Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ava is coming home!!!

Ava’s recovery has continued to be stellar. She is now able to sit in a high-chair and feed herself. Her body strength continues to improve, which allows her to sit-up for longer periods of time. She still does not have the strength in her legs to support her body weight, but this will improve with time… especially now with the assistance of the KidWalk.

Ava is using the KidWalk daily. Currently she moves by extending her legs in-front of her which consequently pushes the KidWalk backwards. This is a natural progression for kids as they learn to navigate the walker and improve their ability to get around and explore her environment. The KidWalk is especially nice because it does not require the use of her hands. She can get around and continue to touch and feel things in her environment, which helps to encourage her to move around. All of this exercises her lower body more and gets her one step closer to walking without it. Then it will get passed on to another child who will one day learn to walk with it… and then another… and another… and so on.

While all of this is great news… it pales in comparison to this…


Yes! It is true! Her recovery has been progressing so well that she is anticipated to be released from Christa Santa Rosa Hospital Friday afternoon following the completion of her physical therapy sessions that day.

This is an amazing recovery in an amazingly short period of time. Granted she will still require extensive physical therapy, but she is coming home!!

72 hours… check
Extubation… check
Out of the PICU… check
Alert and talking… check
Eating… check
Out of the hospital… check (well, should be on Friday)
So what else is left other than walking?

As we have discussed before, Ava had a right occipital lobe infarct (dead brain tissue on the back right portion of her brain). This area is primarily responsible for vision. I am sure that many of you have heard that the right side of your body is controlled by the left side of your brain and vice-versa. The vision works similarly, but different.

You look with each eye but your brain merges the images from each eye together so that you only see one thing; otherwise you would have double vision all of the time. Essentially, when you look straight ahead everything to your left is seen by the right side of the retina in each eye, and everything to your right is seen by the left side of each retina. Your brain then merges all the stuff that you see to your right in the left occipital lobe and merges all the stuff that you see to your left in the right occipital lobe. As above, a significant portion of Ava’s right occipital lobe died as a result of her injuries from 23Apr09. So if the right occipital lobe is damaged, then this would affect things that are being seen by the right side of each retina. The right side of each retina actually sees the things that are in your left visual field. Because of this injury Ava cannot see things that are to her left, if she is looking straight ahead. This is called “Bilateral Left Hemianopsia.” Bilateral – both eyes. Left - left visual field. Hemi – half of her visual field. Anopsia – no vision… Bilateral Left Hemianopsia.

This is what we need to continue to pray for… her vision.

It is expected that given her young age that she is likely to recover from this too, but until it happens, she is still without complete vision and is not yet whole again. We need to continue to pray for her, for them, for her vision, and for her continued recovery.

Much appreciation for your continued prayers, support, generosity, and encouragement. Keep it coming.

Ava, the party waits for you.


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