Thursday, July 17, 2008

STEPS in the Right Direction

Words are not enough, just watch the video.
video

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

AmazingProgress

Progress Update This part is becoming harder and harder to do each time, which is probably part of the reason that we don't update the blog as often as we probably should. The reason progress updates are becoming difficult to share with all of you is that we only go to Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy once a week to get the 'official' word on how things are progressing, which is in and of itself a great sign of progress, but gives us little to share with you about how things are going. That along with the fact that while we do see progress each day these progressions are very subtle and are only realized when compared to previous days/weeks abilities. For example, we know nerve regeneration continues in Molly's hands which is evident because she says she feels like she has better control and command of objects she is holding. She can feel it but it is hard for her to explain it, and I can see it but equally difficult for me to explain. In simple terms day to day progress continues, but progress is not of the 'earth shattering' type that it used to be, which we thank God for! Since the last posting we do continue to do physical therapy and hand therapy at home everyday and are able to see Molly getting stronger each and every day evident by doing more reps and/or more weight with each exercise. Also, with hands, many of the activities are less painful then before and able to see her fingers getting straighter and more flexible. In fact, the last visit to the hand clinic indicated that her right hand strength is at '24'. At our first visit to the clinic it was '8' and her left hand was at '2' and now is at '18'. The numbers really do not mean much other than an indication of progress in the right direction. Just so you know, '20' is considered to be the lowest measurement within "normal" range. That is the official word, but things like being able to take the cap off the Listerine bottle, eating without the adaptive devices on the silverware, back to writing Thank You cards, deadheading the hanging baskets and typing on the computer are all the everyday signs that her hands are truly getting better. Now, with all that said there is still a lot of progress to still be made before we would declare "full recovery", but the fact that we know it is coming and probably coming relatively soon is great news. Especially when according to the doctors and nurses and compared to others similar types of illnesses, Molly should not even be in Rehab yet, let alone back home. We are expecting Molly to be measured this week by our prosthetist, which means that her stumps have and continue to heal to the point of being fitted for her first liners, which is the part of the prosthetic that "lines" the socket and protects her leg from rubbing, etc. If all goes as planned and expected, the liners will be available within a few days if an "off the shelf" size will work for Molly, and no more than 2 weeks if they need to be custom made. After that we will go to Physical Therapy several times per week and the updates will have a lot of very exciting news in them. As we have said so many times before, you all will never know how appreciative and thankful we both are for all the prayers, thoughts, cards, emails, gifts, and generosity shown to us. Words will never be enough to truly show and share how much you all mean to us, but THANK YOU! Love, Molly and Jamey

Friday, June 20, 2008

ProgressContinues

PROGRESS UPDATE: Progress continues in the right direction. Therapy continues on a weekly basis with the professionals for Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy, and daily at home with the "hack therapist"! It is great going to the pro's once a week and getting the official word that Molly is getting stronger, more flexible, and confident in herself which means that we are closer each day to normal and complete independence. Hand therapy continues to be the big pain in the, er, uhm, hands I guess is the best way to put it. It is painful and exhausting. Molly has said numerous times that she would rather spend 5 hours in physical therapy than an hour of hand therapy. But, we see improvement everyday and the little things that most of us take for granted on a daily basis are becoming easier for Molly. Molly has been wearing the stump shrinkers almost 24 hours per day for the last two weeks. My untrained eye can see a big difference in how her stumps are taking shape and being formed so they will fit better in her prosthetics. Ideally, 2-4 weeks is what is necessary to wear them before getting the first 'moldings' done to be fitted for the sockets (the part that actually goes over her stumps to attach the prosthetic legs). So we are very close to getting legs and beginning the next step of the journey, learning to walk again, (pun intended)! Visitors, cards, emails, voice mails and thoughts and prayers continue to pour in, which are truly a blessing for us as they help to keep our spirits high and remind us that we are not going through all of this alone. We do continue to talk and pray about how we are going to use this experience to help others, and it seems that each day someone or something happens to remind us and help us to get closer to that decision. As promised, we want to start sharing some of the amazing stories and experiences we had and are having during all of this. PRAYER NEEDS:
  • Hands and Legs to progressing toward complete, full and normal function
  • Strength - physical and mental to keep moving forward

Again, simply saying thank you never seems say enough for all the prayers, thoughts, cards, gifts, visits, phone calls, and acts of kindness, but know that it is truly from our hearts,

THANK YOU all, and God Bless!

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Friday, June 13, 2008

The New 'NORMAL'

Things in the French household continue to progress in a positive way. While we have been looking for the new definition of 'normal' we have discovered that 'normal' can't really be defined. What is 'normal' for us right now will be completely different in a few months from now and different again in a year and even different yet again the year after. 'Normal' is an ever changing and evolving term for everyone, if it wasn't life would be the same day in and day out and pretty boring. So, the fact that our lives are anything but boring right now, we certainly are not normal, yet many of you have probably already knew that! This past week of our new 'normal' we are starting to see some huge benefits of hand clinic and physical therapy. Molly is becoming more and more independent each day. Some of the tasks that she required help with a mere week ago she no longer needs help or very little help with. she has even started to get a little bold and shows off from time to time with her rediscovered skills and abilities. Things like putting on and taking off of clothes, taking showers, cutting the cheese (actual cheese, not what you were thinking), typing on the computer by beginning to answer the close to 1,000 emails, writing some thank-you notes, and generally becoming more confident to try things on her own. The new wheelchair is working out well, especially since I took it apart and made some adjustments that now makes it easier for Molly to push, turn and maneuver it. Although the cat still doesn't seem to get that the wheelchair rolling over his tail is going to hurt as he just sits in front the wheelchair, almost daring her to move it towards him. Molly is a lot more kind about it than I am. When I am pushing her and the cat gets in the way, I just keep going, thus the reason his tail has gotten ran over. Daily we continue to fight with insurance (me not her), do exercises and hand therapy (her not me) and find new forms of therapy (me not her) like folding laundry, wheeling herself all around the house, etc. In addition to "home" therapy and getting back to a routine, we have quite a few visitors which is great. They all comment on how great Molly looks. One common comment is that Molly still looks like Molly. Some have expected to see her with a few extra pounds due to the 3K-5K calories she was getting in the hospital, however, all those calories were used by her body for healing of wounds, etc, thus not gaining any additional weight. We do continue to discuss and talk about what we are supposed to do with our experience and everything from writing a book, speaking engagements, a foundation, education and awareness, etc. has been talked about. At this point everything seems possible, yet nothing seems quite right as of yet. Any ideas that any of you may have are certainly welcomed. Feel free to email them to us at jameyandmolly@gmail.com. Lastly, continue to pray, not only for us but for yourselves and others as we continue to see and believe how truly lucky we are to have friends and family that support us, and know how much worse this whole experience could have been and continue to be as proof of the many people we came to meet while still in the hospital. Molly truly is a miracle as half with similar illnesses do not make it and most that do loose arms and legs and take 3-4 months to even make it to rehab and then another 3-4 months to get out of the hospital. So we are blessed to have overcome this and be as far along as we are this quickly. With that said, we still have a long road ahead of us, so prayer and positive thoughts are still needed and requested! SPECIFIC PRAYER NEEDS:
  • Legs - continue to heal and gain strength and are actively wearing stump shrinkers. Within 2-4 weeks should be ready to be fitted for prosthetics.
  • Hands - continue to show great progress, still a ways to go to return to 'normal' function.
  • Job(Molly) - Molly has been moved to kindergarten for next year, with all the preparatory time needed, not sure at this point if fall is going to be possible or not. Puts Molly and the school in a quandary as to what to do. The school is not pushing us to make a decision and are being respectful of our needs, yet they also will need to know something about the fall sometime in the fairly near future.
  • Job (Jamey) - As the bills and expenses are now starting to come in and we are getting a clearer view of how much we will owe/need, getting back to work is important. Being self employed has been a blessing as I have been able to take the time needed to care for Molly, however, no work = no income. Getting back to find clients, speaking gigs, and other opportunities is important.
  • Insurance - The schools policy has limited number of therapy visits, so having enough visits to get Molly back to full function is important and that we do not run out before reaching that goal.
  • Opportunity - Molly and I both know that we have a great opportunity to help others by sharing our experience, deciding how and when to do that is important to us.

God Bless you all and thank you!

Love,

Molly and Jamey

Friday, June 6, 2008

OK We're Back

Before you even say it, we know. We have gone for way too long without any postings or updates. For that we are sorry, however, as you quickly realize as you continue reading that time has become a very precious commodity. So, the last several weeks have been filled with doctors appointments, therapy visits, visits from family and friends, and just getting back to some sense of normal. However we have had to redefine 'normal' recently. Here is a sense of a regular day for us. Get up at the crack of noon, no just kidding, but unless we have an appointment in the morning, we do not get in any big hurry to get up, but are generally up around 8am. After some coffee (this is a big relief as Molly had lost her taste for coffee while in the hospital) and breakfast we begin our 2 hour journey to get ready. Although we are getting much better and quicker and when we have to can make it in about 1 1/2 hours. Then it is off to therapy or doctors visits. Of which, hand therapy takes the most time as the clinic is in Vandalia and usually lasts from 2-3 hours, so with drive time it is usually a 4-5 hour trip. Then when we get home, fix dinner, take care of some house chores it is getting close to time for us to start getting ready for bed, which also takes time. All that to then be repeated the next day. Rest assured though we are not complaining, it is soooooo good to be home and being able to see progress each day. Ok, here are some general updates with Molly's progress over the last several weeks:
  • We have been back to U of M 2 times since our last post for follow up appointments. Each of these have went very well with the last one being this past Monday & Tuesday and Molly being completely released from their care with NO RESTRICTIONS. This means that her skin grafts have taken well and she can now be weight bearing on her legs, can begin wearing the special pressure garments on her stumps called "stump shrinkers" to begin shaping her legs to prepare them for her prosthetics.
  • During the time we were waiting for this news, we have found a prosthetist (the guy who will make, adjust and fit Molly's legs) right here in Greenville. He comes highly recommended and we both like him and feel very comfortable with him. this is so important as we will form a life-long relationship with Carl and will see him frequently as much as daily in the very beginning. so being close is a real blessing.
  • Hands! Hands are getting better by the day, but still have a ways to go for them to return to normal. Between the lack of oxygen, the compartment syndrome, crushed nerves, tendons, etc and the lack of use, the hands have really suffered quite a blow and will take lots more therapy to get them back. The good news is that all the surgeons, doctors, therapist that we have seen have all said that her hands should return to complete normal function.
  • Of course Molly is not back to work, but I am not either. Of course to many that know me can't see a difference! Anyway, the time is getting close for me to get back to work at least part time and begin working with clients again as well as looking for some speaking gigs. I am very excited as I told Molly I had been looking for some new speech material so thanks to her I definitely have new speech material. Of course she did not have to go to that extreme to help me out, but nonetheless, I have new material.

Since we are now back online and are fully prepared to keep this blog updated regularly, we have decided to not only keep posting updates on Molly's progress, but to also share some of the things we have observed, learned and gained from this experience including things that we once took for granted and things we now have a whole new perspective on. In addition we will continue to post specific things needing prayer, as we have seen so many answered prayers and how powerful prayer can be.

SPECIFIC PRAYER NEEDS

  • HANDS! Progress has been great, but a long ways to go yet to get back to full function with strength flexibility and sensation.
  • LEGS! Continued strength and flexibility so prosthetics can be fitted as soon as possible (hopefully within 2-4 weeks) Included with legs is skin integrity as being weight bearing on her knees, wearing the pressure garments, and the prosthetics themselves can cause skin tears and skin breakdown, all of which can delay progress.
  • SPIRITS! Right now our spirits are good, but we still have our days and moments and the road ahead is still long and keeping a positive mental attitude has and will continue to keep us going.
  • CLARITY! Molly and I still discuss and struggle with what exactly to do with this experience. While we both feel and believe very strongly that we are being called to do something to help others, we are not sure exactly what that is. Along with that is the financial aspect of doing something to help others by sharing our story but still holding down jobs to make a living and finding a balance between the two.

Again, please forgive us for taking so long to update you on Molly's progress. Here is our promise to you: "We promise to keep this blog updated regularly as much as daily, but never longer than one week!" We are open to ideas from you on what you would like to see in the blog. Please email them to us at jameyandmolly@gmail.com.

Please know that all your prayers and positive thoughts have gotten us through the last 3 months, and we know that they will continue to sustain us through the rest of this journey. Thank you all and God bless each of you for your constant prayers.

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Thursday, May 8, 2008

HAPPIEST OF NEWS!

Yesterday at around 1pm Molly and I left U of M Hospital for a 3 1/2 hour drive home. YES you read that correctly, Molly and I are home because she was released early. Keeping with her trend of amazing feats since she got sick, she completed everything the therapists wanted her to in order for them to know she would be able be home. Our drive home was uneventful and made it home in just about 3 1/2 hours with a stop in Bowling Green for lunch. It was a great ride home filled with lots of laughs, smiles, and tears from both of us. It almost did not seem real to actually be coming home. But as we pulled onto Westminster Drive we knew it was true. Making it even more special was the beautiful flowers and landscaping that had been done and a wonderful banner strung on the fence welcoming Molly home. Thanks to the Ladybug Garden Club and Express It signs for making our homecoming even more special. Our first night back home went great, trying to get back to some sort of regular routine and redefining normal for ourselves. The animals were funny, the cat really likes Molly's wheelchair and can't seem to get out of the way. Bravin was a little leery at first, but after a few minutes just sat beside her as if she was protecting her. It is almost as if she knows something is different and is being so gentle and careful around Molly. She got up in bed last night but was very careful to lay clear at the foot of the bed and only came up when we called her. This however does not mean that she doesn't expect to us to continuously throw her tennis ball. Some things never change! Neither of us slept great last night, but I slept better than Molly. She said that it was too quiet. Too Quiet? I guess when you spend 2 months sleeping with constant interruption in an uncomfortable bed you start to miss it when it when it is gone. Oh well, I am sure she will get used to the quiet comfort of our own bed quickly. Today, we began the next step of our journey by looking for equipment needed to make things easier at home, therapy, doctors, etc. Molly will begin therapy on her hand and physical therapy tomorrow (Friday). She had a couple of days off with the surgery, the trip home and today looking for these services, so there is a good chance she will be exhausted and sore after "restarting" therapy. Molly and I have been thinking about all the amazing things that have happened so far during our journey and want to start sharing them with you. Stories about nurses, doctors and other people we have met, along with just purely unbelievable events that are beyond explanation. They are special to us, and know they will be special to all of you as well and cant wait to begin sharing them with you. As we begin this next step in our journey, we will still need all your thoughts and prayers. in some ways, even though we are home, the most challenging part is still ahead of us. We have to get back to normal, Molly needs to learn how to walk again, and deciding how to help others with our story and oh yeah, still make a living. If anything the past 2 months has taught us is to take one day at a time and lean on and trust in friends and family and the power of prayer. We will continue to update the blog with Molly's progress, specific prayer needs, and stories. Thank you all for everything and God Bless You All! Love from Home! Molly and Jamey

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

TUESDAY, AFTER SURGERY

Surgery went well! Molly was taken to surgery earlier than expected by about 2 hours. When she was in the pre-op she looked at me and said, you know you have been here awhile when the surgical team knows you by name and is equally excited about you getting to go home soon. But it is also another example of how much they actually care about you here. The actual surgery only took about 20-30 minutes and went well. Dr. Wahl came out to talk to me after she was finished and Molly was in recovery. She was pleased with the surgery and should have very little limitations other than not to get the dressing wet. Good thing Molly got a few showers in last week, as we are back to sponge baths for a little while. Other than that, she is able to resume therapy and using her legs as before. With the surgery today, very little else went on as therapies were not scheduled, and with the long pre-op, surgery, then post op time along with the time it took her to get fully woke back up and the drugs to wear-off it was late this afternoon until we got up, ate, and went outside in the courtyard for a little bit. But she is feeling fine now and ready to get back to doing therapy and her regular daily routine. With only the surgery happening today, we don't have a lot of other stuff to report on. so until tomorrow, keep us and each other in your thoughts and prayers. Love, Jamey and Molly

Monday, May 5, 2008

MONDAY AFTERNOON

WHEW, What a weekend. McDonalds on Saturday and then we stepped it up a notch and went to Applebees on Sunday. Had lots of excitement and fun the entire weekend with a lot of last minute, unexpected visitors from the Fourmans on Saturday, Bud on Sunday morning and Tom & Joanne in the afternoon. Joanne brought me lilacs and they have made the whole room smell wonderful. While out on Sunday we looked up neighbors from the lake that live in Plymouth. Joy and Ashley were home and got to visit with them for a short while. The nurses on the rehab unit fight over me because Jamey and I are never in the room so they don't have anything to do regarding taking care of me except forcing a few pills down my throat when we do show up at the room. This is a great physical sign that I am getting better and stronger because we are able to get out of the room so easily now and take off out and about. Except for today when they tracked us down so they could put in an IV for my surgery tomorrow. I thought I was done with holes in my arms, but this is definitely the last one. Surgery should be very quick and easy tomorrow. We do not know for sure yet, but it sounds like I will stay on the Rehab floor and they will be treating the surgery almost as an outpatient procedure and will be able to return to the rehab floor afterwards. I hope this is the case because Jamey doesn't want to have to move all my stuff to another room. He is looking into a U-Haul already to get it all home when the time comes. While my roommate Nancy is great we are not so sure about her family as they keep showing up with Maize and Blue on all the time and giving us a hard time about being Buckeyes. Not really, they are huge Wolverine fans, but they have been great to visit with and have had a lot of fun with them going back and forth with the rivalry. Given our circumstances, it has been good to laugh with them and break the boredom a little from time to time. We got the chance to visit Trauma Burn again and it was great to see some of the nurses again. It is hard to believe, but we actually kinda miss them. they had become such a huge part of our lives for several months that you get close to them and it is sort of sad when you have to say goodbye to them, even though good bye is a sign that i am getting better. so it was nice to see them again. My whole team of health care providers continue to tell me that I am progressing at an unbelievable rate and are going to start researching providers to continue my care back home. SPECIFIC PRAYER AREAS
  • SURGERY! We think surgery is scheduled at 10:30 tomorrow morning, pray for safe, successful and quick surgery of the last small graft on my left stump
  • HANDS & FINGERS! They continue to get better, while therapy is painful and still have a ways to go, still need prayer for complete returned function and use.
  • Nancy, My roommate. She will be going to a nursing home for a few months before getting to go home. They are a great family and she needs prayers for physical and emotional healing. she gets down about her situation from time to time.

We continue to be amazed by all the cards and prayers we receive daily. We know that the speed of my recovery has to do with all the positive thoughts and prayers. Jamey and I still have a long way to go on this journey to return to normal and to decide what and how to use this experience, so continued prayers are definitely needed.

God Bless Each Of You!

Love,

Molly & Jamey

Saturday, May 3, 2008

AFTER THE BIG DAY OUT

Whew, what a day! After gaining clearance from the nurse around 12:30, we headed for McDonald's. Yes the cheeseburger was yummy and the fries too. But anything would taste good after two months of "Potato Encrusted Cod, Meat Lasagna, and Chicken Cesar Wrap" which are on the menu every single day, day in and day out, never changing, always the same. It is hard to believe, they can change the whole medical staff each month as they change clinical services in the 14th best hospital in the country with over 859 discharges per day and over 11 miles of hallways, but they cant change the stinkin' menu!!! I can't wait to come home and get more Maid-rites, Jim's hotdogs and just a good steak on the grill. Speaking of coming home, we are within two weeks for sure if not sooner. I am scheduled for my skin graft surgery this coming Tuesday. We are not sure exactly what will happen after the surgery as far as what unit, how long for recovery, additional rehab, etc. We should know more on Monday. After the McDonald's meal we drove around Ann Arbor wandering what to do. At one point Jamey suggested going back to the hospital early, yeah right, I don't know who he thought he was kidding, the nurse said we had until 5pm, and by golly we were going to use every minute of it! so, we decided to head to Cabela's in Dundee which is about 15 miles south. Cabela's is a HUGE, GIGANTIC, ENORMOUS hunting and outdoor store, with an indoor aquarium, boats, fishing and hunting equipment with indoor ranges, furniture, restaurant, etc., etc., etc., even if you are not into hunting and fishing, definitely a place to visit. they have mounted animals and fish all over the place with a huge mountain and water fall with stuffed animals all over it. with all this stuff to choose from we bought licorice. Yummy! We arrived back at the Hospital about 10 minutes late because Jamey got lost. I take that back, he is never lost, he just doesn't always know exactly where he is (so he says!). Our nurse said she would excuse us and we aren't grounded so we can go out again tomorrow. Now that I have filled my McDonalds craving, I am not sure what I am looking forward to eat. I was just happy getting off the hospital grounds into the real world. Once back in the room, Jamey became a mechanic and tried to McGyver my wheelchair to keep my legs more elevated. He had my nurse running around looking for allen wrenches, supports, and other stuff, but he got it done. Then to my surprise the Fourman family walked in unexpectedly all donning Michigan colors. (They are a family I have grown to know and love from my days at South School) They made a great day even better. They were in town as they are huge Michigan fans and came up to see the first baseball game played in U of M's new baseball stadium, and it was against the Buckeyes. anyway, it was great to see them and be a nice ending to a fun day. PRAYER NEEDS
  • Hand and Fingers! They are slowly getting better, but a ways to go yet to get total function and feeling back in them
  • Wounds! continued healing of legs and stumps
  • Stumps! Healing of course, but also strengthening, reduced contractures, and shaping needed to get a good fit for new legs.
  • SURGERY! Successful, quick, and safe skin graft on Tuesday. (We will update on Monday evening or when we know a more definite time)
  • Spirits! They are good and we are thankful, however, we still have a lot of bridges to cross and challenges to face, so continue to pray for Jamey and Ito remain positive as we continue on our journey
  • Safe Travels! for Jamey as he travels to and from the hospital and friend and family as they make visits.

God Bless You All for your continued prayers and thoughts, we could never had made it this far with out you, and will not be able to make it further without each and every one of you. You are all very special and dear to us both! Thank You!

Love,

Molly and Jamey

Friday, May 2, 2008

FRIDAY EVENING

We are both sorry it has been a couple of days since our last update, but I couldn't get Molly out of the car. Yes that is right, physical therapy had us go to our car and had Molly get in the car. when it was time to get out, she refused, crossed her arms, pouted and said, "lets go home!" OK that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is close. Anyway, things continue to progress in all areas. Molly is now starting to sleep better, continuing to impress the docs and therapists, transferring from the wheelchair to just about anything she wants, taking showers regularly (YEAH, and not just for her, but all of us), eating good, very few medications, using absolutely no pain meds at all, not even during dressing changes, etc, etc, etc. We got the chance to go visit some of the nurses in the SICU that took care of Molly when she first got to the U of M hospital. It was good to see them and to say thank you, even though thank you will never be enough. They were all happy to see Molly and just can't believe how much progress she has made and how well she is doing. while they have seen many people with similar illnesses, they have not seen anyone get well so fast. We are looking forward to this weekend as we get to escape for a little while with a day pass for Saturday and Sunday. As forward as I am looking to our upcoming excursion, I am not looking forward to Molly's choice of food fare, McDonalds! For some reason she craving a McDonalds cheeseburger and fries. She is not even sure why, hopefully this will pass. anyway, it will be great to get off the hospital property for a few hours. Looking toward next week, therapy will continue so Molly can keep getting stronger, more flexible, and more able to use her wheelchair and other things we all take for granted. The trauma surgeons should be in in the next day or so and take a look at her legs and make a determination as to when they want to do the final skin graft on her left leg. this will be the final surgery and in the big scheme of things should be minor and short. Recovery and healing of the grafted area will be quick so we can get home and continue with outpatient therapy in Greenville. SPECIFIC THINGS TO PRAY FOR
  • Hands and fingers to keep gaining feeling and flexibility
  • Healing of open areas on stumps and overall healing of grafts
  • Keeping high spirits for both of us as we continue to discover our new definition of 'normal' and return home to everyday life in the next few weeks.
  • Finding the right outpatient therapy center that can provide the needed services
  • Finding the right prosthetist when the time comes to be fitted with new legs
  • Clarity for what we are supposed to do to help others from this experience

Thank you will never suffice for what each of you have done for us, but nonetheless, Thank You for the prayers, positive thoughts, cards, gifts, comments, visits, etc. etc. etc.

God Bless you all!

Love,

Molly & Jamey

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AFTER FIRST SHOWER

WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can't believe how good a simple shower can feel, but after nearly 2 months is it beyond words to describe!!! The doctors from Trauma Burn came around this morning to follow up with my legs and said I was cleared to take a shower. Boy did it feel good, it made me feel human again. They also let us know that I will more than likely need another small skin graft on my left leg about the size of a fifty cent piece. We were a little worried that they might do it soon and cause some delay in rehab. However, they truly understand the rehab process, and more importantly what is the overall good for the patient. So, as long as the area does not show any signs of infection (which it has not for over 2 weeks now) they can wait until I am discharged from rehab and then perform the skin graft right before I come home. I am not looking forward to another surgery but I understand the need. Here is something to keep praying about, there is a chance that by waiting the area on my left stump may heal up enough to not need a graft, this is a small chance, but a chance nonetheless. Either way, it will not delay my rehab or my come home date, which we still believe to be 5/14. Yesterday was tough in therapy, but good. I am using muscles I never knew I had and a few that I had forgotten about. But each exercise, stretch, activity, etc. is geared to help me be independent when I get home, and to give me a head start on the continued therapy I will get when back home that will prepare me for my new legs. Well, I am off to a double session of physical therapy, so it is a good thing I updated now as I will probably be too tired to do it afterwards. Jamey has me a little worried as I told him earlier today when he asked if I was sore from yesterday and I said not really. So he is threatening to tell Cindy (my PT) that she needs to work me harder. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!!!!!!! I am afraid I am going to need it! Continued thanks for your prayers and support, you make me feel so very special. Have a blessed day. Love, Molly and Jamey

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TUESDAY MORNING

Sorry, I know I said I would update the blog when i got back up to Ann Arbor, however, I think you will all forgive me when I let you know that this update is being done by Molly and I together. Say 'hi' Molly! Molly: "HI!" I just want to say thanks for all the cards, comments, and prayers. I have no doubt it has helped in my recovery. I am counting the days until I am back in Ohio and back home. I can't wait to see you all. Keep praying for Jamey and I as we still have a lot of recovery and rehab before us, but we have made it this far and we are both positive we will make the rest of the journey successfully! This past weekend when Jamey was back home I got to see and spend time with Debby, she brought the kids and her baby sitter from Chicago and spent the weekend with me. We had great time visiting and even had a pizza party with Jordan, Alec, Sharon & Debby and I. It was great to finally have Pizza Hut bread sticks which I was craving. I am blessed to have such a special friend. Love you Debby! Also on Saturday Mike & Betsy stopped and got to watch me do Physical Therapy, lucky them! We had a nice visit as well. I thought I was going to get the weekend off from therapy, but I still had 3-4 hours a day of therapy on Saturday and Sunday. I was glad because it made the days go by fast and kept me moving forward. Monday was a big day as Jamey was back and a full schedule of Therapy with OT, PT, and Hand Clinic. After therapy Jamey and I went to visit the wonderful nurses in the Trauma Burn Unit. It was nice to see them and they were very pleased to see me and said I looked great and it was nice to see me up and about. We also sat down and I got a chance to read more of the blog and catch up on many of the days before I could get to a computer. All in all it was a busy day and I was tired at the end of it, but it was a good tired. I am looking forward to more "good tired" days in the next few weeks. Today, the care plan team will meet and discuss my progress, rehab regimen, and go home date. We will update you all tomorrow what we find out. THINGS TO PRAY FOR:
  • Continued Healing of wounds and legs
  • Hands to keep getting feeling and use (they are doing good, still a ways to go yet)
  • Care Team to keep making good decisions about continued care plan
  • Come Home on May 14th

Thanks to all of you for the continued prayers and positive thoughts. Keep them up!

God Bless You All!

Love,

Molly & Jamey

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SATURDAY MORNING

I spoke with Molly last evening and it sounds like therapy is going great! She had 6 sessions ranging from 45 minutes to an hour each yesterday. Molly told me that she mentioned a little tingling/hurting in her finger to her hand therapist and the hand therapist got really excited as this is a great sign of nerve regeneration meaning that her hands and fingers are starting to return to normal. We still wont know for a while to what degree, but the hand therapist mentioned during Molly's first session that she expects them to return to complete normal function. One of the sessions Molly had yesterday was with the rehab psychologist. This is done for two reasons, one to allow Molly to talk to someone with no one else around about anything she wants to talk about her illness and recovery, etc. Secondly it allows the psychologist to see how patients are doing emotionally and dealing with their situation. I on the other hand beleive it was for a completely different reason. You see, Molly told me she wore her Ohio State shirt yesterday and I think the rehab team must have thought she had lost her mind! That's my girl, GO BUCKS! The cards, gifts, comments, emails, etc. keep rolling in and we thank each and everyone of you for your thoughts and prayers. SPECIFIC AREAS FOR PRAYER
  • HANDS & FINGERS
  • MAY 14th - Come Home date
  • CONTINUED HEALING OF WOUNDS & STUMPS
  • STRENGTH - mental and physical to keep enduring long therapy sessions
  • CLARITY - Molly and I keep talking and praying for what will be the best way to share our story to help others.
  • REHAB PATIENTS - There are unbelievable stories in the rehab unit of people enduring great illness and injury.

God Bless You All!

Love,

Molly and Jamey

Thursday, April 24, 2008

FIRST DAY OF REHAB

Holy Cow!, I am exhausted and all I did was watch the therapy sessions. Molly spent almost 5 hours in therapy on Wednesday, and it went great. She is tired, but a good kind of tired. We then had visitors from Aunt Debby, Uncle Vic & Aunt Becky and then a past student of Molly's Tina & Sajoel came for a visit with gifts. They brought made-rites for both of us and Aunt Debby brought cookies from the Pantry. It was so good to have a taste of home. Then the best news of all came, we have a tentative "come home date" of May 14th. This would be to come all the way home to good ol' Westminster Drive!!! We are both so excited about this. The Social worker said this could be moved up if things go really well, and could be moved back if not, but we belive we will be home on the 14th if not sooner. I came home very late last night and got home after 1am and took Raymond to the Dayton Heart Hospital today, everything went well and we will get the results of his tests in early May, unless something crucial would be seen in the pictures. We do not expect this. I spoke to Molly for a few minutes on the phone this afternoon after Raymond and I got home. She got out of one therapy session because two past patients at U of M came in to speak to current patients. Both of the are miracles just like Molly in that they had very similar illnesses as Molly and have lost limbs and now are back to normal and doing well. She said she wished I had been there, but sadi it was great and sees herself doing very similar things soon. On another sinilar note, I spoke to the regional representative for the ACA (Amputee Coalition of Amercia) who lives in Cincy and said that there is so much support with this "new" family that anything Molly and I need will be there. In fact he shared with me his wife's name and another woman that have similar amputations as Molly's and the one woman is a kindergarten teacher who had a strep A infection and also lost her legs as well as her arms and is back teaching, driving, traveling, etc. etc. etc. He even said that if we wanted they would all drive from Cincy up to Ann Arbor to visit. It is unbeleiveable all the stories, people, resources, etc. out there to help Molly and I as we move into a new chapter of our lives. All this just tells us more and more what her and I will be capable of and how many lives we will be able to touch and help because of what has happened to her. As far as her prosthetics, we are still months away from her being fitted and getting her new legs and then a few more months to get then "dialed" in to fit right and be comfortable and learning how to use them, but we are so close to having all this behind us and moving forward. And on one other positive note, today Molly spent the entire day by herself other than a few short visits from Troy. I know she was apprehensive and a little worried about this, but she did great and I think a great boost to her confidence. Therapy went well again today and she is excited about seeing Debby when she gets there later tonight. It will be good for them to spend several days together and have some "girl talk" without me being around. I will try to continue to post updates on the blog, however, with not being in Ann Arbor and only getting to speak to her for a few minutes each day, they may be infrequent and short until I get back up there on Sunday afternoon. SPECIFIC PRAYER AREAS:
  • HANDS and FINGERS!!!
  • HEALING OF WOUNDS!!!
  • STRENGTH FOR THERAPY
  • SPIRITS TO REMAIN HIGH
  • TRAVEL for me and all our friends and family visiting

God Bless You All!

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WEDNESDAY MORNING

Rehabilitation here we come! We made it to the Rehab floor early yesterday afternoon. We recieved a short orinetation with more to come today. Molly did not get any therapy as it will all start today as well. The floor is a lot quieter than the TBC, but will take getting a little used too as Molly now has a room mate and a whole new set of nurses and techs. The really cool thing is that our new friend Sally was discharged over the weekend and Molly is in her exact room and bed. Everyone tells us that Sally is so upbeat and positive, it just seems appropriate that Molly would be in the same spot. MOLLY'S NEW ADDRESS: Molly French REHAB A6407-1 University of Michigan Hospital 1500 E. Medical Center Drive Ann Arbor, MI 48109 So, once we were in the room, somewhat settled and orientated, we took off and headed to the courtyard for a while. It was so warm and sunny, it felt good. It was getting to be about dinner time and because of the locatoin change Molly's dinner tray had not arrived yet. In fact, it was more than a locatoin change. Technically, she was completely discharged from the hospital and then re-admitted into the rehab unit. So, due to all this her tray was not ready, but the dietician had given her a "coupon" to eat in the cafeteria in case she did not like the food from the kitchen and to encourage her to eat more. So, we took the "coupon" headed to the cafetereia, which in general has very good food. We had a burger and fries and double noodle chicken soup. It was good, and Molly ate very well. she said it tasted so good. It was nice to get to sit and actually eat together. Did not realize I had missed something so simple as that. We got back to her room and she was getting tired so went back to bed and we watched a little TV. She recieved her schedule for today. She will have four 45minute therapy sessions today with OT & PT. Along with this we will meet the social worker, the rehab psychologist, the recreation therapist, the occupational hand thereapist, the rehab doctors, and probably get an initial visit from a prosthetist. All in all, I do not think Molly will have any trouble getting to sleep tonight, as she has from time to time in the past. Somewhere in all this we will need to eat three meals, a couple of snacks and hopefully do laundry, as there is a day room with washer and dryer for us to use. This is all very exciting and even a little overwhelming, but we are looking forward to rehab and believe that we will only be here for a short time (2-3 weeks) before returning to the land of Scarlet and Gray!!! Lastly regarding visits. Visits are welcomed by all at this time, however, if during the week, plan on coming later in the day after 3pm as from 7:30am - 2:30pm Molly is in the Therapy department and participating in Rehab and will not be able to visit, and probably not even able to see anyone. Weekends are wide open. Come as you please, however, understand the she may be getting a lot of visitors and she does need her rest and will want to spend time with everyone, but not all at the same time. SPECIFIC PRAYER AREAS:
  • Hands! Her strength will come, but much of her independence and ability to excel in rehab is linked to her use of her hands.
  • Spirits! Keeping our spirits high during rehab will go a long way to its success and getting home quicker.
  • Accomodations! First time having a roommate, plus smaller room and does not have the window side, so we are not able to "decorate" like we had in the other rooms, also, hoping to get along with roommate and does not get disturbed at night so Molly can sleep.
  • Travel! I am headed home tonight late and will be home through the weekend. Debby is coming over tomorrow and staying through the weekend. Certain family and friends will be traveling this weekend to visit.
  • Raymond (Molly's dad)! I am traveling home to take Raymond to the Dayton Heart Hospital for some tests. Pray that they are ok and he will not need any additional procedures, surgeries, or other specific care.

Thank you all again and again for your constant prayers and positive energy being sent our way. We feel it and know it makes a huge difference.

God Bless You All!

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TUESDAY MORNING

Well, unfortunately we did not make it to rehab yesterday. Sunday night Molly had a sleepless night and did not feel real well. The surgeons decided to run some blood work and keep her in TBC for a little while longer to just be sure nothing else was going on, ie: infection, etc. On the good side, the weekend was great with lots of visitors, great weather and Molly got up and out and about a lot the past several days. Last night when she was feeling better we watched the First Grade Musical that Molly missed but was very involved with. Krista (her principal) and Monty came up on Sunday to visit and brought her a DVD of the program. While this is disappointing, we truly understand the decision. We still know that it will happen in the next day or two. Molly did get the opportunity to rest a little throughout the day and by afternoon she was feeling a lot better. Mom and Dad came up for a visit yesterday as well so while Molly slept we went shopping again. The problem with my first shopping trip was that while I was really proud of myself for picking out shorts and shirts that matched, they were all the same outfit only different colors. So Molly looked like she was wearing the same thing each day. OOOPS! Anyway, Mom helped me pick out some things that could go with the other stuff I already got so we can mix and match. the hardest part is knowing that once rehab is over and her wounds are healed completely most if not all the clothes we buy will never be worn again or given away, etc., because we have to get things a little bigger than what she would normally wear to be "baggy" enough to not rub her wounds while wearing them and working in rehab. So, finding something that will be comfortable, somewhat stylish, and relatively inexpensive is not real easy. On to other good news. The feeding tube got to come out last evening. This was not a planned thing, but the tube got clogged, so it was going to have to come out anyway. So, as a patient who is "alert and mentally capable of making decisions" Molly could decide not to have it put back in. Part of the decision is that every discipline except the trauma surgeons have said it is OK to remove. And since she will be going to rehab soon, they will remove the tube anyway, it seemed ridiculous to put it back in for a day or two. So, we left it out, and made a 300 calorie, 6g protein, Chocolate Hot fudge Milk Shake to celebrate and drank almost all of it. Thanks again for all the cards (she received a 2 inch stack yesterday) positive thoughts and especially the prayers. We know that is your faithfullness in keeping us in your thoughts and prayers is what has gotten us to this point so fast. God Bless You All! Love, Jamey and Molly

Sunday, April 20, 2008

SUNDAY MORNING

Visitors, visitors and more visitors was the theme for yesterday. It was great, Molly and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces other than each other's. Tammy & Cindy from school came in the early afternoon, then Peg, Keith, Jen and Aaron came in the late afternoon/early evening. It was great to see them all. We also had a few surprise visitors yesterday. Ward from Toastmasters stopped on his way to visit family in Flint. Then friends of a friend's parents who happen to live in Ann Arbor, who we have never met, stopped in just to say 'hi' dropped off some candy and offered help with anything since they are so close by. After everyone had left, Molly and I were tired, but also made us feel so good to know we have such good friends, family and even friends of friends to "just be there for us!" It is an awesome feeling, thank you all! Yesterday also brought another trip outside, occupational therapy, eating, very little medicine, getting into the wheelchair with no assistance, you know, same ol', same ol'! It is so great that these types of things are become the norm and not the exception. Today marks the last day in the Trauma Burn Center, and it is unbelievable the amount of nurses, therapists, doctors, techs, etc. that have stopped by to say goodbye already because they know they will off for the next day or so and want to say goodbye before we leave. Some of them never even had Molly, but just know her/us from the unit. They almost all say the same thing, "We are kinda sad to see you go, but glad and happy to see you go." Our response has been "Don't take this the wrong way, but we don't want to see you anymore either." We have become so attached to many of the nurses and doc's, it will sad to not see them anymore, they are truly a very special group of folks who have an incredibly difficult and sometime unpleasant job. We thank God for each and everyone of them. Molly and I have been discussing short, intermediate, and long term goals for her rehab and us in general. We are excited and looking forward to rehab and what life is going to bring us, yet nervous and anxious at the same time. The more we talk about it, the more clear we are that we can help a lot of people on many different levels by sharing our story. It all seems overwhelming at times, but exciting as well. We see so many possibilities with a book or even books, opportunities to speak about prayer, trauma, amputees, team building, how to get involved with your loved ones health care, how to talk to doctors, and for all my Toastmasters friends out there, I have truly seen and experienced what Toastmasters is all about. Not to make this a commercial, but anyone wanting to know more about Toastmasters go to www.toastmasters.org or feel free to email me at jameyandmolly@gmail.com. Molly and I have a lot of work to do, not just in rehab, but in getting back to normal and preparing our message for so many. It is amazing how God prepares us for things without us even knowing it at the time. But when we stop and think about all the things that have happened in the last few weeks and what our new definition of 'normal' is going to be, and how the many things that her and I have done in our lives as well as the lives of so many that have played a huge role in saving Molly's life and aiding in her recovery and now rehab is truly beyond explanation. I love this next part so much as Molly and I believe this has played a huge role in her recovering so quickly! SPECIFIC PRAYER NEEDS
  • HANDS & FINGERS!!!
  • WOUND & GRAFT HEALING!!!
  • STRENGTH (Physical and Mental)!!!
  • WISDOM & CLARITY!!!
  • All the nurses, doctors, therapists, techs, etc. in the Trauma Burn Center and the SICU that played a huge role in Molly's recover
  • All of our friends and family and all of our new friends for their support, prayers, visits, comments, cards, gifts, etc. You all are truly special to us.

God Bless You All!!!

Next Blog will be from 6A (our new home for the next few week) Rehab. We are sure that if they are a half as good as the rest of this amazing facility that they will be a cut above anyone else out there!

Love,

Molly & Jamey

Saturday, April 19, 2008

SATURDAY

REMINDER OF EMAIL ADDRESS: jameyandmolly@gmail.com REMINDER OF HISTORY OF MOLLY'S JOURNEY: www.mfrenchtrek.blogspot.com We finally said goodbye once and for all to the dialysis unit. Molly had to make one last trip to the dialysis unit to have the catheter they used for access to do dialysis treatments removed. with it gone, we are officially done with dialysis. Other great news is that she does not need finger sticks anymore to check her sugar levels will not need blood drawn as frequently, probably only every few days. This is all indication that her body is very close to functioning normally again. They still have to do all the vital sign checks every 6-8 hours. when they stop in to do that I turn on the monitor, place the pulseox on her finger, hand them the BP cuff and hit the button to pump up and take the BP. The fact that I am able to do this in truly the indication that Molly is OK. the nurses only do it now because they have to prove with documentation they are still taking care of Molly. In addition, she is only on 3-5 medications now and this includes her vitamins and supplements. She does not even take any pain meds during the dressing changes. Yesterday she spent an hour with PT, and an hour with OT. Then her and I sat outside for about an hour. She is able to transfer herself from wheelchair to bed and vice versa completely on her own and getting stronger all over and more use of her hands. Her wounds continue to heal and the grafts look great! We were informed last night that she will move to rehab for sure on Monday and then the real hard work will begin. We are both looking forward to that. We have lots of friends and family stopping by this weekend, so will be a good weekend but busy. She is looking forward to seeing everyone. SPECIFIC THINGS TO PRAY FOR:
  • HANDS & FINGERS!!! Once she gets more use of her hands and fingers she will not be as bored and will feel more normal again as she will be able to provide a lot of her own care, hold a book and turn pages so she can read, write, use the computer, etc.
  • HEALING OF WOUNDS!!! Her wounds look great, but still have a long way to go, once healed she will be able to do a lot more without concern of injuring them, etc
  • SPIRITS!!! Hers and mine. Some of the reality of everything is becoming more and more evident as we begin thinking about getting home and all the normal things we take for granted that will be impacted.

God and all of your continued prayers and positive thoughts have gotten us this far and we have no doubt they will get us all the way home and beyond. THANK YOU!

God Bless you all,

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Friday, April 18, 2008

FRIDAY MORNING

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night, that is what the kidney doctors popped in last night to tell us. They stopped by to simply tell us goodbye that she did not need them anymore. Her Creatine levels continue to drop from 1.6 to 1.2. Normal is less than 1, but they are more concerned with the numbers staying level and that fact that they did for several days and are now dropping even more is a great sign, so the access catherter for them to do the dialysis will be coming out today and NO MORE DIALYSIS!!! Another answered prayer. Rehab will start on Monday as the rehab department did not have a bed available yesterday and they do not normally do admissions on Fridays, as the patient would come in and would not do much over the weekend anyway. So Monday it is. Yesterday, Molly got dressed again, transfered to the wheelchair all on her own, went to Physical Therapy for almost an hour and did a great job, doing most of the exercises on her own with little or no assistance. We then went to the rehab floor and met Sally. Sally went through a very similar illness as Molly 2 years ago and lost both her legs below the knee. She was in the reahb center because she had had some issues with her one leg and was needing some additional sugery and to be refitted for her prosthtic. We talked with her for about 45 minutes and really helped Molly and I to truly see that "normal" will once again be part of our lives. We exchanged emails and phone numbers with Sally and she told Molly to call anytime for support, vent, just to chat, etc.. What a blessing Sally and others like her will be in the coming months. We then went outside for a long time, ate, and then went back to the room. Occupational Therapy came in and worked with her hands and fingers and of course Molly did great! The therapists really beleive that Molly will only be in rehab for a short time, and could possibly go straight home after rehab here instead of finding another facility. We will know more come Monday when we meet with the entire rehab team and talk about goals and timeframes, but coming home within the next few weeks seems like a real possibility. Of course that does mean the "real work" will begin, as we begin our new life together without nurses, doctors, therapists, etc. But we are both looking forward to it. SPECIFIC PRAYERS NEEDED
  • Rehab goes well and we can come straight home after that
  • Healing of wounds and stumps so prosthetics can be fitted and we can begin that journey
  • Spirit, for both of us as the reality of everything will become more and more real as we enter back into 'normal' life
  • Sally, our new friend as she is moving into an apartment on her own that has stairs and she needs to rehab again after having additional surgery.

God Bless you all, and thanks again for all the support, gifts, cards, and especially the prayers. They do indeed work and are answered!

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Thursday, April 17, 2008

THURSDAY MORNING

Good Morning, let me correct that, GREAT Morning! The wound team make their rounds starting at 8am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Yesterday was the 5th day since Molly's skin grafts and was the day the dressing came off for the first time to see how they were doing. I got tied up in some traffic and did not make it to Molly's room until about 10 minutes after 8, and of course the team started with Molly. They were all filing out as I walked in. But just like everyone else and everyting else at this facility, Dr. Kozlo and Dr. Wahl looked at the team and said, "lets glove back up and do it again for Jamey." This speaks volumes as to the type of people this healthcare team really is. And of course she said it with a smile and then of course had to tease me a bit about being late. They jsut make you feel at home and truly a part of the team. Anyway, the results of the wound rounds were great. The skin grafts look awesome, they are stuck really well with only two small quarter size areas needing some extra attention over the next few days/weeks. There is an outside chance these areas could still need some grafting, but if they do it will be very quick and easy and these spots will not hinder any progression with rehab. Speaking of rehab, some of the rehab team was in yesterday, but I was out buying clothes, so I missed them, but they introduced themselves to Molly and indicated there was a good chance she could move to rehab as early as today! I can hear you all now, Jamey was out buying clothes instead of at the hospital with Molly. Let me explain myself. I brought some clothes up for her to wear, and she did get to put them on yesterday. However, due to the wounds still healing, and her loss of flexibility the therapists thought it would be best to get some bigger more baggy clothes until the wounds are gone and the flexibility is back. So, I was "rehab clothes" shopping at Wal-mart. I used the Walmart gifts cards we recieved, these came in very handy. Speaking of the clothes, it was funny when they asked me what shirt for her to wear, so i pulled out a OSU Tshirt of Molly's. You should of heard them, but unfortunately it was going to be to small, I'm not so sure, i think they were just refusing to put it on. Anyway, they went and got Molly a Tramua/Burn T-shirt for her to wear and keep. This was fine except they have a big 'M' on the front and they said the only color left (they come in pink, red, green, yellow, etc.) was dark blue with Yellow print. Of course my comment was, makes sense that would be the only color left as know one would want them. On the more important and serious side, Molly looked great in regular clothes and more importantly she said it felt good to have clothes on. i can't imagine not wearing clothes for over 6 weeks. She put the clothes on mostly by herself, went to therapy and did pretty good. Still needs some assistance, but did great. Within a few days of intense rehab, she should be doing all the "getting ready in the morning" stuff all by herself. The therapists goals for Molly are to have her "modified independent" which means that she will ultimately be able to do everything for herself by herself and may only require some "modified" tools to help. For instance prosthetics and a wheelchair would be considered "modifications." In addtion to these exciting things, we went outside yesterday for almost an hour, people watched in the main concourse of the hospital while we had something to drink and went to Occupational Therapy for about an hour. It was a big day for her and I. While we were outside, we walked all around the hospital and got to see all the buildings from the outside as we walked up and down the sidewalks, who knew their were so many hills in Michigan. I got my work out too. In store for today, blood work early to determine if dialysis will be needed or not, Molly and I both beleive dialysis is behind us, but the blood work will tell the tale. Have half or more of the staples removed as they do dressing changes on her wounds. Get up and gete dressed again, work out in the Physical Thereapy Gym and then go to Occupational Therapy, and possibly move to the Rehab Center. In between times, eat as much as we can, get outside again, and catch a nap or two. The days are getting more and more activity filled, this is good, but tiring at the same time. SPECIFIC THINGS TO PRAY FOR
  • NO MORE DIALYSIS
  • Continued healing of wounds and grafts
  • Get moved to Rehab
  • Quick return o function and use of hands and fingers
  • Able to find a suitable facility close to home (I will be working with the rehab team here to determine what a facility close to home will need and offers, then start making phone calls)
  • Strength (physical and mental) to get us over the next several weeks/months. While it has been long and hard up till this point, the next few weeks will be some of the hardest.

God Bless You All!

Love,

Jamey and Molly

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WEDNESDAY'S QUIZ

To start today's posting I am going to give you all a short quiz:
  1. Who, at the last minute) did NOT have to have dialysis yesterday?
  2. Who, for the second time in two days, spent over an hour in Physical Therapy yesterday?
  3. Who, for the first time since being sick, spoke to her dad on the phone last night?

If you answered anyone but Molly, then you are either on the wrong blog, or in need of serious consultation (feel free to contact me separately and I can hook you up with some good health care folks, it will however, require a short drive to Ann Arbor)

Molly had a great day yesterday. It all started when i arrived around 9am to pick up her breakfast tray to take it to her in the dialysis unit, and she was still in her room. I at first thought something was wrong or they had forgotten her, but she told me, in her yet stronger almost normal voice, that they ran blood work first thing in the morning and said her Creatine levels are stable and she did not need to go to dialysis. Her level was at 1.6, anything under 1 being "normal" but more important than the level is its stability and she was at 1.6 on Monday and Sunday. So no dialysis. Later in the day Dr. Heung, one of the nephrologists (kidney doctor) came in and was very excited and pleased. He said they would continue to monitor her blood levels each day and would make a decision each day about dialysis based on that. He did say though that because of how quickly her numbers and output leveled out over the past few days that he believes we are done with dialysis and her kidneys are functioning almost normally again. YEAH!!!

Molly also went to the one of the therapy rooms and spent an hour with Sophie the physical therapist on sitting up, stretching, transferring from bed to chair, etc. She did great! Needed a fair amount of assistance to do most of these things, but was able to do them all. and Sophie was very excited and pleased with how well she could do everything. Molly has a long way to go to regain her strength and flexibility and to relearn how to do somethings, but she is motivated as am I and the therapist is certain everything will come back, and come back quickly.

In addition to the physical therapy, Molly had a long visit from Terry in Occupational Therapy. this was done in her room, but did a lot of exercises and activities. Including a visit from Carol the "Occupational Hand Therapist", (how specialized is that?) to re-design some splints for her hands and to determine some overall function. Carol's department is right next to the rehab center and has scheduled Molly to come to the Hand Therapy department each day after she completes the intense rehab each day. This will be for both hands as the left had the amputations of the index finger and half the thumb. Also for the right hand as it is very weak and she has lost a lot of function with it due to the compartment syndrome and many weeks of non-use. Carol said her hand function will come back and they have a lot to work with, it will just take some time and hard work.

In addition to all this, the dietitian was in and felt that if Molly can up her protein intake daily that she would make a recommendation to the doctors to discontinue the Dobbhoff tube (feeding tube). Although that may still be a few days as she still needs the extremely high calorie count to help with the wound healing. But should be very soon to get rid of the tube.

Well, today is the big day, as the dressings come off today to let the doc's and surgeons take a look at the skin grafts and the donor site. If all looks good, we will be looking at just a few more days in the Trauma Burn Unit and then on to Rehab. Her wounds, other than the grafts and donor sight now only require daily cocoa butter. My guess will be that within a day or two her graft and donor site will only need cocoa butter as well. Then will be the big move.

Once in rehab she will be assigned several therapist that all specialize in different areas. They will each see her 2X per day for approximately for an hour each time. There will be very few breaks during the day because every single thing she will do will be turned into a therapy session. Then once that is all over she will see the hand specialist for an hour. This will require a lot of strength, courage, pain tolerance, stamina, and mental strength as many of the things they will be having Molly do were once second nature and required no thought, and now those same things will require a lot of energy and thought to even attempt. But if anyone can do it it will be Molly, and I am sure she will excel and will impress the therapists the same way she has impressed all the doctors and nurses in the other units thus far.

SPECIFIC PRAYER NEEDS

  • NO MORE DIALYSIS, NO MORE DIALYSIS, NO MORE DIALYSIS
  • Get the wounds healed so she can reduce her calorie intake and get the feeding tube out.
  • Hand function so she can start doing more things on her own
  • Physical strength to endure rehab
  • Mental strength to endure rehab as well as the continue to endure her recovery and being away from home. Being away from home is beginning to wear at both of us.
  • Nurses and doctors in trauma burn (the unit has been on lock-down, because a new patient was admitted due to a brutal assault and the assailant has not been caught. This puts the staff on edge.)

Molly and I continue to thank God each day for all of you and your support. I know I say this about everyday, but there is no way to fully express our thanks for the thoughts, prayers, cards, comments, emails, gifts, support. Each and everyone is felt and appreciated. Thank You!

God Bless you,

Love,

Molly and Jamey

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TUESDAY MORNING

I was looking back at all the blog postings over the last several weeks and I was seeing a pattern, I started many of the blogs with "Molly had a great day" so in the spirit of not repeating myself, "Molly had a great weekend!" I hope it is not because I wasn't here, but she did have a great weekend with many visitors from friends and family. She enjoyed all the visits and really lifted her spirits. I hear that dialysis went really well on Saturday morning, and that yesteday, Monday she went and visited the rehab room and did very well. She ate quite a bit yesterday, did therapy had some milkshakes, had "MOMBO" rounds, etc., etc., etc.. It was a big weekend and a big day for her, but she was feeling great last evening when I left around 11pm. She told me that it felt good to be tired from doing stuff instead of being tired from being sick. Just as a reminder to everyone and to new visitors to Molly's Blog, you can reach us directly at: jameyandmolly@gmail.com and for anyone wanting to read about the history of Molly's illness you can read about it at: www.mfrenchtrek.blogspot.com Anyway, we are looking forward to a great week. Her kidneys continue to show signs of waking up, enough in fact that up until last evening the kidney doctors were considering not sending her to dialysis this morning, however, they did decide to send her. The good thing is that she did so well Saturday that today should go well. Also, since her kidneys are functioning somewhat and at least getting rid of fluid, when they run dialysis they should not have to take off any fluid and just simply filter her blood. The other good thing is that since they were still debating whether or not to send her today and this was after three days since her last treatment means that each session will be more as and when needed instead of going just because it is scheduled. Hopefully, by the end of this week we will be at a point where she will not need dialysis anymore. Tomorrow during wound rounds they will take her dressings down and look at her grafts. If they look as everyone expects them to look, her dressing changes will be very light from that point on, requiring only light sedation and pain management. Her other wounds sites look great from what I could see last night and now only requiring cocoa butter. (of course when I say only cocoa butter, it is a special cocoa butter with lots of other good stuff in it) but this is good as the wounds do not need to be wrapped, and have all the scrubbing and specialized ointments and creams to be applied. In fact, last evening as I was walking in i ran into one of the chief's and the attending trauma surgeon and they both told me before I even saw Molly, that she was doing great and that by the end of this week or the first of next week for sure she will be moved off the Trauma/Burn unit and to the Inhouse Acute Rehab Unit. WOOOOOHOOOOOO! Once in rehab she will get 5-7 hours of therapy everyday. In fact, every activity she does from the time she gets up in the morning until the time she goes to bed will involve therapy. I have know doubt that if the rehab center follows the same level of quality as the rest of the U of M Hospital does as well as the team approach her rehab will be amazing! She is looking forward to it, as am I. A few weeks of rehab here we will be ready to search out an inpatient, rehab center closer to home for a few weeks. What a great day that will be!!!! We continue to be amazed at the all the cards, comments, emails, phone calls, visits, etc, . we continue to recieve and all the gifts of money, gift cards, etc. Molly and I were talking about it last night about how special all these are to us and no way for us to every properly say 'thank you' enough and share how much they are all appreciated. We still beleive the best way we can express our thanks and appreciation is to use our experience in a manner that helps others both emotionally and financially by spreading the word, helping to educate (families, victims, community at large, and even healthcare workers and physicians) raise money, etc. As for me, I had a good weekend and got caught up on my rest on Saturday and got all my errands, etc. done on Sunday & Monday. It feels good to get home and get things done, but it felt good coming back to Michigan (Wow, those are words I would have never expected to say). But it was nice to see Molly, because after 3 full days, I missed her and couldn't wait to get back to see her, see how she was doing, and to see how her weekend went. It is very cool to see the little changes and improvements she makes each day and I am in awe when you see them added up all at once. SPECIFIC AREAS TO PRAY FOR
  • Kidneys to continue to improve and to get off dialysis
  • Wounds to heal so she can get to rehab this week
  • Rehab to go well so we can get back to OHIO in a few weeks
  • Wisdom to ask the right questions as we look for a place for her to get rehab closer to home
  • Strength, courage and wisdom as we begin to look at how we want to help others and to spread the word.
  • Travel mercies for all the friends and family coming up to see Molly
  • Trauma/Burn nurses working this week. They have several very difficult cases this week, both from the illness/injury perspective, but also from the patient and their family as well.

Thanks again for all the prayers and positive thoughts, keep them coming!

God Bless each of you today,

Love,

Molly and Jamey

Saturday, April 12, 2008

SATURDAY EVENING

I left Ann Arbor on Friday afternoon after Molly returned to her room form skin graft surgery. She was in a little pain form the donor site (the area the surgeon took good skin to use for the graft). That and being wore out she was feeling pretty good. The surgeon talked to us and said he was very pleased with the grafts. He said there might be a few small areas that may need to cleaning up later on, and possibly some small grafts, but these will not interfer with rehab. Molly will need to remain in bed and keep her legs immobolized for 5 days. On Wednesday they will take down her dressings and look at the grafts. He expects them to be in good shape and get her back to regular dressing changes and activity. Knowing this and seeing that she was doing well I left for Greenville. Mom & Dad and Aunt Marty stayed. Well, I got home on Friday afternoon and the first thing I did was don the colors (Scarlet & Gray). Unpacked, started laundry, sorted mail, played with the dog. Then I looked for the cat and couldn't find him, after 15 minutes or so, he strools out from his hiding place and does a double take at me, and looked at me as to say "Oh, your back, I need a nap" and that is exactly what he did. I am glad to see that Molly and I being gone has not effected him at all. Today, I heard from Mom & Dad on their way home and they said Molly had a good day today. She ate during dialysis and said the food tasted good. She got along well with dialysis and then ate lunch (chicken and noodles Mom took up) and said it tasted good. Her pain was under control and therapy worked with her arms, hands and fingers for about 30 minutes. Then my aunt Marty called and let me talk to Molly a little. She sounded good with her voice coming back even more. She said dialysis went good and she did not feel bad afterwards at all. In fact, during dialysis, one of the nephrologists (kidney doctor) stopped by and said she was doing great and her kidneys are definately starting to work and that in the next few days they will monitor her very closely, (kidney output, blood levels, etc) and come Tuesday for her next scheduled dialysis treatment, they may be ready to take her off the dialysis treatments and do them just as needed. This is great news. With her making such great progress in all areas, once the dressings come off on Wednesday, the hope will be that within a few days of that she will be moved to the inpatient acute rehab center for a couple weeks, then back to the Buckeye State. WoooHooo! Not being in Ann Arbor for the next 2 days, I may not update the blog until Monday evening or Tuesday, so if you don't see an update for a couple days don't get too worried. SPECIFIC PRAYER AREAS
  • Kidneys continue to do their job so she will not need dialysis anymore
  • Keep eating well so she can get the feeding tube out for good soon
  • Healing of grafts and donor sites, so she can get to rehab
  • Travel safety for friends and family, many will be traveling over the next few weeks.

God Bless you all,

Love,

Jamey & Molly

Friday, April 11, 2008

FRIDAY MORNING

This will be a quick posting until later today or tomorrow morning. Molly is heading to surgery this morning to graft her stumps. The surgeon was in early and said they looked great and she was ready to get them grafted. Her surgery will last about 1 1/2 then post op, etc. She is going to surgery @ 10:30am. Here is the great news, this could very well be her last surgery, and after the 3-5 days of keeping them wrapped and laying still in bed, the dressings will come off and should only need light wound care to the grafts on the stumps, continued cocoa butter only to the other sites, and normal care to the new donor sites (which, if they are like the previous, will hurt more than the other sites and will feel like a real bad rug burn) for a few days. After that, she will be ready for rehab. We could possibly be looking at starting rehab at the end of next week or the beginning of the week after. On other news, her kidneys continue to show good progress. She still needs dialysis, but mayber for not that much longer. I will update you all on the kidney's progress in the next post. SPECIFIC PRAYERS
  • Successful surgery and for the grafts to take completely
  • No more than 3-5 days are needed to be in bed and still
  • Start rehab in 7-10 days.
  • Kidneys
  • Travel, I am headed home after surgery, mom & dad, aunt Marty & Ashley are here this weekend, as are some school friends on Sunday.

God Bless you all,

Love, Jamey and Molly

Thursday, April 10, 2008

THURSDAY MORNING

I don't even know where to start, Molly had what I beleive to be her best day yet. She felt good, looked good, and everything about her day was awesome! I got to the hospital around 10am yesterday and the first thing I noticed was her feeding tube was removed! YEAH!!! But before we all get to excited, late last nigth around 11pm they did decide that the tube did need to go back in. After reviewing her calorie intake the best decision was to insert the tube again. Molly ate great, but there is no way she can eat enough to get the 3,500 - 5,000 calories per day they would like her to eat to aid in the healing of her wounds, stumps and skin. So, until her calorie count does not need to be as high, and she can start eating more and supplementing it with "power" shakes etc, the tube will need to remain. We talked about it and she understands and is truly OK with it, it is a little frustrating and I can't even imagine how annoying it has to be to her, but I know she will get along fine with it. Her and I talked and her/our goal is to get it back out by this time next week. Again, I can't imagine what it is like, I can't even brush my teeth without gagging myself. Molly's dressing changes took longer yesterday than normal because they put suction vac's on her stumps. These are rough sponges placed on each stump and then wrapped in what looks like seran wrap and attached to a pump that provides suction. These then slowly "scrub" the ends of her stumps and suctions away any fluid, dead skin, etc. from her stumps. they also help to "form" the stump. These are a little painful so her pain meds have been increased slightly. They are painful because of the suction being constant, and it is a little like having a brilo pad constantly rubbed against an open sore. I know, I grimmaced as I wrote it, but that is what it is like, and she said that once they are in place they are not too bad. I got to see her wounds and stumps yesterday while they were down and in my "vast medical opinion" they looked great. So much in fact the the right leg, besides the stump, is now just getting cocoa butter cream (with lots of healthy other stuff like vitamin E, etc) without any dressings. So no more sticky yellow cloth patches, wrapped tightly in steril guaze, etc. The left leg is probably not far behind to start receiving the same care. My guess is within a few days, the only care with dressings will be her stumps, and the surgeon said that they could possibly do graft on them as early as this Friday. If not, they will vac her stumps over the weekend and take a look at them on Monday. Jerry (Mollys uncle), Karen (Molly's cousin) & Olivia (Karen's daughter) came for a visit yesterday and it was a great visit, Molly was so glad to see them as was I. They got here at a perfect time, as the dressing changes were over, Molly's sedation had been removed and subsided, she had eaten, gotten up in the chair and was ready to just sit and visit without any interuptions. It was great for them to see her this way (the last time they saw her she was still in the SICU) as she does not remember their last visit. It was great for her as well as she could truly enjoy their visit. Now on to what is in my opinion the biggest news of the day, Molly may disagree, but really when you stop to think about it, this is much more important than anything else. She got another huge stack of cards, but did not feel like opening them right away, so me being nosey I looked at the return addresses to at least see who they were from. One was from the Woody Hayes Football Center in Columbus, Ohio. I made her open that one. It was a very short, but very nice post card stating that they had heard of a fellow Buckeye facing challenge and wished her the best and a quick return to the Buckeye State. Signed by the head Buckey himself, Coach Jim Tressel. Now, what I find to be the truly amazing part is that it actually made it to Molly and did not mysteriously get lost in the mail room. So, we are not sure how Coach got the news about Molly, but thank you to whoever out there that made it possible. I know Molly appreciated it, but it REALLY lifted my spirits. GO BUCKS! As I stop to think about the enormous amount of cards, comments and email we recieve, (my appologies for not answering all our email) and all the connections out there, like the one above, but also with the New England Patriots, NASCAR, Buckeyes, and a lot of other professional sports, possibly with folks like Oprah, and other personalities and just as important the millions of people around the world that are now aware of Molly's journey. With this kind of support and publicity there is no doubt in my mind as well as Molly's that truly millions of dollars can be raised so we can bring education and awareness to the public and hopefully the health care world about the importance of taking an active role in your own health care, especially since a 10 minute test that costs very very little can make a huge difference. Molly and I continue to struggle with "why" this has happened, especially when it could have been so easily prevented, but we also get excited when we think about the possibilities out there and how we have been given an opportuinty to help so many people. SPECIFIC PRAYER NEEDS
  • Kidneys still, they are coming around, but not quite there yet
  • Skin and wound healing. Getting closer by the day, but still a ways to go
  • Feeding tube to be removed, once the wounds heal she will not require as many calories, as well as as her appeite comes back she can eat more (hopefully very very soon)
  • Voice, getting stronger, just not quite there yet
  • Spirits (hers and mine)
  • Travel for family and friends & me (going home this weekend, I have to do taxes, Uncle Sam still needs his payday I guess)
  • Raymond ( Molly's dad) Keep his spirits up as well
  • Paula and Bennie (Molly's cousins) each of them facing some possible health issues

God Bless you all, you are all such a comfort and blessing to Molly and I. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do.

Love,

Jamey & Molly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Contact Information

I am reminded regularly (which to anyone that knows me, is not surprised that I need constant supervision and constant reminders, and with Molly not able to be my brain right now, she will be happy to know that many of you have picked up the ball in this regard) to post contact information more often. Leave Molly & I direct emails at: jameyandmolly@gmail.com See the entire history of Molly's journey at: mfrenchtrek@blogspot.com Send cards (no flowers) to Molly at: University of Michigan Hospital Trauma Burn Center 1500 East Medical Center Drive Ann Arbor, MI 48105
T O D A Y ' S P O S T I S B E L O W

WEDNESDAY MORNING

Well, yesterday was just as expected, crummy. I am not sure which is worse, having a bad day unexpectedly, or knowing in advance that you will have a bad day. Yesterday was the latter, as we knew Molly would have dialysis early in the morning and then go to the operating room afterwards. It worked out well in that she did go directly from the dialysis unit to pre-op. However she left her room at 6:45 am and did not get back to bed until 3:45pm. It was a loooong day for her and saying she was exhausted would be an understatement. On the bright side, dialysis did wear her out, but she is tolerating it better and did not get dizzy and get to feeling bad while it was going on. Of course having to get up that early would be enough to make you feel bad regardless. Then, she went to the OR and that went well also. The surgeon told me that he was very pleased with what he saw on her stumps and used what he called a giant water pic to get the old "scabby" stuff off. It also is a way to "shape" her stumps so they will better able to be fitted for the prosthetics. He indicated that their is a chance that they could do the skin grafts on her stumps this Friday, if not, then next week. He also said the rest of her legs, the grafts, donor sights, etc. look great. Onward and upward. Eating seems to be going ok at this point, but she definatley needs to eat more. The bad part is that they keep telling her "eat so you can get that tube out, but do not eat right now because you have 'this or that' procedure coming up." This gets frustrating for her, but the good news is that her calorie counts do keep coming up when they let her eat, so hopefully the tube will be out soon. Possibly sooner than expected as it got clogged last night and her nursee was using all kinds of tricks of the trade to get it unclogged, like using hot coffee, lots of constant pressure, even Coke. If these tricks do not work they will have to take the tube out. I have requested the doctors come in and talk to us before they put a new one in. Hopefully, if they have to take it out, we can keep it out for a few days to see how she does. My guess is that if she knows she has to eat or thetube goes back in, also, if not being fed she will feel hungry, and not having a tube down your throat would make eating more enjoyable, that she will be able to eat enough to keep it out. So, I am not sure if we should pray to get the tube uncloggged, or for it to stay clogged and have them take it out and see how she does without it. The biggest thing to pray for right now as I see it with my "vast medical knowledge" is for her kidneys. I see each time she goes to dialysis she looses a little ground to feeling bad. It effects her eating, her strength, her therapy, her overall spirits, even her next day does not always go that well as she is still zapped of strength. So, I believe that if she could get off the dialysis completely she would make even more amazing progress. Besides, being a man and I want to be able to "fix" stuff, I feel helpless because she feels so bad that there is nothing for me to "fix" so I have to just let her "feel bad." I think all the other stuff will fall into line much quicker if she could get off dialysis. We have lots of visitors planned to come see Molly today, and later this week and over the weekend. She is looking forward to seeing everyone and I know this will help to keep her spirits high. There is no doubt in my mind that her positive attitude and spirit is playing a big part in her quick progress. Even on the bad days, we talk a lot about the good day we will have the next day, and how close we are to rehab and getting back to Ohio. This always helps to make the bad days a little more tolerable. We continue to be amazed at the number of cards, emails, voice mails, blog comments, etc. that you all send our way. That along with the continued prayers and positive thoughts help more than you could ever imagine. The gifts, gas cards, gift cards, $$, etc. overwhelm us at times, and we are truly grateful. It is because of all these things that we know God directing each of you to do, say, or send the right thing at the right time to help us. It is also because of all this that we know more certain each day that God has something really big planned for Molly & I, and whatever it ultimatley is, each of you have a big part in it. SPECIFIC THINGS TO PRAY FOR
  • Kidneys, kidneys, kidneys (oops, she only has two) The sooner they start working normally, the sooner she can get off dialysis, and the quicker the rest of her recovery/rehab will be.
  • Continued healing of her legs so they can be grafted and get her to acute rehab
  • Fingers, hands and arms. Strength and functionality so she can continue to refine her motor skills to do the normal things we all take for granted
  • Voice, continues to get stronger, but not there yet, and everyday "down" day sets the voice back a little as well
  • Spirits, to keep them high as they are best medicine on the "bad" days
  • Me, I feel myself getting tired at times and not as motivated as I need to be to stay an active cheerleader and a part of Molly's healthcare team with the doctors, nurses, therapists, etc, and to ask the right questions and make proper suggestions for her care.
  • Travel mercies. Lots of family and friends on the road this week, weekend and next week.
  • Raymond (Molly's dad) He is staying strong, but he really misses Molly and the trip up here is very hard on him, so he probably will not see her until we get her back to Ohio.
  • Raymond agian for his health. He and I are going to see his doctor on Friday for a consultation regarding the results about his recent cardiology tests.

Thanks agian for all you all do! You will never know how much it means to Molly & I. God Bless each of you!

Love,

Jamey & Molly