Lamar Odom still faces a long road to recovery, but the 14-year NBA veteran has reportedly started taking the critical first steps in that journey.
Odom, 35, was rushed to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas on Oct. 13 after being found unconscious at a legal brothel. The hospitalization followed a several-day period during which the two-time NBA champion and 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the Year reportedly drank Cognac, took too many doses of a brand of "herbal Viagra" that has been the subject of multiple warnings by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and, according to claims made by a brothel employee captured in 911 recordings released by the Nye County (Nev.) Sheriff's Office, allegedly used cocaine.
After three days of "fighting for his life" in a medically induced coma, Odom reportedly regained consciousness on Friday, resumed breathing on his own, and spoke a few words. His turn for the better continued Saturday. While he remained in critical condition in Sunrise's intensive care unit, Odom reportedly became "more conversational" and improved to the point that he was "texting and 'speaking sentences' from his hospital bed."
The progress continued Sunday, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
[...] Odom has shown enough steady improvement in recent days at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center that he has started physical therapy, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
Odom has not experienced any setbacks after breathing without the help of a ventilator in the past three days. He's showing marked improvement with his breathing, vision and the ability to have simple conversations, sources said.
Odom is slated to begin physical therapy that will show whether the 35-year-old former basketball player can walk, said sources familiar with Odom’s progression. But it remains unclear how well he can navigate that challenge.
Regaining mobility promises to be a daunting task, but according to Natalie Finn and Holly Passalaqua of E! Online, it's one Odom has begun to take, with some help:
E! News has exclusively learned that Odom passed a swallow test, a promising sign of neurological function and an important step because doctors took out his breathing tube and needed to ensure he could swallow on his own.
We've also learned that Odom was helped out of bed for the first time since being hospitalized Tuesday night. He was moved with assistance into a chair and his breathing showed no signs of distress. He continues to wear a mask to aid the flow of oxygen but he's breathing on his own.
While the developments of the last three days are certainly heartening to those of us who feared the worst in the hours and days after news of Odom's hospitalization first spread, it's important to remember that they represent small positive events in the much larger and more complicated context of his overall health and well-being. Hospital officials have continued to decline to comment on Odom's condition, according to the AFP, and a needed pumping of the brakes comes from (of all places) TMZ:
Doctors are telling Lamar's friends and family rehabilitation will take many months, and they believe an undetermined amount of damage to his body will be permanent.
We're told Lamar will have physical, speech, and other therapists working with him for the foreseeable future.
Even that note of caution, though, rests on the likelihood that Lamar Odom has a foreseeable future. That likelihood has increased quite a bit over the last 72 hours; for the moment, that seems reason to celebrate.
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