Saturday, July 14, 2012

The question we are most regularly asked: Is Lydia still in a coma?

According to the dictionary definition of coma as "a state of deep, often prolonged unconsciousness in which an individual is incapable of arousal", no she is not. However, if the term is used to refer to varying levels of consciousness, then yes she is. As she has suffered a traumatic brain injury, she is not yet fully conscious. Her brain protects itself from being overwhelmed by only responding to stimuli as it is able. This week, Lydia has been far more alert. Her eyes are open and she is looking around. She is able to focus in on a person, or thing for about 10 seconds, then her eyes close, or she looks away, and shuts out any more stimuli until she can process what she has seen. She rests for 10- 15 seconds, and then she may re-engage, or she may rest for longer. We were encouraged by a therapist who summed it up saying, "so we celebrate that this week that Lydia is a 10 second girl! Next week, she may be a 20 second girl!"

In the early days, we anticipated (and even longed for) the Hollywood version of a sudden and dramatic awakening. It has not been like that, and won't be since it is a brain injury.   Increasingly, she will be coming to fuller consciousness.  It will take time.  We wait, we trust, and we wait some more.   A friend of Lydia's sent a card with this quote from an unknown author:  We delight in the beauty of a butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  Lydia is becoming.  She is changing.  She is staying strong.

Today Lydia had her first physio therapy session in the gym. Tracy had Lydia lying on a big mat, while she worked with her to explore and measure her range of motion. Thankfully, Lydia was flexible before, and so she still has a very good range of motion. She worked with Lydia to grasp her hand, and the let go. The response was slow, but it happened!  Her therapist showed great patience and encouragement.  We liked her gentle manner immediately.

We are joyful in hope (Bloorview is a place of hope), patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12