Friends of Dirk and Kelsey







October 5, 2006

Hello Everyone,

Here is the latest about what's happening on Palm Avenue.

Dirk is slowly getting better. A little each day will take us a very long way in a year or least that is what we are hoping. His endurance is improving- he's up to one hour of walking. And today he got back in the pool wearing his water running belt and swam a full lap doing freestyle (without drinking half of the pool water). He is starting to move around the house more easily, although, many times he's like a weeble.weebles wobble, but they don't fall down. We have had a few heart stopping moments, but they pass.

Dirk's eyes continue to be a large source of frustration. He always has double vision and his eyes appear stuck in one plane; he can't look up/down very easily. Since my last letter he has had botox in his left eye and we are starting to slowly see the benefits. He also has prism glasses to decrease the double vision, but we are still trying to figure out if they are helping. Dirk experiences glimpses of seeing straight, often at night, but then he wakes up and images are double again. In a way that is almost more frustrating for him. Our next step for his eyes is trying acupuncture. (Hey, we live in San Francisco where alternative medicine is widely accepted..why not give it a try?)

This past Tuesday we attended our first meeting at the Marin Brain Injury Network. It is a class that provides support, encouragement and information for brain injured people. Dirk and I really enjoyed the class and I am looking forward to making it a part of our weekly routine. I think it will be a good venue for Dirk to ask questions, voice concerns, and gain hope. We have never lost hope, but seeing people get back to work and be active participants in life is important for both of us.

All in all we are doing okay. We have had a few tough days this week. In some ways the last four months have seemed like a lifetime, but in reality, we are only beginning this journey. The other night I was looking for something and took out a box that contains all the cards we have received since June and it brought back a flood of emotion. Thank goodness Dirk is no longer in critical care, but our life has still taken a huge blow and we are still trying to adjust. I think my brain is starting to come out of the initial shock and starting to face reality. Also, Dirk is becoming more and more aware of his deficits; he feels trapped in a slow body. Nonetheless, Dirk said after an emotional conversation, "Every day is a gift".isn't that the truth. For us, this fight for our life together has just begun.

As for me, I am going back to work tomorrow. It's my first day back to work since June 2nd. It's going to be hard leaving Dirk, but I think it's an important step. I will be working Wednesday through Friday for Kentfield Rehab Hospital as a program liaison at Marin General Hospital. It will be my responsibility to assess patients at MGH to see if they are appropriate for Kentfield.

I know I ask always ask this, but please keep us in your thoughts.

Best Wishes, Kelsey.

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