Jun 5, 2008

For new readers

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.



Anonymous said...

How inspirational to read... Although I always post "Anonymously", I knew Ian from working at The Children's Institute. I remember seeing Larissa walking him around the hallway and sitting looking out the window in the lobby. Although, we all have much in common (IUP, The Children's Institute) it was always easier to admire you guys from afar. I am delighted to see how far Ian has come since his time at CI. The updated pictures are great and I love reading how well he is doing! He's constantly in my prayers as is your family and Larissa. Having a fiance of my own, I can only imagine what she must be going through. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier for her to leave - but how faithful and a God sent that she has been! She is truly admirable for what she has done for Ian and to help you all as a family. Please keep the updates/photos/etc. coming.

Prayers from Pittsburgh...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this information, Steve. Since we don't see Ian real often it is sometimes hard to identify the progress. As I read what he is working on, I was thinking how awesome!! How far he has come! It is so good to stop and list the blessings.
Great is Thy Faithfulness!
Always remembering all of you in prayer-

Anonymous said...

It is so difficult for people who only know about coma patients from what they see on television. I remember when my brother was in a coma, he had progressed to a point that he was farther along than Ian, I thought that he was fully "awake" but later he really came out of the coma, it was like he woke up twice. It is amazing. Keep persevering. You will be richly rewarded. jenny

Bernadine said...

Continuing in prayer Ian's total recovery.

Littlesteph said...

I have been following Ian on this blog, and his progress for a little while now. It is always the first page I go to in my internet browser, because I love hearing how well Ian is doing and the progress he has made and even when he has not made much. I love reading everyones encouragement for Ian, and the scriptures and life lessons learned along the way are mind-blowing.

Ian's story brings me to tears. Not of sorrow, but of joy, because God is doing something so miraculous, and so wonderful, and so so powerful in Ian's life that one cant help but cry in joy.

Larissa is an inspiration and a testiment of love and faith, and the strength that the family shows is astounding.

I will continue to pray for Ian and his progress, and I will continue to pray for the strength and faith for all who know Ian.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God is gracious, and awesomely powerful. His hand is upon Ian and all of you.

Stay strong and take care

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve,
Thank you so much for this post! Not only will it help "new" readers, it helps us "old" readers also to have a concise review of what was/is happening with Ian.
I hope that you found writing about Ian's progress assurance that the Lord is going to bless Ian with even more progress! I specifically pray for Ian's brain and nervous system every night.
I can relate about 1% with your saying "Some of you only know Ian the way he is now." Ian is much more than can be seen now!
When I first became aquainted with SCG, I was "that-lady-that-has-cancer-that-we-pray-for." But, over time, wonderful relationships developed and now I'm "that-goofy-card-lady" or "that-directionally-challenged-lady". (I was to meet a friend for Good Friday services this year and ended up at the wrong church! How did I know there were two Presbyterian churches in Latrobe?!)

Thank you again, Steve, for your faithfulness and perserverance.

Still Praying!

Mary Ann K.

Rachel D said...

I can't imagine the pain you must feel watching your loved one in that condition.

Thank you so much for helping us understand where you are and how we can pray for you all and Ian.

Frank Correia said...

Wow. You all may not even know of all the silent "friends of Ian" that have been praying for Ian's recovery, ever since the accident.

My Uncle Richard passed along the terrible news and the blog site and it made my heart sink to the floor. I have never met Ian as I am a cousin of Ian's mother, Mary Clare.

However, I cannot think of a more deserving family to receive a blessing from god himself, than the Berger and Steve/MaryClare families. I admit to now reading the blog site only every couple of weeks, but my thoughts and prayers never end and my hope endures that Ian will one day come out of his present state and rejoin his loved ones.

I pray that god will one day, soon, reach down and touch Ian and Ian shall awaken to rejoin his family.

With our love from California,
Frank Richard Correia and family. (frc@dslextreme.com)