|Brittney Ferguson continues to smile and improve at home|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
Three months after returning home to Holyoke, Brittney Ferguson is improving in her recovery from injuries following her Sept. 25 vehicle accident.
Brittney continues to amaze her family and certainly “keeps us smiling,” according to her mom, Connie.
During the month of April, Brittney had to return to Denver four times for doctor appointments. She received injections during two of those trips, Botox in her right shoulder and phenol in her right arm as well as injections in her right hamstring. The long car rides were hard on Brittney as she didn’t sleep at all in the car and was pretty tired for several days after the appointments.
Connie noted Brittney will do the same things for a few weeks, and then all of a sudden she will do things they have never seen before. When Brittney does something once but doesn’t do it again for a while, her family is confident that if she did it once, it should happen again.
“One day I showed her how to tie a bow on the strings to her pants,” said Connie. “She watched me and messed with the strings, untying the bow. I didn’t figure she was going to do it, but when I saw her pants a while later and there was a bow. I was shocked.”
Other improvements include Brittney’s use of sign language. She is doing fairly well with words such as “yes,” “no,” “mom,” “dad,” “thank you” and the alphabet. Connie said she is also doing well with finger spelling her name or at least pointing to the appropriate letter. When asked how many “four” is, Brittney holds up the correct fingers.
Brittney certainly knows how to get her point across, and one of her latest gestures is snapping. Connie said Brittney was lying in bed one morning, and she asked her where she wanted to go. Brittney pointed to the living room. When Connie asked her another question, Brittney continued to point to the living room and started snapping. “So apparently I wasn’t moving fast enough,” said Connie.
Brittney also tried to get her dad Rance to “snap to it” when she started snapping at him to get his attention when she wanted to go somewhere and he wasn’t paying attention.
Since Brittney lives at home with her family, she can help out with tasks around the house. She can put away silverware, help load the dishwasher and fold clothes. These tasks are therapeutic for Brittney, especially the sorting.
Even though Brittney uses a wheelchair, she is still improving on movement. Connie said she is doing much better at transferring into a car and can even manage most of it by herself although she does things fairly slowly.
If Brittney is on her bed or couch, she is able to go from sitting to lying. On the floor she rolls around from her stomach to her back.
Brittney doesn’t let her wheelchair hold her back in church either. She likes to sit in the pew rather than in her chair so she can stand and kneel like everyone else. “She gets quite a work out!” said Connie.
She noted a few incidences at church when Brittney was shaking hands to offer peace. If she couldn’t reach people she would hold up two fingers for them.
While Brittney’s legs are getting stronger, she still doesn’t like to use her right leg. Her mom noted they will need to focus on having her bear weight on her right leg and build its strength. The injections in her arm and leg didn’t last quite as long as they had hoped they would.
Connie said Brittney is still being fed for nourishment out of her feeding tube and is still doing therapeutic feedings. “Some days that goes great and others it doesn’t.”
The speech therapist said Brittney is a solid “five” on the Rancho scale with some “six” characteristics as well. The scale describes the levels of a coma, and a “five” on the scale is listed as “Confused-Inappropriate, Non-Agitated.” Brittney will hopefully improve in this area as well. Connie said she seems to be a bit more aware of what is going on, and she will head to Craig for a re-evaluation at the end of July.
Smiling is one thing that Brittney can do well. “She is pretty happy most days,” said Connie. “She has such a beautiful smile.” As the muscles in her mouth strengthen, Brittney’s smile gets better too.
“We still pray for her to talk, and every day I feel she is one step closer to that goal!” Brittney is improving in this area too, even if the steps are small. Connie said she recently started making new sounds when she is laughing, and every different sound is promising.
Connie works with Brittney every day trying to get her to blow out a candle and having her watch herself in the mirror to observe how her mouth works.
Brittney is glad to be at home, and her family has enjoyed watching her progress and improve the last three months. “We are truly blessed to have the continued support,” said Connie. “There are not enough words we can say to truly express our gratitude!”