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Monday, June 27, 2011

Stage Three: Outpatient Therapy (and Miscellanies)

When we last left our hero, he was bounding up stairs (ok, not bounding), eating salads, and reading Richard Scarry.  He was anxiously awaiting the removal of his PEG tube and the ability (and permission!) to sleep upstairs.

Currently: we have sent back the wheelchair and hospital bed.  Ian sleeps upstairs.  I no longer escort him to the bathroom/shower (he still uses a shower seat).  He is fully capable of making his own meals, although digging around in the fridge sometimes presents a problem (balance AND leaning, not so much).

The PEG tube is gone; no more wires!  Naturally, he is thrilled by this development.

Thanks to my MIL's fortuitous Christmas gift, he's able to read ... although it's not a comfortable, relaxing activity, it CAN be done.  (Current reads: Robinson Crusoe and More Than a Carpenter.)

At the annual Church Beer Fest (don't ask!), he partook of his first ABS2 barley-based beverage.

Most foods are on the menu; he is careful with each bite and swallow and aware of his limitations (read: nothing dry, like crackers or toast without loads of butter ...).

We have now moved from in-home therapy to out.  We travel twice a week and Ian has speech, occupational and physical therapy concurrently ... so a grueling 3-hr session each visit.  He is expected (and is harassed) into following up with a series of exercises at home.

Hi, I'm Ian.
I promise not to
stand up so fast next time.
His right side, tinglenumbs, is status quo.  His eye dance remains.  He sees a neuro-ophthalmologist mid-July for lots of testing and hopefully some answers on that front.  His balance is FAR from stellar; he has had only 3 falls so far (we like to call them "floor transfers"), however one was QUITE exciting ... a leap up out of bed led to a tree-esque back-flop.  Luckily he spared his head and the subsequent EKG showed all was well.  When a very large man falls flat, it's IMPRESSIVE! (also, amazingly enough in our house, he made contact with NOTHING on the way down.  It was like there was already one of those chalk outline guys there, waiting for him like a target.)

We went to Ian's (office? employer? business?) for a visit, and everyone seemed very pleased to see him up and about.  It did him good to chat and reconnect, I think.  They seemed amenable to his return, whenever that may be or however that might look, so that's encouraging.  Even if they were "smiling and nodding," I think it gave him a hopeful boost.

A bit of humor ("...If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane"):  Parents of young(ish) children will no doubt recall the first Cars. At the end of the movie, Luigi, the tire salescar, is flabbergasted to be visited by "a real Ferari!!!  Guido!  Punch me! Punch me in the face! THIS is the most GLORIOUS day of ma life."  (After which Guido keels over.)  Ian has named his right hand "Guido" because, in fact, it DOES frequently punch him in the face (fine and gross motor skills are severely lacking as yet).  See, I told you he was in good spirits! :)

What you can do:
Pray, naturally; this is the long haul portion of recovery.  New territory, no real answers, just hard work that provides tiny improvements.
Encourage: "you look great!"s are becoming commonplace, which is lovely.
Challenge: sometimes rather than attempt something, Ian will look at me and give me a mope to say, "could you do this?"  Trying, failing, then asking for help is one thing, but lack of attempt -- even if it's something you haven't tried before -- is not only counter-productive, it's very UNlike my husband. (look, I'm not a she-devil; I don't bark orders or force him to take out the trash.)  Sometimes he needs a, "hey, bring me that hammer, would ya?" kind of prodding to prove to himself that as cumbersome as it may be, he CAN and SHOULD do stuff.

*After Brain Surgery #2

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