Matt is getting settled nicely into his new temporary home at St. Jude. He is expected to be at St. Jude for approximately 2-3 weeks while he builds up his endurance in therapy. After St. Jude, the goal is for him to enroll in a day program at a Post-Acute Rehabilitation Facility for individuals with brain injuries, where he will be participating in 6 hours per day of various therapies.
A full time attendant sitting with him is no longer required because he is doing so well. His room was actually moved closer to the nurses station, the new room number being #266. So far St. Jude has been an awesome place for Matt to be. They are very scheduled and rather strict, which is exactly what Matt needs right now. They are pushing him hard and his days are jam-packed with his various therapies in which he is progressing nicely. He is often assigned “homework” and is learning to hold a pen. He is given assignments to trace lines on paper, working on fine motor skills. As he is getting stronger he enjoys being able to sit up straight for longer periods of time.
The blended food phase is finally over for Matt and he is now eating “real” meals! His feeding tube was removed on Thursday and he is elated to no longer be hooked up to any external devices. Go Matt! He is eating lots of food now, he actually orders and eats TWO meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now that he is eating more he has a lot more energy and he is happy to not be hungry all the time. Matt has always loved coffee and yesterday was able to drink his first cup since the accident. He drank two regular coffees and three decafs, trying to make up for lost time I guess.
Matt is doing really well with his memory. Past memories can sometimes be a little patchy, and he still does not remember anything about his surf trip to Mexico. He is doing really well remembering everything current. He remembers his nurses, visits he has had with friends and family and is becoming more aware of the day and time. He still has some moments of confusion, especially early in the morning when he first wakes up or if he wakes during the night.
He is becoming more and more independent, which is what St. Jude is really pushing him to do. He is required to do most things, or at least attempt most things, on his own. If he needs a nurse he is required locate and press the call button all on his own without the help of anyone who may be visiting. He brushes his teeth himself and shaves mostly on his own, just getting a little help on the right side. As long as he has someone to supervise, he is now able to get out of bed and push himself up into his walker all on his own. The hole in his throat where the trach was removed is healing and may take a few weeks to close completely.
Matt is progressing quickly. Not only is he hungry to eat, but he is also hungry to learn and he is retaining all of the information he is given. Matt continues to amaze us all every day with his ability and ambition to learn and improve.
This week Matt’s dad, Fred from North Carolina, is in town. Matt had a really fun visit with his dad and brother Russ, sharing a lot of laughter and jokes. They took a walk down memory lane, recalling funny stories and jokes from childhood.
Thanks to all who are following Matt’s amazing story and for all of the support! You can view Matt’s fund-raiser page here.