Archive | April, 2011

Update FROM DIANNE!

28 Apr

Dear friends, family, and anyone else who sent your well wishes, prayers, love, hugs, good karma, positivity, and God’s prayers to me. First, I want to let you know that I have to keep this very short. I have about 10 mins. before my headache starts up. I have 3 things I hope you will take with you.

1st, I hope each and every one of you know that I can’t even begin to know how to thank you for what you’ve done for me and my family the last few weeks.  I hope you know that you helped save a life.

2nd, I have been offered a new perspective on life and priorities. Personally, I will never be the same but it’s an amazing opportunity. My kids and family have always been my highest priority… and I have changed other priorities as well. I hope that this experience somehow inspires you to think about what is really important in your life and take even just a few minutes to think about those things.

Finally, I wanted to let you all know that my health is improving everyday. I am now at the official rehab center and I’m working on learning how to walk again without falling and addressing some short term memory issues.  My rehab is hard work and makes me super tired but I’m just happy to be alive today, to be able to hug and kiss my children and my husband. I am one amazingly lucky woman and I will never forget what you have done for me.

Love, Dianne.

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Update #15 by Kami Bauman

27 Apr

This afternoon Dianne graduated from her regular hospital room at Good Samaritan to a room at Mission Oaks hospital where she will enter her rehab phase of recovery. She will stay at Mission Oaks hospital for approximately 10-12 days and then she will head home. Somehow I don’t think she will be there much longer than a week as her healing and progress have been in super fastforward mode. Dianne was transported to Mission Oaks this afternoon around 4:00 pm by ambulance and I’m sure she is getting settled in tonight to her new room.

The family is continuing to ask that visitors stay away. Dianne has mentioned that not having visitors has been helpful and has allowed her to get the rest she needs. During this next rehab phase, Dianne will be doing many hours of physical therapy and occupational therapy each day so she needs all the energy she can muster to put toward her therapy. Not surprising, Dianne has been doing so well, her physical therapists have been a little worried that she was progressing too fast and may not qualify for the therapy. Crazy, right?

Dianne’s long-time friend Jill Bernhardt has set up a blog to add as a source of information about Dianne’s recovery. Go to https://diannehill.wordpress.com/ to check out the blog. Jill will be posting my updates on the blog along with other information. It is also a place where Dianne’s friends and supporters can leave a message for Dianne. I’m sure she will love reading all the messages as she gets home. Thank you Jill for setting up the blog.

Dianne is in good spirits and doing well. She has been an inspiration and motivation for a number of people before and after all of this. I know she will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of the many people that she comes in contact with.

Thank you to everyone. Again, I will be posting updates less frequently, but will make sure to keep everyone up-to-date on the big milestones and new information.

Kami

Update #14 by Kami Bauman

26 Apr

It has been a few days since the last update on Dianne so I’m sure most of you have been wondering how Dianne is doing. No surprises here. Dianne has maintained her incredible, record breaking progress. She has been out of the ICU since last Wednesday and in a regular room at Good Sam. It took some work on Maurice’s part to establish consistent communication with the doctors as Dianne was transitioned to a regular room. He definitely had to be proactive in tracking down the answers to his questions and making sure Dianne’s needs were still being met as they were in the ICU.

Throughout the past few days, Dianne has been receiving physical and occupational therapy. She went from simply standing up for a moment to taking a few steps with the help of a walker to trips down the hallway and back with the walker to taking steps all on her own today! Huge accomplishments in a short time. Dianne is still struggling with painful headaches which is considered normal at this point in her recovery. The nurses have been working with her on pain management and the doctors have changed the medicines to try to find what will work best for her. They are trying to get Dianne off the IV pain medicine and onto only oral pain medicine. Once Dianne’s pain can be managed by pills only, she will be moved from Good Sam Hospital to Mission Oaks Hospital. At Mission Oaks she will move onto to the rehab phase of her recovery. They anticipate her being at Mission Oaks for rehab from 10-12 days and after that she will be able to continue her recovery at home. Before they clear her to move over to Mission Oaks, the doctors will do an MRI and CT scan to do a final check on her spasms and brain function.

Dianne’s appetite has improved some, however, it seems to coincide with her pain. If her headaches are really bad, she tends to lose her appetite. Her appetite increases when her pain in managed and more under control. Dianne has been getting regular juice smoothies to help her healing process and she has also been eating homemade meals and some hospital meals. To no surprise she much prefers the homemade meals. Dianne still has cravings for chocolate which is probably another good sign.

Dianne’s memory is progressing and she is mostly back to her normal self. She does seem to have moments when she struggles to recall the names of people and things. It takes her a bit longer than usual to retrieve the correct word. This will improve as she continues recovering.

Dianne has expressed that she has really appreciated the slow down with the amount of visitors which has allowed her to get more rest and spend as much time as she can with her children and Maurice. On Easter, Maurice and the kids went over to hang out with Dianne in the evening. Her plan was to watch a movie with the kids and eat dinner together. Helpers took care of the kids’ Easter baskets, but Dianne had already bought a lot of the items for their baskets. Bobby, Dianne’s brother, made confetti eggs which Dianne was thrilled about. She really wanted to have the confetti eggs for her kids as it has been a tradition she has enjoyed passing onto her kids from her Mexican heritage. Although Dianne had to celebrate the Easter holiday from her hospital bed, it seemed to be an enjoyable day for her and her family. Everyone was thankful that she was here to celebrate with them this year.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have delivered dinners to the family over the past couple of weeks. Maurice has said everything has been fantastic and continues to be overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone who has been helping the family. Another two weeks of meal deliveries are now available to sign up for on the ivolunteer site. To sign up please go to http://www.i-volunteeronline.com/simondsschool.asp?EventId=B48G0Q0ANIP4. I’m sure it will fill up fast, so if you don’t get an opportunity to sign up, know that we will add more dates to sign up for in another couple of weeks. If you have already signed up, please give others an opportunity to sign up first. So many people want to help in some way so please allow the space to be filled by those who have not had a chance to sign up yet.

Thank you for the continued prayers and healing thoughts. I will send out updates less frequently as Dianne has continued to progress so positively and their is less crucial information to report.

Update #13 by Kami Bauman

21 Apr

Two weeks ago Dianne left us for a short time and she has been fighting hard to get back to us since then. It is an absolute miracle that Dianne has made such a dramatic recovery in such a short time. We are all ready to celebrate with Dianne, however, she is not ready for a party yet. I’m not out to offend anyone, however, it is crucial that this message be understood loud and clear by everyone…DO NOT VISIT DIANNE AT THE HOSPITAL UNLESS YOU ARE FAMILY…NO EXCEPTIONS. I regret not making this more clear in my update yesterday. After discussing the issue of visitors with Maurice today, he feels that the visitors are taking away from Dianne’s recovery. She was exhausted today, and thankfully did get a few hours of sleep in the middle of the day to recover from her busy morning. Dianne also expressed that not having visitors at night last night made a big difference in how she felt this morning. She is recognizing that she really needs to rest and agreed that no more visitors will be best for her. We all know Dianne is a people person, so she will be excited to see people no matter what and not turn any visitors away. There is a sign posted on the door of Dianne’s room that states: Visitors must check in with the nurse before entering. The nurses will turn you away if you come to visit. Please respect Dianne’s recovery and her family’s wishes and wait for her to be released from the hospital and settled in at home before visiting her. She knows that everyone is praying for her and thinking of her. You may give cards for Dianne with a supportive message written to her and we (Maurice and/or myself) will get them to Dianne. Remember how blessed we are to have Dianne with us, and put her recovery before your own need to visit. Thank you.

It is very exciting that Dianne is well enough to be out of the ICU, but she is still having very painful headaches which are reaching a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. She is on pain medication to manage her pain, but rest is her best medicine. The doctors will continue to keep watch on the spasms and monitor her closely. She started some occupational and physical therapy today and will continue the OT and PT everyday. This therapy will take a lot of Dianne’s energy, so again her rest is important. Today she stood up and took a few steps with the help of a walker, but very quickly felt nauseous and had to sit back down. These are the reminders that Dianne has a lot of work left to do to get back to taking care of herself and her family. We all know that Dianne works hard at whatever she does, so I’m confident that she will kick butt during her therapy.

When I saw Dianne after work today, I was greeted by a new Dianne. She is sporting a new shorter hairdo. Her hair is cut short and not shaved. The large dreadlocks were cut out and her hair shortened and washed. Once she is out of the hospital, she will go to get it all fixed up, but for now she is very happy and so much more comfortable. She still has a large portion on the right front side of her head that was shaved from where the drain was and that will have to grow. She will have to decide if she wants to accessorize her new look with hats, scarves, headbands, etc., but I don’t think she’ll be worried about it for now. By the time she is going “out” in the world, her shaved spot might be grown out enough and not even a concern. Time will tell.

Thank you to so many people who are helping the Hill family behind the scenes. You’re support is really helping out each day and making a difference. I know that so many people are ready to help, but please be patient. There will be many, many more opportunities to help Dianne and the family in the months to come. The grocery store gift cards continue to be a great way to contribute and of course prayers are always the best contribution!

Kami

Update #12 by Kami Bauman

20 Apr

Dianne is out of the ICU!!! Yay!!! This is a big step in Dianne’s recovery journey. She must be doing great if the doctors feel she is ready to leave the ICU. She has been moved upstairs to room 345. Coincidentally, she is at the other end of the hallway from the room I was in last year where she was at my bedside, organizing dinners, and taking care of me during my recovery from major surgery. She was such an amazing friend to me through that, and I’m so happy to be able to be here for her now. True friends “just do it” without thinking, and she has definitely been a true friend to me and so many others.

Today I was planning on helping Dianne comb through all the tangles in her hair, however, upon closer inspection, we decided that it would be best to just shave it all off and start over. She can think of it as representative of her new beginning. A new perspective on life, family, friendship, and love…and so many other things. I must say I’m looking forward to shaving her head…maybe because I know I could NEVER imagine having to shave my own head. Today I got the OK from the nurse to be able to bring the clippers and shave her head in her room. Dianne is actually excited to get rid of her dreadlocks and hopefully a real shower soon. We’ve brainstormed how she can accessorize her new look with hats, bandannas, scarves, and maybe even a wig. Kate LaBarbera is checking out options for her. Thanks Kate. We’ll take a before and after photo.

Dianne was having a lot of pain during the first half of the day, but soon after I arrived, the nurse gave her some pain medication that really helped. Her head was really hurting today. Also, when a friend, Carolyn O-Adams, arrived, she massaged Dianne using her pressure points. This seemed to really alleviate the pain in her head and Dianne loved it. Dianne is feeling rather stiff after so many days in the ICU with minimal movement. She should be starting some more extensive physical therapy soon.

There were a large number of visitors today at the hospital…probably a few too many. Even though Dianne is out of the ICU we still need to remember that she needs a lot of rest to continue healing. Dianne is not the best at self-regulating her visitors. She is still having some spasms and the doctors will continue to monitor them. If you do visit please just keep visits very short to about 5-10 minutes. The visiting hours for her now are from 10 am-8 pm. Now that Dianne has been moved to a regular room, we also need to be respectful of her roommate(s). The exact amount of time that Dianne will continue to be at the hospital before she is released to go home is still unknown, but the estimation is a week or less! Once she is home, having visits at the house will help cheer her up as well. For those who have hospital phobias, this may be a better option and help keep visitors at the hospital to a minimum.

Thank you to all of you who have delivered dinners to the Hill family so far. They are enjoying them and it makes things a lot easier for Maurice each day. More and more grocery store gift cards are being donated to the family. Thank you. Continue your prayers for Dianne and her family.

Kami

Update #11 by Kami Bauman

19 Apr

Each day is forward progress for Dianne’s recovery. She continues to amaze me just as she did before this tragic event. I admire her courage, strength, and determination. She lives with passion and loves people. Dianne is a go-getter and strives for success in whatever she does. As a friend she has supported me as no one else has. She has cried with me and celebrated with me and everything in between. Everything amazing about Dianne has pulled her through this incredibly difficult time. I’m blessed to continue to have her as one of my very best friends in life.

Today at the hospital I was able to talk and laugh with Dianne. She is getting back to herself. It is so exciting to see that spark returning. As we talked today, she said, “Kami, I’m going to have to find something else to do. I can’t go back to what I was doing. It’s not worth it. I have two young kids who need their mom.” I agreed with her. I was pleased to hear that she has really been doing some self-reflection and recognizing what is most important in life. She mentioned that being a motivational speaker is something she could see herself doing. She also said it might be time to get back to playing golf which she used to play all the time many years ago. She seems to see that she needs to slow down and change gears. As much as I know that she loves teaching group exercise and working out, understanding that a balance is best made me smile. This event has definitely been life-changing.

Dianne joked about the condition of her hair, and we threw around possible options which we giggled about. The nurse gave me the ok to help her comb out the matted mess of hair she’s got going right now. I’ll visit her tomorrow armed with a sray bottle, leave in conditioner, and a good hairbrush. It will take some time to work through all the knots, but I know Dianne will feel so much better after it’s done.

Dianne’s right elbow and head were feeling better and the nurse’s seem to be doing a good job today with managing her pain. Dianne’s drain that was in her head is out now. She actually pulled it out herself, but unknowingly did it while she was sleeping. The drain had already been closed off so it wasn’t a problem. Dianne is still having some spasms, and the doctors are keeping a close eye on them. She is moving her arms and legs and body around fairly well, but needs some help with eating. The amazing news of the day is that Dianne may be moving out of the ICU very soon! I will keep you all posted. If you do decide to bring food to Dianne at the hospital, please check with the nurse to be sure it is OK for her. She does need to keep things low-sodium and things that are easily digestible.

Maurice brought the kids by the hospital this afternoon to see Dianne again. He’s doing a fantastic job keeping the kids informed about what’s happening with their mom and making sure they are OK. There is a team of people who will be helping out with the kids through the end of the school year. A big thank you needs to go out to those people who will be helping with pick up from school, getting the kids to their activities, and hosting play dates. Thank you Kristy Duncan, Mary Ann Frank, Lisa Smith, Susie Hotelling, Pam Price, Renay Rosckes, Gale Bardel, Kathy Do, and Sue Michalicek. An especially big thank you needs to go to Laura Boderck for contacting people to help and setting up the schedule for the kids. Also, thank you to Micki Karrer for going to Dianne’s house and spending hours organizing the house so that Dianne can come home to a clean, well-running house and focus on resting. Many people have purchased grocery store gift cards. If anyone wants to donate a gift card to the family you can bring it to me at AVAC or give it to someone who can get it to me. You can also put it in the mail and send it directly to the Hill’s home. If you would like to mail it, please email me and I will give you the mailing address.

If you have emailed me and I haven’t gotten back to you I apologize. If I’m unable to reply right away, I may forget to get back to you later. I’ve had a huge number of emails and texts and I it’s been challenging to keep up, especially now that I’m back to work and on days that I have my children with me. Don’t hesitate to send me another email again to remind me about something or ask a question. I’d like to give a big thank you to all of you who have offered to help me with things too. I really appreciate it. Those of you who know me realize that my life was CRAZY before this. Thanks for your support.

I’m in awe over the dramatic transformation that has occurred over the past few days. Everyone’s prayers have been working. Thank you so much. Miracles do happen!

Kami

Update #10 by Kami Bauman

18 Apr

It’s amazing what a difference a day can make. Yesterday it was so exciting to see Dianne breathing on her own and talking, but today was even more fantastic. The improvements that she has made in just 24 hours is unbelievable. I went by to see Dianne this afternoon after I was off of work. She is literally 2-3 minutes away from my work. Dianne’s swelling is way, way down, so she looks much more like herself. Also, I can’t believe how much more space is in her room because she has been taken off so many of her meds and tubes. As I reported yesterday, Dianne’s breathing tube is out and she’s breathing on her own, and now her feeding tube is out and she is ready to eat! Dianne is talking pretty close to normal and moving her limbs much more. She is still having pain and probably will for some time. Her head is hurting and her right elbow was giving her a lot of pain today while I was there. Hopefully the doctors figure out why her elbow is hurting her so much. Dianne is self conscious of her hair since they had to shave a portion of it. I told she’ll just have to rock a shorter hairdo and she laughed. Overall, Dianne is making amazing progress.

This morning Maurice received a phone call…from Dianne! He couldn’t believe it. And to top it off she was calling to tell him that she needed to make sure her zumba class that she was supposed to teach was covered by a sub for this morning. She is definitely remembering things…LOL! When I was there visiting today, she told me she was worried about not setting up subs for all her classes and I told her they were all taken care of. I let her know that people stepped up immediately and covered them all. I also told her that everything else has been taken care and she has nothing to worry about except getting better.

Today Dianne told me that she was hungry and that the hospital food was terrible. I think it’s a very good sign that she has an appetite. This evening Dianne’s friend Judie brought her a homemade smoothie and homemade chicken noodle soup. Dianne was soooo excited. Judie stayed and helped Dianne eat. Judie is planning on bringing food to Dianne on a daily basis. She will bring light, healthy foods that are easily digestible and provide Dianne with the healing nutrition that she needs. If anyone else wants to also bring food for Dianne that is fine, but please choose foods wisely for her that promote healing. Thank you so much Judie!

This afternoon when I was at the hospital, Maurice arrived with Travis and Emerson and Dianne’s dad Robert. They were all happy to see her and she was thrilled to see them too. Travis seemed more at ease and I’m sure her improvement helped that today. The kids are really lifting her spirits and I’m sure motivating her to heal.

Although Dianne is showing great progress, it is important to remember that she is still critical and still in the ICU for a reason. She is tired and needs to get a lot of rest to help her heal. She said that last night she felt like she slept really well and that no one was there to visit her and wake her up. I want to emphasize how important her night time sleep especially is to her healing process. Also, I was told that the nurse felt like she had a few too many visitors today and that it can be much too exhausting for her. Some visitors are OK and the morning hours are probably best, but please be aware that she needs her rest. Keep visits very short and waiting another 2-3 days until you visit would be even better and appreciated.

Studio Kicks delivered a number of household items to the Hill Family yesterday. Thank you to Studio Kicks and all the members that made donations. Maurice was overwhelmed by the generosity and told me they won’t have to buy toilet paper for a really long time…LOL. Anything that makes day to day living easier for the family is very appreciated. Thank you to those of you who have donated grocery store gift cards, delivered dinner to the family, and brought food and snacks to the nurses at the hospital. Keep the treats coming for the nurses. They love that and we want to continue to “bribe” them so that they take extra special of Dianne.

Thank you to all of you who have stepped to help and more opportunities to help will come in the weeks and months to come. Prayers and positive thoughts go a long, long way. I also appreciate the emails people have sent to me personally. Your kind words are overwhelming. Dianne is one of my very best friends and I know she would be doing the same for me. I just wish I could do more. I’m looking forward to more positive news to share with you all.

Kami