Week 5: His facial expressions are starting to show

Friday, October 5– Thursday, October 11, 2012

Main-Page-PhotoIt has now been four weeks since the accident. Things are improving for Tucker. His cough is somewhat better, and one cast has been removed.  He is also doing better with eating soft foods. If he can master this, the feeding tube will be removed, and if he does not tamper with the trach and pull it out over the weekend, it is scheduled to be removed on Monday. Such thrilling news!  Tucker was also examined by his neurosurgeon to begin making plans for the surgery to replace his skull flap. A CT scan went well, so the skull flap can be scheduled to be replaced in a few weeks. Tucker was so happy to see his father return for the weekend and greeted him with a huge smile and open arms. Tucker is having difficulties at night sleeping and grabbing  the tubes, so Todd and Stacey have devised a schedule to keep him awake and tire him after his nightly IV feed until around 10:30 so that he can sleep all night and not tamper with his tubes. Seems to work! They are also keeping him busy with gym time and visits to the garden which Tucker loves. Tucker is really trying to talk more and more each day but needs to slow down and concentrate on moving his lips. His facial expressions are starting to show his personality even more! His right eye still has not opened and his speech really needs to improve. His ophthalmologist appointment for the right eye went well; there is no apparent nerve damage, and he has vision in the eye. It may take time for it to open due to the orbital and cranial fractures.

The trach was removed on Monday! Hallelujah! His other cast was also removed. Without that dreaded trach, he is able to be wheeled about the hospital and garden by his family without a nurse. Freedom in small steps! His determination is unbelievable! Tucker’s appetite is also improving; he is cleaning his plate and even eating things that he never would before the accident. He now treasures going to the cafeteria for sweet tea and then drinking it outside in the gardens. Since he is eating more, he has informed his parents over and over and over again that he wants to go to a Japanese Steakhouse. He is also asking to go home! He has also asked for his cell phone so that he can call his brothers, and he does….ten to twenty times per day! His mother finally figured that he was calling his brother, Taylor, a Marine, to come break him out; he also told his doctor the very same thing, with a wink and a point of his forefinger. After his ophthalmologist appointment at Piedmont Hospital, which is adjacent to Shepherd, and he was returning to Shepherd via wheelchair, he asked his mother where her car was parked because he was going to the Japanese Steakhouse…he was out of there!

Tucker’s determination to get better is shining through daily and his faith in God is astounding. He welcomes prayers with his family and realizes that God has a special plan for him. He has realized the power of prayer and has felt and seen it work for him. With his newly found freedom, Tucker is even more determined to work harder to get better and to be released. He works so hard at all of his therapy sessions. The small things in life are what have become so special for the family. The love, prayers, and support from all have given them much encouragement. Next big step: replacing the skull flap and goodbye helmet!