Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lessons in Pictures

Today I spent time with David learning his PT routine and what we need to be aware of as he returns home. Here are a couple of pictures of his exercises:

David is particularly proud of the following exercise. He was talking today about when he first came to English Oaks this was absolutely impossible for him both because he could not balance at all and because he just could not get his brain to tell his body how to do this.

He's made such great progress, and being there today I now know why. When he doesn't do his exercises right, they beat him with a cane! ;-)

Speaking of canes, he has graduated to using one!

Here is David in what has been home for the 3 weeks since he left the hospital.

As I was walking the halls of English Oaks today I realized I will never visit a convalescent hospital again with the same vision I'd had in the past. It feels like home away from home. It has a whole different sense to it.

As well as getting a record of David's exercises in pictures, we gained information today about what the transition to home will be like. One of the other things we learned about was how to ensure safety at home for him to shower. We talked about other details such as driving. David was disappointed to learn it will be a while before he should try driving. He's not getting full feedback (proprioception) on his left side yet, and even though we have not seen any cognitive impairment the PT said that there probably is some impairment of higher order thinking, just because of what he's been through (in terms of the "trauma" of the situation, I guess), such as ability to realize a car is merging to his left while noticing what is happening ahead in traffic.

Along the same lines they just want him to adjust to being home again before he took on any other "big" things - stating that we should all expect that to be a hard adjustment. We will have lived apart for 4 weeks when he comes home, and he is coming home in a different condition than he was in on November 1. Family life has gone on and found a new normal. David's life has been totally removed from home and very focused on his health and recovery in an environment geared only for that. The PT's said that everyone they see after the fact has told them how hard it is to adjust to going home, so, while we're VERY excited that he's coming home, David and I have both been put on alert that it is probably going to be a hard adjustment. They said it will mostly be in the little things.

We had a small taste of that a few days ago when David was out on a pass for a while and spent some time at home. He wanted to oversee the online banking but could not get his left hand to work on the keyboard. That and some other computer related things that used to work so naturally and now do not became very frustrating for him. So I can see how having been in a specialized environment for so long where he has certain expectations of himself and then shifting to home where he has always been healthy and totally able will be frustrating for him, and I imagine he'll find many things like that that he used to take for granted and will now discover are a barrier. I'm sure it will be the same in terms of the flow of life for all of us. This has been hard, but we've adjusted to it, so all of us will be repatterning.

I saw an inspirational poster on the way out of English Oaks today, and it seemed very appropriate, so I will end with that.


ellen said...

What fantastic progress! I'm so impressed with David's determination. I can see what the PTs are saying about it being a rough adjustment to coming home...you all still have a long road. I'm glad that they've given you a heads up. Also, I'm so sorry about the frustrating apt yesterday. I'd so been looking forward to some answers for you, so I can only imagine how much YOU'D been looking forward to some clarity. You're all in my thoughts and prayers!

Anonymous said...

The pictures are wonderful. David is an inspiration for all of us.You both have great courage.God bless you and your family.Sue B.

Anonymous said...

Dear Heidi,
Please share this with David; he knows most of us well:
Gary Hasper, Harry Sikkenga, Paul Bergman, Irv Lundell, Howard Allen, Ric Scott & Cornie Van Tol send you our love and encouragement. We meet every Wednesday morning at Russ's for breakfast and prayer and both of you are in our prayers every week. We're amazed at the progress we see in the photos and we know that you are in God's care.

Heidi said...

I wanted to let you know David will certainly see this. Early on I printed out comments to take to him, but since he has had a couple of chances to be out with a pass (and will be coming home tomorrow - YEA!) he is able to check them online, so rest assured that he does get all of the comments and good wishes.

I can't help but wonder if you were meeting at the same time David was meeting with his Bible study group (6am CA time - 9am MI time). There's been a core group of men that has met for the last 10 years or so at church early Wednesday morning, and they have moved their meetings to English Oaks over the last few weeks in order to include David, which has been so wonderful for David.

The people of Calvin Church in Muskegon are so dear to both of us. I have such fond memories of attending there as a Calvin student while I was visiting David's family during our dating years. It truly became a church home away from home for me.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us!

Anonymous said...

How exciting for David to be homeward bound tomorrow! What a faithful God we have! We'll keep those prayers going up for your whole family as you adjust to yet another new set of circumstances.
Roxanne Lemos

Tony said...

I'm eager for good news about the return home today (Friday)! I'm praying it will be a joyful return and that the adjustment challenges would be met with great patience!