Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday December 8 – The First Water Stop

This is your one-hundredth day. It’s been a hundred days since you choose life and started this marathon. I poise to you my analogy that I thought of last night about the fellow runners in your race. They are the full array of feelings that you have. You have to run with them because they are in the race too, but you don’t have to run with the negative feelings. I ask you where are you now in the marathon. Last time I asked you said - the port-a-potty. Today you said you are at the first water stop.

Marsha came to see you. She has seen your progress from the early days of the ICU. She has seen big changes. She is excited to know how today turns out. She knows good things will continue to happen to you. You asked if she gave her testimony to the rehab hospital. She said yes – she gave her testimony to God.

We talk about the possibility of going home for the Christmas holidays. I mention that I have the outside Christmas lights put up but I won’t turn them on until you come home. You ask about Annie. “Will I see Annie? I miss Annie.” Oh, I think Annie misses you too. She misses her old life.

The nurses come in and get you cleaned up, shaved and shampooed for the tele-health conference call. I sense that you are nervous. At 9:30am sharp the meeting starts. Your team meets in the conference room off the cafeteria. The team includes physio, OT, dietician, social worker and the stroke coordinator. They all had a role in getting you to this point. We all have a vested interest in getting you to rehab. The NSRC people in Halifax consisted of OT, physio, rehab doctor and nurse. You team members give updates on your progress.

They ask you what are your goals at the rehab. “My main goal is to make my life plan is to get home and makeup a lot to my wife and kids. This is one of the steps to get there so that is what I’m giving all my attention to. That’s why I hope to get in. Thank you.”

The rehab doctor said “With all this information, we think you would make an excellent rehab candidate for here in Halifax. We will do some paper work and put you on the wait list, if that sounds good. You will get here in the near future.” When we pressed for more specifics for an actual time. They weren't sure, but you will be prioritized on the list. It might be before Christmas but they couldn’t guarantee that.

The NSRC team complemented your team for “having everything well in hand.” I asked about Christmas. I mentioned to the NSRC team that we have two very anxious children who have both requested that their Daddy be home of Christmas. It would be a very emotionally uplifting for you and the family. Whether you are at the Colchester Hospital or the NSRC, arrangements can be made for you to be at home. We will meet on Thursday with physio and OT and the social worker for a strategy session of operation ‘Home for Christmas’.

The meeting closes with the rehab doctor saying ”It’s been nice meeting you Chris. We will see you in the hallowed halls of the rehab.”

You were right. You are at the first water stop and now it’s time to move on and set a pace for the rest of the marathon.

When we got back to your room, you called your parents to let them know the good news. My mum came to visit shortly after and you told her how you did.

You are sore after being in your chair for 90 minutes. Your tailbone is sore. It’s not surprising, you have a bony butt. Before your physio, you change your shirt without any help. You carefully guide your left arm through the armholes and pop your head through the neck. As you do physio you ask if your physio and OT team would visit you when you are in Halifax. You will have to let them know how you are doing.

We discuss how the weekly routine will look when you are in rehab. Luckily, in December and January, I can still work three days a week. Melissa, a fellow vet who is pregnant with twins, will need to be off after January. I will have to pick up her shifts. And work full time. If you can get into rehab by late December or early January then we will have a month of the current schedule to get you into the routine of rehab. You are a little anxious about not seeing us except on the weekends. I reassure you that the rehab staff will keep you busy and we can talk every day.

I let you tell the children the details of your rehab meeting today. You speak with confidence and in a reassuring way. “I am going to working hard. Working on my arm and legs. I am working on getting home. They said that I might be able to come home for Christmas once we work out a few details. Hopefully I will get a lot stronger for the Christmas holidays, if I can go before Christmas. I don’t know how long I’ll be in rehab but it’s a step closer to getting back home for good.”
Tara says ”Congratulations Dad, that’s very good.”
“We are very proud of you” Quinn chips in.

In the evening, my sisters call to find out how things went, I told them it was good but that you should have the pleasure of telling them. This is your success. You should bask in it and glow.


  1. I am so impressed with Chris' ablility to make himself understood so well, with such eloquence. So hoping that he gets home for Christmas and that you all do well with him back at rehab, a great step and necessary but still a farther distance away physically.
    Great going all of you, everyone of you are a great inspiration!

  2. Well done Chris, I can imagine it is not always easy to see the progress but it is real evident from here. You have a wonderful family who are the greatest inspiration and support you could possibly ask for. Fortunately for them they choose a winner. Keep it up buddy, the next water stop is in sight.

    this is fantastic!!! well done chris!!!
    well done gwen ... well done team!!!!
    i think i hear strains of Bing singing in the background "...i'll be home for Christmas ..." this IS fantastic ... let's all say our prayers ... next stop: HFX rehab