We've been realizing lately how hard it must be for people to understand Ian's condition now. We get questions from many of you that have brought us to that realization. I'd like to try to summarize his condition for you, so that you can pray more intelligently.
"Coma" was the word we used to use to describe his condition, and, although I think he would still be classified that way, because people tend to associate the word with a kind of sleep, it isn't a helpful description anymore. He's awake most of the day; he wasn't months ago. He is somewhat responsive to us now (mostly to Larissa, to Mary and to Bill) through a long blink for 'yes' and some facial expressions; he wasn't doing any of that before. He is eating some by mouth (maybe 5-10 bites at a meal) supplementing the feeding tube in his stomach; he wasn't before. He is able to look at things and people and to respond to some requests. He doesn't speak at all.
He is still in a wheelchair, though physically the only thing that limits his capacity to walk is his fused knee. Apart from the knee, there isn't anything physically that limits him (e.g. his eyes, voice, joints, muscles, etc., all are physically functional). His face looks the same as it did before. But, we have to care for all of his physical needs, because he can't care for himself.
His brain, the thing that controls every movement and the thing that was most affected by the car wreck, is what limits him today. It must be very challenging for him to deal with the fact that he can process things in his surroundings, but he can't respond to them. That's the focus of his therapy sessions: helping him respond to people and to his surroundings. He is continually working on strengthening his arms and legs. Last night, he was able to reach both arms into the air at the same time. He is working on standing and walking with the help of therapists and machines. He is working on holding his head up. In speech therapy, he continues to work on his eating along with developing a consistent form of communication. They tell us that if he can consistently eat by mouth it will strengthen the muscles that will help him talk again.
It's hard to believe when I put all this in writing. Some of you only know Ian the way he is now, but that's not the Ian we remember. We miss him.
Pray for Ian.