Time To Slow Down…Caleb Enters A New Phase Of Recovery

Caleb's Dad ~ 27th May 2011

Good morning everyone. I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to update you on some of the latest news that we have received with Caleb. The news at first was scary to us as it stoked up fears of things that we had been told very early on when Caleb was first injured. We have since learned however that what we had initially feared was not what the therapists were informing us about. After Caleb’s initial injury we were told that brain trauma patients follow a predicable path of recovery that generally has the patient seeing an increase in abilities, as the patient starts rehabilitation. This initial stage, as we were told, can be up to a year and this is the time when you will normally see the patient gain back some or a lot of what they lost rather quickly. After this stage comes another stage where things tend to slow down. The brain is unable to absorb and process the information like it used to and, because of the injury, tasks become gradually harder. Learning slows down and recovery at that point becomes more gradual.

Yesterday we were told that Caleb is now entering this second phase of his recovery—that his ability to regain things he lost is slowing, but is still progressing. Again, as we were told, this is a natural part of brain trauma. Some of the changes that we were told we need to make have to do with the way we have been doing therapy with Caleb for the last 7 months. Whereas before we had a very structured evening routine of therapy where we would work 2, 3, sometimes more hours of therapy, Caleb is now increasingly becoming unable to be attentive for that long, and he is now starting to push back, be resentful, cry, and not want to do therapy. The therapists have said that with where he is now we need to treat him more like an average 3 year old, in the sense of just letting him play and have fun, and incorporate therapy exercises where we see we can and as he can tolerate them. The structured evenings with lots of therapy was good for the initial stage as Caleb’s brain was rapidly learning and wanting to learn more, but now because his brain ability has slowed, it is causing him increased frustration and anxiety. So now as we change our therapy routine (which will no longer look like a routine), we have been told that, one or two completed reps for a therapy is a success. Learning for Caleb at this point will not be as rapid as it has been in the past. It will be more gradual. Tiffany and I are making a change beginning today to stop “therapy” as our family has known it for the last number of months. We are now seeking to have a more informal, fun, family time in the evenings where therapy can happen, but it is not noticed as such.

As we have decided to structure it, we have cut back on the number of therapy “sessions” with Caleb to 4 nights per week, instead of 7. We’ll work with him on the different types of therapy on the days when he doesn’t have that therapy at Vanderbilt. He’ll still go to therapy at Vanderbilt 3 times per week and still have a session of vision and speech. We in turn will look for more informal ways to integrate physical, occupational, vision, and speech as well as music into our day to day routine, always keeping an eye out on the current goals that the therapists have set.

As I said it was hard at first hearing this news as another of the things we were told early on is that brain trauma patients can plateau at any stage. In other words some patients increase in their functionality, regain back some of what they lost, and then they taper off and plateau never regaining much more. We have asked the therapists at Vanderbilt their opinions on this and all have stated that they do not believe Caleb is stopping with his progress. They have said that he is very smart, loves to learn, loves to play, and is a very happy little boy. His challenges still stem from the brain injury. Like any normal 3 year old his attention span is low, and with Caleb’s brain injury, they have told us it is even lower. His vision is still deficient but improving. His balance is still off but getting better.

Change is always hard and for the last 7 months Tiffany and I have felt like we were on a train going full speed—being relentless about therapy every night so as to make sure Caleb gets back as much as possible for the first year. As textbook becomes reality we find that not all things go by the book. We have met many families who have not seen much progress in the first year, only to have lots of progress in the second, third, or more years. So all in all, I now no longer see the news and something to be alarmed about. I don’t believe Caleb is plateauing. He still loves to learn; but now his learning will take a new nature. It’s time to change. We’ll slow down, make it less informal, do less, become more focused on what we do, and most of all work to give Caleb as happy and normal of a 3 year old life as possible. That, in the long run, will be the very best therapy for our little guy. God has been very good to us over the last few months. It is hard to believe that all of this began 8 months ago. Over the course of the last near year our family has learned so many valuable lessons, about faith, life, love, and family. All of it would never have been possible without you and all the thousands who have prayed for our son. We ask that you still mention Caleb in your prayers. God bless you all. Blessings.

094Would you consider adding Caleb to your church and personal prayer lists? Also a fund has been set up to help offset Caleb's ongoing medical expenses and related costs. Thank you for your love and support! Donations via PayPal can be made by clicking here: 

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9 Comments

  1. Amber Bowles

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:20 am

    he has made such a big change he is gowning.. im so happy that he is making so much gain. he is such an lovely little boy an please always keep us updated on him an ur family.
    love the Bowles family!

  2. May 27th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Tim, I felt this way about Caleb yesterday when you told us you were concerned. He is just a little fellow, and he has so much more to take in, than any other child at his age. It has to be so much for him. It has to tire his little mind, brain and soul. And body. I feel God is not going to bring him this far and let go. I feel in my heart God will bring Caleb right where he should be. I am happy you are feeling better about it. I know he will be okay. We serve a wonderful loving God, and little Caleb has done so much for so many people. Some new followers, some that have follwed God for years, and some old ones, like me. My faith has had such a renewing. Gave me a great insight about my own children. As with the tornadoes in Joplin with all that was just yanked out of lives, this has made me go to my children, tell them, I never want to lose touch, made me know how much they mean to me. And how much God will do for us if only we believe. Keep up the good work, and always know God is right there with you. Tutti

  3. Ellen Baize

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:37 am

    We thank God for the progress that Caleb has made, and pray that He will continue to watch over Caleb and all his family as his recovery continues.

  4. Vicky Hand

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I pray that God continues to bless Caleb. I can’t imagine what you have gone through. We have a grandson who will be three in August and is such a blessing to us. I know that you shout glory to God every time Caleb does something. Please keep the updates coming. I pray Caleb will continue to progress and God will use him in a mighty way when he grows up. It is wonderful to see how strong your family’s faith is.
    God bless!

  5. Leesa Wright

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:45 am

    So great to get a really good full update on Caleb! Sounds like he is doing great! My family is always praying for yours and you all are always in our hearts!

    Much love!
    Leesa Wright

  6. Karen Wright

    May 27th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Great to hear how well he is doing. My son as I have told you before is 4yrs out. Your life can turn into “Therapy” “Therapy”… before you know it. Don’t get discouraged, He will progress and at times it will seem to stop and then out of nowhere you will still get a glimmer on new hope. Jacob still astounds us at times with his replies to things. He doesn’t talk much which makes him appear to have more deficits than he has. He is very smart in his mind it is just getting it out to others that takes more time.
    We have had to learn to take things slower and one day at a time as it should be. Each day is new sometimes but who needs to remember the past so much anyway.
    Praying for your family and Caleb. God has blessed all so much.

  7. Tammy

    May 27th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Always in my thoughts and prayers…..I just love you guys!!!

  8. Dana Murray

    May 27th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks, Tim, for keeping us posted and up-to-date on Caleb. I greatly appreciate this! Prayers will continue going on on this child that so many have grown to love, including us! Keep the updates coming.

    Congrats to Colby for graduating from Preschool! Fun times!

    Hope Tiff is feeling well and doing well. Love and hi to you all! :-)

  9. Louis Guidroz

    August 23rd, 2011 at 8:19 am

    We heard about Caleb when the accident happened thru Josh Hall’s mother, who is my wife’s first cousin. I have Caleb on my prayer list and I haven’t heard anything about him lately on Facebook thru the cousins. I googled and found this website which is great. I will continue to pray for Caleb, that he will have a full and complete recovery.
    God bless you!
    Louis and Beth Guidroz
    Tuscaloosa, AL

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