Thursday, May 19, 2016

HIS Voice

It has been entirely too long since I blogged any update on my dad.  It isn't for lack of progress on his part.  Just a lack of discipline on my part!  The way his therapy appointments have fallen, my little sister has been taking him.  I have seen his progress, but seen it when I am hanging out with him at home. With it being 2 days shy of six months since his stroke, I just had to share with you his newest accomplishment! 

 Today I decided to play with a huge ant pile in my backyard which wasn't really too smart considering my reactions to ants, and I ended up with ants all over my I walked down to get some baking soda to make a paste and put on the ant brother and I hung out for a while and then when my dad got home he was trying to get my attention.  

He has been working on projecting his voice and speaking louder. I was in the kitchen and when he yelled my name, it was HIS voice.  Not the stroke voice, not the stroke was my dad, it sounded just like him.  He is coming back all the way! *(I feel compelled to add this little note right here, in no way is what I just said meant in anything but love.  I love my dad and his voice, regardless of how it sounds. BUT, being human, and craving familiarity, it was pretty amazing to hear him and know his voice is still in there). I can't even express in words how happy this made my heart feel.  

Ever since the stroke I have periodically played back saved voicemail from my dad from a week before his stroke.  His phone calls and just checking on me and hearing him speak - telling jokes or stories from him growing up, opening the door and telling the boys "welcome to the jungle", I miss these things that were greatly defined by HIS voice. Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly grateful that he is still alive.  

My mom has told us all along that he was going to come all the way back, but time passes and doubt sets in. I think about the doctor that showed my mom the ct scan of his brain and showed her, while I stood close by,  the area of his brain that was affected.  I stood there as my mom asked what we could realistically expect with regards to walking and speaking just because she needed to know, I stood there as the doctor said, 'this is bad, not much, IF he ever speaks again, it will probably only be a few words and he probably wouldn't be able to link his thoughts to his words and speak.'  Then he turned around and walked out.... 9 days later my dad sang happy birthday!  I really need to start learning to listen to my mom.....aren't moms always right?!?!

Needless to say when he called my name today, in his voice, from the other room, I started crying.  I didn't think I would ever hear him speak again, when he did -- we were thrilled, never even gave a second thought to if his voice would return to the way it was before the stroke.  We were just thrilled to be able to hear him speak.  Now hearing his voice, its like.....priceless.  I can't find the words to express how incredible this is.

 I look at my dad and the way he has struggled but also how he has overcome.  I read a book recently titled, "Hope Heals" and the author survived a brain stem stroke and there were similarities in her story and my dads.  One thing she talks about was how people would tell her she was such a miracle, but she couldn't walk, she couldn't eat, she couldn't see out of one eye, she couldn't speak clearly, she couldn't use her right arm or right hand. Yet people still told her she was a miracle, even though to her "the miracle had left her unable to live normally."  This has really given me a different perspective as I have been quick to tell my dad that he is such a miracle, but never stopped to think how that came across to him.  Yes I still tell him he is a miracle, while validating that that is not how he might feel at this particular moment in time. 

I took this video today.  Not only did he use HIS voice (which takes so much effort) but he also chose what he wanted to say!  He is still the same on the inside! I also linked the video from one of the first times he spoke when he was in the hospital and he actually sang happy birthday, just so that you can compare the two. First one is from December 1, 2015.  Second one is from today, May 19, 2016...

"Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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