While the Fourth of July is certainly looking different for the Holwerda family this year, we have so much to be grateful for.
Over the last few days, Brad has accomplished a lot. He is ahead of schedule, and each day is getting better. That’s not to say that this has at all been easy. The stress, pain, unknowns, lack of sleep, weaning off medicine, and “taking one day at a time” has definitely taken its toll. But we’re still here…trudging through the trenches.
July 2nd, Brad was able to become tube and wire free! They removed the ventilator, took off all the wires connected to his head, and had his feeding tube removed. To be honest, I don’t think any of the staff thought any of those things would happen that day. They definitely didn’t anticipate ALL of them happening!
…but Brad passed the tests, and proved them wrong…
Yesterday he was moved out of the Critical Care ICU to down the hall. We were excited for this, but learned pretty quickly that we were a little more pampered in the CC ICU. He now has a roommate (that enjoys watching his TV really loud, has a busy phone, and some digestive issues to put it nicely…) They are also more strict with visiting times.
Overall though, each day is getting better for Brad. They are weaning him off one of his seizure medications because it was giving him some pretty intense side effects, and hope to wean him off more medications in the next few days.
He still is having pain in the surgery site area, which is to be expected, but that is also improving. One thing we learned today that was very encouraging is how strong Brad’s lungs are. Twice a day someone from the respiratory unit comes and has Brad do some breathing exercising with two different devices. For one of them, Brad is suppose to breathe in and raise the disc inside the tube up as high as he can. The man that came in to see Brad said he heard Brad was doing really well with his breathing. In fact, he said he had to take a double look at his chart because he didn’t believe it since Brad was on a vent for six days. Brad does the test, and blows the disc to the very top, over and over. The man smiles and says, “Man, I can’t even do that!” and laughs. He said most people who are on a vent for six days, can barely move the disc. It’s like Brad was never even on it. We just smiled. God has been so good.
We’re hoping tomorrow he will move to a regular room (without a roommate would be AMAZING!) If Brad continues to keep doing so well, we’re hoping he can come him sometime this week. Of course, we understand things can always change but everyone is definitely looking forward to Brad being home.
The journey will still be long. Brad’s weak so he needs to rebuild strength and stamina. He will defiantly be having therapy, but not certain how that will look yet. His fine motor skills, especially on his right side, are still lagging but we are hopeful it will return with some hard work. We still aren’t certain how much of his vision he has lost, but we feel it’s better than expected and hope that it will also return over time as things settle in his brain.
We are ready to have the family back together again. The girls have been troopers through all of this, and a huge shout out to all the family that have been doing extra fun things with them, and taking great care of them. This journey has been so much easier thanks for our wonderful family, and huge support system. Thank you for ALL of the texts, voicemails, thoughtful emails, cards, and social media comments. Brad has been overwhelmed (in a good way) by it all. In fact we’ve been working our way through them all slowly as it is a lot for Brad to take in. He’s so thankful.
Brad’s been so inspiring through this all. God will be using him for big things, I just know it.
Some specific ways to pray:
–Thank you for all of the wonderfully amazing progress Brad has achieved
–Thank you for the unbelievable support system we have been provided
–That Brad continues to remain seizure free, and continues to keep stunning the doctors
–That he can continue to wean off his medications, and does well through this process
–That Brad can regain the strength and fine motor skills he needs so he can function as “normal Brad” and come back home
–Continued protection for the girls
We’ve seen God work is some pretty astounding ways these past few days, thank you for being our prayer warriors!
Being strong and courageous and thanking God,