has a window with a view of downtown Columbus and is quiet so he can get plenty of rest. He continues to walk farther everyday with his therapist. He still cannot have any visitors, but if you would like to send a card or letter his new address is:

Andy Bichler
OSU Medical Center
450 West Tenth Ave
Columbus, OH 43210

I also just wanted to thank you all for the kind words, prayers, cards, letters, food, parking passes, and time that everyone has given so generously. The family really appreciates it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 8th

Mr. Bichler continues to steadily improve everyday. His brain is taking a little longer to heal than the rest of his body, but that is expected. He was very tired today but we did get to see a little bit of his personality and sense of humor shine through.

He now has standing orders to be moved out of the ICU as soon as there is an available bed for him in the step-down unit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 7th

It was another day of rest and recuperation for Mr. Bichler. He worked with his speech and physical therapists again. He was able to walk farther today than yesterday with the aid of a walker. He remains in good spirits and we appreciate all of the cards and letters he continues to receive.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6th

Mr. Bichler is still in the SICU. We just found out today that they cannot move him until he is no longer on the medicine to help the swelling in his brain. The neurosurgeons are really pleased with his progress but it is going to take some time for all of the swelling to go down.

He also worked with the physical and occupational therapist today and was able to sit on the edge of the bed, stand, and even take a couple of steps.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January 5th

Mr. Bichler had another good day, he is still waiting to be moved to another room. He has already recieved lots of cards and letters and we are letting him know that you are all thinking of him and missing him. He was happy to hear that his basketball team won tonight's game.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 4th

Mr. Bichler is now in stable condition and will be moved out of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit in the next day or so. They took him off the ventilator yesterday and he is breathing all on his own and is able to talk. He was evaluated by a speech therapist today to gauge when he will be able to start eating on his own. Tomorrow he will start working with a physical and occupational therapist to start getting him back in shape. I know he wants to get back to school and coaching his team as soon as possible. He is making great improvements but full recovery is expected to take a long time.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3rd

As some of you may have heard Mr. Bichler sustained severe head trauma and a skull fracture as a result of a fall. He is currently in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Ohio State Medical Center. He had emergency surgery on Tuesday and remains in stable but critical condition.

The family appreciates your kind thoughts and prayers. Visitors are restricted to immediate family only. Flowers, plants, food and balloons are not permitted in the SICU.

If you would like to send cards or letters his address is:
Andy Bichler
OSU Medical Center
410 W. 10th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210