‘This man is such an inspiration’
By DIANA REGIER
News Review Correspondent
For those not familiar with the story, Bob Jornales suffered a stroke while visiting in Panama with his wife Hanh. After spending weeks in a Panama hospital, he was discharged from intensive care earlier this week and moved to a recovery ward.
The family put out a call to Ridgecrest family and friends (www.gofundme.com/bob-jornales-medical-expenses) to find help with mounting medical expenses. Daughter-in-law Shannon Chappell Thompson has been posting updates, and supporters have been leaving messages of encouragement.
In the meantime, Bob has been making steady progress in his recovery. He began with sitting up on his own, practicing his posture, and standing — which then led to Bob taking 12 assisted steps.
A consequence of the stroke was some double vision, though that is reportedly improving as well. He also practices facial muscle exercises with Hanh and uses the Physical Therapy gym located in the bottom floors of the hospital.
Those who don’t know Bob, may not be aware that he is an artist. Bob has started sketching with his left hand.
“This man is such an inspiration, continuing his PT exercises on his own, focusing his mind on recovery and making the necessary strides to get there,” said Thompson. “His mental state is an example for all of us — at 71 years old, we have a lot to learn from Bob!”
Thompson said Bob “faced one small bump with a positive bacterial growth test for pneumonia, but the doctors were proactive in combating this infection with antibiotics (the one remaining IV).”
There were a few other hiccups in the transition from ICU to standard care that seemed to stem from miscommunication between the two departments during transition. Another issue that arose after the transfer was the family being told they had to pay, in cash at the end of the day, for each of the technicians to sit with Bob throughout the day. This added to the stress of the situation, but there is hope that things will get worked through.
The doctors in charge of Bob’s care have informed the family that he can be discharged as early as this coming Friday if the next CT scan shows improvement. Bob’s daughter Mary is now working toward getting discharge papers in order, so a flight back to the states can be arranged.
Mary has remained in Panama to provide support and to stay on top of all the care and administrative details. She even found a jiu-jitsu class close to the hospital. Hanh met another Vietnamese woman who made pho at her local restaurant. Day 13 update shares, “As much fun as they’ve had exploring Panama, I know everyone is homesick and ready to return.
On the homefront, there is an effort to find a primary care physician, neurologist and physical therapists. In Ridgecrest, this is no easy task and there have been many closed doors due to clinics not currently taking new patients. The family was finally able to secure a primary care appointment for March 20.
Bob’s family expresses “a very big thank you to the neighbors of Ridgecrest who have offered equipment for Bob’s recovery upon his return. This takes a huge burden from the family — your generosity will enable his quick recovery at home and we very much appreciate your generosity,” said Thompson.
“Your prayers and help have brought us so far, Bob’s strides forward are indicative of how uplifting and inspiring support from friends and family can be!”
Pictured: Bob Journales and his wife, Hahn, still in a Panama hospital. -- Courtesy photoStory First Published: 2017-03-17