Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday March 19 - Small Things are the Best Things

Today was the day that I went to walking school. The PT said that she would show me how to assist you walking and doing stairs. If all goes well, then you get rewarded a cane which means we can go home of the weekend!

I tell you, at breakfast, that I’m a little worried about helping you. Quinn overhears the conversation and pipes up in a little but authoritative voice, “You will help Daddy, one step at a time … just one step at a time.”

At the PT’s walking school, she demonstrates with me walking her as she mimics your gait. She has obviously done this before. A third person watching us from a distance would wonder about our crazy antics. It might have looked like we were applying for a position in the Monty Python’s Flying Circus Ministry of Crazy Walks.

She emphasizes that the walking is strictly for getting from one place to another. She looks at you when she says, “It is not for showing off yet”. The biggest challenge to assisting you walk is to relax and act as a safety not a helper. As you walk, I hold on to your arm sling in the back. Poised and ready to steady you if needed. The other challenge is to concentrate. You don’t track your left foot well. If you don’t effectively move your left foot and not notice, then when you take a step with your right – you lose balance or as the PT says, “You don’t have a leg to stand on.”

Occasionally, as you get stuck with the left foot not moving on cue, I learn to lean you slightly to the right to allow you to take weight off the left so you can move it forward. The timing of this cueing is key to a ‘smooth’ gait. It requires a lot of concentration from both of us. We can not walk and talk at the same time at this stage. I hope that at some point the cueing will be second nature to both of us. But, like dancing, this will take time.

Your PT is a natural teacher. She takes great pleasure at giving Tara and Quinn the tour of the physio pool. She knew that she wanted to be a physiotherapist since she was 15 years old. Now, many years later, she is as enthusiastic as she was when she started her career and it shows and is contagious.

At the end of the PT session you get handed the ‘trophy’ of a quad cane to take home for the weekend! Today you will get to walk through the door of our home. The first time in almost seven months.

Good session with your psychologist today. She gave you some reading material to help your identify with the feelings better. Grey Glasses and belief systems that affect your mood. She tailored the handout to your situation. I can see how actively thinking about this thinking can help you past this stage.

You feel undeserving and inadequate. You are the pessimist by nature about most things in life but you remain are optimistic about running. You talk about running again. When I ask why you seem to have so much optimism for running, you said that you feel that running was the one thing that you could have control of. “I love that line from the song – I don’t go very fast but I go pretty far.”

The chaplain came to see you today. She is a very good listener. Between her listening skills and the psychologist reasoning skills, I think that we are off to a good start for the weekend.

On the drive home, you spot smokers and runners. Thankfully, you saw more runners then smokers. I wonder if this is going to be your new pass time.

On the drive home we talk about where you will sleep. The hospital bed on the main floor or our bed. “In our bed!” Quinn says. Of course he meant yours and my bed, but he has slept on your side of the bed for so long that he thinks of it as his bed too.

This week has been so good for the family. It almost had a normal feel to it. In the morning you would go off to ‘work’ and we would come visit you at work and after go off and do things in Halifax. By today, we had developed a routine and a rhythm. It felt good.

Juanita and I stay up late to put up handrails on the stairs so you can get to the bedroom. After an emergency trip to the hardware store and a trip to Wayne’s workbench for tools, we get finished by 10 pm.

I nervously assist you going down the stairs with Juanita ahead to break your fall. You didn’t fall! So far so good. Once the handrails are complete, We go up the stairs. Still no falls! My confidence is growing.

Quinn is already in our bed. We let Quinn continue his sleep with us in ‘our’ bed. I smile at the thought of Quinn waking up in the morning with him sandwiched between us. I know he will be happy. It is funny how the small things are the best things.

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