Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29

Today's visit with Iggy was the best so far. He was awake the entire time and was engaging everyone in conversation. He was scheduled to be discharged sometime this afternoon and will be staying at home. Early next week he will begin his therapy at the hospital, which will last for at least several weeks. His doctor informed us that he will be able to leave his house and go to restaurants, friend's houses, and engage in other social activities right away. The doctor cautioned us, however, that he still cannot be left alone just in case he were to lose his balance. It is also still unknown when he will be able to return to school or begin cycling again. 

During our visit today he was able to communicate with people when they asked him simple and direct questions, but he was still having trouble answering questions that contained several options that he needed to chose from. Today was the first time that we got to visit with him when we felt that he was almost completely there in terms of cognition. He was joking around and being himself, for the most part, and was very excited and eager to leave the hospital and go home.

For those of you who would like to text him or call him, be mindful that he is still recovering and he might have a hard time remembering who you are or understanding what you are saying. Moreover, I will no longer be writing a daily bog, but I will still provide updates periodically regarding his status and rehabilitation. I will post a link on Facebook whenever I write a new entry. I want to thank everyone who wished him well and provided him with support during this difficult time. I know he really appreciates all the people who came to visit him or wished him well. 

Also, if anyone would like to contact Iggy's dad, his cell phone number is 619-366-8600.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28

Wow, what a difference a day makes! Iggy improved so much since we saw him yesterday, it was truly remarkable. In the morning he was able to Skype with his girlfriend Shannon for a few minutes and communicate with her fairly well. Just from looking at him, we were able to see the difference in the way he carried himself. He seemed more confident and less confused. He was still having trouble answering a few questions, but he was understanding much better than yesterday. A short time later we asked him if his favorite football team was the Green Bay Packers or the San Diego Chargers, to which he responded that the Packers were his favorite and that the Chargers were not very good...a typical Iggy response. He was also able to identify his favorite college football team. Moreover, he was doing much better with small details such as names. He was able to identify myself and his aunt Laura by name when we asked him to do so. He was also watching television for the first time. In the past when the television had been on, he had asked us to turn it off. 

After a while Ed (his friend from cycling and high school) and Ashley (his friend from his time living in University City) came to visit. Iggy recognized both of them, and we found out later that Iggy had texted Ashley and told her that he was in the hospital. We had a nice visit with them and while we were talking it seemed like he was much more involved in the conversation than he had been in the past. At one point he even recalled a story where he had invited Jacob and some other friends over to his old apartment. This was the first time that he had started a conversation with us, while also recalling a story at the same time. More importantly, his tone, mannerisms and other aspects of his personality are starting to come back. Once Ed and Ashley left, Iggy's coach Eddie B. stopped by for a while. He was very happy to see that Iggy is showing signs of improvement. They talked to each other for a while and Iggy seemed to understand everything well. Eddie B. was very excited with the progress he has made up to this point and it was nice for us to hear all the good things he had to say about Iggy. 

Iggy began talking a lot more once his other visitors left. We were having some normal conversations with him, which would have not been possible in the past few days. We reminisced about people we knew and a few events that took place in high school. It was great to be able to talk to him again, like we always have. Iggy was doing really well understanding what we were saying, but he still had moments when he was having trouble finding the words that he wanted to say. We tried to help him, but there were moments when he could not get his thoughts straight. Today was also the first day he was able to walk around unassisted. On several occasions he got off his bed and walked over to the trashcan to throw trash away. His balance is still not where it needs to be, but it is much better than it was yesterday. Later in the day he went for a walk with the nurse and did not have any issues. He has gotten to the point where he has a good understanding of his situation and the rehabilitation that will be necessary for him to get back to full health. He is remaining upbeat about his situation and he knows he is making good progress.

His occupational therapist came by for her daily visit around 2 pm. When they finished their session she said that Iggy's cognition is improving and he is doing really well. She said that his speech has improved a lot but that he is still having difficulty with categories, such as identifying different vegetables or months. She said once he starts performing more of the types of exercises that she does with him, he will be able to build up his memory. Walter (a friend of Iggy's dad) came to visit later in the afternoon. Iggy recognized him and was able to recount a few details regarding the crash. He was also able to speculate as to the possible reason why he hurt his head by recounting some of the events before his accident. We now believe that his helmet did not cushion his fall completely and likely slipped up when it impacted the ground which, in turn, left Iggy's head exposed. We have heard this account from several people who were present during the crash. Lastly, saw a great improvement in his short term memory. At the end of our visit in the afternoon, he was able to recall certain things we had told him earlier in our visit. 

With all the progress Iggy made in the last couple days, it is likely that he will be released from the hospital tomorrow. After that he will need to go to daily rehabilitation for at least a couple weeks. The amount of time he will need to rehab is still not known, and his status is mostly day to day. The progress he has made already has been incredible and his status is very positive going forward. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27

I received a call from Iggy's dad when Jacob and I arrived this morning and he told me that Iggy's cycling friend Justin, and several other people came down (sorry I didn't include any other names, I am not sure who else came) from Los Angeles to visit last night. When Iggy saw Justin he asked if he had come down for a race, to which Justin replied that he had come to visit Iggy. From what I heard, Iggy was really happy to see his friends and had a big smile on his face. Once I hung up, Jacob found out that Iggy had called his girlfriend Shannon last night and they had talked on the phone.  Now that he has access to his phone again, he checks it frequently for text messages and emails. We don't recommend that people call him yet however, so he can avoid the confusion of talking on the phone. 

After a while, his team of doctors came in and they discussed his progress up to this point. They said he is moving along well but that every patient heals differently and it is difficult to say how long his recovery will take. The doctors also pointed out that given Iggy's top physical condition and the fact that he is only 21 will also help him improve. As for Iggy today, he was mostly quiet and did not ask too many questions. He was awake more than he was yesterday though and was looking around and appeared to be listening to some of the conversations that we were having. Jacob and I brought in some pictures to put on Iggy's wall. We had three from high school with his group of friends and one of him with his dad and one of his coaches. His aunt Laura also brought in two pictures of herself and Iggy and put those up on the wall as well. When I handed Iggy one of the pictures from high school, he reacted by saying "wow", which was most likely in reference to how young everyone looked and how he had short hair and no beard at the time. Two of his other friends from school also came. Ky, who Iggy has known for about fifteen years, and Ricardo who he knows from high school. With all of his friends and aunt there, we told some of our favorite stories about Iggy from the past that always make us laugh. During the telling of these stories, Iggy seemed to be listening attentively and at the end he would smile and laugh. There were several other moments where one of us would make eye contact with him and he would smile. There were times where he was in good spirits today, while there were others when he seemed a little bored or frustrated, this is possibly a result of him not sleeping very well last night. 

The speech therapist also paid Iggy a visit today and worked with him on connecting words with objects and actions. She gave him a piece of paper, which contained commands such as, "put on your sock" or "stick out your tongue" and Iggy was able to complete most of those actions on the first try. It was good to see that he was able to read well and then connect those words with the action they were asking him to perform. During other parts of our visit, we asked him to identify objects in the room such as tape or water, which he had more difficulty with. He had the expression of someone looking really hard for something but not being able to find it. We know the words are in his head, he was just having a difficult time getting them out. There were also moments when we would ask him something such as "Do you know what my name is?" to which he would reply something like "No I am not hungry." This is normal, however, and he seemed to understand what we were telling him, but was unable to develop a good response. That being said, we have been seeing improvement in this area and he has bright moments where we can have brief conversations with him. These moments are typically right when he wakes up, but when he is awake for too long he gets a little overwhelmed and confused at times. 

We are really encouraged with the progress that he has made since he first entered the hospital. He has been able to recognize everyone that has come to visit him and he has some (if not most) of his reading skills in tact. He has difficult moments with his memory but then he will remember specific events that happened a couple weeks ago. We know that his recovery will be a long process but we are confident that he will get back to full strength. I have known Iggy for nine years and I have seen him go through his ups and downs. I know that this is just a small bump in the road and that he will be better sooner rather than later. I know that this accident will not keep him down!

Lastly, Iggy's nurse provided us with a paper that outlines what family and friends can do when they come to visit. These include:
  • Repeat things as needed. Don't assume that he will remember what you tell him.
  • Tell him the day, date, name and location of the hospital when you first arrive and before you leave.
  • Keep comments and questions short and simple.
  • Help him organize and get started on an activity.
  • Bring in family and personal items from home.
  • Limit the number of visitors to 2-3 at a time.
  • Give him frequent rest periods when he has problems paying attention.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Introduction December 22-26

My name is Joe, I am Iggy's friend from high school, and I will be updating Iggy Silva's status throughout the duration of his stay at the hospital. My plan is to visit Iggy everyday (hopefully) and then update the blog so that everyone can know his status. On this blog entry I will include everything that has happened to date. A quick summary of the accident: Iggy crashed his bike at the San Diego Velodrome around 1 pm on Thursday December 22. He sustained a fractured skull, a concussion and a broken collarbone. Later Thursday he went into surgery to have the swelling reduced in his head. The good news is the doctor who performed the operation believes that Iggy make a full recovery. We have been told that the typical recovery time for a fractured skull is 6-8 weeks. Iggy will likely be in the hospital for the next week or so.

December 23-25 Intensive Care Unit (ICU):

Iggy was admitted to the ICU to rest following his surgery. Shannon (Iggy's girlfriend) arrived on Christmas Eve and spent the majority of her time with Iggy while he was in the ICU. Iggy spent the majority of his time here sleeping. The few times that he was awake were somewhat brief. He was hooked up to all sorts of tubes and was heavily sedated so he was not communicating very much. It is also likely that he was not able to recognize anyone, yet. Once the breathing tubes were removed he was able to talk a little bit more. When Jacob (another of Iggy's friends from high school) and I came to visit on Christmas, he greeted us sarcastically by saying "pssshhhh" as if he recognized that we were his friends, but he was not able to identify us by our names. We tried to speak to him but he was having a difficult time getting his thoughts straight. However, we were confident that he knew we are his friends. Around midnight on Christmas, Iggy was moved to his own room where he rested for the remainder of the night. Shannon noted that Iggy's communication skills and comprehension skills were improving, however he still had moments where he was very confused.

December 26:

Jacob and I arrived at the hospital in the morning to take over for Shannon, who had to return home. Iggy was in his own room and was laying in his bed. He now only has a monitor on his finger to check his pulse. When we arrived, he was able to go for a short walk with the nurse through the hallway and also stand up when the nurse was changing his sheets. A short while later, he asked for his cellphone, which he used to send out a few texts messages and emails. While he was looking at his phone, Jacob sent him a text and Iggy gave him a look to signify that he knew that Jacob was the one texting him. During our visit we saw several improvements with his memory. When he first asked for his phone, he referred to it as a "rock." Then the next time he asked for it he called it a phone and remembered that it was on the table behind him. He also asked both Jacob and me about our future plans after college and also recalled an event a couple of weeks ago when I asked his dad for Seaworld tickets. Moreover, while I was gone Iggy asked Jacob, "when is Joe getting back?" We were pleased that he remembered my name and that I was just there with him. He still had his moments where he was not able to completely understand what we were saying to him, or he struggled to get the right words out to complete his sentences. Periodically we asked him what his name was or what our names were and he struggled with those details, but he did say that he remembered that we are his friends. Everyday that we have seen him, he has been getting better and better. His memory and communication skills seemed to be improving as the day went on and we saw some glimpses of Iggy's personality. He is doing much better and we are excited about his progress.

His main caregivers from now on will be his aunt Laura, his dad and Jacob and myself (as much as we can). Please contact me or Jacob on Facebook if you would like to get more information, or would like to come and visit him.