Quinn is the first on up. That’s unusual. Figures … it’s a Saturday and he is the first one up. We cuddle in bed and he tells me of his bad dream. It’s about waiting for something then getting separated from you and I and getting lost. He didn’t know where we were. I felt his tears fall on my arm as I held him and he talked.
We talk about being lost and what to do if he is lost. I share a ‘being lost story’ that I experienced. I wonder if the ‘being lost feeling’ is really a symbol for something else. I don’t know what it could be. I talk to him about what to do if you get lost and to always remember that you are never alone – there are always people who can help you. We talk about how to know whom you can trust. It was a tricky conversation. A balance between comfort and educate him against blind trust.
Harold came over this morning, to see if there was anything he could do while we were away in Halifax. He has been mowing the lawn and keeping the garden look half- presentable. He is feeling better now and has a little more energy. He has found the stroke support group has really helped him. He said he would like to walk Annie. Annie looks pleased with the arrangement. She likes Harold. She doesn’t even bark at him now.
We got away from the house late this morning, Lots of catch-up things to do at the house.
We get to the giant Glooscap and I realize I forgot the voice recorder. Damn, I can’t believe I’m so dependent on it but it has become as indispensable as a watch. Maybe some whiz kid should make a combo watch-voice recorder, while they are at it they can throw in a blackberry and I would be completely wired in … I would barely have to think at all.
As I drive back to the house, I get stuck behind a ‘Jean Guy’ or a ‘Slow Sluki’ as you would call them. I say as much under my breath. Our children, with their refined but selective hearing, comment “Hey, That’s what Dad says”.
I remember, about 5 years ago when Tara was 4 and Quinn was 2, a car ride I had with the children into town. I was late leaving the house for something. Which is the usual state of affairs for me. I got behind a very cautious, slow driver. The weather was great and road conditions were good and I was late - so I said something under my breath about being behind the ‘slowest driver in the world’.
Tara over heard and replied in an innocent voice “Oh that must be Jean Guy, Daddy gets stuck behind him ALL the time!” I ask her who Jean Guy was and she replied she didn’t know, just that you get behind him a lot. I smiled, realizing that this as your swear code-word to lessen your frustration with slow drivers. Since then, Slow Sluki (I assume the feminine version) has also made an appearance in your creative swear word hall of fame.
We drop Annie off at her canine friend’s, Indy, house. Kaila and Andrew have taken Annie in every weekend for the past month Annie is starting to sense a routine on the weekend. As we pull out of their driveway there is Annie looking at us through the living room window. She looks a little concerned but has a rawhide in her mouth. As she stands there looking at us, Indy blindsides her in a wrestle attempt and they start round one of the weekend long canine wrestle mania match. She will be tired on Sunday.
We get to the hospital and as we leave the car, I ask if Tara and Quinn got everything they want to bring into the hospital to show you. They say yes then Quinn says “I know what I want to take home!” “Oh, what’s that?” I said absently. Quinn smiles and says “Daddy”. For the first time I get an image in my ‘crystal ball’ of that great day. Wow, that’s going to be a momentous day.
When we get here you are dressed and in your chair and sitting out by the nurse’s station to watch the comings and goings of the nurses. That’s great! A little mental stimulation.
When you first moved to the floor there was an older gentleman patient who would occupy that spot most days. He looked pretty dazed and not mobile. I saw him again on Thursday. We passed each other in the hall. He looked alert and he was walking!
Christine is your nurse today, a regular, who you have had before. She is on tomorrow too. I’m glad. I expect it was her idea to get you up and out to watch the ‘beehive buzz’ around the nurse’s desk.
Juanita, Maddie and Farley come to visit. Farley feeds and Maddie talks with Tara. I think that Tara might have met her match in the nonstop-talk Olympics. Quinn and I talk to you. Quinn tells you about his week and what he has been doing. You carry on a conversation for a while.
There is some pain in your hip. Thankfully, regular tylenol doses have been ordered for the weekend. It seems to help but the pain is still there. When we talk with you we start to talk to you on the right side of you because that’s where we believe you can see the best. After a while, I try to draw your eyes to the left so you can connect with your left side. I explain this to you as I do it. Most times you try to follow me with your eyes.
I ask if you want a little chocolate pudding that I tried to freeze. It didn’t freeze very well but it’s tasty. You take the first small taste easily, swallow readily and open your mouth for more. Your eat about 4 teaspoons! No coughing. That’s all you want. You ask me to wipe your mouth so there is no evidence. First real food in 49 days!
I will definitely suggest another swallow assessment again this week. I think you will pass it. Your prize will be tasty ‘thickened liquids’. You really want a Coke. You have been asking for it for a few weeks now. I said “I will get you one when you graduate to the rehab hospital.”
You are disappointed that the LA Angels lost the game against the NY Yankees. I taped the game and also read an account of the game to you. The weather for last night’s game was very cold compared to sunny California. The Angels made 3 errors in the first few innings. You don’t look impressed. If a team plays badly, you are never impressed, it doesn’t matter which team – your favorite or the other guys. It’s only the first of possibly seven games … Anything can happen ... we have already witnessed that possibility.
I read you some cards from the huge Sobey’s reusuable shopping bag, which is full. One is an email from Linda. We don’t know Linda, but she tracked us down and started her letter saying that she was one of the runners at the Cobequid Trail 10k race the Sunday you had your stroke. That was her first race and she was a lot slower then the pack. She saw Tara, Quinn and me as we were cheering on the runners. She heard our words of encouragement and she said it helped her to keep going. She came in at 98th place. She finished it!
She went on to say that she plans on running in the Harvest Valley Half Marathon. She plans to wear number 29 to remind her that anything is possible.
She replied this week to say that she did it! She wore a 29 on the apple pictured on her bib. She credits her success to you and our journey in your marathon of life. I bet that in some small way, your story changed her ‘I think I can’ to ‘I know I can’ attitude. But the big part of the credit goes to Lynn. The second race of her life and she did a half marathon. That’s inspirational!
Quinn is going to look for a clown costume with Juanita and Tara. Tara is going to attempt to make her math duotang and might try to accessorize it this weekend – I don’t know how one would accessorize a math duotang but I’m confident Tara will think of something.
You and Farley settle down for a nap. You have been up for 4 hours! I think that’s a record. Now that you have no right arm restraint, you can sleep in the usual way with you hand to your cheek. You sleep soundly, Farley doesn’t but he is quiet and watchful taking in his new world. He can’t take his eyes off your dream catcher.
Chris and Terry come to visit. They are impressed on how you look. So much better then the last time they saw you in the intermediate care unit. There are a lot less medical interventions. You talk with Chris but your voice is getting tired.
Juanita and the children are back. Quinn has colourful curly clown hair. He is quite pleased with his hairdo. We experiment with your running shoes. If we lace them up really snuggly, they don’t slip off Quinn’s feet and they look like large clown feet.
After we eat dinner, we head back to the hospital and meet Caroline and Sandy on the way into the hospital. They are very happy they came to see you and felt you knew who they were and even carried on a little conversion.
Tonight’s nurse had you a few weeks ago and is very pleased with your progress. She feels the pain is less (or maybe you just complain less … hum-m-m that’s hard to believe!) You are much more alert. The Peg doesn’t seem to bother you very much.
I think that I am disadvantaged a little, I see your progress day to day in very small steps. Almost everyone else measures your progress in weeks not days. There is an advantage to this. Your advancements seem bigger.
I have a hunch that the next few weeks are going to show bigger changes. Now your brain is starting to engage with the inside world more and your waking hours are longer. With wakefulness, comes other advantage of benefiting from rehab. Despite what physio Jill said, I think that your progress will speed up in the next few weeks. Your attitude is changing from ‘I think I can’ to ‘I know I can’.