Tuesday, August 17: Update

It was a long day. We were up before the sun made its appearance in North Texas and on our way to Medical City for Claire’s second MRI. All things considered, the visit was smooth and efficient. We were told we would be headed home by 8:30 barring any complications and we were on the road at 8:45 AM. That was a success by medical services standards.

The highlight of the morning was seeing Kara and Brian at Medical City. Kara has been mentioned in previous posts: she was one of Claire’s brilliant PICU nurses. Brian was the chaplain on-scene the night Claire was admitted to the PICU. We enjoyed seeing them both. We were torn about taking Claire to visit the 5th floor PICU today. We want Claire’s return to be more triumphant; however, we are eager to see our PICU family. If we had more time, we would have persuaded ourselves to go up and visit.

We did not have time. My mom was scheduled to arrive at DFW and we had to battle with traffic to get to her terminal. Tiffany, Claire and I picked Nana up and we were all smiles. We’re glad to have her back.

Claire’s therapy went well today. We’ve also been exploring new therapies for Claire, taking cues from the Damoffs: Claire will have her first hippotherapy (equestrian) session next Friday morning. Vestibular system issues tend to associate with anoxic brain injury and I suspect that Claire is following suit. Our vestibular system regulates our balance and sense of self in space: problems with you vestibular system can lead to problems like vertigo. One recommended treatment for vestibular orientation is referred to as cross-patterning. George, Jeanne’s husband, had discussed hippotherapy success with me and the impact on Jacob’s cross-patterning skills. We began researching and found a location in Flower Mound that are welcoming Claire with open arms. It’s another tool in Claire’s arsenal and we hope it yields some solid results.

We continue to work on Claire’s spasticity. We are seeing improvements in her muscle rigidity and overall disposition. Claire was very calm and collected yesterday and today. She was attentive to movement around her and able to calm herself with greater efficiency.

Overall, the past few days have been encouraging as we continue to see improvement and develop new tactics and strategies. We continue to look to the blog comments for encouragement and thank everyone for their prayers and support. We hope your week is going well. Goodnight!

26 thoughts on “Tuesday, August 17: Update”

  1. You accomplished a lot today! I hope that the hippotherapy yields great benefits for Claire and that the visit from your mother invigorates all of you.

    We, too, loved Kara in the PICU. I also look forward to taking my daughter back to see everyone there, but I, myself, am not up for it yet.

    Praying for a good week for all of you.

  2. My husband read your blog, (or should I say, misread) before I did. He told me you were going to try Hypnotherapy w/ Claire. I was thinking Wow that’s interesting!!! What ever will work, go for it!!
    Well… Hippiotherapy makes a whole lot more sense! LOL!
    Love you all n Still praying n Believing!
    PS Glad ur mom’s back!

  3. So glad to see the equestrian therapy on the agenda. Aubrie and I used to work with children in that area and it is encouraging to see how much that helps and the progress that can be made! Still praying for all – love u guys!

  4. I never heard of hippotherapy. This is new to me. I am very excited to see what all that intails.
    Glad to hear that Claire had a good day. I am sure she too is excited to see her nana. By the way tell Susie I said hi. I know it’s good to have your mom there with you. It always seems that everything will be ok when moms are around.I guess it’s just a motherly thing. LOL!!! The world is a better place with the loving arms of a mother or nana.
    May today be a beautiful day for you all….
    love ya,

  5. You did accomplish so much today! I’m so glad to hear that Nana is back in town. You, as always, continue to amaze us all with your strength, love and devotion. I pray for Claire every night.. and my mother from CA constantly asks me for updates. So many people love your family.


  6. It sounds like you are headed in the right direction – keep up the proactive approach. You are Claire’s biggest supporters and will know when things are getting better, or worse, and response accordingly.
    God is so good!

  7. Good luck with the hippotherapy! I hear certain animals have a way with people and can truly help them out especially with a mental state. Some people get enjoyment on just petting a dog or cat. Still thinking of Claire and the family in CT!!

  8. I am so glad that Susie is back! It will give you guys a chane to take a break here or there and maybe get some more sleep. I am glad to hear that Claire was responsive to movement around her, have they tested her coma level lately? Sounds like she is a bit more “awake”. Love you all tons, and I pray that you will keep seeing encouraging signs.

  9. Good morning, Tiff?Tyler

    I am glad to know about the hippotherapy. It’s a great idea!
    I prayed for your mom and for the MRI yesterday and I will pray for a wonderful day today. . . You, guys, are always in my thoughts.
    God bless your day!

  10. I bet Claire will love that!! How exciting. I am also glad that Susie is back with you all. I know how much the girls love having her there and it is wonderful that she can visit again. She is a big help and encouragement.
    I am happy that your day was so successful and that Claire is more alert and calm. I miss you all. I think of you and pray for you daily.

  11. I am a big fan of hippotherapy! Our precious foster daughter who we had for two years before she was adopted by her forever family did hippotherapy with us and then has continued with regular horseback riding now. She is completely deaf, with one cochlear implant, and has nystagmous, along with HAD huge developmental delays. Her vestibular system was a mess! Now four years later she is riding a bike without train wheels!!! That is something she was supposedly “never going to be able to do”! So hah! She has also do some intense vision therapy that I would recommend looking into when the time is right. We also got her into gymnastics, which she has continued, and I really believe that was a therapy in itself, working her muscles (early on she had spacticity issues),helping her vestibular system, and working on her gross moter coordination. Again she was “never supposed to be able to walk the beam” and guesse what she can do today! We used a local Little Gym whos owners were terrific about working with us and meeting her special needs. Oh and the other thing that I thought benifited her greatly was Music Therapy. We used Music Together, a national program for normally developing children that again worked with us, and now even has a special class for developmentally delayed children. These sessions engaged her in a way that was different from her other therapies. They also helped her learn to move and coordinate her body, sometimes fast sometimes slow, sometimes calm, sometimes “crazy”. The music gave her something to “feel” with her very limited communication skills at the time. My friend whose sister has brain injury has always said that her music therapy was very benificial too. Hope I havn’t added more to your plate, but wanted to share in hopes of helping. Our family says a prayer for Claire everynight, for Claire and her sisters and you and your wife!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I was reading the comment you left for the Martins and saw that you mentioned vision therapy. Can you tell me more about that? My child, Maddie, has been recommended for this, but I’d love to hear what another parent has to say about it before I invest time and energy in this since the location is so far from our house.
      Donna Dixon
      dixonchick@aol.com (personal email)

  12. I’m excited about Claire’s new equestrian therapy. A friend of mine used to volunteer with an organization in Wylie that did equestrian therapy (before she moved out of state). I remember her saying how much the children enjoyed it, and it seemed to help too. It’s great that you found an even closer location, in Flo Mo. Hopefully Claire will find it therapeutic as well.

    All the best,


  13. I have been keeping up on this since the beginning – your story is very close to our hearts. I think you will be amazed at the effects the equiestrian therapy will have on Claire. Animlas are able to work miracles with humans. I have not read if you have any pets – but it could make a big difference in her. Dogs and cats are able to connect with us on different levels, and can sense the needs of children. Just some food for thought…..

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours…

  14. I’ll never forget horse riding with Jacob. I hated horses and was so scared, so I was happy to watch HIM. But then, his trainer, Ronnie, realized I was scared, so of course, he made me ride. (Can’t say it was my favorite, but he let Jacob ride with me so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.) Jacob became a different person on the horse. (after a few initial shocks that someone was making him get on the animal.) I pray that Claire relaxes and enjoys it and all the while, that her little brain would be responding in huge ways! oh, and so glad that nana is back!!!

  15. Yay! This is great news. So glad you found a hippotherapy place nearby. Will be praying for wonderful results and looking forward to your reports.

    Enjoy your time with your beautiful Nana.


  16. Thanks for sending the progress reports. The little things are what you need to see each day. My continued prayers.

  17. How exciting about Claire starting hippotherapy. I think you’ll be surprised at the changes you may see in her. Maddie has been riding for about 3 years now and absolutely loves it still! She has improved in a multitude of ways. Please keep us posted on the riding and it’s improvements for Claire.

  18. So much has been going on! And so much of it sounds good today. I’m glad Susie is back with you–Moms help, and Nanas help and she’s extra special. I never heard it called hippotherapy before (sounds like with hippos!), but I’ve read a lot in the paper about equestrian therapy and how much it can help in so many ways. Let us know how it goes for Claire. I have vestibular issues from my brain injury, and one of the latest my PT helped me with is foods to avoid. It’s probably too early to even think about that with Claire, but you might research it for the future. Another thing he taught me is to rest my brain–remember that period in OCH when you had to shut the blinds, cut out visitors, and keep things very quiet? Sometimes I still need that when my vertigo gets bad. That might help Claire at times when vertigo kicks in.

    Another thing I wanted to say Sunday night was that I hope at least one of you, Tyler and Tiffany, is able to get to church each week. Knowing how much your faith means to you, you have to renew it, and you have to be among those who share it and are supporting you in your journey with Claire. I know you’ll cry. But they’ll cry with you, and love you, and pray with you and for you all. I pray you can get there this week, with Susie there to help take care of Claire.

    So many people come up to me and ask, “How’s Claire? I’m still praying for her every day.” She’s very precious, not just to you, but to so many who know her through not just this blog, but through Claire’s Team telling about her.

    Many prayers and much love, Dodie

  19. Tyler and Tiffany
    Glad to hear the MRI went so well! I have a couple of questions for
    Who ordered that? I’d love to have another for jd, we’re 18 months out and haven’t had since 3 days after the accident.

    Does Claire have trouble regulating her body temp? Jd sweats some but when we are outside on hot days his temp will shoot up to 101 or more. We can’t find an indoor equine facility here. Can’t wait to hear how well she does!!!
    Beth Hartman

  20. I’m so happy “Nana” is back in DFW! the girls must be very excited, specially my sweet Autumn….. 🙂
    love, love, and prayers for all of you,

  21. Praying for Claire from southwestern N.M. Have been so concerned about her and the family. May the Lord richly bless you all and may Claire continue to improve. She must have a wonderful family!

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