July 20th, 2018 – Let’s See How Far We’ve Come

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Let’s see how far we’ve come!

Today T traveled 5.5 hours with his Momma (Jennifer) so that he could start his rehab process! We have been so excited for this to happen!!! Looking back at the past two weeks, and rereading my updates, makes me tear up with appreciation! HOW AMAZING!

From one of the darkest times in our lives, to one of the most exciting… all in just 16 days… and we have no plans on stopping now!

A big Thank YOU to the team at PMC and MUSC – they were both great and we would not be here without them, their expertise and compassion for Taylor – Also to all of you, everyone of you standing behind them cheering them on with thoughts, prayers, and encouragement.

So now we are at the next leg of this road trip, we took a small right turn and Taylor is already impressing everyone he meets – with his smile, sense of humor and determination!

As you may recall, he has severe brain damage – because the brain is so complex, Dr.’s really can’t say what to expect until after about 6 months after the accident. We have a long way to go and we are ready!! Taylor is still a Ranchos 4 but I think he may be sneaking into the 5 because he hasn’t been as angry. ❤️

When we first arrived, the Dr. asked T if he could scratch his left shin with his right toe… he DID and then the opposite! Both on command.. PENNY PENNY!!

So many other things, even trying to give a middle ‘thumbs up’ to the Dr… only because he asked LOL PENNY!

When we got here, so many Dr’s and team members came to evaluate him… he was doing so many new things, I couldn’t help but say it was at least 10 PENNIES!!!

They love him here already and I can tell they are going to help push him and get him as far down this road as possible. We will be here for a long time, but that is nothing compared to what we could have been experiencing.

So that you too can see just how far we have come, I wanted to share some pictures of progress! We need to keep this fire burning! We are not done and constantly are asking for your prayers, likes, loves, shares, messages, texts, vibes, and anything else positive you can send to Taylor!

I’ve attached 4 photos… the first from when he was just received at PMC – day 2 I believe, the second after he was at MUSC and on the trach, I believe day 6, the 3rd from Day 8 after his feeding tube was put in… and then the 4th… which is from today, day 16, he is dressed in his own clothing and getting ready to start this new chapter!!!

FYI – I have been documenting as much of this recovery as I can, photos, notes, and more… I hope to one day be able to help someone else by sharing as many details about Taylors journey as I can.

Please keep sharing his story with everyone you meet! He has a long way to go but has overcome so much already! We are very concerned for his vision and short term memory! He has remarkable responses to motor skills and a smile that just won’t quit!!! It is truly remarkable and we are not done yet!!!

#PenniesForTaylor PenniesforTaylor

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Day 2, Day 6, Day 8, Day 16 (1st day of Rehab)

My Thoughts on the day:

July 19th, 2018 – Can We Fix It

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Can we fix it?

Another rough day for T as his brain heals and he slowly regains consciousness. Still found a few #PenniesForTaylor along the way and we are super excited about tomorrow!!

Please hit the like/love button if you are reading this – it really does help us know how many people are sharing this burden with us and keeping up with Taylor’s story. Taylor has a natural ability to help fix our moods when we are down and out — thank you for stepping in for him while he recovers!

Like most parents, Jennifer and I have always had the mindset that we would do anything for our kids to help make sure they had the best life possible. We keep reminding ourselves of that… it’s easy to feel deflated. Deflated isn’t acceptable, we need to fix it. We all get flat tires from time to time.. but we change it out and continue down the road. Thank you for helping us through this!❤️

Yesterday Taylor was moving his right side much more than his left – some was involuntary but we felt we needed to fix that and have him to use his other side more… today, his left side was moving more, still some involuntary, but still, great news because we were worried he was ignoring his left side. PENNY! He’s healing, I just know it!

PT with Alex was a challenge for everyone, I’ll spare the details but he was cranky 😊 – despite that, he worked like yesterday – a bit more tired from a rough night sleep. Something didn’t go as planned but Alex jumped right in and fixed it – she’s terrific!! After the ‘reset’, he did the work and was pooped 😉 PENNY!

I forgot to tell ya’ll… he stuck his tongue out on command (yesterday or maybe even the day before) – PENNY! Plus it was funny to watch him stick his tongue out so far it almost fell out of his mouth when he found out I was in the room – gosh I love that kids sense of humor LOL

He has been breathing ‘around’ the trach today – PENNY!! I can’t wait until we put a penny in the jar when we have that removed!

Remember the past couple times he was in the chair, I said he enjoyed it… yeah, not today… and he tried to fix that on his own. He literally tried to get out of the chair and had to be ‘restrained’ by Momma and Sissy… feet off rests and on the floor and tried sliding out… yikes!! I hate this happened… but all I hear is he tried to get out of the chair on his own.. PENNY!!!

Ever since this started, I’ve been researching and reading… how do we fix this… what is the best next step… each brain injury is so unique, and the brain is so complex… I just want to help fix this for him…

Just before I received my MD in googleology, we found out that the insurance approved his transfer and we head on down the road to the rehabilitation center tomorrow!!! YES!!!!!! PENNY PENNY PENNY!!

You can still call me Dr. Dorward though, I won’t mind 😊

Going to rehab is a huge step, I know they are going to do everything they can to help fix this! I can’t wait!

When T was younger, one of his favorite shows was Bob the Builder. Sing it with me… “Bob the Builder… Can we fix it? Bob the Builder… YES WE CAN!!!”

Please keep helping us through your thoughts and prayers… tomorrow is a new day and we just can’t wait to meet our new friends at rehab!!! It’s exciting but we continue to be desperate for your help in sharing this burden with us! CAN WE FIX IT?

PenniesforTaylor  #PenniesForTaylor

 

My Thoughts on the day:

July 18th, 2018 – What’s In A Number

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: What’s in a number?

Wow, another fast day. It’s been 14 days since this all happened. It’s amazing to me what the past 14 days has been all about…

Blood pressure checks, heart rate checks, temperature drop, temperature raising… fevers, neuro scales, body weight, time without oxygen, time on sedation, respiration rates, o2 saturation, ventilator stats… peeps, breaths on his own, breath count by vent, blood gases…

Minutes, seconds, scales, measures… deep breath. So many numbers have been thrown around during the process… how many times did he smile, how many days in this hospital, or that hospital…

How much is this, how much is that.. how long has it been since… how many days has it been.. how many hours until… exhale.

The past two weeks have been filled with numbers. Today was no different, co pay, deductible, liters, cc’s, hours, percentages… OK OK OK! I am a numbers guy… so I’m OK with all this, but it’s a lot! Thank goodness for the ability to take notes and keep up with everything! 🙂

All these numbers were just flowing through the process, until today… until I heard a pretty cool number. 4. Last week T was a 1… over the weekend, a 2… yesterday, a 3… but today, a 4. That is, on the Ranchos Los Amigos Scale – this scale is an easy way to describe a brain-injured person’s level of activity. So, what does that mean, another day of moving forward!!! This measurement really hit me!!! PENNY PENNY PENNY!!

Jennifer and I have found this exciting news to be a bit difficult because during this ‘stage’ Taylor will get very frustrated/irritated/angry… the team at the hospital tell us that this is all normal and very promising since he did so much so quickly… but, it’s still difficult… but it’s still exciting… when the agitation goes away, he will move to a 5 (out of 10 on that scale)… so here’s to a 5 as soon as possible haha ❤️

Taylor did great during PT – frustrated but determined to do more than asked and not give up.. PENNY!

Moved arms over his head for first time… PENNY!

Used right arm/hand to wipe/scratch his nose… PENNY!!!

We are still working on rehab and continue to be very worried about his vision/sight! We will continue to need you in our corner throughout this journey! As the day winds down, I can’t thank you enough for your determination to fight with us! Please continue to Like, Share, Love, Message, Text, pray, send vibes… and anything else you can to help Taylor win this battle! Every single thing you do to help us, COUNTS!! 🙂

We love you! I’m going to try and get T to give me permission to post a pic of him … it’s a house rule, so I have to ask! ❤️

#PenniesForTaylor PenniesforTaylor Shawn Dorward

 

My Thoughts on the day:

July 17th, 2018 – Feel The Love

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Feel the love.

What another fantastic day! Pennies dropping in the jar for sure!!! Jennifer and I are feeling a little tired, but we are adjusting and making sure we find the right balance. Rehab will be coming soon and we are working on that, dealing with insurance, etc… all the norms, but we feel you pushing us every time we slow down!

During some TLC from the excellent RN team while cleaning his mouth, T reacted to requests like ‘can you open your mouth’ for teeth/mouth care, and ‘can you close your mouth’ … VERY IMPRESSIVE responsiveness .. PENNY!!!

Jennifer and I are so excited about how he continues to be ‘him’ through his personality! Smiling and expressions… it’s not all day, or all the time, but they feel like gold every time they happen… and today was a continuation of yesterday!! ❤️PENNY!

He didn’t tire as easy today when responding to us. He spent more time engaged and even ‘laughing’ at a joke or two with his Momma and one of his ‘best’ 😉 friends 🙂 No laugh sounds yet, but I know when that trach comes out, I will hear that goofy Dorward laugh that he shares with the rest of us every chance he gets! PENNY!!

PT with Alex (who I think is now his biggest fan) went well – he responded to ‘fall forward’ tests and held his torso upright for 25 seconds today – yesterday was just 12 – twice as long! PENNY!!!

The past 48 hours… off the vent… less coughing, more reactions, more movements (on command kicking pappap) and so many other small things..we are grateful for them all, and each put a penny in that jar baby!!

I am so proud of him and proud to be his daddy. I know he is scared, confused and frustrated… and I am sure that will be more obvious as he gains his consciousness… but, I know he can get through this and I am 100% confident tomorrow will have even more progress!

We are worried about his vision and how he handles ‘waking up’ to this new reality. Please keep that in your prayers, thoughts, and positive vibes.. as the pennies drop, new challenges need our attention, that’s OK, they will turn into pennies too, I just know it!!

I walked down the hallway to a few nurses peeking in his window watching him. I could tell they were filled with hope and joy for his continued progress. I know T feels their love.. we sure do!!

It amazes me how many people he has touched through this… We feel the love every where we go.. we need it now, and we will need it tomorrow… he is doing better, for sure, slowly but consistently… the battle is just starting!!! Please continue to fight with us! ❤️ Every prayer, thought, share, like, comment, text, prayer list, high fives, emails and cards count!!!! Thank you! WE LOVE YOU ALL… and I hope you can feel it as much as we feel your love!!!

#PenniesForTaylor PenniesforTaylor

 

My Thoughts on the day:

July 16th, 2018 – How Did We Get Here

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: How did we get here?

If you saw my earlier post today, you already know that today was a big day for us! The rest of the day was a lot of rest and some time in the chair – which T shook his head ‘no’ when his new friend Alex (PT) asked him if he was comfortable – Too bad bubba, you need it ❤️

He stayed pretty tired the rest of the day, he worked hard this morning so resting is good 😁

I was sitting in the waiting room, excited but patient and committed to the work needed for this time in our lives… I started thinking about a lot of things so tonight’s post is more about that.

12 days ago Taylor drowned at a friend of a friends house. We are unsure why he drowned – it only takes a few seconds/minutes of distraction for life to change even without cause. We probably will never know… that is part of how we got here.

I do know that T loves swimming and he is a great swimmer… we are just grateful that he was with some GREAT friends who acted in spite of their fear, for Taylor’s sake. Those folks and the seconds/minutes saved because of their courage and determination… that is part of how we got here..

EMT acted and responded fast, like true life savers that they are! … that is part of how we got here.

The steady but determined hands of the ER team and ICU team at Piedmont Medical… never wavering and fighting right along with us… that is part of how we got here..❤️

The incredibly passionate, skilled and determined team at MUSC… . that is part of how we got here.

The continued fight from his friends and family and 1,000s of commitments of love, prayers and thoughts from folks we know and many who we have never met… that is part of how we got here.

Mercy and Blessings… no matter what your belief… that is part of how we got here.

So we are here… because of all these things. Now we are on a road so long it seems never ending… we know what the destination is…we just can’t see it.. so how do we get there?

We need you, your thoughts, prayers, vibes, smoke signals, chants, chimes, shares, texts, messages, and anything else positive you would like to offer as a way to share this burden with us. As you can see, we could not have ‘got here’ without everything above, and we know we cannot get to the destination without the continued determination and love of Dr’s, Nurses, Therapists, and you.. our friends, family and supporters. Please continue to share this burden with us… help us add more pennies to this long process. Jennifer and I are ready to fight! I cannot WAIT for tomorrow!
❤️❤️❤️

#PenniesForTaylor PenniesforTaylor

 

My Thoughts on the day:

July 16th, 2018 – Can’t Stop The Feeling

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Can’t stop the feeling!

I haven’t really had a chance to post this early in the day before but I just can’t contain myself!

T had some very subtle movements this morning and I didn’t really feel like they were purposeful…

He may have closed his eyes on command… Maybe.

BUT… forget about that because shortly after, with Jennifer, Samantha, Joshua and me all in the room with him… He decided to show us he’s fighting and with us!

He was looking at each of us, individualy, on request, and smiling and even moving his head to music. ♥️

I decided to test him… I explained a little how much we love him and not to worry about anything.. I asked him to shake his head ‘yes’ if he understood… He did, then I just asked, can you shake your head no… He did. Smiling at all of us and even making frown faces for things he didn’t care for 😁😁😁😁

We interacted with him as a family for over 40 minutes… Dr’s coming in and saying ‘wow’.. I even asked one to repeat himself… Tears of joy filled the ICU staff and our family as many from the floor came over to watch!

He’s resting now… It wore him out.. But we are so excited about how much hope this brings to his recovery.

I don’t know what this means clinically, but we got to spend a good amount of time with him, acted like himself and I even feel like he was messing with me a few times.😎

His unconsciousness status is.. I don’t know. I don’t want to say it’s gone, because it isn’t – he’s not awake (YET!) … But I do know that he is trying to shake it off more and more each day. He’s still very weak and ‘in and out’ of it. The road is long, but our tank is full!

Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance!!

#PenniesForTaylor PenniesforTaylor

 

My Thoughts on the day:

July 15th, 2018 – Turn That Frown Upside Down

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Turn that frown upside down.

Taylor enjoyed some more time in the chair today. After a few hours, he gets uncomfortable and irritated but for the most part, he does well.

His unconsciousness is about the same but hard to say for sure… a few people saw signs of his personality eeking out at appropriate times. Moving his lips a little when a good song was on the radio.. that type of stuff. 😀 Small, but AWESOME!!! That’s MY BOY!!! PENNY!

T definitely seems to hear us – we can ‘feel’ he is listening but doesn’t have the awareness just yet to put things to work… that’s OK, we have plenty of time for him to rest and heal!❤️❤️❤️

His kidneys are functioning fine but has been on a cath the entire time. Off of it a few times to see if he would ‘go’ on his own, but no luck. Today… and maybe part of his personality eeking out… he eeked out some other stuff too… HE PEED!!!! He made a mess but the nurses didn’t care LOL PENNY!!!

Jennifer and I are working hard to find the best place for his rehabilitation, when he is ready. We would do anything for this crazy kid 😁 but we need your continued determination to fight with us! Please continue to pray, share, text, message, post, etc… we love it, it helps. A LOT!!

Oh, I almost forgot 😉… I didn’t get to see it, but several others did… he smiled today!!! PENNY!! … and tears of joy from Momma and Daddy!! We love you all!! #PenniesForTaylor PenniesforTaylor

My Thoughts on the day:

July 14th, 2018 – Silence is Golden, Right?

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Silence is golden… Right?

Jennifer is such a wonderful mother, mom and friend to all of our kids. It makes me fall in love with her over and over again when I watch her take care of T. ♥️ I don’t know what I did to be this lucky to have you!!

T was in his chair again today… I think he likes it 😁

He had a day full of visitors! I know he loves that… He may not be able to tell us now, but once he’s better, I am sure he will!! 😊

Taylors chest Xray looked good… Penny!

The movement in his arms definitely is improving… PENNY!

He was back on the trach collar instead of the vent for a long time today.. PENNY!

We are hopefully moving to a rehabilitation center soon. Even though he is in ICU and has a trach, his overall health is good and we feel like we need to start the long road of recovery. We aren’t skipping out of here tomorrow.. but soon.. Steps forward are awesome!!

Samantha curled up in bed with him today to listen to music and his favorite show, The Office.. It broke me a little… In a good way. While cuddling, he made a few vocal sounds.. PENNY!!!

The hospital is very quiet on the weekends… And so was Taylor’s room… Less alarms.. Less panic attacks…less chaos. He did pretty good today and we are excited about tomorrow!! He’s still unresponsive but we all know he can hear us and I can’t wait until he wakes up!!

Thank you everyone for sharing your love, it can’t be expressed with words how much it helps when things are a little tougher on us than we would like. ♥️

It’s been quiet today.. That’s OK, we needed it.

#PenniesForTaylor

My Thoughts on the day:

July 13th, 2018 – Keep Your Head Up

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Keep your head up!

Today went by so fast… Not sure why it went so fast, but it did.

T’s Neuro exam today was about the same as yesterday. As much as I want to see more, I know that that is OK and we hear that from the Dr.’s too.

It’s been 9 days. I have to keep reminding myself… 9 days is not a lot for this type of injury. Since day 1 I have talked with everyone about how we need to praise these little things. I use pennies as an example: No one seems to recognize them, we tend to walk past them, lose them, or even throw them out… I like pennies because “Pennies Make Dollars”. Without the tiny part, the big part would not exist. I have used this simple reminder for myself… for many things, for many years…and it really helps me. Perhaps I was practicing for just this time in my life.

The little things matter so much! We have had so many ‘positive coincidences’ happen to us over the past week.. things that just make us smile and help make the day better… we call them ‘cheat codes’ (little things that help us get around obstacles or just give us an advantage) – I would like to take credit for naming those things as ‘cheat codes’ – well, because I think it is awesome name… but that credit goes to Bri. 🙂 We decided that ‘cheat codes’ are like those pennies! Things that just make us smile and know we can get through this! They may be little, but they add up. PENNIES!!!

In addition to cheat codes, anything Taylor does that he couldn’t do before… well those are pennies too!

It’s hard to keep up with all those pennies and make sure we can ‘see’ the progress and support that we have… so we started a penny jar. Each time we feel a ‘cheat code’ OR when Taylor does something he couldn’t do before, we are putting a penny in the jar. We want to make sure we do not forget how far he has come!!!

Today.. as I mentioned, not much changed neurologically, but… BUT… physical therapy did visit today and moved Taylor to a special chair so he could sit upright. When Alex sat him up in his bed, which is the very first time that has happened… we couldn’t believe it… he was able to hold his head up on his own!!! ❤️❤️

Now… that IS WORTH A PENNY!!!!! 😁

We need you, we need every little thing you can share with us… because they add up, and we are counting on all the little things!! Jennifer and I are loving the texts, comments, shares, messages, visits, testimonials, love, and everything else you share with us! They are pennies too!!!

In the photo, that’s the actual jar… It may not look like much, but it REALLY IS!! And… as you can see, we are ready to add a whole lot more to it!!!

I can’t wait to fill this baby up with pennies!!! I. CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!!!! TOMORROW WILL BE AWESOME!

As you share this burden with us… please fight with us!! Please don’t lose hope or feel the fire fading within you… keep your head up, just like Taylor did today!! ❤️❤️ #PenniesForTaylor

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My Thoughts on the day:

July 12th, 2018 – Slow, But Sure.

From My Facebook Post:

Taylor Update: Slow, but sure.

Today was fairly quiet. Lots to be thankful for over the past few days.. but today was generally quiet.

Stomach peg was put in, everything went well. Neuro tests were about the same. No ‘on command’ responses today, but the boy is tired!! The sedation sets him back every time but hopefully he won’t need it anymore.

T hasn’t been rustling as much but again, the sedation. The Dr’s, nurses and everyone else here have been great and they are all rooting for him.

Tomorrow is a new day! Back on the vent today because of sedation.

Tomorrow we hope and pray for consciousness and more responsiveness… But today we are grateful for his comfort and rest. He has been working hard the past few days… He must be exhausted and I assume that’s why he’s been out of it today.

Jennifer and I are very tired and scared BUT determined. Samantha and Joshua have been terrific through their pain … helping with anything we can ask. ♥️♥️

Lots of excitement surrounding our next steps. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!!

Many have asked how they can help. We need your help, we just don’t know how we need you.. We DO know that we need you all to continue to motivate us through your prayers, vibes, loves, messages, texts, shares and anything else you can send our way… Taylor is an extraordinary person (as are Josh and Samm)!! I don’t want the fire to burn out… We need you!!! ♥️

Today was quiet… But I pray tomorrow we can share some exciting ‘pennies’. I just have a good feeling about tomorrow… Don’t know why, I just do ♥️

 

My Thoughts on the day: