Thursday, December 10, 2015

Standing tall!

This week has been a tough week, every day I have had to put on the game face and be encouraging even though it didn't really seem like it made much of a difference.  This morning my dad gave me just what I needed! When I got there he had just finished speech therapy and occupational therapy came in.  She helped him get dressed and then invited us back in as he washed his hands and brushed his teeth.  He had already been to a breakfast group for occupational therapy as well.  From there the occupational therapist took him to the 3rd floor gym.  She was given approval from his doctor for electrode therapy.  She explained it to us that with these two plastic plates and kind of like a bar in the palm of his hand, there were electrodes throughout that would stimulate his muscles - to show my dad that his hand still works, and that it is just a matter of the brain getting the signal to the hand. They even used this to pick up things and practice using that right arm.  It was so amazing to watch.  It was also very encouraging - his arm and the muscles in his arm still work - its just a matter of his brain rerouting the signal and completing the circuit to make his hand work.  That was very hopeful.  He was a little frustrated with it, probably because it was not in his control, but I hope that as he reflects on his dad that provides some encouragement just knowing that it is still working. Since he was in the gym he moved right into physical therapy. They put him near the bars and had him stand.  He stood up so tall, held his head high, his shoulders were back.  That was so good to see.  She then guided his foot and they talked the length of the bars in the gym, which wasn't really too long.  She decided to take him out to the hallway and have him hold on to the railing in the hallway and that way he could walk further.  He stood up, the therapist was sitting on a chair with wheels and guiding his right foot as he moved his left food.  You could see the muscle flexing in his right leg. I stood behind the therapist, face to face with my dad, telling him I was so proud of him, that it was so good to see him standing.  About 20 steps and we clapped.  I am so proud of my dad. 

 After he would walk they would have him sit down and then push him back to the starting line, rest for a few minutes and do it again.  He did this at least 5 times in about a thirty minute period. I still am so amazed and so incredibly proud of him.  After physical therapy he had a break for two hours, during which time my grandfather shaved his face for him and he had lunch all before starting the afternoon rounds of therapy. It was neat to watch my grandfather shave him, my dad just looked like he was totally enjoying it, he hadn't been shaved in over a week and he has never liked facial hair. You can definitely see a fathers love in how my grandfather took care of my dad.  Sometimes parts of this recovery seem so backwards - me celebrating my dads 'firsts' grandfather shaving my fathers face...but its so unique and special.  My dad would do anything for us, and now is our time to show him that we will do anything for him. 


 He seemed a little discouraged with speech therapy this afternoon, but we are assured that it is one of the last things to come back completely, and very difficult.  He had such a busy morning, I am guessing he had to be exhausted.  He got a shower today, first time he has been able to get in a shower shower since probably the night before his stroke which was twenty days ago. So he got his face shaved, he walked, his right arm was stimulated, he moved his right ankle for the physical therapist and he got a shower - busy day!   He also had some visitors, a softball buddy who used to carry me around on his shoulders.  He recognized him and reached out for him.  And also Pastor Tom stopped by to see him.  I can definitely say that his spirits were lifted after these people came.  Sometimes I think we think that family has an obligation to stick by us, when a friend shows up - its different and its encouraging and its good.  My dad was very attentive to everything these two had to say, and appropriately answered all of Pastor Tom's questions, which makes me realize that sometimes with speech therapy he just plain has had enough.  It was encouraging to see.

 I am so incredibly proud of all that he has accomplished today.  My dad always used to tell me that he was proud of me, I don't think I ever fully grasped that.  There are no words for how proud I am of my dad.  He is overcoming the odds.  He is a fighter. I love my dad so much.