Saturday, December 26, 2015

Every day is a gift...

I can't tell you how great it is to know that the people who work with my dad every day, really truly care about him.  Yes they show up because it is their job, but they truly go above and beyond. They cheer him on with every milestone and really stand in awe of all that he has accomplished in such a short amount of time.  I got the video above, in a text message from my dads physical therapist this morning.  He tries to grab my dad for extra therapy when ever he can.  I can't tell you how surprised I was when we pulled into the parking lot at Brooks this afternoon and saw my mom and dad walking back from the fountains outside, with his physical therapist behind him.  He wasn't even having to walk beside him to catch him.  We parked the car and were hoping to catch up with them, they took the stairs, we parked the car and took the elevator and they managed to beat us!  My dad walked up 3 flights of stairs.  The look of pride and accomplishment on his face was priceless! He's got this! 

We brought him a milkshake and he ate some fries and then he had physical therapy.  When they came to get him for therapy he said something about it being 'man time' to my mom and told her to stay.  Seth really wanted to see him walk and see what he did, I told Dennis well I can't go because he clearly said it was 'man time' Dennis and Seth went and hung out with him while he did his therapy.  Seth got to see him walk three laps around the floor!  At one point the therapist was telling Dennis stuff to do with him as well.  I thought it was kind of neat that they were there for that today. 

After a cup of ice, we headed back outside.  It was a nice day and the breeze was great and the boys were ready to play some golf.  They have a healing garden and duck/koi pond and a little nature walk and a little putting green.  We brought my dad one of his clubs today and what do you know, he managed a hole in one, left handed!  He played the three holes twice and then we looked at the colors of the flowers and finally were able to get some ducks to come eat the bread that we brought along to feed them.  It was a nice afternoon.

My mom asked Seth to borrow his banana grams because the speech therapist recommended scrabble letters so that my dad could start relearning words and sounds and speaking.  This is probably the most difficult therapy for him right now.  I am confident that it will come back, that he will talk again.  Right now he is repeating a lot.  The goal is to put the letters out, see if he can make the word, see if he can say the word, if not we give him the beginning sound of the word, and then if he can't get it we tell him. Then we try another word, not very long words, and try to go between the two to see if he remembers. Lucky for my dad, he is married to a teacher!  I will be more than happy to sit with him at home and go over words and pictures and help in any way that I can.  When we came back up to the room after being outside, he went to the tray of letters and my mom had set aside the letters of his name but they were not in the right order, he put them in the right order and said Vaughn. Another win for today! 

We left for home shortly after this, still had some stuff to get done before dinner.  Wanted to make an early dinner and enjoy the movie War Room that we picked up yesterday.  Dennis had to fix a leaky faucet in the bath tub and got that done while I was working on dinner.  He tried it, and it worked, mission accomplished.  After I got out of the shower I noticed the hot water was like a steady stream, when it was turned off and that wasn't good.  Dennis said yeah I know what I need to adjust so I might as well get it done now so that I don't wake the boys up trying to fix it because we don't want the hot water to be constantly running.  In the process of trying to fix it, well it somehow got stuck when he was testing it at one point and he couldn't turn the water off, so we had a valve completely opened and hot water that we couldn't turn off.  He ran out side to cut the water off, I should also mention at this point that Ivan REALLY likes to help, so when Dennis went outside to turn the water off he wanted to go with and hold the flash light, Dennis has a lot of patience so he had Ivan helping him.  Then as he is lifting the lid and looking for the thing to turn, Vanessa drives by and honks the horn, so Ivan turned his light towards the road, while Dennis is now in the dark trying to get the water turned off, that mind you is going full force in the tub!  

I was sitting inside having a moment, thinking if this was how things used to be, I would have looked to see if dad was home and called him to come help us, he would have come and walked Dennis through what to do to fix it.  At about this time Dennis turned to me and said, 'hey why don't you call your dad and see if he can come down and look at this.'....he knew what I was thinking and I never said a word.  Times like this make me sad, makes me think about what I have lost.  Makes me think about the wealth of knowledge that is within my dad. Makes me think about how much progress he has made in just over a months time.  Made me think that things will never be the same....and then I was stopped in my tracks later when I was reading a book that said, "they cried out in desperation, 'things will never be the same' to which he responded ' maybe God doesn't want them to be the same."  Maybe that was my message from God tonight.  Maybe God doesn't want things the same, maybe he doesn't want things how they used to be.  I remember my mom saying, when my dad was going through some mental health struggles, that she felt like God was closing the Sears chapter, and just clearing some things out of the way for my dads next mission.  I see how the elderly gentleman he used to take care of, got into an assisted living facility, my dad was medically retired from his job, he was finally finding some solid ground with his mental health.  I remember my mom and dad taking a trip to South Carolina recently and my mom telling me how her and my dad were talking and especially about how good he was doing with his mental health.  I remember my mom telling me that my dad said he would see how good he was doing when some crisis situations came up.  Almost a week after he said this his brother was in a horrible car accident, they had to use the jaws of life and he spent 53 days in  ICU because of how bad his injuries were.  My dad was handling this well, sad at moments, just like anybody would be.  But he was still able to do what he needed to do every day and that difficult situation did not push him back with his mental health progress.  Then about one month after he was talking to my mom about dealing with a crisis situation, he had a stroke.  I guess maybe we should be careful what we say, because God will make a way.  After all, "He permits what he hates, to achieve what he loves. (Randy Alcorn)"  

I think about all that we have gained and learned and how we have grown as individuals and as a family since all this happened. I think about the connections we have made and the people we have met.  Everything happens for a reason.  Don't take the 'simple' things for granted.  I love my dad.  I am happy that he continues to improve.


Kim Lahaie Day said...

How did Dennis resolve the water issue? I hope you have water this morning. I enjoy reading about the progress your dad is making, almost miraculous healing for him!

Rachel Van Deusen said...

Dennis took the valve out again and re did everything, he had forgotten one part from when he had replaced it earlier. Works great now! I am glad you enjoy reading about my dad and his progress, it truly is miraculous - especially considering the doctors told us he probably would not walk or talk and if he did it would probably be a year and then just a few one months time he is walking, and today he was trying to carry on full conversations, still difficult for him, but he is definitely trying!