07/26/2012, Kingston, Ontario
Below is my sweet Jane's explanation re: P &QF
"Quail feathers are considered among the most beautiful bird feathers...at least here in the South! And Peace, well it just doesn't get better than that!! If only we could reach that beautiful state in our world....
I laughed when I read your blog earlier because I knew that it would be strange to most people. In reality, I have NO EARTHLY idea what the "farewell message" truly means. I do know it is positive because one cannot say it without smiling. So....upon reflection, I think it must wish everyone beauty and peace in their lives.
So, how's that, for invention. ??
Peace and Quail feathers! Jane"
07/25/2012, Kingston, Ontario
I am trying to be sensitive of taking and posting photographs of Al. I believe a year from now he will look at these and not believe how far he has come. I regret not having more photos of me during my process.
Al was not keen to get shorts on or shoes today. He and I had a bit of a struggle over it, but I gently told him the ladies preferred him clothed for physiotherapy and that supportive shoes would benefit his progress. I won in the end and we had time before lunch for a stroll to the sun room and he agreed to a game of Farkle. This is a game we learned in the south. He did well and he stayed focused and was in the lead when lunch arrived.
After lunch he did very well in physiotherapy. He tried out some new transfers, practicing from his chair to a plinth. He seems to be getting the hang of it. Lisa is very good and direct with him. She emphasized again that he is absolutely ready for SMOL. She said there had been much discussion amongst the team about his readiness and there was question as to which service he would be more appropriate for. The stroke program or the ABI (acquired brain injury) program. This was a surprise to me. I personally am leaning toward the stroke program. In any even the rehab team from SMOL will talk with us tomorrow. So I hope we will know more about the where and when.
I think his cognitive issues at this stage are normal and more consistent with stroke than brain injury. I guess the only consolation is that traditionally ABI rehab keeps you longer as an inpatient. I guess time will tell.
I also want to thank people for their kind words and encouraging emails, blog posts, cards and support which takes all forms. We have had some lovely emails from blog followers who(m?) we have never even met before. It never ceases to amaze me the kindnesses of the world when all we hear of lately is shootings and craziness.
Peace and quail feathers to all.
07/25/2012, Kingston, Ontario
As of yesterday Al is totally unplugged from IV and feeding tube. If I am repeating myself its because I am over worked and under paid. The feeding tube will stay for 6 weeks. Al is doing well in his physiotherapy. He does not enjoy it. I bribed him yesterday with a reward of a milkshake and a walk outside. The chairs are hard for me to muscle so I couldn't get him right over to the water, but I elicited some giggles from him when I got us caught between some doors and almost lost control with a parked car. Today my arm muscles still feel the work out from yesterday. Lisa, Al's physiotherapist says Al is definitely ready for the next step which is a move to St. Mary's. I was ecstatic to hear this because I was more advanced when they accepted me. Lisa and I discussed this floor is more focused on medicine and not rehab. Lisa had suggested to staff using the sera lift (a mechanical standind lift)for transfers for Al but they insist on using the sling lift. Really it is because it is less effort and quicker for them. Its like last week I butted heads with a staff member, (not a physician) about Al's catheter. She felt he would be better with it. I was insisting he would be more comfortable having it out. She was a PCA and I know her reasons were because it would make her job easier. I stood my ground, and Al has been much better without the catheter. To ease her pain I have been stepping up and doing urinal duty and diaper changing myself. Its taken a week but I finally can place that diaper in the right position so its no longer looking like a thong. So, I got off track there. St. Mary's is much more rehab focused so I expect to see progress there. I just hope there are no new brewing infections that might hold us back. Fingers and toes crossed.
07/24/2012, Kingston, Ontario
Slowly Al's medical issues are getting sorted out. He will soon be finished his IV course of antibiotics and his bladder/kidney pelvic ultrasound came back normal. He is getting up once daily mostly using a machine to aid in standing and transferring to a chair which is good. He is working on his balance in sitting and standing. Learning his new center of gravity and how to place and shift his weight is challenging.
We are making gains and this recovery will be at a snail's pace. I take comfort in knowing we have all the time in the world. We are not in a rush to live the dream. Unlike so many people, we had three years of living the dream on CloseKnit. Maybe at some future date we can return to boat life or maybe not, but until then we revel in the memories we were fortunate to create. We are not in the category of folks saying "wish we had of done that". We did it and enjoyed it, now health will chart the course.
07/23/2012, Kingston, Ontario
On Sunday Al continued to have increasing pain in his abdomen and bladder area. It was difficult to get clear information from him about how related it might be to peeing. The urologist has ordered some tests to help sort this out. Due to his bladder pain/spasms he was only up for a short time on Sunday and we didn't get out and have the hoped for visit with Bridget. After Tonia left, I helped Al with his supper and when he was settled I walked home.
Tomorrow will be the start of a new routine. I want to be with Al each meal time to help him manage the packaging that comes with a meal. Doing this one handed can be onerous and very discouraging when you are learning to navigate your new life as a one handed person. Of course I am still hopeful that over time Al will regain use of his right arm as I did with my left upper extremity. At 6 years post stroke I just now can open packets of salt and pepper and open milk cartons. So Al has a long road ahead.
I will figure out getting to and fro with the use of public transit, my bike and family/friends when that can happen. But it is important to me to be there to help him at meal time. I get coffee to have with Al at breakfast time and tea to have at lunch and dinner. We continue to have our coffee and tea "cheers" which helps to feel a bit normal.
Al's speech is getting better and stronger. On occasion he has some trouble articulating but for the most part he's improving in that area.
Above Al is trying his best symmetrical smile, we have a way to go yet.
We are into a new week and hopefully things will get figured out and we will experience some more success.
07/21/2012, Kingston General Hospital
Al had another swallowing assessment by Emma early Friday afternoon. Al excelled two levels by passing puree and cruised directly to minced. I was thrilled and he was pleased. The orange note above his bed was changed to reflect his new diet. All meds crushed by mouth also. His first meal Friday night was anticipated. Al was quite excited to tie into some real food. It was a turkey dinner......minced form, which was barely tolerated with a screwed up face. Dessert was a vanilla pudding. Al fed himself but was not keen on the over minced green beans. All in all he was not thrilled with his new diet but he tried his best tolerance. it's a start.
Saturday he had his first shower. Our PCA Dave muscled him into a shower chair and we showered him, I helped by holding the nozzle and I was hyper vigilant about Al falling forward out of the chair. Turned out I was so uptight about Al's safety Dave suggested I not watch. I decided it best he do his job without my help and left the two of them alone to shower away. I returned in time to wipe Al down and polish him off. I then left Dave alone to muscle Al back into bed. When an HRT chair became available (there are only 6 for the floor) we snagged it so after lunch Tonia and I could take Al out for a walk along the water front. Al seems to be having confusion between reality and hallucination? at times. He was confused about his foot wear and was challenging Tonia and I on his brown slipper foot wear. He has blue slip on pseudo sandals, but he wanted his brown slippers. Al does not own brown slippers. It was quite comical really and he was flustered, as were we. Some giggling ensued between us but in the end he let us take him out with the blue slip ons on his feet. We strolled along the water front and he watched boats, kite boarding and generally enjoyed some sun and wind on his face. When he tired we took him back in and he was ready for a nap. After a short nap his 2nd supper in two nights arrived. It was a beef stew type thing, minced. He downed it pretty quickly and did not want the potatoes or green that was minced. He did eat his rice pudding though. This seemed exhausting for him. His nurse had given him some pain medication just before supper and it seemed to be kicking in and he was sleepy. Tonia and I left him to come home for our supper and it was Tonia's intent to go back for the evening. I stayed behind to have a wee break. All in all it was a good day. First shower and Al is staying up longer and longer and interacting more as his energy allows. He is confused at times and has some difficulty in word finding, but I know these things get better with time. Tomorrow is another day.