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For As Long As It Lasts
Parallel Bars of the non-Olympic Variety
Jennifer - HOT
08/11/2012, Kingston, Ontario

Yesterday Al took 8 steps in the parallel bars. He is doing amazing with his balance, during standing. His sitting balance is very good. Unfortunately I missed his milestone because I was discussing him with his covering physician.

Al's physician is on holidays, so his covering physician now was my boss at the time of my stroke and he is also a friend. We had some very frank discussion about Al's surgery and future prognosis. Having reviewed Al's pre and post chart and surgical record this Dr. said we absolutely made the right choice for surgery. We had an unfortunate out come plain and simple. In his opinion the size and position of Al's tumour was a fatal stroke waiting to happen. He also emphasized that it is too early to predict any outcomes.

Al's stroke was small but deep and historically these types of strokes can have surprising delayed results. The fact that the arm has not responded as yet is not a good sign. But I won't be discouraged by this because in my own experience my arm was the last to respond and at 6 ½ years post stroke now I still see improvements in my hand which has not yet had a full recovery. It doesn't hinder me from doing things, I just do things differently now.

Bridget and I visited tonight with the hope of staying to watch a movie but Al was just too tired so we left him to sleep. Healing a brain is exhausting and even more so when you add in all the new physical efforts.

Kingston, Ontario
It Takes a Village....
08/09/2012, Kingston, Ontario

The last few days have been a struggle and I didn't know quite how to blog about it. Al has been in a serious funk. He has been feeling pretty hopeless. This morning when I arrived he just really wanted to go back to bed and his whole posture was hung low. I snagged his Communication therapist in the hallway and I told her I wasn't sure he'd be at his 11 a.m. therapy. We discussed a plan and some strategies and we wheeled him to his first floor therapy. Audrey in her soothing experienced voice lead the conversation in more of a psychologist type role. I added in dialogue where appropriate but for the most part I was in an observation position. Some kind of magic happened over the course of that hour. I can hardly explain it. I am not sure if it was the questions she asked, the seeds she planted or what exactly it was but at the end of that hour he seemed to have some spark back. His eyes were clearer and his head held higher.

I had packed a lunch so I could eat with him and at 1 p.m.we headed to Physiotherapy. I felt proud of him as I watched him work hard at his exercises, but his effort tugged at my heart when he pushed against gravity to struggle to a standing position with assistance. This was done several times. His therapist asked if he was up for the adventure of trying a couple of steps in the parallel bars. He was too pooped and did not wish to try. So that will be another day.

After Physiotherapy we had an hour until Occupational therapy. We went for a faux gin & tonic and to the sun room to watch some Olympics. I stayed to observe Al in OT where he learned and practiced taking weight through his right arm and shoulder. All these small exercises are building blocks and ways to make new pathways for the brain to make his body work. I remembered these exercises well.

As I sit here writing now I am amazed at how this day did a complete turn around. His village of very skilled and enthusiastic therapists totally rock. I think something clicked for him today and perhaps he is making sense that all these little things lead to the greater picture. Of course his therapists continue to remind me, its early yet.

Kingston, Ontario
08/09/2012 | Jim
Wish I could offer more than my hopes for Al's speedy recovery, but that's all I have. It's hard to read about your struggle, but I'm glad you are brave enough to share it with us, and I hope you take strength from our concern for both of you.
08/11/2012 | David & Alex MacDonald
Glad that you are surrounded by miracle workers... sometimes when you least expect it.
08/05/2012, Kingston, Ontario

Yesterday was a great day. I got to the market and do some groceries, the first time in over a month. I got delivered to SMOL for a visit. Then I got picked up and came home and actually prepared a meal for my friend Deborah G. and me. She made a fresh beet salad, we had fresh market corn and chicken breasts. It was nice to have a home cooked meal and some one to share it with.

Deb delivered Bridget and me back to SMOL. Al was fed and in bed ready for GLEE. He seemed a bit tired but content. . He was happy to have Bridget to cuddle up with. We watched one episode of GLEE and that was all he could manage. Its surprising how much energy it takes to concentrate on a show and be social. All things we take for granted. For a person trying to heal a brain and recover simple things as concentrating suck the life right out of you. He was content with our visit and was ready for lights out. So I packed up Bridget and the lap top and we were home by 8:45. The weekends are long with no therapies so I am thinking of things to keep Al somewhat entertained..

Kingston, Ontario
08/06/2012 | David & Alex MacDonald
Morning -just getting caught up. Glad that things are improving, if albeit slowly, the leg warmers are beautiful and the cookies look delicious. Glad you're taking some time out for you too !
Smarter than a 5th Grader
Jennifer - HOT
08/04/2012, Kingston, Ontario

While Al navigates new skills at SMOL, I am learning all kinds of new computer skills here alone. I relied on him heavily for all my computer trouble-shooting. With out him at my service I am being forced to figure out things for myself. I'm feeling a bit smug at my accomplishments. I figured out the link to feature on here. Linking my knitting project was a huge challenge when trying to link to Ravelry. After several tries. The link would only take you to where you could sign in to Ravelry. If you had an account you could sign in otherwise it asked you to make an account to see my project. I knew there must be a way to link directly to my current project without being a member. I searched the Ravelry and found the button to make my project Public and not the default to Ravelry subscribers. Quite a lesson in frustration. I didn't give up and am proud to know I just might be smarter than a 5th grader.

This morning I am off to the market and then to see Al. Bridget is now back with me full time as my sister is off to PEI for 2 weeks. So I am coping with giving all my loved ones fair time and juggling meeting their needs. Tonight the 3 of us will spend some family time together.

Kingston, Ontario
08/04/2012 | PCM
Well, give the big guy a hug from all of us. Congratulations on moving to the head of your computer class Jen. We look forward to,your posts every day.
Hospital Knitting
08/03/2012, Kingston, Ontario

I started these leg warmers the day before Al's surgery and finished them July 31st. They were a great hospital project. Not difficult, just something to keep my mind busy. I love the yarn which is a combination of merino paired with a lace weight super kid mohair giving it a sweet halo. The colour is Eggplant. This is an over due gift for Al's daughter Natasha. I think I'll be making leg warmers for me too. Also featured here.

In other news I observed Al in his physiotherapy for a few minutes today and he was working hard. His mood is lifting as he sees some little improvements.

Bridget had her Wellness Physical today and I was provided with a current Health Certificate. This will enable her to visit with Al, in his room at SMOL. Tomorrow night the three of us will cuddle in Al's bed and watch GLEE.

Kingston, Ontario
50/50 Cookies
08/03/2012, Kingston, Ontario

As a thank you to the staff on Kidd 7 at KGH I made some cookies (50/50, meaning 50 % chocolate 50% dough) which I took over fresh for the shift change this morning. Everyone was asking how Al was transitioning. Al is making the change and adjusting to a more rigorous routine. His first couple of days he seemed sad and overwhelmed but I think that is normal. I am leaving him alone more now so he can engage in his therapies and realize his potential.

Miss Bridget has a Wellness appointment this afternoon with her new veterinarian. After she receives her up to date paper work I will take her to SMOL to see Al. Her clean bill of health will go on Al's file and she can visit in his room.

I plan to take the lap top on Saturday night and Bridget and the three of us will cozy up in bed and watch some GLEE.

I'm trying to add the cookie link here, hopefully it works, my computer expert is in the hospital.

Kingston, Ontario
08/03/2012 | Tonia
Those cookies were amazing! Send me the recipe when you can! So happy to hear Daddy's in better spirits!
08/03/2012 | Pete
Atta boy, Al. Keep chuggin' ahead. We're with you every day, all the way.
08/03/2012 | Steve Dettman
I hope Al can eat one of those cookies too

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Who: Al, Jennifer & Bridget.
Port: Kingston, Ontario
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