Quite the handsome devil.

31 August 2012

Who knew we had a bowling champ in the family?

We took a field trip to the bowling alley yesterday.  Jackson bowled 117.  He got 2 strikes and a spare and every time he would raise up his arms in the "I am the champion" pose.  And he had pizza again for the first time, which he greatly enjoyed.  We had so much fun!  He got to bowl with his friend Brad who was in the ICU with him in Savannah and transferred here at the same time.  Both are brain injury survivors.  And both of them will be discharged next week and we are hoping we will get to join Brad for the Day Rehab program.  Praying that the financial part of it will work out. 

Working hard in therapy today.  He likes to negotiate with his therapists when they want him to do, lots of repetitions and tells them "just 10 more".  That's so Jackson!

Witnessing more miracles every day.  I know his amazing progress is due to the Lord answering all of the prayers that are being offered on his behalf.  We are so thankful!

Love you all!

29 August 2012

Christmas come early!

Jackson kept me up half the night last night.  He kept calling, "Mom, cheetos!" until about 1:30 a.m.  I kept having to tell him it was time for sleeping and we could eat more Cheetos in the morning.  This is like Christmas times a thousand.

Sure enough, first thing he asked for this morning was Cheetos.  We had a snack before breakfast arrived.  His first full sentence was "Cheetos are good.". All the therapists are coming by to congratulate us and Jackson is practicing saying their names.  Good news travels fast around here.

Lots more verbalizing all morning.  More requests for Cheetos and macaroni, and he keeps looking at me and saying, "come here" and then grabbing my hand.  That is the signal for"take me back to my room and put me in bed and let me eat".

I am running on adrenaline and pure joy today.

Love you all,

Bring on the happy dance.

I can't believe I am typing this.  We have made so much progress in just the last few days that I am still having a hard time processing it myself.  Things had been moving forward very slowly until a few days ago and I don't think it's a coincidence that things have changed so fast since I asked for prayers specific to Jackson's needs.  Today, he started eating Cheetos and drinking Sprite like it was a normal every day thing.  The speech therapist and I were afraid to get too enthusiastic because we didn't want to distract him, but we were both about to cry and we were kind of in shock.  The eating didn't stop there.  Jackson gathered his snacks and drinks and when we went back to his room he continued beckoning for different things, like "keep it coming".  We ordered a dinner tray with chicken strips and honey mustard, mac & cheese with extra cheese sauce, chocolate cake, and root beer.  He worked on that all evening and at bedtime ate a few more Cheetos.  Finally I told him it was time to sleep and we could eat more tomorrow.

As if that weren't enough, I asked him to try to say a few words this evening (thinking, while we're at it).  His voice is very soft and he had only a little lip movement, but he definitely said mom!  And then Dad!  And then everyone's name in our family! I made him say them over and over.  It was slow and halting and breathy, but definitely Jackson trying to talk.

The light switch has been turned on and I know it is a result of all the prayers that have been and continue to be offered in his behalf.  I don't just believe in miracles, I have witnessed them for myself.  Our God is a mighty God.


27 August 2012


Jackson has made so much progress in the last few days.  I think we have hit a growth spurt.  Every one of these things is exciting to me!  I'll just list: More awake, alert, and aware of his surroundings.  He noticed a picture on the wall of himself with his sister and brothers and pointed at each person as I said their names.  Trying to communicate more, hand gestures, nodding and shaking his head, pointing and beckoning.  He has even been using his voice a little more, just sounds right now.  Walking with minimal assistance and with much more balance and for longer distances.  Better balance on the stairs and more able to coordinate movements to go down the stairs.  Writing words (macaroni seems to be his favorite word to write, go figure).  Today in speech therapy he wrote everyone's name in his family.  Dressing with minimal assistance.  And, one of the most exciting things, today he took a bite of a chicken tender AND swallowed it!!  I know we still have a long way to go but this was a huge deal for me today.  I feel like we have overcome some major obstacles and are moving forward.  Prayers are answered.  I know this is true.

Love to you all,

24 August 2012

Pray for him.

Due to some subtle (and not so subtle) hints that people want to hear more about how Jackson is doing, I didn't think I should let another day go by without sending out an update.  Jackson has had a good, busy week.  We have been working on stairs this week and he has gotten better at that every day.  He is doing most of the work and using minimal support going up, coming down requires more effort but he is definitely improving.  In speech therapy he has been answering questions by pointing to the words.  She usually gives him two choices, like writing the words Max and Jody on two papers and asking "what is your dog's name?" Or writing Trevor and Emalie on two papers and asking "who do you usually sleep with at home?". Jackson has been pointing to the right answer about 90 percent of the time when he is focused and attentive.  Our biggest challenge right now is coordinating swallowing.  Jackson has really been trying lately and really wants to be able to do it.  It would be great if everyone could specifically pray that Jackson will be able to regain his swallowing skills.

Another thing we have been working on is strengthening his left arm.  He has been using it a lot more lately and even thumb wrestled one of the doctors with it yesterday.  He is gaining quite a reputation as a champion thumb wrestler around here and can pin most people using his right hand.  One of his favorite things is to squeeze the putty they use for hand therapy here.  It comes in different colors, strengths and he enjoys squishing it.

Many people have been asking what they can do for Jackson or send to him.  I recently thought of two things.  First, he loves watching videos on the iPad of his family and friends.  If you want to make a video greeting and send it by email or YouTube, he would love it!  I know he would love to see and hear his friends and family cheering him on.  Funny videos would be appreciated, too. Another thing he might like, inspirational stories of famous or every-day people who overcame disabilities and challenges.  This can be books or just stories sent by email or printed and mailed.  I was thinking about Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Oscar Pistorius, etc.  Short stories geared toward kids would probably be best.

Looks like we will be here until at least September 5th, maybe longer depending on how Jackson continues to progress.  I have been telling Jackson about all the people all over the country who are cheering him on and praying for him.  I know this inspires him to want to try harder and reminds him of what's most important--the people we love.  Thanks for your continued prayers and kindness!


20 August 2012

Therapy for the soul.

I had a visit today that really uplifted me.  My friend Barbara from the Beaufort Ward has a friend named Susan who lives here in Atlanta. Barbara was Jackson's Primary teacher when we lived in Beaufort for a couple of years. She told Susan about Jackson and today Susan came by to visit.  A couple of years ago Susan had a brain aneurysm and a stroke. Today you would never know it. She shared her story with me and gave me some much needed empathy and encouragement.  These people who share their miracles with me have no idea how much it helps me.  This is just what I needed today and I know that both of those women were inspired by God.

Jackson has begun asserting his independence and expressing his preferences lately.  Mostly he likes to let me know when he DOESN'T want something, like wearing the eye patch to help strengthen his eye muscles.  Today he has started shaking his head no and that was the answer to every question.  Hopefully nodding will follow soon.

Getting out of bed and getting into the wheelchair has become much easier lately.  Jackson can almost sit up by himself and can stand supported and step to the chair and scoot himself back into it.  He is also giving more help during dressing, helping pull on shirts, pants and socks.  We have come a long way since we got here 3 weeks ago!

Not sure still where we are going after this.  We just feel so grateful for the opportunity we have had to be here and to get all the help we have gotten from some amazing people.  The Lord has been watching out for Jackson and I know He won't let him down now.  Thank you for all the prayers and encouraging messages.  We love and appreciate all of you!


14 August 2012

Fishing...in a hospital??

Jackson has been busy the past couple of days. He worked with a fishing rod in therapy and did great. He also wrote his name when the speech therapist asked him to, which is definitely a small miracle in our eyes! The most exciting thing is that he has been asserting himself more; lately he is more involved and lets momma know what he does and does not want. She is working hard to learn how to operate the feeding pump so she can take care of him. Who knew she'd grow up to be a nurse?

The whole family went up to visit Jackson and mom this past weekend. We stayed overnight and got some good quality time together, nothing like long car trips with little wild ones and small hospital rooms to bring you closer. Pretty sure we are all a little crazier now.

Jackson is working hard. The therapy he does everyday is tough, but he is a diligent and strong boy. He sure appreciates all the love and prayers. We do too!

"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all."
-Emperor, Mulan



08 August 2012

Brothers & Best Friends

Ashley brought all the kids and came for a short visit yesterday afternoon.  One of the visitors is staying with us for a few days until Ashley comes back. Trevor, my 8-yr.-old, is the lucky guest. Other than the fact that he likes to stay up late, Jackson and I are enjoying having him here to camp out with us.  They have enjoyed watching DVDs in bed together and Trevor cheers him on during his therapy sessions.  Brothers are very motivational.

We had a busy morning. Jackson started with Occupational Therapy at 9 am and he helped get himself dressed.  After that we went straight to physical therapy and he practiced standing and working on controlling his core muscles. Then we did some more OT and Jackson laid on his stomach and worked on holding up his head. Next we went to speech therapy where we worked on swallowing bites of Popsicle and ice chips. Finally we went back to PT and worked on the recumbent bike and walking.  Jackson walked about 50 yards, supported!  He got really tired at the end, but we were so close to his room (and bed) by then, that he got a second wind and cruised right in to the finish line.  He is taking a much deserved rest now and just has one more speech therapy session a little later.

A team meeting was held today in which all of Jackson's doctors, nurses, and therapists participated.  Seems like we are all on the same page regarding our goals for Jackson as an inpatient here.  The tentative date for departure from the inpatient program is August 29th. At that point we will discuss referral to the Day Therapy program here.  More about what that is can be found here: Programs/Day Rehabilitation    Hopefully that link will work.

It's hard to believe it has been six weeks since the accident. In some ways it feels like yesterday,and at other times it feels like we have been at this forever. Every day we are grateful for progress in the right direction.  We know that it is only with the help of the Lord that we have made it this far.  Jackson is working hard every day so he can get well enough to return home to all the people he loves.

We love and appreciate all of you!


05 August 2012

We are never alone.

Friday night Ashley came to visit us. I don't know who was happier to see the other, him or Jackson. They held hands and couldn't stop staring at each other. Ashley was thrilled to see how much progress he has made in just a few days. Therapy schedules are a little more relaxed on the weekend so we got to sleep a little later on Saturday and spent some time together in our room. Ashley got in bed with Jackson and they watched videos together on the laptop.

Jackson did some great supported walking yesterday. He doesn't want to fool with a walker or anything, just support him under the arms and he will go.  He is doing better supporting his head and trunk, following directions (thumbs up, shaking hands, kicking balls and pressing buttons) and opening his mouth for bites of popsicle and swallowing. We have a long way to go, but we have come so far!

Today I am missing my church family.  Not attending church for over a month now has made me realize what a blessing and a privilege it is to be able to meet and worship together each Sunday.
Last night before I fell asleep I thought about how I haven't been alone for a moment through this whole experience. The Lord has been right by my side and has inspired good people to help us in so many ways.  We love you and appreciate all you do for us!


03 August 2012

One hug: priceless.

Today was a long but good day of therapy. Jackson worked hard at walking, cycling, fine motor skills, and efforts to communicate.  Still working on alertness but he is doing better every day. He held up his hand to wave goodbye to our friend down the hall today (first time).  Our new friends we met in the hospital in Savannah whose son also suffered a traumatic brain injury were transferred here yesterday.  It was great to see familiar faces and to be able to cheer each other on.

I see more and more of Jackson's personality emerging each day. He lit up when he saw the cool balloons Grandma Wilson sent, cracks up at things that amuse him, and removes things that annoy him (i.e. socks in bed, and the finger oxygen monitor).  But the ultimate Jackson moment was this afternoon when I told him I needed a hug and bent down and he put his arm around me and patted me on the shoulder.  And for all the fans of Jackson's hugs, yep--they're still just as good.

I know we are in the right place for Jackson. Each day of "firsts" confirms it to me.  We feel support and encouragement all around us and from our friends and family who are far away.  Jackson knows he is loved and that is the best possible therapy.  We love and appreciate all of you!