Ok, bear with me because this blog might be longer than others but it will be worth your time. Today was the big day - my dad came home today! We went up to Brooks this morning and got one more visitor sticker and helped bring all this stuff down and put it in the suburban so that when it was time for him to leave, it would be easy for him to get in the car and go! The "It's your time to shine" gets put on the patients door on the day they are being discharged and they also get a neat little ribbon that says "Brooks Rehabilitation Graduate"....
I thought it was nice that each of my dads therapists came by to tell him good bye and tell him how great he has done and that he will continue to improve, that he hasn't even plateaued yet! From left to right there is Johnathan - who encouraged my dad to eat when he didn't have much of an appetite, here lately my dad started telling everybody that he would go to dinner alone and 'eat with the guys.' Susanna was my dads occupational therapist. She helped him learn how to get dressed, brush his teeth, wash his hands, the every day things that you and I take for granted. I feel bad that I don't know the name of the next person in the gray shirt - I wasn't there for as much of his afternoon therapy sessions as I was for the mornings but I am told that she helped with Bioness in the afternoons which is what they put on my dads right arm and it stimulates the muscles to open and close his hand. The next picture is with Vince, another one of the 'guys' that my dad would eat with and also somebody who worked side by side with the physical therapist. Next would be Michael - my dad's physical therapist. He helped to get my dad walking again, but will tell you it isn't about what he can do for my dad, but only helping my dad with what God has given him, he says the he is the instrument that God uses to help people get back to life. Then there is his speech therapist. He showed great improvement, even though speech has been the most difficult so far. I can't even begin to name all the nurses who have been there to help him and encourage him. Even if they didn't have my dad, some of them would come and check on him because they were so inspired and uplifted by his progress. I am grateful for the nurses who also looked out of my mom and encouraged her when she needed it. It is about so much more than just taking care of my dads physical needs to these people, but also listening and encouraging my mom and our family. My dad would not be where he is today if it weren't for the kind hearted, patient people who worked with him day in and day out - and who truly believed in him and that he could overcome this.
As I peeled off my visitor badge from Brooks, I thought this chapter closes at Brooks with my dad, but somehow I don't think that book is finished for me yet. I hope that when I go to Brooks again, it is to gather observation hours towards becoming a therapy assistant. I'm not sure if it will be occupational or physical therapy, but my dads physical therapist was very encouraging and told me if I have the means to go forth and purse it then I should. He pointed out my heart and compassion and desire to see others succeed. He also told me that maybe my dads accident was to show me my calling. That probably wasn't the first time I heard that. He then told me that he was in school to be an elementary teacher and his father had a similar situation as my dads, and he ended up becoming a physical therapist. He has been doing this for 13 years and says he has found his 'niche' and has never regretted the choice. He views his job as a labor of love.
I got the call from Vanessa at about 11:15 that they were in the car and heading home! I was actually out running errands with my brother and my boys and trying to find some last minute things. When we got home he was eating some lunch, but I told my sister to make sure she took pictures of him as he was coming into the house! At one point he stood up from the couch and said he would be back and went to walk out the front door. He can not just get up and go by himself, somebody needs to be with him since his leg is still weak. He kept telling me to stay but I said no I didn't want him to fall or get hurt. So he walked out the front door, down the ramp and around the front yard and then went and looked at the truck and then stood by the ramp and was doing some squats and lifting his leg and knees up and stretching them out and then he went to walk around the yard again and I told him we should sit on the porch for a little break. He agreed! When we went back inside we thought he was saying, "I missed you" to my brother and then he turned to me and said, "I will miss you." He thought he would have to go back to Brooks so we had to explain to him that he was home. He took a little nap, today was a big day for him. He woke up when grandma and pop stopped by to help fix a light that was literally burning up and smoking...
My dad got up from his little nap when grandma and pop got there. Pop took some measurements and checked what was going on and then he and my mom went to the store to get what he needed to fix it. They ended up having to replace the entire thing. When we took the old one down we realized that my dad had drilled a lot of holes in search of the stud in the ceiling to mount the four foot long light. And we didn't mark where the screws were or where they needed to go in the new fixture....so we had to find the stud finder and extra wood and then Vanessa and I got schooled by pop as to what wires go where. It is really hard to hold your arms above your head that long but it did give us a pretty good feeling when it was all done! Grandma spent some time talking to my dad and we were singing some songs while we waited for my mom and grandpa to get back from home depot. When it was all said and done and the new light was all installed and tested and everything worked, then Pop and dad were sitting on the couch talking about it afterwards!
Shortly after grandma and pop left, we were outside and getting ready to head home when my dad was sitting on the porch and he said, "I'm back, I'm home. We are the home team." I am thankful that he remembers this 'home team' that he has helped to create and that we don't leave any of our team mates behind! I walked home with the boys, and a really big smile, and an incredibly happy heart. It is a really good feeling to be able to look down at my parents house, see the truck and the suburban and know that both my mom and my dad are home. I never could sleep when I was little until I knew my dad was home. There was just an uneasiness and inability to sleep. Some things never change, I didn't like that I could look down and see his truck but he wasn't there, one more reason that I am glad he is home. Tonight I imagine that we will all sleep really well, perhaps the first time in 40 days.
Which brings me to the next point of reflection. I recently completed a bible study by Angie Smith titled "Seameless Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story." Last night as I was writing the blog about my dads home coming, I looked at the calendar and started counting how many days it had been since he was last at home, how long all this had been going on. Honestly some days it just felt like it was all running together and hard to keep track of how long he had been at each place and how much longer until he would be home. So in this bible study it pointed out a little "tidbit of bible trivia - every time the number 40 is used in scripture, it indicates a time of testing." How fitting, that God would show us, in one more way ---just how much He is in control of all this, that it is part of His plan, and that He isn't finished with my dad yet. Today marks day 40 since his stroke....
Enjoy these videos -- the first one is my dad and my sister and my grandma singing Amazing Grace - my dad always loved that song and enjoyed singing it.
This video - well, it is the other side of my dad!
I love my dad so much! I love my mom so much! I am happy that they are both home tonight!