November 29, 2005


Tomorrow it will be 4 years since Russ had his accident. As the day gets closer George-Anne and I have been talking about it. All at once we are amazed and pleased with his progress but still the anniversary brings grief over what he has lost. It is very hard to accept the fact that no matter how much he improves with therapy he will never be the same.


Russ continues to go to Optimum Health for physical therapy. In addition to strength training Jerry is helping Russ with balance, coordination, and speeding up his reaction times.


Speech is finally improving. Janine Lawler has been working with Russ for 2 years now. In the beginning it was very frustrating. He worked very hard but he wasnít getting any results. Over the last couple of months I am seeing signs that he may be able to develop limited usable speech. He now tries to say hello to people and sometimes use their name. He can say yes and no. It is by no means clear or loud but it is a start. Before Russ had his accident I had no idea how hard speech is. There is a tremendous amount of coordination required that we donít think about. Once you have to think consciously about mouth, lip, and tongue movements in order to produce sounds, speech becomes very complicated. The good news is that the muscles needed to produce the sounds are beginning to respond. Very slowly and not to the full extent needed but still they are beginning to respond. I am really hoping to see some big improvements in the next couple of months.


Russ is now in his third cycle at Rusk Institute. We are very pleased with his progress at Rusk. Some of the problems they are working on are unawareness syndrome, impulsivity, attention and concentration, information processing, and communication. Last cycle Russ was anxious to complete the program. His unawareness kept him from recognizing his problems and seeing the benefit of his participation in the program. This cycle Russ has accepted the word of the staff at Rusk that he needs the program. Despite the fact that he was unaware of his problems and didnít want to be in the program last cycle he worked hard in the program. He didnít let his doubts stop him from doing the work and cooperating with the staff. That is a big factor. Some people with unawareness in the program donít work hard and devote too much effort to disagreeing with the staff about each assignment. Earlier in the year, at Russís request, Russ took the pre-admission tests again. It is a set of about 50 cognitive tests. After only 1 and a half cycles there has been a marked improvement in his scores. We are looking forward to continued progress.


Thanks for supporting Russ as he continues his rehabilitation.