Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday December 10 - I’ll be Home for Christmas

It’s snow tire time. I’ve put it off long enough. I was going to do it last week but I could only find three tires. I asked you if you remember what happened to the fourth tire and you didn’t. So I took the car to the tire store and explained that we lost a tire. They said they could take care of it, so I left the car with them for the morning.

A nice young man drove me back to the hospital. His grandfather had a stroke six months ago. He has speech issues but is gaining strength every day. “He is a tough old guy.” he said. When I mentioned that you were a marathon runner, he immediately responded “Oh well, he must have determination. He’ll get better.” I hear this comment a lot. It seems that generally, people regard marathon runners as strong willed people with extra powers or something.

Once I got to your room we met with the physio and OT team and the social worker. What a productive 20 minutes. A leave from the hospital is definitely possible. The social worker is going to arrange for a leave for 48 hours and if all goes well, then they will discharge you from the hospital for the holiday season and you can return in January. The catch to that is – there may be no spare beds at that time and if there is a bed – we will likely not get a private room.

That is a small price to pay to get you home. A quick call was made to the NSRC to see when you might get in. We are hoping that you could go directly to the NSRC from home. But it’s not meant to be. They informed us it would be a about 6 week wait. There are seven people ahead of you on the list.

This information worry me a little because, at the meeting with the Halifax rehab team on Tuesday, it was mentioned that your physio team is a little ‘stuck’ on getting you from sitting to standing position. I ask if they have any ideas about how to get past this obstacle while still here in Truro. I am worried that ‘stuck’ might mean a less then best recovery.

Apparently, there is a ‘Sitting to Standing’ machine that might help. It is meant to be used with someone with two functional hands, not one, but it is worth a try.

We discuss what equipment we will need and where to get it and transportation from and to the hospital. Tasks are assigned to OT and the social worker and I’m to find out about transportation. The physiotherapist is going to work on a list of house rules. My concern is once you are home, you will want to do more then you should and risk injury. After being your wife for 22 years, I know that if the ground rules come from your much loved and respected physiotherapist, you will obey them. I’m not so sure you would listen to me. After 22 years, you know what buttons to press to make me cave in. I glad the rules will have to come from physio and OT.

You sing a chorus of “I’ll be home for Christmas” as they leave the room. This is going to be the best Christmas ever for our little family. You are looking forward to seeing Annie. “We can even sleep together if I’m home!” I’d like that. I miss curling up with you.

You have an alcoholic friend that you have been worried about. You want to share with him your new-found insights as to what’s important in life. In many ways, the insights into life that are gained by a near death experience are almost the polar opposite to the deep park hole that addiction buries a person’s soul. The disease of addiction distorts one’s values and perception of what is really important.

You feel that if you can share some of your insights, you can throw him a lifesaver. I remind you what Jay had said yesterday but you said tearfully replied, “He hasn’t got time to wait for me to be whole again. I have to do this now.” You plan to call him tonight.

Karen and Luke come to visit. You enjoy teasing Luke, who is starting school next year. He enjoys sitting in your wheel chair and plays with the Santa music box. Shortly after Kerry and Iris come to visit. You talk about the rehab and you say you know it will be tough. But you are going to make the best recovery you can. You talk again about the fact that your arm and leg are attached to you and are, in fact, part of you. This is a breakthrough but you are still struggling to understand..

Just before lunch you had the best physio session yet. The sitting to standing machine was brought up for you to try. You were a little apprehensive at the beginning. Your nurse demonstrates how it works. That seems to waylay your fears. To use it, you start by sitting on the edge of the bed. And the bed gets raised up until your feet barley touch the ground. The sitting to standing machine is brought to you and you rest your feet on the base of the machine. A supporting strap is wrapped around the back of your chest. You hold onto a handle with your right hand. As you hold on, the machine slowly lifts you up but you are doing most of the work. You use the machine for balance.

It is so good to see you stand. As you stand, your physiotherapist gets you to straighten your back and look straight ahead. Besides training your body to distribute your weight onto your legs and correct your posture, this exercise places gravitational forces on your feet. Especially your left foot. If your left foot perceives pressure from weight bearing, then your brain may connect with your leg better.

You are very pleased with yourself over this ‘feat’. Get the pun! I’m happy too. You can’t wait until your physio session tomorrow. You are not scared of trying now.

This morning, when Quinn went to get dressed, there was only one pair of pants in his drawer. I left these pants in his drawer on purpose because he refuses to wear them. He thinks they are too big. They were too big when we first got them six months ago. But they are not too big now. I finally convince him to try them on and, of course, they fit! He is quite pleased with himself. He has grown physically and now he can see it.

You were scared of trying to stand today. When you were first admitted into the hospital, they tried to get you to stand and it was painful and frightening experience. This left you a little gun shy on trying new things. You weeped and you were worried that you would fail. But you did try to stand and you succeeded.

You have grown too … emotionally. I guess you are “Your son’s father”.

You want to run. But before you run, you have to walk and before you walk, you have to stand. They are all ‘baby steps’. The only difference between you and a baby is that you don’t transition through the crawling phase.

You are presented with a different wheel chair. This one is a normal wheel chair that you can propel using your right hand on the wheel and your right foot on the floor. You take it for a spin down the hallway and back. That is going to work well. This will be type of chair that we will get to take you home.

You are working on your gift list for all the wonderful people who helped you in the hospital, not to mention all the people in the community. The list is getting long. You are getting very excited about coming home of Christmas. You want to have lots of visitors during the holidays.

Tonight you call, you are tired and frustrated. You ask if I could call the nurse’s station so that someone would come to your room. The call button had dropped out of your reach. This is a tough time for you. “I have got to myself better so I can get out of here.”

Just before bed Tara informs me that another tooth fell out yesterday. She put it under her pillow and didn’t tell me. I think she is testing the tooth fairy. She told me tonight. She didn’t let on that she knew but I think she does know who the tooth fairy is. She wants her money and now she knows who to tell. She is growing too. She is growing intellectually.


  1. I am so very happy for you all!!! What a great Christmas present. Please don't wear yourself and don't let Chris get too worn out with visitors etc. I know how hard that will be from experience but enjoy the days and perhaps have an hr a day that is rest time for you all.
    SUPER NEWS!!!!

  2. I guess Chris beat Farley to standing!