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.