The staff at LifeCare met with Ian today, and Mary was involved. They looked at Ian from top to bottom checking all of his injuries and considering various strategies. They plan to look at all the medications he has been on and to wean him off of as many as they safely can. Occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapists (I probably missed other kinds of therapists) will be working with him, and we were glad to hear that they will be taking an aggressive approach. We told them to show no mercy. :-) We want him back.
Most of what we learned from the staff there about how to work with Ian we knew already thanks to Mary Bennett. She taught us how to provide some stimulation that will help him and how to recognize the best timing for those stimuli. If you go, let me give you some tips (Mary B, I’m hoping you’ll provide some comments for us, too).
Ian goes through cycles of wake and sleep that last anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours, and you can recognize signs that he’s awake. His heart rate is usually in the 80s or 90s. When his heart rate is above about 95 or so, his respiration is above 20, and his eyes are open, he’s probably awake. That would be a good time to provide some stimulation. If he’s “asleep,” try talking to him some and see if he responds. If he doesn’t respond, let him sleep; with all the injuries he sustained he needs lots of sleep. Let us (his family) or the staff take care of waking him up if we (they) feel it’s appropriate. Just have a seat and wait for him to wake up.
The best and easiest stimulation you can provide him is your voice. Talk to him. Sing to him. Read to him. Pray for him out loud. You can’t do this enough. If more than one person is there at a time, talk to each other, so he can hear you. Explain his injuries to him as though he can understand you; we don’t know at this point that he can’t. Then, you could hold his hand, rub his arms, and move his toes, but leave any touch beyond that to us and the staff. Bring in one of his favorite smells and move it around under his nose.
Before you go, remember to check in with one of us to make sure there aren’t too many going at once. We don’t want to overwhelm the staff there.
Most of all pray…