07/28/2012, Kingston, Ontario
Al has gone up another notch on the food chain. His next step will be a regular diet. This morning he got toast (sans crust) and Cheerios. A welcome change from oat meal and cream of wheat and puddings and fruit sauces. His new diet allows him choices which is nice. He is becoming more independent during meal time.
I am a bit of an enabler and I was busted yesterday helping Rodney shave. I had not clued into the fact that OT(Occupational Therapy) had been trying to get him more independent for his impending discharge. Ooops. It was discovered he was not advancing to independence quickly because I was dancing to his tune. His OT explained to him that he needed to shave himself, because I wouldn't be going home with him. (What a relief that was to hear.) If he asked me for help, I gave it. Its just my nature. So now that I have been instructed not to help him but to encourage him that he can do things himself, guess I will get more knitting done now. This forced me to think about how much help I am giving Al. So I am trying to step back and let him do more things for himself.
Unfortunately Al does have a degree of aphasia. His cognition is impaired. I think with time and strategies this will improve. He can communicate. A lot of words have escaped him but he still manages to get his point across with a lot of non-verbal communication. His therapist has already given me some strategies.
I am seeing a bit more movement in his right leg every day. This is super encouraging. No improvement yet in his right arm but based on my own experience I am not surprised and I will not let go of the idea that it will return in time and with intense therapy.
07/27/2012, Kingston, Ontario
I took Friday afternoon off and Kiley and I rented a car and went to the Faris'cottage on Charleston Lake. Bridget came for the outting and enjoyed some swim time with Kiley.
Al has been accepted to SMOL. He could go as early as next week, as soon as a bed becomes available. We are very excited for him to get there and have much more intense physiotherapy and speech therapy. My sister Cathy was going to see over him at dinner tonight. Once he gets St. Mary's I will back off on the amount of time I spend with him. He will be involved in rigorous therapy and he needs time to become more independent in his daily activities.
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.