Friday, November 09, 2007

David Update Friday Night

I just got a call this evening that there is a bed for David at English Oaks Convalescent Hospital, so he will be transferred there from Memorial tomorrow. They estimate that he will be there for a week.

I got to see David's physical therapy workout today. I was so glad to be there to see his progress and to hear about all the exercises so that I can help him remember them later too. He is working very hard to regain all his motion and strength. SO, he's still in full "training mode;" it's just that it is for a different marathon. It's amazing to see how mentally exhausting it is to try to train new pathways in the brain. For most of the exercises he has to do 10 reps, but they take such focused attention that he cannot count to ten while doing them; someone else has to count for him.

We're certainly learning a lot about how the brain works. Although I've known all my life that my brain controls such things, it feels like when I move my leg it is my leg that is doing everything.

How can I specifically describe his progress? He was able to use the walker on his own today for a short distance (i.e. to get to the bathroom). He is able to rise to a standing position from a chair and support himself. He is getting more and more strength and motion every day, and we can even see progress over the course of a single day - amazing! He still cannot move his left foot or toes. He is getting more sensation, but it still is not "normal," and he can't really describe what it's like. There is still no feedback getting to his brain from his limbs to tell him they are moving. If he closes his eyes while moving his arm he has no idea where his hand will be when he opens his eyes. It seems he's been rewired or something. When he yawns his left hand and leg rise. When he tries to do something with his left leg, depending on what he is trying to do, either his right leg or his left arm will move. It kind of reminds me of an old cartoon where when the light switch was flipped on the faucet came on, and when the spigot was closed the garage door went up, and when and when the door was put down the lights went on and . . . It's just not wired the way it used to be. It's amazing to see the PT at work - how he can tap on a specific part of David's leg to get him to move it in a way David was not able to by a verbal command only. That simple touch sends a message to the brain to get it to do what it needs to do.

As I watch him learn to walk again I find my emotions are so confused that I don't know how to describe them. On the one hand I'm THRILLED with how quickly he's making progress, on the other hand it is very difficult to see my so recently strong and athletic husband getting around in a way I didn't anticipate would happen until we were in our 90's.

I received a sweet email earlier today letting me know that a "good cry" would eventually be coming and not to be surprised when it happens - that I need to let it all out and just cry. I haven't done that yet, and it's bothered me a bit that I haven't, because it does seem like the natural response. I'm guessing that it is because our lives have remained in such flux with all the changes with David that things are stable enough yet for that to happen - ER then ICU then a room on fourth floor, then three days of testing, then a room in telemetry, tomorrow over to the convalescent hospital. That man gets around!

I realized today that although my head knows what is going on I beleive the feeling in my heart is that David is away for a long weekend trip, and he's just left me in charge here for a few days. I think when my head and my heart finally connect that "good cry" will come.

I'm not sure when we'll hear more from the cardiologist about a consultation with a cardiac surgeon. I sure hope that happens tomorrow before he leaves the hospital.

The boys continue to do well, although the news was just broken to them yesterday that we won't be taking our annual camping trip to Pismo Beach over Thanksgiving weekend. Anthony and Jacob get it. For 10-year old Caleb it is a bit harder; he is quite disappointed and asks about it every so often during the day hoping to get a different answer.

I hope I can come up with some sort of good special activity for them for one of the days of Thanksgiving break. They've really been troopers through all of this. Thank you for your prayers for them and all of us.

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