Thursday, September 16, 2010

Amber is Out of the ICU!

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since they have asked me to update the blog for them.


Amber has been transferred from the ICU to Rehabilitation! This is such a huge step for her. The doctors felt she was doing so well with the recovery process, that she could skip the in-between step of acute long-term care, and go straight to rehab. What a blessing!

Watching Amber's progress is truly amazing and humbling at the same time. Though she tires very easily, her mind is quick and she’s definitely "all there." We are so grateful to Heavenly Father, that her mind has been protected through all of this. She is doing remarkably well both physically and emotionally, considering all she has been through over the last six weeks. Admittedly, this is incredibly hard for her, but it is clear that she is strong and will do what she needs to do to get through this. "I'm alive," she said gratefully, "and Heavenly Father is blessing me. I know I can do this." With that kind of resolve, coupled with the support of her family, the doctors, and all of you, she is taking giant steps forward every day!

In talking with Amber about all the people (you) who love her and are praying for her, she said, "Tell them that I love them. I can hardly wait to write on the blog, myself." Amber wants to be able to talk so badly. She mouths everything and is so patient with our weakness in lip-reading. Talking with the speaking valve in her trach is very difficult, although she works at it. The removal of the trach will come in time, as her body is able to master breathing 100% on its own. Her diaphragm and other muscles involved in breathing continue to get stronger and stronger and she is close enough that they have removed the ventilator machine (at least for periods of time) and allowed her to work at it all on her own.

Now that Amber is in the rehab stage, she is able to have visitors. She spends the daytime hours working (exercising), but is able to have visitors after 4pm. She would love to see you! So that we can ensure that she isn't overwhelmed at any given time, if you're interested in visiting with her, please call JP, Greg, or Julie to make arrangements. Also, please keep in mind that shorter visits (15-20 minutes) are best, so that we don’t exhaust our patient. Amber's workouts, combined with the continued effects of her medication, still tire her more quickly than normal, so we just want to ensure that we don't add to that.

Amber's recent (incredible!) progress includes lots of hand/arm movement, lifting both legs one at a time on her own, shifting her head back and forth (neck muscles kicking in!), taking several assisted steps in the physical therapy room, standing up and sitting down three times (with help) from her wheelchair, and much more smiling!

Truly, she is just amazing us (and her whole medical team) with her rapid progress! We're so proud of her and know that she can do it!

Once again, thank you for all your love and support. Please continue to remember her in your prayers. We love you all!


Tammy said...

I am thrilled to hear the wonderful news! Thank you so much for keeping us posted on Amber's progress. The Smith family sends her many hugs and tears of joy!

Nancy said...

So amazing and so wonderful and so miraculous and so perfect!! Please give JP and all of Amber's family a big hug from me and tell them all how happy I am that Amber is on the mend!!! This is just such joyous news! Oh, and extend all of the above to Amber Joy too! :) Love, Happy Nancy