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Wang enjoys meatballs without favorite lingonberry sauce

From David Chen, husband of Theresa Wang, who is recovering from injuries sustained in the Nov. 19 car crash that also injured Colt Brennan:

It’s somewhat challenging to write this latest update as most of the news about Theresa’s progress in the past week has come from other sources. These include e-mails from friends who visited Theresa, some brief discussions with the hospital staff and one phone call from Theresa herself.

In brief, Theresa is recovering slowly from the recent heel/ankle surgery and her foot will be in a cast for the next 3-4 weeks. Even with this setback, Theresa is proceeding with the rehabilitation therapies for her other injuries and is making steady progress. The tube-feeding has been discontinued and Theresa is now eating all meals the usual way.

I heard the cafeteria did in fact serve Swedish meatballs one day and while Theresa enjoyed it, she was disappointed they didn’t have the lingonberry sauce that it comes with at IKEA.

It’s also been a struggle for the staff to convince Theresa to down her Ensure liquid protein drink as she would never touch the stuff back home. I suggested adding a few ice cubes and blending it to the consistency of a shake, which she seems to enjoy more.

It’s good to know Theresa has her appetite back and I am thankful to our Lord for these small yet significant signs He continues to bless Theresa with His healing powers and grace. When next I return, I plan to pick up some take-out Vietnamese noodle soup or pho, one of Theresa’s favorites.

Another issue that arose before I left and is being resolved this week is with Theresa’s vision. Her current prescription eyeglasses were lost in the accident so what I’d brought along for her was a 2-year old pair. She could see better with them than without but following a brain injury, there may be changes to the eyes or visual processing center so an updated eye exam was ordered by the occupational therapist.

Based on this, Theresa’s prescription did changed again so she has need for a new pair of glasses. A hospital worker contacted me this week to ask if they should wait until I return to help Theresa choose a new set of frames and lenses. I told them to go ahead and let Theresa choose for herself.

Suffice to say, it will be interesting to see what her choice is and how the new glasses reflect her personality right now. And if down the road, Theresa questions who chose that style of eyewear, I’ll delight in letting her know who was the chief decider.

Ever since arriving at Craig Hospital, the only safe way to transfer Theresa from her bed to her mobility chair and then onto the therapy mat was by the use of an overhead lift in each location. The nurse and an aide (sometimes it was me) would place a hammock-type sling under Theresa and then attach the straps to the lift.

At the press of a button, the sling would lift Theresa and once she was dangling mid-air like a sack of bananas, we would swing her over to the chair or mat and slowly lower her back down, then remove the sling from underneath her.

This usually took the better part of 10 minutes, which really cut into the limited therapy time. But now Theresa’s arm and hip fractures have healed to partial weight bearing status, the physical therapist is beginning to teach Theresa to use a slider board to make her transfers. That entails placing the board between the bed and the chair and having Theresa sit on the slider board as she slowly shimmies her butt across using her arms for balance and leverage.

By all accounts, Theresa is becoming a pro with the slider board and even adding some hula hip moves as she travels to and fro. Best of all, it reduces the transfer time to a minute or two and only one caregiver need be there to spot her.

For me, the past two weeks have held moments of sadness and joy. Leaving Theresa was difficult but I know in my heart it is the right thing to do for now. Dr. Weintraub promised when I return in a few weeks, I will be amazed at the progress Theresa has made, and that is something I look forward to every day.

I am most thankful for Kelly and her circle of friends from Up With People for visiting Theresa on a daily basis these past two weeks.

Beginning this Sunday, Jill, a former colleague of mine, will be taking an entire week to spend time with Theresa. Friends like this are rare indeed and I am most grateful our Lord has sent this angel to look after Theresa.

Back home, the support from friends, colleagues, church members and even strangers who are following our story is tremendous. There were more hugs and tears than I can remember, and quite a few people have told me they are re-evaluating their own lives and their faith based on what is happening to us.

In truth, we are just ordinary people who have been touched by extraordinary events these past two years. I would like to believe that if they were in a similar situation, all of our friends and supporters would handle it just as well as us. As long as we have faith in our Lord and know He is forgiving and His love for us is unconditional, then all will be well.

Mahalo,
David

— Find out more:
www.hulaterri.blogspot.com

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