Saturday, January 2, 2016

Out of limitations comes creativity!

 I lay in bed at night and try to sleep.  If I am lucky, I will get a few good hours of sleep.  Most of the time my mind just goes and goes, the thoughts are rapid and fast and dark and deep and profound and enlightening....and exhausting. Here lately I have been laying in bed thinking about things I could do for my dad or with my dad now that he is at home to help him continue to progress in his recovery. I thought about all the things he did in a day, and how I could sort of re-enact his therapy sessions at home.  My dad hasn't been too still since he has been home, he gets up and goes for walks around the yard, does squats and lunges and sits on the porch for his breaks.  My mom has done great helping him with the occupational side of brushing his teeth and helping him with showers and feeding himself and getting dressed.  I saw the banana grams out this afternoon - that covers speech.  I guess I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could do, consistently to help him get that right arm moving again.  I remember going to see him every morning at mayo and holding his right foot up and moving each toe and telling him they all still work, even when the doctors said it would be a long time before he could ever use that leg.  I look back at that video now of him barely able to move his toes, and then I look at him, and the fact that when I knocked on their door today - he answered it! So now they say the arm is hard to get back and takes the longest and that it might not come back.  I refuse to believe that.  SO---I started thinking about what he did while at Brooks to work on that arm and it hit me - the arm skate.  I remember his arm being velcroed to a little arm skate board of sorts.  It helped him see the movement more clearly and also helped the therapist sort of do things with his arms that were natural movements and motions and patterns for his brain. I started thinking about how I could make one of these for him.  In my minds eye this seemed really simple, go to harbor freight, get some coaster wheels, and then mount them to a board.....I figured hot glue would be good enough.  When we got to harbor freight we found furniture movers that were sorta triangle shaped which seemed even better, I figured I could hot glue two of them together and that would work.  My husband looked at me and shook his head and said I would need more than glue to hold it together, I also needed something for his hand to rest on, in a more natural position. I found a candy container and we put nails through it and put it on the movers.  We then headed down to see him and see how this would work.  Due to the fact that I didn't account for the weight of his arm or the position of the weight of his arm on this arm skate that we made, it was causing it to buckle on one side, but my dad did seem very interested in using it! My mom had some paint stirs that seemed to help it a little from buckling....and then Dennis said I don't know why we don't just use one of Ivan's little skateboards, take the wheels off and put the coaster style wheels that would allow it to go in all directions not just forward and back.....

meanwhile the boys were playing "I Spy: Gingerbread House Edition"

My mom and Dennis took all the hardware off of the little skateboard and my mom had some extra wheels that turn in all directions.  Dennis put those on the bottom of the skateboard but it was hard to keep it level. My dad was definitely into watching us complete this project.  He looked at the board after the new wheels were on and he was clearly pointing out that the wheels were not level.  Some things never change - he was always worried with things being level. I suggested just putting the skateboard on the original furniture movers we had brought over - and it worked great.  Mission Accomplished!   Now he has his own arm skate to practice moving that right arm when ever he wants to.

My dad seemed satisfied with the finished project!  The skateboard says 'street flyers' we were joking around and said we are going to rename it 'arm flyers'!

Here is a video of him moving his right arm.  I found myself saying the same thing I did when we started with his toes - "Look dad, all your toes still work" and we would get very slight toe movement.  Today it was - "Look dad your muscles in your arm are working" and we got slight right arm movement....I will take it!

I love my dad so much!


Anonymous said...

We got this! <3

Anonymous said...

Rachel, you are just amazing!

Marie Rush said...

Love you so much Rach... <3