July 28

Dear Friends,

Today marks a big day for Phil.  He has officially moved into Cardinal Hill hospital.  He is moved in ONLY for the reason that he will get more therapy this way.  It will be 3 hours a day now compared to the six hours a week that he has been getting at Outpatient.  The doctor suggested it and Phil is happy to be doing more rehab.

Please pray that Phil will take this transition well and that he will be at peace with it.  He was a little bit nervous tonight but he is settling in.  He would appreciate visitors, so just let us know if you would like to go visit him.  He has less to do at the hospital than at home, but we are making sure he feels good and has a lot of stuff that reminds him of home.  He is loved.

Pray for the family as well as we make this transition. 

–John–

July 24

Dear Friends,

I am glad to write you of Phil’s continued improvement in his recovery.  Phil is starting to be more and more independent and we ask you to continue to pray for this.  Last week Phil didn’t use his wheelchair all morning on a couple of days and is continuing to improve his walking.  He won’t be walking around in public for a while, but it is nice that he is walking more in the house.

Just yesterday I worked with Phil on going up the stairs and different exercises and I noticed his balance has improve a lot.  Going up the stairs was a lot easier and he had more control of his body while walking.  Doing more stuff like standing while brushing his teeth in the morning has helped him to maintain balance better. 

I have also been encouraged by Phil’s speech and sociability recently.  He has been more willing to talk with others and is less shy in social settings.  Just last week we went to Renew at the Wesley Foundation and to small group which we attend, and he enjoyed those very much.  He definitely feels more comfortable around new people and is more willing to chip into the conversation.

Please pray that God will guide Phil in his recovery and what will happen next in this process.  He is currently doing outpatient therapy at Cardinal Hill and we are living at our aunts house.  We pray Phil will be able to move back home soon with the upcoming of Mom going back to work and Julie starting at Harrison County as well.

Phil continues to improve his reading skills, but we ask that you continue to pray for this.  I don’t work with him much with this, but sometimes I read with him and can tell he has improved.  Phil does speech homework which sometimes involves him reading and he also reads small portions of books sometimes.

Continue to pray for Phil that God would bless his progress.  Thank you for your faithfulness, it means a lot.

–John–

July 4, 2012

Dear Friends,

Today I am happy to relay a report of Phil’s comings and goings to you. My favorite thing that has happened recently is that he has started enjoying singing along to songs. It started with him humming along to jazz and he continues to listen and hum along. Even songs he doesn’t know, he likes to sing along. I enjoy this because he has so much fun with it.

It has been hot recently, so we have been trying to stay indoors and avoid being outside so we have been going up to church to walk and have Phil push himself in his wheelchair. He has done great with that and is getting better. He gets stronger every day and continues to ride the bike, today he did 2 hours.

Phil continues to improve getting ready for the day. He is on his feet more and does more of it himself. Flexibility to dress his bottom half is tough, so pray that this will improve. He does great washing himself in the shower and walks out to breakfast and back to brush his teeth. He knows that he has to work hard, and he does.

This week we have been encouraged and blessed by many whom don’t even know us, but have read the article in the paper about Phil’s recovery. We are truly blessed with a great family, a great church and happy lives. Continue to pray fervently for Phil’s continued improvement. And remember: “The kingdom of Heaven is already among you.”

–John–

June 24, 2012

Dear Friends,

I am happy to write to you of Phil’s improvement and am sorry that I haven’t updated you all in a couple of weeks.  Thank you for praying and please continue to do so, as Phil still is in need of prayer, as we all are.

First, Phil’s doctor decided to cut one of his blood pressure medicines in half, because it has a side effect of making you feel like you need to pee.  This has help Phil sleep through the night much better and is very nice for his family that has spent the night with him.  We are excited about this discovery and pray it can help Phil sleep better so that he can recover more.

Second, Phil has started doing much more to get himself ready in the morning.  In the shower he washes himself almost all by himself and he walks to and from breakfast.  He also has started to stand up while doing everyday tasks like brushing his teeth and urinating.   This hard work will help him build endurance and help him become more independent.

Next, I have definitely seen improvement in Phil’s ability to push himself in the wheelchair.  Thanks to time spent practicing wheeling himself around and time doing arm exercises with weights, Phil does a pretty good job.  He likes to push himself around when we go to stores like Wal-Mart or Lowes, because it is easier than at home on the carpet.  It is great to see him getting around by himself because it allows him to be and think more independently.

Phil continues to improve in speech and in his critical thinking.  He is working on doing Algebra right now, and he was excited when I told him some people can’t understand the math he is doing, he grins and says, “I know math before.”  Him being such a studious and diligent person before has really helped him.

I am very thankful for the videos my Aunt Sherri has made of Phil because it allows us to track his progress more when I forget how much he has improved.  Just yesterday we were watching the videos and could see how hard Phil has worked to get to where he is.

We continue to thank and praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through everything.  He is with us and is constantly encouraging and sustaining us.  Please continue to pray that Phil takes more and more steps toward independence, especially physically.  If he is able to push himself around more in his wheelchair and walk around the house more, it will be much easier on his family that is helping him during his recovery.

–John–

June 11, 2012

Dear Friends,

This week was a good week for Phil.  Since last week we have gotten a Wii and Phil has enjoyed playing it thanks to our Grandma Duff (she bought it for Phil).  Many of Phil’s OT’s have suggested getting it to help his coordination and timing, so we decided to go ahead and it is a good investment.  Phil enjoys playing and he can stand up while playing, to get in extra time on his feet. 

This Friday Phil walked all the way around our court and did even longer than I expected him to.  This was with almost no assistance from me apart from securing him when the sidewalk got a little bumpy and slanted.  It was about 20 minutes of hard work and it wore him out, but he did great.  He continues to work really hard physically as just today he went 23 miles on the exercise bike.  I knew he had gone for a while when he decided to get off and I asked him how far he had gone, he started to laugh and then told me how far he had gone.  Pretty wild, but it is great for him and will help him be able walk all by himself sooner. 

Over the weekend the whole Duff crew along with the Grabaus were able to go up to Cincinnati to watch the Reds play the Tigers.  Unfortunately we lost, but Phil really enjoyed the game.  Phil and I (John) sat in the handicap seating, which was on the first level and was shaded the whole game.  It was a great view and we had a fun time. 
On Sunday we went to Pastor Chris’ church in Florence to see him preach and eat with the church as they celebrated his time at Christ UMC.  Phil enjoyed seeing his old buddy again and all the church members were happy to see Phil doing so well.  They all have prayed for him a lot. 

That’s most of the cool stuff.  Today we did a good workout, after the bike, with exercises Linda (OT) and Shelby (PT) had given Phil to do.  Most were designed to help stretch out his back and hips.  This will loosen up parts of his body that effect his balance and enable him to stand on his own better and walk easier.  Phil did great and we continue to work hard. 

Thank you for keeping up to date and praying for Phil and his family as Phil works through Rehab.  Phil is working really hard and it is good to see him being able to do more things.  If you haven’t seen there is a video of Phil on Facebook that you should watch. 

God is always good.

–John–

June 3, 2012

Dear Friends,

We joyfully embrace each day as we see Phil working hard and improving in all areas of rehab. I seem not to write too much, but soon we will have a video you all can watch of Phil showing off. When filming I was astounded by Phil’s ability to use complete sentences and answer questions well. His speech is definitely improving.

We normally will go up and down the full set of stairs every other day or so, and Phil will ride his bike at least ten miles most days. He has therapy Tuesday and Thursdays and walks on the treadmill with help from the lokomat for 30 minutes normally, thus he is improving his leg muscles a lot.

Phil enjoys working out with me and does his arm exercises about two times a week. He also does stuff like tossing a ball in occupational therapy and we even worked on batting a balloon back and forth to work on his coordination and core control.

In speech Phil gets homework every session and is avidly completing it. He will often ask to do his homework and knows that he has to work hard on it. One thing that is difficult for him is reading, which makes completing his homework harder, so pray that he progresses in that area. His speaking ability is improving so much and he is talking so much more. Some visitors may not see this, but he talks much more around family and is getting more comfortable starting conversations and mentioning things.

Phil continues to ask for prayer in his reading, walking and talking. A great sign of improvement has been that when he prays at night he has begun to use more differing requests and praises than saying the same thing every night.

An additional prayer request would be that you pray Phil sleeps through the night well. He is doing ok, but every once in a while he is up a lot. This is hard on the person staying with him and not good for Phil, for obvious reasons. Thanks for all you guys do and we thank a God who is with us through it all.

–John–

May 23, 2012

Dear Friends,

There is much good news that you will be happy to hear.  Phil has done many great things and accomplished new milestones.  

For starters on Friday Phil was able to climb up the stairs of the Duff house and walk into the living room.  He sat down on the couch and said, “Momma!”  She replied, “What Phil?” He said, “I’m home.”  He was excited to finally be able to get into our house and said he wanted to see his room next time we visit.  

Next, on Saturday Phil climbed up all the stairs to get to the second level of Emma’s house.  This was 15 stairs and is a great accomplishment.  I was happy for Phil that he was able to see upstairs and see where Emma and Mom sleep.  He was pretty excited, this helped him build muscles and gave him encouragement to work harder.

As you may know Phil has started outpatient therapy at Cardinal Hill.  There are many exciting things going on including Phil getting on the locomat and walking on the treadmill again.  We are excited and hope that this will give him and extra boost to get stronger and have the ability to walk around for longer periods of times.  

Another cool thing that we witnessed was speech therapy.  His therapist is very excited to work with Phil and mentioned that he has great learning ability.  Because he can retain information and learn from someone telling him something, he will be able to improve very well.  She had asked him some questions at the beginning of the session and they were a little tough for him.  She latter asked him the same ones and he got all of them right.  This was exciting for us to see.

Also, today in occupational therapy Phil played on the Wii and worked on catching a four pound ball.  This was cool because Phil had a great time, and was working on getting better.  His OT Linda is very kind and works great with Phil.

Please continue to pray for Phil that he would be at peace in his situation and still be determined to work hard.  Thanks for praying and caring about Phil.

–John–

DAY 183.0

Dear Friends,

I just wanted to add a bit to the update.  Phil has started to improve in standing up.  He can’t do it totally by himself yet, but he is doing better every day. 

Please continue to pray for Phil in all aspects of his life.

–John–

DAY 182.0

Dear Friends,

Today marks six months from the accident. It seems crazy, but Phil really has come a long was since November 15. He is doing great! tomorrow Phil will start outpatient therapy at Cardinal Hill and is scheduled to be evaluated by the therapists. We are excited to see him work at the hospital, continuing to improve.

One main thing I would ask for you all to pray about is for his reading ability. Phil has realized that he cannot read very well and has started mentioning that he really wants to work on this. Once we were looking at a page and I asked, “Can you read this?” He said, “Some words.” He is working on reading out loud, which is doubly difficult because of his speaking difficulties, but he is doing great.

Please pray Phil will continue improving speaking. He is doing much better but one thing you could pray for is talking when he is out with people other than his family. He doesn’t talk as much and seems to be a little embarrassed that he can’t communicate as well as he once could. Please pray he is confident and will speak more in public.

Phil’s walking is also improving. He hardly needs me to stand by him when he is using the walker. Today he walked out the front door and down the steps to go out for lunch. Then back up them when we came back. He also walked out of the house and down the steps to go out to the jazz concert. Phil really enjoyed the jazz concert tonight put on by the Metrognomes. He said he liked Sin Palabras the best, “The one with the soprano sax.” He really wants to be able to play again.

All in all Phil is doing great and is really pushing to improve and is being pushed (by me). God is good through it all, and we realize that our relationship with him is the most important part of our lives. We praise him in all things, and thank him for all the blessings we have in this life.

–John–

DAY 173.0

Dear Friends,

Today I have been encouraged by Phil’s progress as I have been able to share with friends how well he is doing.  We have been working hard and it is tiring, but Phil is doing so well and is very determined.

The coolest improvement is Phil’s walking.  In therapy he is walking with a walker almost by himself.  Someone will walk with him just to steady him if he needs, but he does it mostly by himself.  This week we will start walking around the house a bit in an effort to allow him to build up endurance slowly.  It is exiting to see him walking so well.  It is still slow, but he is making ground. 

Phil’s speech is also improving.  We see him communicate more and more.  It is hard to track his progress today, but we can say that he is able to let us know what he wants to.  He does not use huge sentences, but he does let us know what he wants.  He was tested by his speech therapist last week and she mentioned that he had improved in many ways. 

This week is our last week with home health and we will start out patient at Cardinal Hill next week.  This is exciting and we are hoping it will mean continued improvement for Phil.

Please continue to pray for us.  We all need strength including Phil.  God is good through it all and we are thankful for all he has blessed us with.

— John–