Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Two steps forward" day

Today was really a great day for Ava and the Lopez family! This was definitely a “two steps forward” day.

Ava did well last night and was transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation program at Christa Santa Rosa Hospital, in downtown San Antonio. She was transferred in the morning, with much of the day being devoted to “settling-in.” Afterall, this will be there home for the next 5-6 WEEKS!!! This is the duration of time that they were told to anticipate Ava being a patient there.

Despite the length of time, the two of them were on cloud nine today… well, floor nine (room 9212)… same difference. They were very relieved that Ava was well enough to leave the PICU and is beginning this long process called, “rehab.” Many of the medical issues that have been plaguing them over the past 1-2 weeks are behind them now (intracranial pressures, breathing issues, infection, elevated white count, seizures, muscular spasticity, vomiting, tube feed difficulties, low sodium levels, etc). The uncertainty of her fragile medical condition is now not so uncertain. Ava will survive. This has brought much relief to the Lopez family. Manny said this evening that today he felt his shoulders relax knowing that they are moving on to the next phase of her recovery.

As you get off of the elevator on the ninth floor, there is a panel of windows immediately to your right that look out the front of the hospital. The floor is brightly colored and the sunlight coming in through the window makes it seem that much brighter on the ward. The nurses station is to your left and is positioned in the center of the ward. Ava’s room is straight down a short hallway to the left of, and behind, the nurses station. Her room is about the second or third door on the right. When arriving in Ava’s new hospital home this evening, I felt like I was in a child’s bedroom, with a few small hospital type devices on the wall. As you come into the room there is a sink, counter and mirror to your right and an armoir against the left wall. The room is fairly small but big enough for Ava’s crib/hospital bed, a small vinyl love seat, a rocking chair, and a folded-up roll-away bed like you would get at a hotel. The opposite wall has a small ledge at about waist height that is loaded with stuffed animals and cards. On the right half of the opposite wall is a window that looks out, into the surrounding buildings. The walls are covered with posters supporting Ava with many, many signatures and words of support. Taped to the wall, near the ceiling there are childrens drawings taped side by side nearly circling the room. Soft, classical music plays on an i-pod in the opposite corner of the room.

As you come into her room you approach the foot of her bed from her left side. Ava’s hospital bed is like a tall crib with side rails that lower all the way to the bed level. 10-15 stuffed animals are at the foot of the bed. Two rosaries are pinned to Ava’s pillow. A silver one with crystal beads is pinned to her left and a plastic one with pink beads is pinned to her right. A photograph of Jack and Isa is taped facing Ava, above the stuffed animals at the foot of the bed. A single fluorescent ceiling light is above the bed. The brightness of the flourescent light is slightly muted by a light covering which shows the underside of three hot-air balloons in the sky. But the highlight of the room is Ava, of course.

When I walked in tonight she was “all dolled-up.” Her hair was up in pig tails. She was wearing a pink Disney princess pajama gown featuring Cinderella. Her eyes were wide open! They would occasionally start to drift downward and her eyelids would start to close, then she would force them open again, to start the process all over, like a small child that is fighting sleep. It is still unclear what she is registering, and she is still not tracking objects or people, but she looked great! Consequently, Manny and Traci also looked great. Manny and Traci gave an interview today with Karen Grace that aired on the local 10pm news. Rather… I should say Traci gave an interview tonight. They showed several clips of Ava, as described above. Search for it on the internet. If anyone finds it, then please post an entry into the guestbook for everyone else to check it out. She looks so cute!! I mean it!! Sorry, but it is just after midnight now and I have to get up in less than 6 hours so if someone could find the link, then we would all be greatful. Assuming that there is one, of course.

Jennifer Wiedenhoefer, Jennifer Smith, Kerri Thompson, and Marty Harkleroad (with the help of many others) have worked very diligently to organize an “All for Ava” Rally for today, Thursday, May 07, 2009 at about 6:30pm at the Rogers Ranch Clubhouse. Please come and show your support for Ava and concern for children everywhere that continued to be injured by drunk drivers and other carelessly driving people.

As always, Manny and Traci, and their families are so very, very, very appreciative of the support that you have given them. They have said many times that they have been overcome by your love and generosity and have been brought to tears because of it. Please keep them and Ava in your prayers. She continues to have a long way to go and your prayers and support will help get her there.


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