Taylor has funny fans. The neighbor of her (Dad’s) house in Venice is stand up comedian Lachlan Patterson. He has been doing stand up for years but recently made it to second place on the NBC show “Last Comic Standing.” He recorded a message for Taylor on YouTube. Check it out here: http://youtu.be/WGxpBfPgnv0
Of course, Taylor is also a big fan of Lach, and we have been watching his sets on the show week after week. It has been fun to see him progress in the show while Taylor has been progressing in her recovery.
In addition to Lach, one of Taylor’s biggest fans on this site, Mimi McCaffrey, is also a stand up comedian. It is great that Taylor has such talented supporters!
Today is a momentous day for 2 reasons. The first is that Taylor’s brother, Nathan, turned 18 years old. The second is that today marks 6 months since Taylor had her cardiac arrest on Feb. 22. Six months ago, we got that fateful call that said Taylor was in the cardiac intensive care unit. She spent the next 5 weeks in a coma/semi-vegetative state. She spent another 10 weeks in rehabilitation at Craig Hospital. She has been home for 9 weeks and goes to outpatient rehabilitation sessions. When she came home, she could walk some with assistance but mostly, she was wheelchair dependent. She took showers using a shower chair, and needed help to transfer from the wheelchair to the sofa, bed, dining room chair, toilet. She could not feed herself. Now, she walks on her own; we have put the wheelchair away. She gets around the house by herself and goes from bedroom to living room to kitchen at her will. She does not use the shower chair anymore and can use the toilet by herself. She can feed herself. She can almost get out of bed by herself, and she continues to build stamina to walk long distances. She is working on getting dressed (and undressed) by herself now. It is a very slow process, but she continues to make gains.
Today Taylor was in a “Fashion Show” at her rehabilitation facility. The show included many patients and gave a chance for each to walk the runway all dressed up and to music they picked out. It was a lot of fun and I think Taylor enjoyed it. Here she is getting hair and makeup done before the show:
As luck would have it my camera didn’t work just as Taylor walked on stage. I did manage to get a picture of her just as she started to walk off stage. She looked so cute in her outfit:
Taylor’s vision continues to be perplexing. She can only get so far with two inch letters as several weeks of trying to get her to recognize them never got to 100%. She was always mixing up similar letters like “E” and “F” or “Q” and “O”. After switching to 12 point letters on plain white cards she was able to get to 100% recognition on the first try. She said it was because she could see the whole letter when they were smaller. Words can also be recognized when letters are placed on the table in front of her. The fascinating thing is the letters can’t be too close together. We did an experiment with 12 point letters on a computer screen. I typed a “T” and she recognized it. Then a few spaces over I typed an “O” (to spell “to”) and she said she could see the “O” but that the “T” disappeared. When I deleted the “O” she said the “T” reappeared. If I spaced the letters two inches apart she could see both but it seemed like she was looking in two different places for each letter. As if she could not see both letters in the same view. We are having fun trying to figure this out.
Taylor loves to get calls and or visits from friends. In the last few weeks she has had several long calls with friends she knew in Boston or Los Angeles. These interactions mean a lot to Taylor she appreciates it so much.
Most of us take for granted all that our brains enable us to do. Take walking, for example. To walk with ease (continuously putting one foot in front of the other and swinging our arms in rhythm with our feet) takes a lot of coordination. Add to that, paying attention to our path to make sure we’re not going to trip over uneven sidewalk, having a conversation with someone walking with us, and perhaps even holding a cup of coffee at the same time. You can start to see that something that we do every day takes a lot of coordinated effort that most of us don’t even think about. One can now appreciate how much coordination it takes to ride a bike or drive a car. These things most of us do without “thinking” about it.
That’s why when Taylor performs something new, no matter how inconsequential it may seem to the rest of us, we celebrate. We celebrate because it gets her that much closer to independent living. She has many small goals (like learning how to swim, ride a bike, eat with chopsticks again), but her big goal still is to go back to school. Recently, some things that Taylor has accomplished include riding on an escalator (with assistance) and being able to hold a spoon and spoon food out of a bowl and to her mouth. She continues to make little gains, and even though they are small, they continue to be steps in the right direction.