Dad arrived in Tampa and will have some time with Daniel to get acclimated before Daniel leaves tomorrow for a few days at his home.
I spoke to Daniel this morning and he reported the following "good news" items:
--Andy had a swallow test yesterday and did really well with it. A swallow test is done periodically by the Speech specialists using a scope to determine how well controlled his swallowing is or isn't, which in turn is a deciding factor in what alterations can be made to his meal plan and approved foods and drinks. There's always concern that if swallowing is difficult or there is further damage in the area, that food or drink will get misdirected.
As a result of good news on the swallow test, water and other non-thickened liquids are back on the approved list. This is excellent news, especially because at least one of the medications makes his mouth very dry.
--One of the newest goals that Andy has set for himself is to go from using the power-assist chair to the regular wheel chair in the next two weeks. Daniel says this is a very reasonable goal and has no doubts that Andy can do it. Building upper body and arm strength is the key to success here...and he is continuing to do that.
--Yesterday Andy spent some time on the "tilt table". This is a PT device that stands him up--or at least starts him on the process of being upright again. The purpose is to encourage circulation, especially to his legs and to re-train his body to deal with the blood pressure issues. It's a process that will continue slowly and he will build up to success on this one.
--Daniel said that Andy started talking about some of his future plans with his friend Matt, who visited over the weekend. This is such a good thing. We can all make all the plans in the world for him, but until he embraces hoping, dreaming, doing all kinds of things in the future--until he believes again that this altered life is still worthy of all his might, it's just us making plans for him. It was a great sign to Daniel that Andy's embracing and planning his future.
Daniel said that there's not much new to report on the medical or day-to-day side of things. Andy's days are pretty routine now. He does many hours of all the different therapies every day. He works hard and never backs down from a challenge. He truly is doing the "drink water and drive on" maneuver. :)
Matt brought Andy some of his belongings--his iPod, his computer, (the shoes)...the wallet and dog tags are still in the wind. Hopefully they will come in the Army's shipment of items from Afghanistan and Italy.
Also in the belongings that Matt brought, was a copy of an x-ray showing the round when it was lodged in Andy's spine. Daniel's words were "the bullet is huge, it's as big around as Andy's spinal cord". Weirdly enough, the bullet is still perfectly shaped.
Matt told Daniel that the round "bounced" off the Kevlar helmet that Andy was wearing and then penetrated his neck. There's visible damage to the helmet...Andy's hoping that the helmet is in the gear being shipped to him. He wants to see it.
And finally, on a lighter note, Daniel said that the boys held a wheelchair time-trial in the long hallway--Matt, Daniel and Andy. :) He's still doing the math to figure out how far and how fast and who won. Unfortunately, Daniel got scolded by a rather famous nurse for not maintaining the "walking speed" rule in the hallway. He thinks Matt and/or Andy is responsible for getting him into "trouble". Daniel's considering how he can connect with one of the campus police officers in hopes of borrowing a speed gun and conducting another event in the parking lot.
(Safe travels Daniel.)