January 26, 2013

Dear Friends,

It is good to know that you are still praying for Phil and the family.  Last Friday Phil and I walked into Panera for lunch with some friends and found out there was a group of women there praying for Phil.  It was very encouraging to know that our friends are still asking God to be with my brother.  Let’s keep praying, as we know God is faithful to us.

Phil is doing great and we continue to work hard to get him transitioned from the walker to the walking pole.  To be honest Phil does pretty well with the walking pole when he knows I am near by.  He loses confidence when I am not near by, thus making it difficult to transition over.  Please pray for balance and coordination, but confidence in his walking is also needed.  (He is better at it than he thinks.)  This is a really tough stage because the walking pole is so much less to hold onto than the walker.

Phil’s talking is improving so much and it is amazing to think that last year we were excited to hear him say, “January”, when he is having full conversations today.  Continue to pray that he can overcome his aphasia more and more so his speed of conversation can improve.  He is doing awesome, but he wants to push on more and more.  

Phil has also picked up on reading, math and other areas that he needs to work on.  The math he knows pretty much, but he needs to refresh his mind and get those pathways in him brain working again.  Continue to pray for Phil’s cognitive ability as well.  

Though his reading has improved, his reading holds him back in other areas.  Most ‘school work’ involves reading, even math problems do, so it is tough because he can’t work on these as much until he gets to a better point in his reading.  

Thank you for being faithful in your prayers and continuing to support Phil and his family.  God is good to us daily and it is for his glory that we live on this earth.  He is very glorious, so let us live in such a way that others would see Him.

–John–

December 7, 2012

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for keeping up with Phil and continuing to pray for him and his family.  We all need each other’s support no matter what we are going through.

Yesterday was Phil’s last day at the climb program for the year, but no worries, he will start again in January with new visits.  The therapists gave him lots of homework and as you know he works pretty hard, it’s just a matter of if I can keep up with him.  

He has been improving and it is exciting to see.   His walking has improved so much.  It has been about two and a half months since we retired his wheel chair, and we are now working on walking with just a walking stick.  He is doing more and more of it around the house and is becoming more confident with it.  Phil is still at the point where he wouldn’t use the walking stick if I wasn’t beside him just in case, but that will come soon.  Continue praying for improvement in this area of Phil’s recovery.

I also think of Phil’s improvement in the area of speech.  He can now have good conversations with anyone, and is just a little slower than the average person.  When the Hopkins came up to visit for Thanksgiving they were really impressed with Phil’s speech especially. 

His reading/spelling is coming along as well. He reads at a quicker pace and understands more words.  Please continue to pray for understanding the written words as this is pretty important for Phil.

Phil asks you guys to pray for balance, courage, strength and patience, and is thankful for all of you who continue to pray for him.  He is doing great and we all hope you have a Merry Christmas, and good breaks, to those of you who get one.

I am always encouraged by the words of the angels, “I bring you good tidings of great Joy to all people.” What does this mean? It means we have a God who comes to us. Through life and all its pains, sufferings and joys, our God comes to us and does not make us go through that alone. This is the joy of Christmas. Emmanuel.

–John

 

Day 366 (it’s a leap year)

Jesus has been good to me this year. It’s been a year of healing and relying on God. I’m walking everywhere with a walker, and I’m using a walking pole some times. And I am relying on faith and belief in God. And in the Bible the words,”Don’t be afraid, just believe.” That’s been a blessing to me and has made me courageous.  God is healing me and thank you for your prayers and I urge you to keep praying. God is so good and he has blessed me!

Phil

October 22, 2012

Dear Friends,

Phil has continued to work hard and is continuing to improve.  As you know, Phil has been at the Climb program for Cardinal Hill for about a month now, and he really enjoys it.  He loves working hard, and he gets a full day of therapy, so it is always exciting for him to go.  He enjoys PT, OT and Speech, while doing other things at the program as well.  He enjoys nuero psych group on Thursdays, in which he learns about the brain and different injuries.  He also enjoys and benefits from talking to the other patients and the workers.  Phil enjoys this social time and it encourages him to work harder.

A while ago Phil told me he wanted to work on his personality.  I asked him what he meant by that and he said he thought he was goofier before the accident.  I said sure, but that he was still himself.  Over the past few weeks I have noticed that he has enjoyed being silly and laughing more.  His jokes and actions remind me of things he would do before.

A really exciting improvement is that Phil has starting walking with a walking stick.  If you are on Facebook you may know from the pictures, but I realize others just get this update.  Phil uses his walker everywhere in public, and we are using the walking stick a little at home, and for practice.  Today we walked around the neighborhood with the walking stick for about and hour.  This is still much slower than with the walker, but Phil is working hard.

Phil has improved reading and writing along with everything else, I just focus more on the walking and physical aspects of his recovery.  His typing and fine motor skills are also improving.

Please continue to pray for Phil and I.  Phil knows more what he is facing and sometimes says he gets discouraged.  His bible verse he likes is, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you.”

Pray our spirits and that God would be our comfort still.  He is faithful.

–John–

September 25, 2012

Dear Friends,

I am sad that I am unable to write more, for yours and Phil’s sake, but its ok.  I am always excited to tell the good news that I can share.  Firstly, Phil was accepted to the Climb program and will be at Cardinal Hill on Tuesday and Thursday.  This is a day program that is kinda like school for brain injury patients.  Phil is at the Climb program from 8 am – 3 pm and enjoys working hard at therapy and doing other group activities.  It is good that Phil can talk with other patients and make friends.

Phil has been improving a lot in many ways, though the most evident is in his walking.  Last Friday Phil and I went up to Church to walk and he walked 12 times around the gym.  According to my estimates that means Phil walked around 3/4 of a mile! I was excited also because the 12th time around on Friday was faster that the first time around a month ago.   Phil’s walking has come so far and he continues to work hard.  

We don’t really use the wheelchair much anymore and I hope to put it in storage full time soon.  That will probably be this week or next.  Phil doesn’t like using it, but sometimes I suggests he uses it if the situation calls for it. 

Phil is also improving in things around the house getting ready in the morning.  Dressing himself has come much faster recently and I also feel comfortable leaving him to brush his teeth by himself.  His balance has come a long way and he even has suggested working toward using a cane instead of the walker.

Phil has also improved in his speech though it is harder to measure his improvement in this area.  He works hard reading and writing and asks his therapists to give him lots of speech homework. 

It is exciting to see his improvement, though it has not always seemed so evident.  God has been with us through it all and we would be foolish to forget that or forget to give him all the Glory.  Phil is continuously wanting to be more like others so he wants to be totally independent in everything.  Things like dressing, using the bathroom, walking and speech he has really improved in, but still needs more improvement to be totally independent.  He always asks for prayer for speech, walking and reading.  God is Gracious and Faithful always.  Lets always continue to pray.

–John–

September 13, 2012

Dear Friends,

Phil is doing well. Sorry I haven’t written in a while. 

The news that we have is that we went on vacation since last time I wrote and Phil enjoyed that and was out walking more and more. 

Phil has begun to want to walk out in public more and more, so hopefully some of you will see that soon.  He is improving walking and getting smoother every time.

One thing that we would ask prayer for is that Phil’s paperwork gets worked out at Cardinal Hill.  He was tested for the Climb program three weeks ago and was told he should start therapy asap, but since then they haven’t called back.  This has something to do with the insurance getting the right paperwork and what not, but please pray that this gets sorted out because Phil needs to be in therapy and it is quite annoying that he is not. 

Please continue to pray that Phil is encouraged and uplifted.  Without therapy Phil has become a little less excited about getting better, but he has had fun and gotten to see friends.

God is good to us in all times, and we praise and honor him above all else.  Seek Him in all you do.

–John–

August 29

Dear Friends,

Today I am happy to tell you of all Phil’s progress and therapy this week.  Many good things have happened since last time I wrote.  First, Phil was discharged from the hospital on Friday.  He was happy to finally be coming home.  Yes, we are not at Emma’s anymore.  Though we miss it at times, it is good to see Phil back at the Duff house.  Phil was so happy to get out of the hospital that he walked all the way from his room to the car.  I was extremely pleased with his walking, as it was at ten in the morning and I normally walk with him after his therapy when he is tired.  He did great walking the whole way. 

Next, on Monday he went down to the Wesley Foundation to hang out with the college students who go to their Monday night worship.  I was unable to attend, so Ashley brought him home.  I could tell when I talked to him that he had a blast.  He really enjoyed talking with all the people and hearing all the stories about himself.  He was ecstatic about the fact that he remembered a few of his friends, because he doesn’t remember much before the accident.  Phil was beaming with joy when I talked to him about it. 

So many exciting things have gone on and the next is that yesterday Phil and I went up to church at St. Luke to walk a bit.  We walk in the hallway around the gym.  His improvement was huge.  One and a half months ago Phil walked one hall in 6 minutes, yesterday he did the same distance in two minutes.  Also, Phil walked all the way around the gym in 9 minutes and 30 seconds, which he had previously done in about 30 minutes.  On top of that, Phil ended up walking all the way around 3 times in a row!  This was a great day.

In addition to that, we went up to church again today to walk and he walked the first time around without the walker and his hands down at his side.  I was holding on to him to help balance, but this was definitely a step beyond walking with the walker.  Phil continued to walk around two more times with the walker.  He is definitely motivated.

Today was also exciting in that we went and visited the ICU nurses at UK that had helped Phil for his first 3 weeks after the accident.  Terry and Jean were so happy to see Phil doing so well.  Jean nearly cried and said it made her month that we came and visited.  We brought them flowers and a card in which Phil wanted to thank them and God for blessing him with so much care.  It was good to allow them to see the way in which their work paid off in Phil’s life.

I end with a note of reminder that we all are incredibly blessed.  Phil sings one of his favorite songs : “How blessed are we!” and knows that he is blessed to love and be loved by an awesome God.

–John–

August 22

Dear Friends,

Since you haven’t heard from me lately, I am happy to tell you that Phil is coming home this Friday. That is home home, the good old 1419. Phil and I will be rooming back in the blue room which we lived in together for about 11 years of our lives. Pretty crazy but cool too. And yes, if you noticed this week was Phil’s 4th at Cardinal Hill, as the team had asked to let Phil stay an extra week from what we originally thought because he was working so hard and doing so well.

Phil has been doing great recently and it is exciting to see him start to walk some without the walker. This is only in therapy and in between the parallel bars so he can grab onto them if he feels the need. The therapist or I will stand behind him and hold his waist while he walks, he definitely needs help, but it is cool to see that he is able to do this.

His speech has also improved much while at the hospital. We were happy to see that Phil had made friends with the other patients and he enjoys hanging out with some of them. He laughs with some and makes sure they know where they are (those with short-term memory loss), and prays for all of them. Phil also enjoys reading his big print bible some, which he had asked me to get him. He does well reading and sometimes spells out words for me to help him with. He also likes to write out scripture and then read it back to himself.

Phil has been working hard these days and does extra ‘exercise’ with me when I come after his therapy session and even works on the Nu Step machine in the gym if I am not there. He also works with the weights and is trying to improve his strength in the left side of his upper body, as it is weaker than his right.

Please pray for Phil and his family as he transitions home. We aren’t really sure what Phil’s next step of therapy will be like, though it will be with Outpatient care, so pray that this will be sorted out soon. To God be the glory forever and ever.

–John–

August 10

Dear Friends,

It is good to see Phil work so hard in the hospital. He has enjoyed getting the extra therapy and takes advantage of every moment he can. He told me the other day, “They say I am a work-a-holic.” He is very determined.

One improvement I have seen is in his ability to stand up from sitting position. He is doing much better, and can almost do this by himself. He still needs a little help getting his upper body over his legs, but I can see a big improvement. I have also seen a good improvement in his ability to walk for longer periods of time. I couldn’t tell you if he is going faster, but it seems as though it is coming along well.

The therapists ordered Phil a brace for his right leg. This is used while he is walking to help his right knee from locking. This is one of Phil’s problems and I am happy to see we have a brace that we can keep. It does help a lot and I hope it will enable Phil to continue to build strength and endurance in his legs.

Being in Cardinal Hill has enabled Phil to talk to other patients there. One friend that he has made, Tony, is going home today. Last night I came in the room to see Phil doing his weights while talking with Tony. Tony is in his thirties, but still probably the closest person to Phil’s age on the unit. It is good to see him making friends, and seeing them laugh. They like to laugh a lot, which is good, and enables Phil to practice communicating and social skills. He is doing great.

I can also tell a big improvement in reading and writing, and so can Phil. He was working on an assignment which involved looking at a picture and writing a sentence about it. He said, “I like this because I can tell I am getting better.” Phil is learning to sound out words and is now working on harder words, as he can normally spell five letter words ok. One thing that he does have trouble with is when we are helping him, he if you get to far ahead, like if I say “C, H” right in a row, he will get the C then ask again what is next. This is not abnormal that he can’t connect the two letters, but pray that his ability to process more than one thing improves. (If I didn’t explain that well, sorry).

Just yesterday Phil and I were talking to another family whose son had an accident about a month ago. To see where he was reminded me how far Phil has come. It is good to remember each milestone he has reached with hope of continued improvement. This journey has been crazy, and it has been a joy to see Phil’s ability to overcome adversity. “Count it all joy my brothers, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Sometimes while we walk through hard times, it cannot be said that we, ‘Count it all joy,” but sometimes we do look back on it and say, wow, what an experience, God really got me through that. What a wonderful Savior.

I would also ask that you pray for my mom as she works on getting back to school and my sister, as she starts her new job. Continue to pray for Phil.

–John–

July 30

Dear Friends,

Today has been a good day for Phil and it is his first day of therapy at Cardinal Hill inpatient.  It has been really exciting for me and his family to see him get adjusted to being in the hospital.  He is taking it well and is starting to enjoy life here.  It is great seeing him in the hospital and knowing how far he has come since the last time he was in a hospital room.  It is amazing!! 

Mom and I got here after lunch and Phil was already done with therapy for the day.  He will be working out with me though….  he works hard.   One thing that has been great is that he has gotten to talk to some of the other brain injury patients.  This excites him and helps him be ok talking with people because he knows they can relate to him.  It is a joy to see him talking to the nurses and other patients, as he wasn’t able to do this much in Atlanta.   His ability to converse has come a long way and it is exciting!  He enjoys being in the hospital because he knows he will be able to work more in therapy to get better. 

One thing you could pray for is his right knee.  It tends to lock up when he walks and causes his legs to hyper-extend.  The therapists ordered a knee brace to help with this, but if he is able to keep that knee unlocked his walking will be a lot more fluid. 

Also, I was going to mention that the plan from the doctors is to have Phil in here for around 3 weeks.  I don’t know if they will re-evaluate him afterward or not.  We will see.  Thank you for being faithful and praying for Phil.

–John–

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 904 other followers