Friday, February 27, 2009

So you want to know more about concussions?

Many of you know Garrett (11 yo) suffered a concussion Wednesday night (February 18th) in the 4th quarter of his basketball game. He lost momentary consciousness and has little memory of the game.

Our doctor said he needed to be mellow (no sports) for the next 2-3 weeks. At least one coach was surprised it was so long.

An online friend mentioned she had done reseach after two of her sons suffered severe concussions. One suffered with pain for a year. She said Garrett should not do any sports for two weeks AFTER the symptoms subside. She said teaching others about the seriousness of concussions is a crusade of hers. It is now mine, too.

This got me looking around the internet. According to two sources, Garrett's concussion was moderate to severe (between a Grade 2 and 3) or severe (Grade 3). Shelly witnessed the whole thing.....she says Grade 3.

A week later, he still has a headache, neck ache and occasional dizziness......I will say he still has the ability to argue with his siblings......that's a good sign, right? :)

Concussions are a mild form of TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury.

It usually affects JR/SR aged kids, though occasionally into the college-aged adults.

I wanted to share the info I found, for those of you involved with sports, either as a coach, or a parent.....or both.

Be sure to view the mini-documentary below.

But first, here are some interesting quotes, all taken out of context, and from several sources:

Second Impact Syndrome. Aka SIS. The two cases described above involved repeated head trauma with probable concussions that separately might be considered mild but in additive effect were fatal. The risk for catastrophic effects from successive seemingly mild concussions sustained within a short period is not yet widely recognized. Second Impact Syndrome results from acute, usually fatal, brain swelling that occurs when a second concussion is sustained before complete recovery from a previous concussion that causes vascular congestion and increased intracranial pressure, which may be difficult or impossible to control. (There does seem to be debate about whether this actually exists or not.....seems like a moot point to me.......playing before healed seems pretty dangerous to me.)

Neurologists say once a person suffers a concussion, he is as much as four times more likely to sustain a second one. Moreover, after several concussions, it takes less of a blow to cause the injury and requires more time to recover. (Think football players & boxers.)

Depending on the extent and location of the injury, impairments caused by a head injury can vary widely. The irony of mild head injuries is that often, such injuries do not even require a hospital stay, yet they result in changes so profound that lives are forever changed.

The condition most commonly occurs in American football

Every documented case of SIS has occurred in males, but it is not known whether this is due to a special vulnerability or to a greater exposure of males to second impacts.

You must look at just one link: this is a great video documentary

This is a good, to the point definition

Another website here

Good list of signs and symptoms

About amnesia

About returning to play after a head injury

GRADING the concussion

a great handout for those of you needing one for parents, etc

Full of statistics, and from an MD point of view

Lots of info and links at wikipedia

Interesting info about POST-CONCUSSION SYNDROME

Summary of Recommendations of Management of Concussion in Sports below taken from here

Garrett had at least 6 of the nine below, at some point of his injury.

A concussion is defined a head-trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Concussions are graded in three categories. Definitions and treatment recommendations for each category are presented below.

Grade 1 Concussion

Definition: Transient Confusion, no loss of consciousness, and a duration of mental status abnormalities of less than 15 minutes.

Management: The athlete should be removed from sports activity, examined immediately and at 5 minute intervals, and allowed to return that day to the sports activity only if post concussive symptoms resolve within 15 minutes. Any athlete who incurs a second Grade 1 concussion on the same day should be removed from sports activity until asymptomatic for 1 week.

Grade 2 Concussion:

Definition: Transient confusion, no loss of consciousness, and a furation of mental status abnormalities of more than 15 minutes.

Management: The athlete should be removed from sports activity, examined immediately and frequently to assess the evolution of symptoms, with more extensive diagnostic evaluation if the symptoms worsen or persist for more than 1 week. The should return to sports activity only after asymptomatic for 1full week. Any athlete who incurs a Grade 2 concussion subsequent to a Grade 1 concussion on the same day should be removed from sports activity until asymptomatic for 2 weeks.

Grade 3 Concussion:

Definition: Loss of consciousness, either brief (seconds) or prolonged (minutes or longer).

Management: The athlete should be removed from sports activity for 1 full week without symptoms if the loss of consciousness is brief, or 2 full weeks without symptoms if the loss of consciousness is prolong. If still unconscious, or if abnormal neurologic signs are present at the time of initial evaluation, the athlete should be transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital emergency department. An athlete who suffers a second Grade 3 concussion should be removed from sports activity until asymptomatic for 1 month. Any athlete with an abnormality on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging brain scan consistent with brain swelling, contusion, or other intracranial pathology should be removed from sports activities for the season and discouraged from future return to participation in contact sports.

Features of Concussion Frequently Observed:

1.Vacant stare (befuddled facial expression)

2.Delayed verbal and motor responses (slow to answer questions or follow instructions)

3.Confusion and inability to focus attention (easily distracted and unable to follow through with normal activities)

4.Disorientation (walling in the wrong direction; unaware of time, date and place)

5.Slurred or incoherent speech (making disjointed or incomprehensible statements)

6.Gross observable incoordination (stumbling, inability to walk tandem/straight line)

7.Emotions out of proportion to circumstances (distraught, crying for no apparent reason)

8.Memory deficits (exhibited by the athlete repeatedly asking the same question that has already been answered, or inability to memorize and recall 3 of 3 words, or 3 of 3 objects in 5 minutes)

9.Any period of loss of consciousness (paralytic coma, unresponsiveness to arousal)

Prayers for his continued healing requested. He is missing the last two weeks of basketball season.........and at least two more weeks of ski/snowboard season. It is hard to keep him off the hill.........but I just have to.

A picture thought I am sharing........

A great, sunny and warm January ski day.


Looking for more of those days in March......

God bless,

Love Chari

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Memoriam........

AGE 18ish

Today is the 24th anniversary of my mother-in-law's death. I still miss her so much, even if I did only get a few years with her........and only 6 months as my mother-in-law. We had a lot in common. We both loved to read, to play Trivial pursuit (she beat me BIG every.single.time. :) ), art, music......and Marty. :)

She died at age 50 years, after suffering for three years with Lou Gehrig's Disease, also known as ALS......amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal form of muscular dystrophy. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Marilyn was so brave, such an inspiration to all of us in her suffering. The night that she died, she called Marty to say goodbye.....and then later, in the wee hours of the morning, it was the phone call we had been expecting, but it still caught us asleep, literally. I do not remember what time it was.....3 am, 4? I do remember Marty and I lit the candles on our mantle and prayed a rosary together, and then we took a walk to a nearby park.

I try to keep her memory alive for my children, none of whom she ever met. We have offered every Rosary for 24 years, in her memory. Her picture above is always in their view.

She was already ill when Marty and I got engaged. In fact, now that I think about it......if we had not got married three months after we got engaged.........she never would have made it to the wedding. We still did not think she would be able to travel, but Marty's brother Bill made it happen. I am ever so grateful to him. Marilyn was SO happy at our wedding. I always remember that. I love the candid photos taken on that day.....she just shines. She died six months later.

Rest in Peace, Marilyn

February 26, 1986

The only photo I can find of baby Marty and his mother.
This was moments before the Kentuckian born fella migrated to California.
Brother David smiles on.

Marty's parents stand with us.

Marty's whole family at our wedding.

With one of her many grandchildren, Jeniffer.

One more thing:
I had mentioned a long while back, in my prayer requests, for a friend whose father was dying of brain cancer. It is actually Marty's friend. Well, her father died today, on the same day. They still thought there was another month, and Terri missed getting to be there when he died. She had been planning on staying with him shortly, till he died, but she never made it. I know this must be so hard for her. She is very close to her parents, especially as an only child. Please pray for their family, and the repose of his soul.
Thank you.
Love, chari

Happy 19th birthday...... my sweet young friend!

Clare is best friends to my girls. I have known her , or of her, for almost ten years. Her mom is my best friend (one of those few)...and her brothers are best friends to my boys. Sometimes the girls think Clare and I have a lot in common.....hope that doesn't scare you, Clare! :)

Say an Ave for Clare for her Birthday today!

Clare, my gift to you will be a whole Rosary. :)

God's blessings to you on this day and always.


Chari and the rest of Our Hearts' Haven characters

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It Is Ash Wednesday

St. Augustine,
my SAINT for 2009,
has this to say.......

Do not follow any road, but that which Christ trod.

This road seems hard, but it is safe.

May you have a fruitful Lent!

I am praying for you!



The above photo taken by yours truly in San Rafael, California, last Spring, when we visited the lovely St. Vincent’s Home for Boys.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009



***** A YEAR IN PICTURES *****


In honor of Sarah's birthday last week, I have compiled her last year, in photos.

Boy, will she be surprised!

My crafty & generous little fella, 7 yo Malachy, announces Sarah's age for this birthday!

The photo above: A candid of Sarah, taken during the rehearsal of "Don't Mention My Name"

photo by J. Young


Sarah has had quite a year!

Let's take a look,



Snowboarding at the base of the beautiful Mount Shasta!

Hugging her 11 year old brother Garrett, in the ski park parking lot.


Visiting Muir Woods, with oldest sister Anne, and little friend Claremarie.

Sarah, kneeling, with Anne, planting seeds in our garden.

Jiddee (Arabic for grandpa) with three granddaughters:

Maddelyn, 13, Sarah, 15 & Anne 19

Taken after Anne's Jazz concert

Sarah, preparing grape leaves for our grape leaf rolls for our annual Lebanese Feast, with our Lebanese Grandpa, aka Jiddee.

The next four pictures were taken during the rehearsal and performances of Disney's Aristocats, put on by a cast at a local public school.

Anne was the choreographer.

Sarah was the stage manager.

Maddelyn was the dance captain.

The girls assisted in making this back drop for the show.

Sarah, Maddelyn & Anne.

Three sisters.

Sarah with a cat and with our little friend Clementine, who came to watch one of the shows.

Sarah & Maddelyn model the caps made by Linda V. for the geese in the play.

Kathy Y., the director in the background, with smiling Sarah.

Annual May piano recital.


The two photos above:

Sarah is dressed up for a part in a murder mystery play for Sierra's 18th birthday.

What fun!

A very pregnant Aunt Jennifer came by for a visit in June. Big sister Anne looking on.

The next large batch a photos represent a most wonderful and fantastical visit to our friends in the Sierras. It was like time was stopped. It is usually like that with these friends, as we float through our days. All four girls: my three, and their only one, Clare, had sewn Regency Era (Jane Austen) dresses before they got together. The plan was a photo shoot, with Matthew as the photographer. The site: a lake high up in the Sierras. There were about 200 pictures!

Sarah & Clare

Sarah, Clare, Anne & Maddelyn

Sarah does EVERYBODYS' hair, from little girls to big sisters, like Anne.

Sarah with Kevin and son Aidan for a ride on an "old" boat :)

Sitting on the dock at the lake

In Willa's kitchen.....the girls were trying to hide from me while I tried to get their picture.

Maddelyn & Sarah

Later in the week, after we returned from the lake, the girls found vintage costumes to wear for another photo shoot. I could not pick just one.........there were at least 30!

On our last night, there was a swing dance!

Sarah & partner 5 yo Paddy have at it on the dance floor!

When we got home from Willa's home in the Sierras, we greeted our friends the Z Family of Carson City, Nevada. Here are photos of Sarah during that visit:

Chatting at the table.....

Watching the boys being goofy........from our porch swing, built by Matthew

Sadie is at her feet

Sarah sweetly made this cake for the youngest Z, Jace..........who turned 13 while visiting us

He is an excellent baseball player.

A few days later, we headed north to visit Crator Lake National Park. Mine and Marty's first visit since our honeymoon 23 years before, almost to the day.....and the kids first visit ever.

The three sisters.maddelyn.anne.sarah.

The six siblings

Anne, Matthew, Maddleyn, Garrett, Malachy & Sarah

Those same six

Anne, Matthew, Sarah, Malachy, Maddelyn & Garrett

Two weeks later, Marty's cousin Debora & family came for a visit. We visited many lovely sopts.....including these falls, where Sarah took a jump

And, the week after that........we headed south, to meet up with my dad at Disneyland...but, first, a few stops on the way........

Sarah & her siblings: Garrett, Matthew, Malachy & Maddelyn on Sunset Blvd, stopping by a favorite store.

Sweet sisters, Sarah & Maddelyn, in the Pacific Ocean, right next to the Santa Monica Pier

Ahhhhh, we have arrived at Disneyland!

Hearts' Haven kids with their grandpa: Georgie-pop, who treated for Disneyland

Garrett, Maddelyn, George, Matthew, Malachy & Sarah

Sarah on the left, in black, grinning. I am in the back with my hands up. silly.

Next to me is my niece Kaydance, and in front is my niece Venice.....Teresa's girls.

This was the last photo I took........before my favorite camera BUSTED!

I love this photo or Sarah and her two cousins: Kaydance, 12 & Venice, 15

Gotta love this horse's tongue on the carousel at Disneyland.

A candid

FALL 2008

Sarah meets her new cousin, 2 week old Jaylen Reeves, 4th child of Aunt Jennifer & Uncle Rob

Sarah meets my godson, Benedict Michael, for the first time, just before his baptism.

Sarah drew these pictures in the fall.....

The weekend before Thanksgiving, my kids were part of a production at our local charter school.

Anne was the co-director, Matthew had the lead....and Sarah & Maddelyn each had good parts. Garrett did the lights.

Sister Sarah & Brother Matthew during a rehearsal

Sarah, aka Sylvia Dutton, & her partner in the play, Dexter Chandler, played by Gavin B

Funny, these two were married to each other in their first play, in Charlotte's Web. :)

Matthew, with his partner in the play, and Sarah with hers.

Sarah & her Georgie-Pop, during Christmas Season, 2008

And, that is it!

What a long year........what a lot of work to create this! :)

Happy Sweet 16, Sarah!!!!!

Love your family