Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 42- Homecoming Eve!

Oh my where to begin! Today was a very joyous day as we celebrated Jon's birthday, even though it was tempered a bit because we had to celebrate in the hospital. But it was a big day! We FINALLY head home tomorrow, and as we've said before, we have mixed feelings. We have a little bit of unease on the eve of the day we have looked forward to for so long, but we are obviously excited about Jon being home and our little family being together once again.

Jon's next to last day of inpaitent therapy was another busy one. He had two full hours of PT with lots of walking, without the cane! (granted his therapist was by his side the whole time and made it frighteningly clear that it only happens when she's around!) Jon climbed stairs and went up and down curbs, getting ready for his foray into the "real" world. He is slowly realizing that the things we take for granted are more of a challenge than he ever expected.

OT and speech therapy went well as usual, and while the progress in OT might be a bit slower than what we see in PT, it's still progress! So we are grateful for anything we see.

Jon had a chance to spend his birthday with the family. His mom and dad brought the kids up so we could have a birthday dinner (which did NOT include hospital food) and his favorite - RED VELVET CAKE! We were able to spend some time together, play games and unwind and have fun. It felt like we were already getting back to "normal", which gives us the encouragement that although we've been thrown quite a curve ball, we're back on the path to normalcy and it's going to get even better from here.

As we get ready to head home, we have to mention that the staff here have been wonderful and have truly helped Jon achieve his goals. Their work and support, combined with the outpouring of encouragement we have received from our family and friends have also helped Jon achieve his number one goal - to WALK out of rehab.

And as we go through this and keep up with the blog, I keep thinking more and more about things that we haven't said and people we haven't thanked. And of course, I realize we haven't thanked enough those who are the closest to us - our parents. I know for a fact we could not have gotten through this without the love and support of our parents. Looking back, we wonder how we got through all that we did, and I can't imagine having to go through something like this without our moms and dads! And thankfully, we didn't have to. Jon's parents have been by our side since the night Jon had his stroke. They have made countless trips to Temple and Waco, have stayed with Jon in the hospital, kept our kids at their house and stayed at our house to help with kids and cats! And Jon's sister and her family have been there since day one! We can't thank you all enough, and we know it won't end when Jon goes home.

And my parents have been with us throughout it all as well. From the night of the stroke, when my mom rushed into town to keep the kids, to the day Jon gets to go home, they have offered love, support, encouragement and help with household chores! I know we can never repay what they have given, but it's important for us to share with all of our friends how much support we have in our own families and how much it means to us that even though we are grown (I won't say old!), we never stop being kids to our parents. We know they will do anything they can to help, which means more than we can ever express or show. So thank you to Jon's parents - Jimmy and Katherine, his sister Jennifer, my parents - Joe and Marilyn Hammer, and my brothers. We love you all and wanted to embarrass you by calling you out in the blog!!!

Tomorrow will be a busy day, and we'll try to update when we get home, but it might be Saturday before we get to post again. But one last thank you to all of you who have showered us with support for the last five weeks. We can never repay you, but please know you've all played a part in Jon's recovery, and he's fired up to get home and keep the momentum going!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 40

The Countdown Continues, Only Three Days Left! This week seems to be flying by, maybe because we know we are in the final days of our stay in Waco, but it's hard to believe after everything, we'll be home in three days! I've been in Temple since Sunday night, so I haven't been able to see Jon's therapy for the last few days, so I'll let him do the talking again. But as usual, he's a man of few words, so I'm thinking there was much more to his day than this! But he's making great progress and is determined to make even more. So here's Jon's account of his day.

"We are in the final days of rehab and things continue to go well. In PT we worked on recovering after a fall, which we hope we will never have to use. Then I walked 160 feet without a cane this afternoon, took a break and then walked some more. I played soccer with my mother, without holding on to anything.

I get another taste of freedom tomorrow, with a field trip to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, as they try to get us out in real life situations. Then I'll be back for two final days of therapy, then head home on Friday. I will have to celebrate my birthday in the hospital, but will be home the next day! I am still nervous about leaving and know we still have a lot of work to be done, but we are anxious to get back to our new 'normal' life, whatever that becomes."

I'm headed back to Waco tomorrow night so I can be there for the last two days of therapy. Hopefully we can inject a bit more "umph" into the posts:)

And we haven't said this nearly enough, but both of us are so blessed to work for such wonderful places! The outpouring of support from Jon's UMHB family has made him literally speechless on so many occasions. And through our many weeks in Waco, not a week has gone by that he hasn't received cards, visitors and e-mails cheering him on. That means the world to both of us. He truly feels blessed and valued because of the support he has received. So on behalf of both of us, Thank You to everyone at UMHB! We couldn't have done it without you.

And on my behalf, I have often become overcome by the outpouring of support for my husband, who many of my co-workers don't even know! I've been allowed to take the time I need to be with him, and that has meant the world to me. I don't know how I would have been able to handle it without that support. So again, on behalf of both Jon and myself, thank you to the S&W friends who have been there to listen, support and encourage me during this journey!

Please keep hanging in there with us and wish him luck as he finishes up a few intense days before heading home.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 38

It's been a while since we've updated, and we have had a lot going on! It's been a big weekend for Jon. Yesterday, he was given a six hour reprieve and we got to go home!! That was awesome. He's set to be discharged on July 1, so they wanted to give him his day pass a few days before he went home. That gave us a chance to look around the house to see what we need to do to make it a bit more "cane-friendly".

Yesterday was kind of a surreal day. I know it was strange for him to ride in the car, something he hasn't done in five months, and strange for him even just to be home - to sit on the couch, dodge the cats, sit on the bed, etc. And we admit it did make us both a bit nervous to leave here. We were leaving our safety zone, and going out into a world that he hasn't seen in nearly six weeks, and one that isn't as "safe" as the rehab center. So that did make us a bit nervous. But he did well. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, but we made it there and back in one piece, so for me, that's an accomplishment!

As we came back yesterday, I got the feeling someone far above me is looking down with a bag of popcorn watching my life and getting quite a kick out of it. Getting back to the room was a comedy of errors! I dropped him off at the door and got him back in his chair. Then I parked and headed back inside with my arms loaded with dinner, laptop, etc. I had Jon's "permission" papers in my purse, but apparently not in there very well. So as I crossed the street, they just blew right out of my purse and the wind took them from there! So I stood in the street watching them get farther and farther - with his name and medical record number on them! Then the oh- so-helpful Waco city bus driver honked at me, like I didn't know all our paperwork was blowing down the street! So I tried to chase them as well as I could, knowing there was a bus load of people watching and I'm assuming getting quite a kick out of it! I was able to chase two down and step on them and get them back, and watched as car after car drove over the last sheet, blowing it farther away. I wasn't quite sure if I was about to laugh or cry, but I think it was somewhere in the middle. All I wanted to do was look up and say "really??? hope you're enjoying it!!!" At that point, luckily the bus driver stopped in the road and picked up my last sheet. So I did get them all back. By the time I got back to help get Jon upstairs I was ready to just crawl under the covers and call it quits for the night!

So everything for us is an adventure, and when we get home Friday, I think we'll go straight home and play it safe.

But Jon continues to really improve and getting him home will be a huge deal for him. I think being in his own environment will only speed his recovery. He has outpatient PT and OT to look forward to - more than likely three days a week. But that will be good. He's making such good progress, we want to keep the momentum going!

Thank you all for hanging in there with us, and please keep the prayers for strength, determination and recovery coming. Jon still has a way to go in his recovery, and going home will be a new challenge for us, somewhat daunting at first, but one we are looking forward to.

And as always, thank you all for your love and support!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 35

The countdown is on! One week from tomorrow (Friday), we'll be headed back home. It's actually hard to believe we'll be back together all under one roof. It hasn't been that long since we've been together, but sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago!

Jon had another busy day today. I think they are determined to work him as hard as they can in the short time they have left. In PT, we worked on getting in and out of the van, which went better than we thought.

I had to leave right after PT to get to work today, so I missed out on all the afternoon therapies. But Jon said it all went well. He started today on his extra 30 minutes of PT. They cut speech therapy short and added that extra 30 to physical therapy, which is great. So by dinner time, he was definitely worn out!

He was able to make it to breakfast this morning using just his cane. And what a treat to be able to leave the wheelchair in the room. But for lunch and dinner, he was feeling the fatigue and resorted back to the chair, which is good. I'm actually impressed that he recognizes when he's tired and doesn't push himself too hard.

It's been a pretty exhausting week for both of us, but it makes it easier knowing we'll soon be home. I know it won''t be easy once we get there, but at least we will be more comfortable.

We have received the loveliest cards and well wishes this week, and you all can't imagine how much they mean to us. They seem to come when I'm having my low moments, and they make all the difference. So thank you all again for your support.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 34

As you can tell, I've been a bit off with my dates, but in looking at the calendar, today is 33 days since Jon had his stroke, and we never would have thought then how far he would come!

Today started out slow, but Jon had another good day. He didn't have any therapy until 2pm, and then went straight until 5, so he was pretty wiped out by dinner time.

He's been making progress in PT each day. Today she had him walking with his cane on carpet and back onto the tile, so he gets a feel for the differences in walking from one surface to the next. The first round on the carpet was a bit difficult I think, but after that he did great! He even walked up and down the ramp and up and down a few stairs. He's been working very hard on getting more movement in his ankle and toes and it shows! That helps when he has to go up the stairs, because he's able to pick his foot up a bit better and his toes don't drag as much on the steps when he lifts his foot up.

He's been using his quad cane more and more each day. On Tuesday, he walked 335 feet! He walked from the therapy gym to his room. That was a big accomplishment for him. Now the therapists are working less on distance and more on quality and form. He will be able to mainly use just the quad cane when we go home, so they are working with him on how he's walking, not just how far.

OT is going well, the arm is just slower in coming back than the leg. But it will get there.

And as we've said his speech therapy has been just wonderful and he's made tremendous progress. He took a test today that was a check of his cognitive ability. It was actually a re-test. He took the same test the first week he was here, and needless to say, his newest score was just a wee bit better! The first time, he scored in the 42nd percentile (which equates to the cognitive ability of a 13-year-old!). This time, as I'm sure all of you can believe, he finished in the 91st percentile!! His speech therapist told him today that he has made more progress faster than any patient she has had! And that does not surprise me a bit. I told her it was imperative he has all of his cognitive function back asap, because he's the brain for both of us, and I need to be able to rely on him for all of the useless information I never remember - and he always does!

But the best news of the day was that we get to go home sooner than anticipated! We were originally scheduled to head out on July 5, but because he's making such good progress, he gets to go home July 1 (after a full day of therapy, of course). So that is very exciting. It also makes us a little nervous, because this place has become our safety net, and we know that even though he's being pushed, he's also being watched over and protected. Once we get home, all bets are off! But we are both excited. It's been a long time since we've all be under one roof, and it's going to mean so much to the kids to have their Dad back.

But while we might be headed home, the work will not stop. He will most likely be in outpatient therapy - both OT and PT - three days a week. We will be able to drop speech, and just focus on the other therapies. So he will still be busy, but at least he can sleep in his own bed and eat our food (unfortunately with me as the cook, the quality will most likely not improve substantially! He will most likely get very tired of spaghetti and tacos!).

The day Jon gets home from the hospital will be a busy one, so once we get settled back in, we'll let folks know when they can start visiting. I think he will need a day or two to get re-acclimated. I know lots of people will want to visit, and we welcome everyone, but we will take a few days to get organized (so I can clean my house!) before we get to that point.

So all is well in Waco. We continue to get visitors and cards and that means the world to us. When everyone comes to visit, they are so encouraging that it truly lifts Jon's spirits and makes him feel like he's making progress. So thank you for the continued support!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

We haven't posted in a while, because it's been such a hectic weekend. But we hope everyone out there had a good Father's Day! Ours wasn't ideal - spending it in the hospital (the first of three special occasions before Jon gets to go home), but I think Jon had a nice day. Both of our dads were able to come up, so we got to spend a nice day with all of the men in the family!

We haven't updated since Thursday, and Jon has been doing well since then. He walked more on Friday, and even some on Saturday. He's getting used to his cane (even though the therapist won't let him have one to take back to his room - for some reason she doesn't seem to trust him - go figure!). But he seems to think he can talk her into it this week.

Jon had a good day in all of his therapy sessions Friday. He was finally able to put in his contacts, which was a big deal for him. For those who haven't heard the story (which can't be many of you ), he had them on when we he had his stroke and we tried to take them out in the ICU the night of his stroke, and at that point he had lost all movement in his left arm, so getting his left contact out was a chore. It took a brave nurse to go in after it! So he's been leery about putting them back in. But the occupational therapist worked with him on how to put them in with little or no help, and he's done great!

He also learned how to tie his shoes one handed! We're excited that he learned something new, but we're also looking ahead and are hopeful he will soon be able to use both hands for that type of thing. Sometimes it can be a bit depressing learning how to compensate for having the use of only one arm, but we keep telling ourselves it's only temporary, and as long as he keeps working hard, he won't have to do it that way much longer. But for now, he does like being able to do more things like that for himself. So it's a good thing!

During speech therapy, Jon did some actual work and typed up a press release that he needed to do for work, so he was able to combine some therapy with some actual work! And of course that made him feel great, that he's able to accomplish some things even while he's recuperating. And I think speech therapy is doing wonders for him. You could not tell by looking at him that he's had a stroke. All of the facial weakness has disappeared and I think his speech is back where it was, and his pitch and intonation are great! And up until the end of last week, his voluntary facial movements - forced smiles, raising his eyebrows, puckering his lips - were all one sided. His left side didn't move as much. But now, at least I think, he really has complete control of all of those involuntary movements, so both sides of his face move. So I think that's huge progress!

The kids came up Saturday and were able to watch him walk with his cane for the first time, and they were sooooo excited! They were just grinning from ear to ear. His gait is getting better, and he is getting closer to a more normal step with his left leg, instead of what he calls his "Frankenstein" step! And he set a new record for walking - walking 282 feet! And my new nickname for him is Rainman, because they keep asking him to guess how far he's walked, and he always gets it within a foot or two! Next thing you know he'll be counting toothpicks on the floor!

Today for Father's Day we had a rotating door much of the day, which is how he likes it. Jacob left for a week-long church camp and the youth stopped by to see Jon on their way out of town, and I know that meant the world to him. So we truly do appreciate the visits, the cards and the support.

I'm at home tonight and going back to Waco tomorrow night, so we will post again on Tuesday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 27

I have to start out saying sorry and thank you! I just realized I had a typo in my title last night, and am reading through past blogs and seeing all the typos and random sentences I have. And so far, you all have been very polite to not bring those to our attention, so thank you!

As for today, it's been a day filled with progress and a lot of awkward humor! I've said before elements of my life would make perfect Seinfeld episodes, and today was a perfect example. We'll get to that in a moment, but overall Jon has had another good day. He progressed today to a "quad" cane, one of the canes that has the four legs on the bottom. He didn't walk as far or as much, but the cane is more difficult for him to walk with. It doesn't offer as much support, so it forces him to put more weight on his left leg (I've decided to quit calling it his bad leg - I don't want him to develop a complex!) and shift his weight more than he has before. In his words, it's still not very graceful, but as far as I'm concerned, any time he can get up on two legs and keep moving, it's great. The knee still doesn't want to cooperate, but it will get there.

And we had another big first today. Jon was able to move his ankle for the first time! They had him lay on his stomach (which was another first), and lifted his left leg so it was bent at the knee. Then she had him push his toes down, and he did! So the therapist was encouraged with that movement and actually had him do his walking without his ankle brace to see if he could get some movement when he walked.

The walking came towards the end of the PT session, which had a bumpy start! We'll set the story up by explaining that his therapist really rode him hard today! So they had him face down on the mat while she worked on his legs, which was going very well. They then decided that they wanted him on all fours so they could put a big exercise ball under his stomach and have him roll on the mat. Here is where you have to use your imagination to visualize how it went from there. With him on his stomach, his therapist stood on the table, straddling his body so she could help him pull himself up on all fours. Well, of course, he can't move his left leg, so bringing it up at the knee to get on all fours is not an easy task. So with some assistance from some other therapists, his therapist was able to slowly get him up on his hands and knees. The problem came when she underestimated how tall he would be on all fours, and she quickly realized she was sitting on his back, her feet at that point off of the mat, and it looked more like a "horsie" ride than therapy. She quickly realized the session was going down hill, but I think she was laughing too hard to move by herself. And at this point, pretty much the whole gym is quite interested in Jon's new "therapy", and we became the show to watch. It was by far the funniest thing I have seen in a long time, and of course I forgot about the Flip Cam I had in my pocket, or you would be watching it instead of having to visualize it (and this is where you can refer to the above phrase "his therapist rode him hard today).

The therapists know about our blog and quickly said they had no doubt they would be featured in tonight's blog! And yes, they are. Once they had him up (and her off!), it went swimmingly, but it definitely gave the "gang" something to laugh about.

So it's nice to know that in the midst of what is by far one of the most difficult and emotional times of our lives, there is humor and fun to be found. So again, we find things to be grateful for.

We will update again tomorrow, but after today, just about everything will be fairly anticlimactic! Unless he jumps up and runs out of his wheelchair - then you will hear us cheering from Waco!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 26s

Oh my what a day!!! I've been in Temple working since Monday, so I missed two days of therapy, and it seems like I've missed a week! I can't believe the progress Jon has made even in the short amount of time I was gone. He is working so hard and it is definitely showing.

He's been using his "hemi" walker since Saturday and really is improving on it. He still needs some help to steady his knee, but he's gaining so much strength and endurance that he can walk more and more each day. Today he walked 166 feet! He even walked up a few stairs. He can't quite bring his knee up to the step, but with the help of the therapist he could make it, even turn, then come back down. So that was great to see. I couldn't stop smiling at the progress he's made. He seems to have more energy, more enthusiasm and of course more of his "dare devil" streak, so he keeps doing things he's not supposed to be doing!!! So I told on him today, and he's had some nice lectures from his therapist.

He ended up having two hours of PT today, and didn't have OT at all, so that worked out well. His therapist worked with him in the room and was able to see that he can pretty much transfer himself in and out of bed by himself, so that is significant as well. And he can turn himself better in bed, so hopefully they won't have to keep turning him every two hours. In his second session of PT, he was on a NuStep, which is similar to an elliptical machine, but you sit down. And that is great for his leg strength. It helps him work his knees and keep bending them, but it really wears him out! He will keep doing that every day, so he should keep improving more each day.

In speech therapy he actually had to write a "story" similar to what he would do at UMHB, and he was able to do it in 13 minutes, which we think is pretty good for one hand!

So overall, he's having another good week. He's so determined to get back into shape and it shows, and all of the staff are determined to help him! I know it comes as no surprise that he's working as hard as he is, but I do have to brag and say how proud I am of him. His attitude is wonderful and it's amazing how much a positive attitude affects progress! He is so nice to the other "residents" and is so encouraging to them, and it's so touching to see him reach out and encourage those who aren't as determined and encouraged as he is. And that is the Jon we all know and love!

I have no doubt that all of your support and encouragement are helping him daily, and we continue to thank God for the love and support we have. And of course, we thank you too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 24

Jon had another busy Monday, which is just how he likes them! He started bright and early again with PT at 8am, after spending part of the night without air conditioning. So he's definitely had better nights.

He was back on the walker today in PT, and walked 62 feet, rested and walked 61 feet. He also used the stationary bike for the first time, but after a few times of his foot falling off, they used an ace bandage to keep it tied to the bike. He's doing well, but I think he's getting a bit "cocky" about getting out of his chair! So all of those who come to see him remind him that he's supposed to stay in his chair!!!! I don't want to have to make them put the alarm on his chair and bed that goes off when he gets up!!

His therapist today was pleased with his progress. She spent the weekend in Vegas, and she put her money on 16 on the roulette wheel - since that was the first distance he walked - and she won! So we take that as a good sign that he's meant to get back up (even though we know most people don't condone gambling - but who are we to complain).

He spent more time on the mat in OT and is working hard on getting more movement back in his arm. He's now able to close his fingers a bit more. The therapist asked him to squeeze her hand, which he did, but still has a hard time opening his fingers back up again. In his words, he can hold someone's hand, but can't let go! But that will come.

In speech, he was able to actually work on some work-related projects, typing sports stories - similar to what he would do in his job. That's great progress too. So Coach Shipp and Dr. O'Rear will be happy to know he's getting some on the job training!

He was getting a bit tired of his regular soup and turkey sandwich for dinner, so we brought in some Chinese food for him - just had to sneak it past the nurses!

We just finished watching some video messages from our friends at church, which were great to watch. So thank you to everyone who sent their well wishes via DVD. We appreciate the encouragement and support!

Jon is making very good progress and is feeling much better about the accomplishments he's made. Every day he's ready to make even more. So thank you again for the continued support.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 22

The weekend rolls around again, and Jon sweet talked the therapists into allowing him to have some therapy again this weekend. I was at home with the kids most of the day, so once again I will let Jon do the talking, and I'll just type.

My walking continued but with at twist today. For the first time they had me use a "hemi" walker, which is a walker you can use with just one hand. I walked the length of the gym and back four times, with almost no assistance (they are still having to keep my knee in place so it doesn't give way when I walk)! I also did a few new arm exercises and feel like I am slowly developing more movement in my arm.

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow, since I don't have any therapy, but I should have some more visitors, and that is always nice. I had more visits from good friends already this weekend, which is always enjoyable. The kids and the in-laws are coming by tomorrow, so that will be fun too. I expect (and hope) to sleep well tonight after another strenuous day in therapy!

And we are enjoying our new and larger room!

Okay, now it's back to the Brenda narration. I need to tell Jon he needs to spice his comments up a bit! But overall it's been another good week. We found out this week that Jon's tentative discharge date is July 5, which seems like a long way off, but we need to stay here as long as he's making progress and improving. It does mean spending Father's Day, his birthday and the 4th of July here, but we can handle that.

We won't update again until Monday, hopefully with even better news. And we do appreciate all of our followers. We hope this blog is helpful in keeping everyone updated.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 21 - Three Weeks Later

Oh boy it's been a busy couple of days, and we're sorry we couldn't post sooner but it's been crazy since I've gone back to work. We have had two very good days, and now have a change of scenery. We will get to the details of therapy in a bit, but we want everyone to know we've changed rooms. Since we will be here a bit longer, we were able to get a bigger room, so we are now in 369. Same physical address, just a new room number. So if you come to visit, make sure you look for 369, not 367, or you will make one older man very angry (or very happy, depending on when you come).

Now to the really important info - Jon was able to take some additional steps this week, and move his leg on his own! That is absolutely huge for us. Before, the therapists have been pushing his leg as he put some tentative weight on it. But yesterday, for the first time, he was able to push his leg forward all by himself! Needless to say there were cheers all around. He's still having problems getting his knee to cooperate, it just doesn't want to bend to help give him that additional support, but he can lift his leg at the hip and move it. Yesterday he just kind of dragged it along on the ground, but today he was able to actually pick his leg and foot up so he could take a step! All the therapists had to do was keep him steady and keep his knee from buckling. They didn't have to help him move his leg forward at all! So his brain is sending the right signals, telling his leg to move forward. He walked 16 feet yesterday, and I bet at least doubled that number today, and really was able to pull his leg up off the floor. So we are very encouraged.

Occupational therapy has gone pretty much as usual, just working on strengthening his trunk and core and working on a bit more arm movement. He's had some movement in his shoulder, and we are working on keeping his arm loose and not cramped up against his body. When we leave it that way too long, it's harder to straighten out, and they don't want those muscles to tighten so much that he can't keep his arm extended out
Speech therapy is going very well. He's making great strides there, working a lot on the strength of his voice and the ability to change his pitch. She also has him working on additional facial movements, so ask him to show you his "angry" face, which ends up being more entertaining than "angry" looking.

Jon has developed quite a following in the therapy gym, amongst the patients and all of the therapists, even the ones who don't work with him. They all say he reminds them of Ken, of Ken and Barbie fame. I think that's the first time he's heard that! And apparently I remind them of Skipper (and for those who don't know who Skipper is, which I didn't, she is Barbie's dark-haired little sister). Apparently I'm too short and not blond enough to be Barbie (not to mention other physical attributes that I lack that would be more "barbie-like). When they first told me I looked like Skipper, my mind went to Gilligan's Island, and "The Skipper" isn't exactly someone I was hoping to resemble (no offense to him), so I must offend for about a day I was pretty offended, and pretty humiliated! But now, I'm not sure if I feel better or not, about being compared to a genetically inaccurate doll, but I guess I can live with it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 18

Today's post will be a little bit different. I had to go back to work today:( I would much rather have been here with Jon, but he seemed to fare okay without me (believe it or not). I do have to say that while it was difficult to go back to work, I have some wonderful co-workers who made it easier. It's nice to know so many people are still praying for us and checking in on us. It makes it all a little bit easier.

So since I haven't been around Jon as much today, I'm going to let him tell his own story! I'll just be the typist and let him have free reign - for the most part anyway, I do have to have some creative control! So here we go.

I had another good and productive day of therapy. They had me standing with a tray table in front of me in PT and put my weight on my bad leg, and that was the first time we had tried that. The therapist seemed encouraged. In speech therapy, we did the usual e-stim and vocal exercises, then had to do logic puzzles, which was not my favorite thing!

In recreational therapy, I set a new personal record in Yahtzee including two yahtzees in one game!

With Brenda back at work, I was on my own today and managed to get everywhere on time! I managed to steer my chair out of my room by myself, which is not the easiest thing to do! (I can attest to that. I usually run him into 3-4 things on the way out of the room each time, and he only says ouch once or twice now. It will be nice when the nurses stop laughing at me when I try to drive it!)

I want to thank you all for your support and well wishes. I had another big batch of cards today in the mail, and I am glad people are still following the blog. It means a lot to me that people are keeping tabs on me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 17

Monday has rolled around again, and it was back to therapy, which is a good thing! I never thought I would ever say I was glad to see Sunday disappear and Monday come, but with no therapy, Sundays are just too long!

We had another good day, not as earth shattering as Saturday, but still a good day. Any day he can get up and move around is a good day. We had the same routine today, PT, OT, speech and recreational therapy.

Jon was able to do some pretty good stretching today in both PT and OT, and he needs it. There is always concern his muscles will tighten up too much, so today it was good for them to stretch him out and move those limbs around.

Speech therapy continues to go well, and today he worked on being able to project his voice and change his pitch. He started making sounds with as low a voice as possible, going up to as high as he could. Then he reversed it, starting out high and going low. And that was when I had to excuse myself before I got kicked out of speech therapy. His "low" sounds just reminded me too much of Homer Simpson (ahgggg - donuts), and I couldn't stop laughing. So I politely excused myself so I could laugh in the hallway!

Dinner was a glorious PB&J sandwich! I don't think he's had that since middle school, so needless to say he got seconds on his soup.

Many of the "residents" around here have taken quite a liking to Jon, especially some of the little old ladies! And it's so cute to see them talk to him and ask about him and cheer him on. It's nice to know he has the same impact on people no matter where he goes! He's always one of the favorites (and yes, we can credit his parents and a good upbringing for that!).

We had more great visits from friends today, which always cheers Jon up. I'm spending the night tonight then it's off to work tomorrow! I'm glad I have a job to go to, but I have to admit I would much rather hang out here and watch Jon work hard. But I'll be back tomorrow night.

For those asking about the kids, they are doing well. They are such troopers, we are just more and more proud of them each day. They are spending the week with their grandparents in Round Rock, while I stay here a bit more with Jon. Next week we will try to get them back into their summer routine and bring back a bit of normalcy! But they are enjoying themselves now, they get to play with their cousins all week, so that has been good for them.

As always, thanks for the support and prayers. We will try to post again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 15

All I can say is THANK YOU GOD!!! He is definitely listening and definitely sending such tremendous strength to Jon.

Jon has had a wonderful day! He wasn't supposed to have therapy today, but we talked about it enough that they put him into the schedule, and he has made tremendous strides! He moved his arm today for the first time since the stroke! You can't imagine the absolute joy we felt when we saw that. He is able to lay on his back, with his left arm straight out to his side, and move it up at the elbow, and he even moved his fingers too! It was just an awesome sight! This is one of the best days of my life, hands down!

Since his stroke, all of us have shed multiple tears -tears of pain, frustration, anger and grief. And today the tears were flowing again - tears of joy!! Jon's dad was there to watch him too, and it was an emotional sight for all of us! He worked so hard, and you could see the determination on his face, and it payed off.

He also took some more tentative steps this morning in PT, with the therapist holding his knee so it didn't buckle. But that means he's able to put more and more weight on his left leg and hip, and using them to move him along!

I think today has done wonders for Jon's spirits! And we share all of the joys of today with all of you. Each and every one of you have offered your support, prayers and encouragement and it had all helped Jon stay positive and supported. So thank you all again, and keep those vibes going!

I will post again on Monday and hopefully we can have even more wonderful news to share.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Two Weeks Later

It's been two weeks since the stroke, and while Jon still has no significant movement on his left side, we are making gradual progress. Some days in therapy are better than others, but at least he's up and moving and working both his weak and his strong side.

Saturdays and Sundays are days off from therapy, and we are not looking forward to that. So Jon says he wants to go to the gym anyway just so he can work on some things on his own! I think that's terrific.

He's added recreational therapy to his schedule, which is more play than work, but it's a nice break from some of the other activities he is doing. Today, we had more Wii bowling to look forward to, and Jon was adamant I include his score today, since I did publish his whopping 73 score from the first round. He played two rounds against the rec therapist and broke 100 the first time, with a score of 101! And the second time, brace yourselves, beat her with a score of 152!! I think he actually had some fun that time, and we are going to back to the gym tomorrow to play some more on the Wii.

Speech therapy went well again yesterday, and she spends about 30 minutes doing e-stim on his face to try to shock the nerves and get them pulling the way they should again. She had him doing tongue twisters and reading words that are challenging for him, including those with an s or sh sound. And for you Seinfeld fans out there, we had to stop when the word "shrinkage" came up, because he couldn't stop laughing, which made me and the therapist laugh (but I was in the pool!!). So that one set us back a few minutes. And in Jon's words, having a stroke has been a life-changing event, but hasn't matured him any!!!

He's getting back into the swing of normal life during his "off" time as well. He's been doing some puzzles that his speech therapist recommended for him, and actually wrote some thank you notes and paid some bills. So it's good for him to get back into somewhat of a normal routine.

I've been doing this blog for about a week now, and haven't let Jon read my posts. He keeps asking me what I'm writing, and I just tell him "stuff", mainly just to drive him crazy, and I have to admit I believe it works. I have asked him on occasion what he wants me to add, but mainly I just write on my own and put down whatever I can that I know his friends will give him a hard time about. Like his new favorite joke - "More women have seen me naked in the last 5 days than in my whole life!" He'll love me for that one!!

But today he did read all the posts and all of the comments for the first time. Most of the time I read him the comments and part of my posts, but he was able to get the whole story today, and has been very touched by everyone's thoughts, encouragement and prayers. So as always, Thank You!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 13

It's been a busy few days, so we haven't been able to post. Jon has already been up and going this morning, and started PT at 8am. Had another good session, this time spending most of his time on the mat, working on his core and trunk and working to keep his body straight. His therapist gets on him when he starts to slouch, so that's good. They don't let him get away with much!

Yesterday was a good day. I spent Tuesday night at home with the kids, so I could take them to the last day of school. Jon's mom came up and stayed with him while I was gone, and she said he worked very hard! During PT, he was up on the bars the whole time, just working on strengthening both of his legs. It's hard, but he hangs in there and gives it his all. I brought the kids up in the afternoon, just as he was finishing up his PT, and they were able to see him stand at the bars. That is the first time they have seen him stand since his stroke, so they were excited to see that.

Speech therapy is going much better. He's beginning to enjoy it a bit more. Yesterday they worked on speaking exercises and some cognitive therapy. Jon and his mom beat the group at Jeopardy - which comes as no surprise to me. I'm glad I was just there for dominoes!

He has more OT, recreational therapy and speech therapy today, and I'm supposed to be giving him homework for those, so we'll try to squeeze some of that in before we go back.

Jon was able to see some more wonderful friends yesterday, and as always it means so much that they make the trip up to see him. He visited with some he hadn't seen since the early days of the stroke, and they said the difference they see in him now compared to then is amazing. And we can't tell you how encouraging those words are, both to him and to me. Sometimes it's hard for us to see the subtle changes, because we are so close to it everyday, but when we are able to hear it from someone who hasn't seen him in a few days, it's very encouraging!!

I picked Brooke up from Pirtle on Wed., and couldn't believe the outpouring of support I received when I walked in to get her. From former teachers of Jacobs to the principal and other teachers and friends, and it was very overwhelming and touching. So thank you all!

We are headed into the weekend soon, which is a difficult time for both of us. We get a break from therapy, which is good so he can rest, but it also feels like just wasted time in a sense. We just have to sit around during the day, but I'm going to see if they would let me roll him outside for a little while (early in the morning before the 100 degree temps hit) and get some fresh air!

Thank you all for your continued love and support of us, we definitely still need it. It's still a long road ahead, but we have to remain hopeful that he will get back on his feet, and we know God is here carrying us through this, and we are taking much strength from that!

The cards keep coming in, and his room is almost overflowing! So thank you all for your continued support.