Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Five months in and still going ...

Hello everybody, it's Jon back with you posting. Sorry to start each one of these the same way, but I truly am sorry it has been so long since the last post. We have marked another milestone in our journey, as last Thursday was exactly five months after the stroke. I really expected to be farther along at this point, but most of that is probably due to our naivete (I prefer that word to stupidity) based on this being my first and hopefully last, serious brain injury.

We continue to make progress in therapy, although there haven't been any major breakthroughs in a while. Some of the highlights include: running (with a little assistance) in physical therapy, doing significant work on all fours in occupational therapy, and being able to use my left hand much more effectively and efficiently at home. It is also almost easy for me to get on all fours now, and to see why that is such a big deal, you need to go back a little in the blog and read about our experience the first time I tried it at Hillcrest! I don't get nearly as good of stories out of it now, though.

It was evaluation day in occupational therapy today and they actually put some numbers to my movements to compare with previous attempts. I don't know exactly how much I have improved, but it is substantial, just slower than I had hoped.

We go back to the physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor next week for our first visit in almost three months. We are hoping for good reports. And I know I've talked about it before, but we are expecting to cut back on both therapy schedules some following that appointment. We should drop to two days a week in OT and one day a week in PT with much more of an emphasis on homework and exercises between visits. I have mixed feelings about that because I enjoy the push and expertise we get at the appointments. I will have to get better about finding time at home to get it all done.

There has been some frustration at my progress over the past couple of weeks, and each time, God was there with a reminder of just how blessed I really am. Last week, I shared therapy time with a man who had a stroke similar to mine. His stroke occurred a year and a half ago, he is still confined to a wheelchair and has less use of his left arm than I have. But every word that came out of his mouth was positive about his situation and encouraging about mine. What a great message he delivered without even realizing it. Then today, during the occupational therapy evaluation, during my highest moment of frustration, I could hear the burn victim in the room next to me crying because of the pain he was in. But he refused to stop working and continued with therapy despite the obviously excruciating pain he felt. Please don't misunderstand me; I don't think God was showing me the misfortune of others to make me feel better about myself. That's not how it works or how I meant it. I think the message was that I can't spend time feeling sorry for myself because I will miss opportunities to improve.

I hope that last paragraph makes sense and my real meaning came through. Maybe that's why I don't update more often. :) I also continue to be blessed with amazing support from my family, friends, co-workers and people too numerous to mention. (Some of you probably deserve your own category anyways.) Thanks to all of you, I appreciate your continued support and interest in our progress and journey. We will write again soon, hopefully sooner than the last few times, but I can't promise that. Take care and God Bless!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On The Bright Side

Sorry it's been so long since we've updated, but we've been really busy with work, therapy and all of the kids activities. But that means, on the bright side, that life is getting back to normal. And that will be the theme of this update, with apologies to John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, we will call this one "On the Bright Side." By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, this is Jon posting again.

I had a really good day in therapy today and was able to do some things that I hadn't done before. For example, one-armed push-ups with my left arm and completely supporting my weight with that arm. It usually collapses at the elbow, so the increased strength today was very positive. My occupational therapist even told me to tell Brenda that I got an A+ for the day! It has been a long time since I got an A+ in anything. Big bright side there.

I'm still only working half days, especially on the days I have therapy. That makes for some stressful situations trying to get everything done. But on the bright side, I've been to every one of Jacob's football games and I've seen more of Brooke's soccer games this fall than the last three falls combined.

I've also been able to rely on other people at the office and have greatly improved in my ability to let some things go. That is another bright side and it has been something people wanted me to work on long before the stroke.

After our scare a couple of weeks ago and another stay in the hospital, I was very much afraid I would lose some of my progress. But not only did I keep what I had gained, on the bright side, I have more use of my left hand than before I went into the hospital. Also, I now know what seizures feel like and feel like I can handle it should that happen again.

I spent some time working on my golf swing in therapy the other day. I'm certainly not ready to get back on the course, but on the bright side, I don't swing nearly as hard as I used to and I may save a bunch of money because I don't think I can hit a golf ball far enough to lose it next time I play.

Therapy may not be progressing quite as quickly as we all hope, but on the bright side, there is constant progress and the therapists want to continue working with me. They are committed to me in the long-term, almost as much as I'm committed to it!

And perhaps most importantly, the big bright side to all of this is the understanding about how many people truly care about us. We continue to be overwhelmed by the support we've received. Thank you all for everything.

We will try to keep it from being such a long time before the next update. I also look forward to sharing more good news with you all soon. Take care and God Bless!