Author Archives : DIANEMP356

About DIANEMP356

I am Aaron Wood's mother and that's the most important fact about me!


Tickets for the meals are sold out, but you can still come for the auction.  I understand there are some very nice items up for grabs!    Thank you to EVERYBODY who participated in this weekend’s fundraiser and to those of you who will be participating in this coming weekend’s fundraiser.  We can’t thank you enough for your support!

Just a quick update on Aaron’s day.  When I got to Magee this morning, he wasn’t feeling well, he said he felt “like he was getting something”.  He had a low grade fever.  As the day progressed, though, he came around a little bit, got some color in his face and was wide awake by the time the first football game came on.  (I think that’s typical for all males, though, don’t you agree girls?)  Sorry for the wise comment about males, couldn’t resist.    Nothing personal, I like males….my son is one.

When we (Aaron’s cousin Erin and I) left for the day, he no longer had a fever.  He was ready to do more time off the ventilator but the respiratory therapist thought he needed to give it a rest today….so that’s what he did!     Hopefully, he’ll feel more chipper tomorrow and Greg and Gina will be able to give us a better (and more interesting) update tomorrow night!

Please continue to pray for Aaron and his recovery.  Thank you!

You Call This an Update?

Well, we didn’t want to go two days without putting an update out here, so here it is!   Unfortunately, there’s not much new to report.  Aaron hasn’t had much luck on the trach collar the last two days because he has some chest congestion that’s making it very difficult for him.  He seemed much better this evening before Sam and I left to come home, though, so maybe he’ll be able to handle it better tomorrow. 

He was on his power wheelchair most of the day today.  Using it makes his neck sore, because he “directs” the movement of his chair through his headrest.   But he did much better in it today.  He had some therapy sessions, but they were mostly informational.   

He had a visit from Pastor Kim from the Middletown Church of God today.  Aaron was feeling well by the time she arrived, so it was a good visit. 

Well, that’s about it.  Sorry I don’t have more news than this.  But tomorrow is another day. 

As always, I ask that you continue to pray for Aaron’s complete recovery!   Thanks!

6 hours off the vent!

Another great day!  Aaron spent 6 hours off the vent (this was done at one time, through two sessions of PT, a couple of meals & a couple of naps!).    Aaron did exceptionally well today, although he was extremely tired from yesterday’s trip to Hahnemann and his bronchoscopy.  He was feeling well, though, and that’s what is important.   In PT this morning, he was hooked up to the stim bike (legs this time).   The therapist said he did very well.  The bike has a motor, which moved his legs for approximately 15 minutes, then the motor turned off.  Then the bike worked with just the electric stimulators .  Electrodes were placed on the muscles on each of Aaron’s legs.  As was expected by the therapist, the bike only continued to go after the motor was turned off for the next minute or so.   She said this was because Aaron’s muscles were fatigued from the time spent on the bike with the motor running.  Aaron loved it and is anxious to do it again.  Hopefully, he’ll be a bit more alert the next time.   In the afternoon therapy session, he had electrical stimulation on his arms.   This, too, went well.

Sam and I also practiced pushing the therapist up and down a ramp in a wheelchair.  That went fairly well.  Then we worked on getting her, in a wheelchair, up onto a curb.  I always thought I was always fairly strong until today.  The therapist is about half the size of Aaron and I had difficulty getting the wheelchair up onto the  fake curb.  Time to start working out, I guess, so I can move Aaron around in his wheelchair.   Sam, of course, did much better than I did.  (I hate when that happens! ) 

Aaron ate well today, when I could get him to stay awake long enough to eat.  Sam’s mom made him some chocolate chip cookies, and he did manage to stay awake long enough to eat a couple of those. 

When Sam and I left this evening, Jaime and Tory were there, so I am sure he enjoyed the rest of the night with his loved ones.    I am anxious to see what’s in store for tomorrow!  

Please continue to pray for Aaron’s recovery !  Thank you, everybody!!!!

A Minor Setback

After the intense day Aaron had yesterday (5 hours off the vent), which, by the way, was totally amazing, he woke up this morning with a fever of 102 degrees.   Blood work was done, as was a test of his sputum (“spit” for those of us who are laymen) and a review of his last chest x-ray (done late last week).  A decision was made to send Aaron for a bronchoscopy tomorrow at Hahnemann hospital.  This is to be done as an outpatient procedure, but it requires Aaron getting loaded up into an ambulance to go right across the street to Hahnamnn.  This is Aaron’s third brochoscopy since his accident.  He is not overly fond of these procedures, but knows it’s in his best interest to have one tomorrow.   The doctor told him today, because of the fever, they want to rule out pneumonia.  They’ll go through Aaron’s trach to his lungs with a camera and look around first.  Then depending on what they see they’ll determine what to do next.  It is a possibility there is a mucous plug, which they can remove right then.  If it’s pneumonia, they’ll do a test to be sure they are using the right antibiotic to treat it.  I am sure there are more things they do during the procedure that I am not aware of.  

Because of his fever and not knowing  what  caused it,  Aaron was not able to go without the vent today.  His spirits were very good, though, and he said he felt good.  The last time he had his temperature taken was around 3:00 or so, and his fever was down to 99 degrees.    Aaron did have physical therapy today which went well.  Again, because he wasn’t exactly up to par, the therapist went easy on him.  He drove his power wheelchair and did passive range of motion exercises on his legs.  (Because he’s not feeling well, I won’t comment on his driving skills or lack thereof.)   Then we attended a session about what to look for when begin looking for a caregiver when for his return home.  This was to be followed by a video about an organization called “Helping Hands” that trains monkeys to assist people in wheelchairs.   Aaron and I decided it might be easier for us to get a monkey than find the right human caregiver, so that’s the plan!!!   And they are so cute, too!   (The monekys, not the humans.) They go to “school”  for 3 to 4 years of training before they can be “assistants”.    Cute and educated monkeys!   Does it get any better than that?    Anyway, the DVD player didn’t work, so we are going to watch the video at a later time.  We did get to look at a brochure with pictures, though.   Hope they watch the DVD on a day when I’m visiting Aaron, hate to miss that!!

Please continue to pray for Aaron and his recovery!  He’s a tough one, but he can’t do this all alone!    Thanks!

No Question about today – It Was Great!!!

Aaron had a good day today in every way.    When my sister, Deb, and I arrived at Magee this morning, we were confronted by Aaron’s Respitory Therapist who told us that he was doing the trach collar (he was off the vent) and fell asleep doing it!  So, he was still in bed and we didn’t want to wake him, so we didn’t go into his room.  When he finally woke up, we found out he had managed the collar  for 2 1/2 hours!   Now they could get him out of bed and ready for the day.   He wasn’t interested in the breakfast that was served (what, Aaron, you don’t like cold, rubbery eggs??) so he drank a chocolate Boost.  By that time, the rest of today’s visitors showed up (Aaron’s Aunt Den, Uncle Ed and Uncle Charlie).   After everyone fussed all over Aaron, he had to leave his room to go to Physical Therapy. 

PT was scheduled for 11:00 this morning, and it  actually started ON TIME! (That’s a sure way to make Aaron  happy!)  The therapist worked out both his arms, then gave him some electrical stimulation on his left arm.  That is amazing to watch; when the electricity moves through the electrodes into his arm, you can see his muscles tighten up.   The therapist rested his arm on a board and when the electricity was sent to his arm, his arm would move across the board.   Aaron can feel the movement, however, at this time, cannot initiate it on his own.  (But I have faith that he’ll be able to do that one day on his own! ) 

After therapy, we ALL went back to his room and visited for a little while.  About 12:15, lunch was served and he ate every drop of it.  He started out with Chicken Gumbo, then had a hot turkey sandwich and green beans.  I thought I was being slick by giving him a  bit of green beans with every bite of turkey, thinking he wasn’t realizing it, but he called me out on it…..but I continued to do it anyway and he continued to eat it!    After he was done eating, he sort of kicked us all out because he wanted to relax and watch some football. (And I guess we were getting on his nerves!)  We went across the street to eat and when we returned, to our surprise, the Respiratory Therapist said he had asked to be put back on the trach collar and when I walked into his room, he was sound asleep again (sitting in his wheelchair).  We didn’t wake him and this time he stayed off the vent for 2 hours!   When he woke up he was surprised that two hours had passed.  He also said he thought today’s time off the vent was so much easier than in times past.  That was great to hear, because we all know it is a struggle for him.   So, 4 1/2 hours totally off the vent today.  How good is that?????

Aunt Den fed him supper (BBQ chicken, baked beans, cherry jello) while I turned on his laptop and read him comments from the blog and facebook.  (He really enjoys that, so please continue to comment! ) 

 Aaron was “full of himself” today;  he harrassed me every opportunity he got,  shared his sarcastic wit with all of us and it was WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!

We left Magee today when they were getting ready to put Aaron to bed.  He was ANXIOUSLY awaiting Jaime’s arrival after her weekend away.   I wish I could have been there to see that smile he gets when she walks into the room.  But I am sure both Jaime and Aaron were glad I wasn’t there!!!!   So, yep, it was a GREAT day!

Another busy (but good) day!

Today was a pretty good day for Aaron.  He was on the tilt table again today during PT.  He did very well; on the first “ride” the table was tilted so that he was nearly standing straight up and down.  After he was put back down into a horizontal position for a while, they tilted the table again.   This time he was a little less vertical than the first time, because his blood pressure started to drop and he felt dizzy.  But the therapists said he did an excellent job. 

Aaron was in his power wheelchair again today, but has not yet obtained his driver’s license, he is still on a permit.  The therapists are still working on getting the headrest in the right position for him and the sensitivity adjusted.  Sounds simple, but it isn’t!  It’s really difficult for them to get it so it is comfortable and easy (and safe) for Aaron to use.

Aaron had a session today with a Recreational Therapist who was working with him to use some voice recognition software.   Not sure how that went, because I took this opportunity to leave and go grab some lunch and when I returned, Aaron was MIA.  When I finally found him,  I was just so happy to see him, I totally forgot to ask how the session went!  (They took him for a routine chest x-ray, but it took me awhile to find that out.  That was sort of scary!) 

Aaron did about 40 minutes total today on the trach collar.  While that is commendable, I’m getting a feeling  that his success on the collar has something to do with Jaime’s presence……she seems to have a knack at calming him down or convincing him he can do it.  He does so well when she is there with him and not as well when I am with him.  I try to cheer him on,  I really do….but he KNOWS he only has to look at me with those puppy dog eyes and tell me he wants to stop and I’m running out the door looking for the respiratory therapist to come and remove the collar.   I know I’m not helping overall, but I can’t help myself!  I’ll try to be stronger, I promise!

Well, overall, Aaron had a good day.  His spirits were great, he was alert and feeling well.  Please say a prayer for continued healing.  Aaron appreciates it and so do I (and the rest of his family).

Exhausted and in bed by 6:00 PM

Wow, I don’t think we have ever had a day at Magee that went by as quickly as today.  Sam and I got there a little late this morning due to the lovely Philadelphia traffic, so we only caught the last half of his first PT session.  Lucky for us, though, we did get to observe his driving skills yet again, as he terrorized the employees and patients of Magee, in the power wheelchair.  All kidding aside, there was much improvement since his last driving experience.  There were no circles today.  Honestly, I was a little disappointed, I really get a kick out of hearing his devilish laugh when he does it!    After PT, we went to view a video and get information on portable showers and wheelchairs used specifically in showers.  Amazing how far technology has come and even more amazing is the cost of that technology!   After that we went back to his room and he did the trach collar for about 20 minutes unti lunch came.  He was just beginning to eat when he had to move to a conference room where we (Aaron, Sam and I) met with Aaron’s doctor and some other key players in Aaron’s rehab.  We conferenced in Aaron’s dad and step-mom, as well as Jaime, over the phone.   When that was over, we went back to Aaron’s room and again he started to eat his lunch, and a doctor came in the room to talk to him.  Two minutes later, while the doctor was still there, a Physical Therapist showed up to take him to PT.   Rather than fight over Aaron, the PT time was changed, the doctor stayed, Sam and I left to eat lunch and poor Aaron STILL didn’t have his lunch.  Finally, at 3:00, the doctor left, the Physical Therapist came back to his room  to get him and I INSISTED the poor guy eat his lunch before he does one more thing!!!  So, he quickly gulped down a somewhat cool Sloppy Joe and then he was off to PT.  He got to play pinball for the second time today.  He activates the flippers with controls placed behind his shoulders.  He really does well and enjoys that.   

After we returned to his room, he decided he wanted to do the trach collar again.  He was hooked up, ready to go, but he just didn’t feel well doing it.  He was able to last 20 minutes, but it didn’t go nearly as well as it had the day before.  He asked to stop, which was fine, not a problem.   After the trach collar is removed, Aaron often gets more secretions than normal  and his trach has to be suctioned, not a big deal.  Today, however, there was some secretion that the Respiratory Therapist couldn’t get to move up or down with normal suctioning.  He used a “bag” on Aaron, which forced air down Aaron’s trach.  Eventually, the secretions moved and Aaron felt much better.  This kind of activity, though, really wears him out.   He asked to be put into bed and that’s exactly what happened.  So when we left Magee today at 6:00, Aaron was being put into his bed, extremely worn out. 

Forgive me for all the details.  I just want you to understand what a typical day is like for Aaron and for you to understand how days like this can really wear him out. 

 Tomorrow’s another day, Aaron.  We’ll continue to work on gaining time on that trach collar!

The Power Wheelchair

Today was a busy day for Aaron.  Sam and I got to Magee a little before 10:00 this morning and Aaron had something going on from that time until around 6:00 this evening.  No wonder he’s tired!   He had his first “test drive” on his power wheelchair today.  He navigates the wheelchair by tapping on his headrest (left or right or back) with his head and this sends a command to the chair to move.  The hard part for Aaron was the sensitivity of the headset. You only need to tap it lightly and it reacts.    The Physical Therapist had him riding through the halls and he’d get the chair going round in circles (not on purpose), which we all found to be quite humorus.  It was great to see him laugh at himself.  Of course, he was a bit disappointed when he was told he could not yet take the wheelchair because he needed a little more practice with it.  It was very entertaining for him!!    

Luke Songer stopped in to see Aaron today, which was a surprise.  Thanks for your visit, Luke.    Aaron also had another visitor, a former patient of Magee, who was in a severe accident and suffered a paralyzing injury about  5 years ago.  He walked into Aaron’s room and shared his story with Aaron today,  providing some helpful insight.   That was very encouraging for Aaron. 

Aaron was having a good bit of pain in his neck today (and no, I don’t mean me).  True pain which his medication wasn’t helping.  He tried to do the trach collar, but it’s difficult WITHOUT neck pain, so that didn’t go as well as we would have liked.  But Aaron’s going to go back at it tomorrow, as long as the pain eases up.  

So, stay tuned for the next update!  And in the mean time, please continue to pray and/or send good thoughts Aaron’s way!   Thanks!

New Sensations!!

Hi, this is Aaron’s mom.  Just wanted to let you know that on Thursday, Aaron had a new sensation that he had not had after the accident up to that point.  Without getting into a lot of detail, it had to do with his bowels.  It happened again later that same day.  The physical therapist was very excited about Aaron having this sensation.  On Friday morning, Aaron’s doctor did some more testing of sensations regarding Aarn’s bowels and Aaron’s body responded in a very positive way!   Thank you God for hearing our prayers!   We know this will be a slow process, but we are so grateful for these positive signs!   Everybody, please keep the prayers coming!!!


Hi, this is Aaron’s mom.  I am not with Aaron today, but I received a call from my husband, Sam, who IS with Aaron today.  He told me that somebody stole Aaron’s new sneakers.  Aaron was a little bummed out, but not as much as I was!  At first, I was extremely upset that someone was heartless enough to do this.  Then, I started to think about all of the very generous things so many of you have done for Aaron and/or his family, and that helped me get over the anger.   Aaron, apparently whomever stole your sneakers, needed them more than you do, so we’ll just consider it a donation, OK?

I got you another pair of sneakers today and we are going to do something to them (not sure what yet) that identifies them as yours, so nobody else would want them!  

Just want you to know, Aaron, there are people out there who will take advantage of others and their situations, but for the most part, people are good and kind and so many of those people are behind you and are praying for you!  Those prayers will protect you  from  the bad apples you meet along the way!   Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!   I love you !