Today your PT is back. She meets the children. She is a bit of a kid herself. She immediately notices the devil sticks that Quinn brought to the gym with him. She is drawn to the devil sticks right away. She seizes the opportunity to do a bit of twirling with the sticks.
The children and I get to see you walk, climb stairs and strengthen your legs on the kinetron – a sort of sitting upright stair master. You also practice several transfers from various positions.
Walking requires a lot of concentration. You and your PT have to constantly be aware of where your left foot is. If you try to kick the left foot forward and it doesn’t go and you don’t notice it, you will fall when you try to take the next step with your right foot. As the PT says, “you have to watch carefully because when this happens you don’t have a leg to stand on.”
Lately you have been thinking that I should take a vacation. “Go somewhere by yourself or with the children but leave me here. You should just relax and not have to look after me.” Now you want your PT and I to go on a cruise together! “I’m not really a cruise-type tourist. I would rather go hiking.” Your PT agrees with me.
Last summer, we went for a hike up at Earltown. It was a wonderful day and the air was clear and fresh. The forest floor was covered with flowers. We had a good vigorous walk in the woods. How I long to know that hiking with you and the children is something that we can do together again.
You have different dreams for the future. “Someday I will qualify again for Boston. Then I will be running for all the right reasons.” This sounds a little like another attempt at bargaining but perhaps you are just stating the future as you see it.
While you are with the OT practicing transfers from chair to chair like a rather insane game of musical chairs, we drove out to Dingle Tower. The tower was closed so we went for a walk along the beach. It always amazes me that when you put a child on a beach, even in winter, they will find fun and joy somewhere in the sand. Today was no exception. Tara and Quinn skipped rocks, looked for sea glass and shell treasures and drew in the sand. Within thirty minutes Tara’s pockets were bulging with shells.
As we started back to the NSRC, Tara states that she loves the ocean. “I am going to live by the sea when I grow up.” She said. “Don’t worry, you and Daddy can come visit.
After dinner tonight, we play a game. Jellybean poker. It’s fun playing together. It is really a math game that also teaches the talent of bluffing. You learn a lot about people when you play poker with them.
Quinn is a risk taker of the family. “After all, they are just jellybeans.” He says with a shrug. He is not much of a bluffer but then it’s hard to bluff when you get good cards all the time like he seems to.
Tara is much more reserved with her betting. Not so willing to take a chance on things. In no time she had her jellybeans all organized by colour in the order of the rainbow. Any bets that she did make were carefully colour coordinated.
You were the first one to loose all your jellybeans. I fell shortly after. Tara and Quinn loaned us jellybeans to stay in the game. Quinn cleaned up then proceeded to share his haul of jellybeans with Tara.
I brought the photo album for 2009 with us this week. I thought you might want to see what you had missed. Most of the pictures, taken after your stroke, were of you and the children in various hospital beds. The pictures show you at different stages of your recovery. Pictures showing you in all levels of consciousness. The picture that really caught your eye was the one I took a day after you surgery in the ICU.
Quinn wasn’t sure if he wanted to see you or not. He was worried that you might look scary. I took a picture of you from the non-surgical side so Quinn could see you before actually coming to your bed. You hardly recognized yourself in the picture. I think this is the first time that you really tried to imagine what our lives were like and how frightened we were.
Negative thoughts still circle around you today. You have been searching for something to do that is meaningful when you get home. You ask about working at the animal hospital.
We have worked together before in an animal hospital. That’s how we meet. But, working with animals is a fairly physical job and I don’t see what you would be able to do that is safe. I didn’t have to tell you that … Thank God. You came to that conclusion by yourself. The thought that you couldn’t even do something at the animal hospital made you weep.
I remind you that the most important work that you need to do is to work on your recovery. You still have some very important jobs that only you can do. Be a father, husband, son, brother and friend. This is your meaningful work now.