Sunday, May 31, 2009


Well family and friends, it has been quite busy the last several days at the Waltmire household.

On Thursday Ted had his first meeting with the Marion Joy outpatient team. They affirmed that his goals regarding full recovery and being back to work early September are quite reasonable and he begins 3 days per week Physical and Occupational Therapy next Wednesday. Monday begins his series of doctor appointments - first with his new GP followed up by a meeting with the Neurologist from Central DuPage Hospital. From there - we'll see what other doctors need to be involved in his long term recovery and overall health care.

Friday was another adventure for Ted and Rick as they first ran (well, not literally) a couple of banking errands and got Ted his low maintenance summer buzz cut. He was pleased with his ability to make it from the car into the bank and into the barber shop without the use of the wheel chair. After that it was off to Wrigley Field (yes - again!) for a 1:20 first pitch.

Since the Cubs Express Bus does not run for weekday games until June, Ted and Rick had to find another way to get to the game. Thanks to very helpful CTA employees and courteous passengers they managed to successfully get to the ball game via the Blue Line (from Forest Park) to the Red Line (transfer at Jackson) and off at Addison right by the friendly confines. We are now MUCH more familiar with which stations have elevators (look for the wheelchair symbol on the route map in the train!). Michelle was able to take the afternoon off and meet the boys at the ballpark. We got a third ticket and off we went to the wheelchair accessible seats right behind home plate. Luckily we brought our jackets since the temperature at our seats was about 10 degrees cooler than that in the lower part of the park. The wind blowing in chilled both us and the Cubs - at least for the first seven innings. In the seventh the wind calmed down and the Cubs heated up. While they left a LOT of men on base they had just enough offense to win (Cubs 2, Dodgers 1). We had a grand time singing "Go Cubs Go". Leaving the park via the elevator we learned that the exit point is right by the entrance to the players parking lot and that you can line up and try to get autographs as the players exit the field to go to their cars. By the time we got there most of the "Big Time" players were gone but Rick did get a great picture of Ryan Theriot's back as he (Ryan, not Rick) was signing autographs. Outside the ballpark Rick also got several pictures of the players in their various very expensive cars leaving the park. I never realized how tall Derrick Lee is until I saw him standing beside his car. No wonder he can make some of those spectacular long reach catches and still keep his foot on the bag.

After all that excitement you would think our day on Friday would have ended and we would head for home but it was early on a beautiful Friday afternoon so we headed back to the Red Line (it took a bit more persuasion for people to be courteous when the train was so full but we made it) and downtown to the Bergoff Restaurant. (Yes - it closed. It is now open with a shorter menu and new waiters) Ted was able to get his Sauerbraten, creamed spinach and mashed potato fix. Rick and Michelle each had delicious fish (not the German specialties but quite good!)

Saturday brought more morning errands followed by the "Welcome Home, The Mighty Ted" party. Ted was bubbling with joy the entire time. He loved showing people how well he is able to walk, talking about his progress negotiating the stairs (he is much faster and more confident now though he still needs someone to watch him for a mis-step) and the level of control he has over his left arm. The fingers have still not decided to join us but we know they won't be far behind. Thanks to all of you who sent your good wishes to Ted but could not join us. We look forward to seeing you at our future gatherings and to all of you who took the time out of your busy lives to come by. (And to any of you who did not get the invitation - our apologies - we tried to get the email out to as many of you as possible but did think of others who were missed. We will have other parties and be sure you are invited!) Thanks especially to Steve Ziedler and Mr. Z's grocery store in Lombard for our beautiful party trays and the cake. Everyone loved the food and could not have been more complementary about all the yummies!

So... Sunday brings church followed by our normal "go out for lunch" and perhaps a run to our "yuppie grocery store" (Sorry Steve) looking for some seafood to grill.

As I said at the start, quite a weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Singin' In The Rain

Just a quick update today on “the mighty Ted”. He achieved his one of his targets (places he told the Midwest University study group he plans to go on a regular basis) by making it to Wrigley Field to see a Cubs WIN!

Though it was a rain-shortened game, Ted and Rick navigated the streets of Chicago (with the help of the Cubs Express Bus from convenient Yorktown Mall) and enjoyed a great evening at Wrigley Field. Cubs 6, Pirates – 1. CUBS WIN!!! I forgot to ask if they sing “Go Cubs Go” and hoist the Win Flag when the game is called due to rain. (Yes – there are pictures but we need to get Rick back to Florida to pick up the camera cable so we can send them on to Mary for posting on the blog.)

Earlier in the day he visited another target, checking in at the Downers Grove Library to visit co-workers and show off his “BMW” wheelchair.

Today has been low-key recovering from yesterday and getting ready for his first out-patient therapy session. We are looking forward to a new set of schedules and goals!

That’s all for now.

Thanks everyone for all your support. As the “mighty Ted” says, “It makes a difference!”.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


As many of you are already aware, Ted was released from Marion Joy Rehabilitation Hospital on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 (A day, like April 26th, that is engraved on our memories).
Prior to Ted’s release, Ted, his brother Rick and I spent Friday continuing to work with the wonderful people at Marion Joy learning more about how to support Ted on the next part of his journey.

Ted finished the day on Friday equipped with his custom leg brace and his “BWM” wheel chair (a rental custom fit to his body and MUCH speedier than the “Chevy” he had at Marion Joy).
Our final therapy sessions with Nancy (occupational) and Drill Sergeant Sarah (physical) were focused on Ted’s routine at home and the exercises we will all be doing to enhance the outpatient therapy. (Motivation includes not having to go back to sleeping in the “Barbie Doll Toe Boot”!)

Speaking of outpatient therapy – his first session is scheduled for Thursday morning (yes – morning!). Ted is anxious to get started and this was the first available slot. He is scheduled to work on Physical and Occupational Therapy. Note that no speech therapy was prescribed. Between all the cell phone calls, regular room calls and personal visits Ted’s speech has rapidly improved – so keep those calls coming. (Probably best to use the house land line: 630-792-0853 as we get LOUSY cell phone reception in the house.) Text messaging to the cell phone and email to Ted’s work email ( both work pretty well as alternate forms of communication.

Ted has been charged to continue to do his daily tongue exercises on his own (ask him about the “Big Z”). Now that the articulation is there and the speed of speech is coming back the last hurdle is to regain the inflections of regular conversation. Our choir will be pleased to hear that our vocal warm-ups are part of his “home work” as the best tool for helping Ted recover the “melody of speech”.

So .. we spent the weekend getting Ted (and us) settled in to our new routine. Ted loves his Mighty Ted headquarters with his big screen TV, full bath with grab bars, hand held shower and a fresh coat of paint (THANKS EVERYONE!) and is getting much better at navigating the stairs.

We were thrilled with the greeting of everyone as we did some grocery shopping at Mr. Z’s in Lombard (great steaks Steve!), went to church on Sunday (followed by brunch at one of our favorite spots – with healthy options on the menu) and relaxed on Monday (well.. sort of – there were several piles of laundry to be done!) before doing burgers on the grill.

This week brings a meeting with the team from Midwest University to fit Ted with his GPS and pedometer for the stroke study; going to Wrigley Field to TRY to bring the Cubs some luck after this terrible losing streak and starting the next phase of therapy on Thursday.

Updates to the blog will continue by Ted, Michelle or both of us as we have news to report.
Thanks to everyone for all your support and love. It really has, and will continue to, see us through this challenging time.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

There's no place like home...

Note from the blogmistress...

Ted comes home today from Marianjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's been a long day

This update is coming to you live from Marion Joy Rehabilitation Hospital room 2227. No, Ted is not typing (at least not with both hands). Michelle is still your reporter - at least until Ted comes home.

Wednesday Ted started off his day early, as usual, with speech therapy. He misses doing the group sessions with the other patient who had similar goals to Ted. Physical therapy continues walking the loop, climbing the stairs and riding the exercise back in an continued effort to both build endurance and reenforce good walking habits. (Keep that right heel down Ted). More Wii bowling and Wii-fit along with a game of Strategies (Ted actually lost this time) were the Recreational Therapy events. Occupational therapy spent time working with the skateboard, doing stretching exercises and doing stimulation of the muscles via massage and electrodes to continue to wake up the left arm. The day ended with the most challenging event of all - collection of data for the Midwest University Stroke Study. The hard part was not the walking, etc. (though that was challenging since Ted was pretty tired after all the other therapy sessions). It was the fact that both Ted and Sarah COULD NOT TALK during the 4 minute test! (Though Sarah, as an amateur actress, enjoyed delivery of her lines at each minute mark. I wish you could hear her delivery of "Keep it up. You're doing great!") Ted's brother Rick joined him for lunch and the afternoon therapy sessions so he got an early look of what Thursday would bring.

Thursday we spent the day with Ted participating in Family Education - meeting the Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy teams, the dietician, the psychologist and the nurse in charge of his medications. All are absolutely wonderful (as Ted has been telling us) going through the daily routines and helping us understand what Ted can do, where he needs accomodations and (thanks to Drill Sergent Sarah) where to get on his case (cutting no slack on bad habits). It is quite a lot of data to absorb but we have lots of notes and Ted's information book to help us remember the key points. It was great to see Ted getting himself in and out of bed, walking with his cane, going up and down stairs and in and out of the car. The support that is needed is minimal and referred to as "standby" - just to be there if he has a mis-step, over extends himself or gets too tired. We were too busy today to have any recreational therapy (maybe tomorrow we'll get to do one last Will Bowling session). In Speech Therapy we learned about SLOB (Speak Slowly, Loudly - as appropriate, Overarticulate and Breathe). He is doing great on the articulation (as those of you who have been able to call are well aware). They continue to work on regaining the rhythms of speech patterns (they say that singing is great for that part of the recovery) and strenthening the muscles in the throat and of the tongue to regain his former voice qualities. Occupational therapy brought lots of good tips on devices that will help Ted cut food on his own (rocker knives), take a shower and many (many) arm exercises to continue to wake up the right arm.

In the meeting with the dietician we learned that the diet, while low-fat and low-sodium does not appear to be as restricted as we expected. With all the care we take to meet my Weight Watchers diet we are actually in pretty good shape, diet wise! As long as we look for the American Heart Association check mark / seal of approval we are "good to go". Hei is also pleased to know that Starbucks (the coffee of the day - not the fancy mochas with all the cream and other goodies) is still an option. Caffine is not an issue - just the "bad" fats and the sodium. It was good to see the list of ongoing medications and to know the purpose of each. It's really a very short list - most of which are preventative measures against stroke along with the ongoing medication he takes for the gastro issue he had last fall. The psychologist was very informative as she explained the purpose of the anti-depressant and the studies that have been done regarding the healing power of SSRI (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Bottom line - the brain needs more time to grab the seratonin, which helps the various brain processes and is the "happy" brain chemical. The SSRI family of drugs makes that happen - Non-addictive and a good thing.

Our day ended with Drill Sergent Sarah, walking the loop, doing the 16 steps and learning how to help Ted in getting in and out of the car. An educational and exhausting day for all of us.It's now time for a nap then dinner and the hopes for a Cubs win tonight. Friday will bring Ted's last day of therapy and getting ready to go home on Saturday. He begins his outpatient therapy a week from today. (They were booked up on Tuesday). In the meantime we will be working at home on practicing everthing that we learned today and having some well deserved sleeping in over the holiday weekend!

Signing off from Marion Joy. Thanks to all for your continued prayers and support.

Michelle & Ted

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ted: "I know things now"

Tuesday provided a number of gains for Ted. He was officially upgraded to be allowed to do all ADL’s (getting dressed, shaving and using the bathroom) with ZERO assistance. He was showing off last night – demonstrating how he can very quickly and steadily pull him self from a sitting to a standing position using the handrail of his bed. (Though I have not seen it, I’m guessing the quad-cane gives him the same support and ability when he is not near a railing he can use for leverage).

With the upgrade in his level of assistance the occupational therapy sessions will move from ADL to increased work on regeneration of muscles and movement in his left arm.

Ted met with a group of Doctors from Midwest University in Downers Grove, Illinois. Ted will be part of their case study regarding the effect and recovery time on younger stroke victims. Ted will be wearing both a pedometer and a GPS to record his movements and his progress. The money he is paid to participate in the study will be donated to research / support of other stroke victims.

Physical therapy included more stairs – he is now up to 16 steps in a session (the exact number of steps he needs to be able to climb when returning home on Saturday).

We are excited to have Ted’s brother Rick staying with us to support Ted’s return home and his transition into outpatient therapy. Thanks to our dear friend Sharon Place for picking Rick up at the airport and to Rick for changing his plans and coming straight to Chicago from a large family graduation ceremony (2 nieces and a future nephew-in-law) in Nebraska.

We are very blessed and continue to thank everyone for all their support (and the loan of wheelchairs, canes and other equipment Ted will need once he returns home).


(note from Blogmistress: In case you are wondering about some of the mysterious blog headings, they are all songs from musicals, mostly Sondheim.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The little things you do together

Yesterday’s therapy brought new levels of achievement as Ted was able to do his right arm “skateboard” exercises without the skateboard. Though the fingers (and toes) have not awakened yet, he is able to voluntarily move the lower part of his left arm. When he and I practiced the resistance exercises (I hold up his lower arm and he pushes back at my force) there was a lot of push back (in this case a GOOD thing!).

He is hoping to get his assistance level upgraded regarding his ADLs (activities of daily living) to have no assistance with certain tasks (including using the washroom). Right now they are on standby to be sure he doesn’t fall but he is able to stand and “do his business” with no assistance. (Hopefully that is not TMI for anyone!).

Thanks to all of you who continue to shower Ted with fun Cubby gifts. You are way too generous!.

His latest are the “Holy Cow” from our friend Cynthia Rogers and Ted’s very own Number 14 Cubby Bear (A Vermont Teddy Bear in a Baseball uniform, cap and bat with Ernie Bank’s number and Ted’s name on the Jersey) thanks to our friends at Lighthouse Technology. (Thanks Cyn, Lou and company!) Ted’s ready to “play two” as Ernie used to say – we just have to get him back in shape and ready to go!

Thanks to everyone who comments on the blog. Mary is great to do the daily posts and it makes us so glad to know so many people are checking on Ted’s progress.

Michelle & Ted

Monday, May 18, 2009

Putting it Together

Today’s update is rather lengthy (covering Friday and the weekend).

Friday’s therapy introduced the exercise bike (yes with both legs!); continued work on stairs, including what Ted has named the Steppes of Russia (8 steps in the center’s exit stairwells – a pretty extensive climb up and down); and another session on the Wii – this time Wii fitness using the balance board. Saturday brought more walking, including the ability to walk without his cane when he was supported by a member of the therapy team walking on either side of him. He said it was very exciting to be able to walk at a somewhat normal pace without the cane. The therapy team told him that they would report to “Drill Sergeant Sarah” that he did very well. (High praise indeed!).

Saturday afternoon Ted attended the Dog Therapy session (even though Ted is a cat person). Since the dogs included Dobermans we thought of our niece’s dogs out in Nebraska (Hi to Gwen and Cody!) Though Sunday is an “off” day, Ted made progress in arm movement. He said when he was taking his nap after church he was able to move his lower arm in bed like he does on the skateboard! Welcome back to those lower arm muscles! Can the fingers be far behind?

Ted was measured for a leg brace on Friday. It will give his left leg more stability when he walks and will help his recovery as an outpatient. The clinic doctor estimated that he would be back to work in around 90 days after his release from Marion Joy. Exciting news indeed.

Ted’s brother Rick will be joining our household on Tuesday as we prepare to learn what it takes to be Ted’s caregivers over the next several weeks.

In getting ready for Ted’s return home our wonderfully generous friends from the Summer Place Theater came on Saturday to install grab bars, paint the downstairs bath and otherwise help turn our basement TV room into TheMightyTed Recovery Headquarters. (Part of his home therapy may be doing the blog updates!) Thanks Dave, Jeff, Gena and Steve!

Once Ted is home next week we will give you an update on his schedule and “visiting hours”.

In spite of the Cubs 9th inning play in the games over the weekend Ted’s blood pressure continues to remain stable and within acceptable limits.
Thanks to all the visitors over the past weeks and the weekend (Bob and Joanne, Sue & Justin, Dale G., Mary V. , Dale R, all the library friends and co-workers, Dick & Bonnie, our pastors, choir friends, Alan, Natalie, Evan; Jane, Ethan & Dillon and all the others that I have forgotten to mention). It is your thoughts and prayers and visits and phone calls and emails and texts that are helping us through this unexpected journey.

Michelle & Ted

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ted: Merrily he rolls along

Several of the regular readers of this blog have commented to me on Ted’s remarkable progress. Some have even begin to think he is having WAY too much fun at Marion Joy.

While I don’t think the way too much fun is true, he has certainly made a lot of new friends as well as enhancing his / our connections with our “old” friends.

Yesterday brought more work on his left arm including skateboard sessions in which they applied a massage device and some electrodes to his arm to stimulate the muscles. It appears the stimulus “woke up” some of the muscles since he was able to do more / better work with his arm after the application.

The walking and building up his stamina continues. He told me that the sorting exercises are designed to give him something to do while they are timing how long he can stand at a stretch.
Recreational therapy introduced Ted to a new “toy”. He had his first Wii bowling session. He beat the therapist with a score of 147. (We don’t have a Will at home but I have a feeling a request may be forthcoming). He didn’t say what she scored but he was thinking she may not want to play with him again!

We continue to look at a release date of Saturday May 23rd. Our Summer Place friends have a “crew” lined up to come over to our house tomorrow (Saturday, May 16) to install grab bars, railings and anything else that Marion Joy believes Ted will need to continue his road to recovery once he comes home.

Thanks for all your help, support and prayers. We know we could not get through this without all of you!

Michelle & Ted

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The rain in spain stays mainly on the plain

Wednesday one of the highlights was a rousing game of Yatzee with the recreational therapist. Though the game is random throwing of the dice, Ted managed to achieve the highest score seen in the 6 years the therapist has been at the center – with THREE Yatzees.

Speech therapy continued with exercises, conversation and Ted helping one of his fellow stroke victims. Since she has memory difficulties Ted read to her from the newspaper and then she was asked by the therapist to recall facts from the articles read by Ted.

Occupational therapy is going well – Ted is now able to get dressed with very minimal assistance (just a bit of help in pulling on his pants – ooh – is that TMI?) He continues to work with the skateboard to improve arm strength and movement and to do sorting exercises while standing (several 4 minute stretches of standing before he would have to sit down).

In physical therapy the walking continues and he says that “Drill Sergeant Sarah” will not let him “get away with” anything – she calls Ted out when his left foot is lazy or the right foot is not in the proper position for optimum balance. Good for her!

Thanks to everyone for all your cards, phone calls and visits. They are much appreciated.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Walking and talking and sorting and ice cream

Here’s both the Monday and Tuesday update on Ted. (I am in Waukegan at my company’s corporate HQ part of this week so the updates are a bit less frequent).

Monday and Tuesday were busy days with a lot of walking, mat exercises (for the left leg) and more work on the arm skateboard. Monday brought the first “auto-therapy” session – the facility has a full-sized car in the therapy gym! Ted is learning various new games as a part of his recreational therapy. Monday brought a rousing game of Tri-Ominos (think triangular dominos). Tuesday he did a sorting exercise while standing – working both the mind and the body. He said he was able to stand for 5 minutes before needing to sit down.

His left side continues to grow stronger – he had some involuntary movement of some of the fingers on his left hand and no longer has to wear the “boot” to keep his foot from drooping. The doctor says the left leg muscles are now strong enough to keep the foot in the proper position (no “Barbie Doll” toes).

Speech therapy has moved from exercises (not Ted’s favorite activity) to conversations with other stroke patients. Tuesday they played a game in which one of the group members had to describe a picture and the other members of the group had to guess the picture. (Sounds like reverse Charades – one of Ted’s favorite party games). Ted continues “unofficial” speech therapy burning up his cell phone. He was able to connect with the Chicago Cubs organization to determine how we can use our Cubs tickets for games the last week in May. It looks like we can exchange our “nosebleed” seats for tickets in the wheelchair accessible seats. (Ted says he’ll play the “handicapped card” if it gets him better seats!) Now we just have to figure out the part about getting him to the game. Disabled parking is available but driving to it … well – that’s something else again. Ted’s brother Rick will be coming to stay with us so the two brothers will have time to figure out the best way for both of them to get to the game.

The center has ongoing events with guest speakers. Tuesday was “Stroke Support Group”. Two stroke victims (both in their late 50’s) spoke about their experiences in recovery and the quality of their daily lives. They reminded the group that everyday will not bring victories and the progress is measured in small steps. Looking back to where you were a week ago is the best way to affirm your growth.

Tuesday evening brought an ice-cream social and a Cubs win. Overall an exciting but exhausting day.

Ted loves those visitors and is looking for people to stop by and help him eat all the goodies that folks have shared!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Update

It was a busy weekend for Ted.

Therapy continued on Friday and Saturday (morning only) with much more walking and leg lifts. I arrived Saturday in time to see him take a couple of steps and he is regularly doing his leg and knee lifts both when sitting in his wheel chair and when resting in bed. He spends much of his day in the chair – using the bed for afternoon naps (a luxury these days) and sleeping (as opposed to the hospital and his first days at MJ where he was primarily bed-ridden).

His upper left arm gains more mobility each day though the arm below the elbow and his left hand have yet to “wake up”. As we are learning, there are a LOT of brain cells that need to be reprogrammed and it takes time to get everything back working again.

As noted last week, they are cutting the speech therapy down to once a day (could it have something to do with all the work he is doing talking to all of you via his cell phone? Keep those calls coming – we LOVE it!). They will use the extra slot for additional physical therapy.

Ted was pretty tired by the weekend but we did manage to get outside on both Saturday and Sunday – discovering the beautiful grounds of the facility and how much work it takes to push someone in a wheel chair uphill!

The staff stops by regularly to check on the Cubs score – they are very careful about the timing of taking his blood pressure (especially during a couple of the games this past weekend). Based on his popularity at the center we may have a hard time getting the staff to let him come home. All weekend I kept hearing them tell him and me what a great patient he is!

By the way – Ted is online now and able to get to both this blog (so he can read all your comments) and to his face book page. (He has asked me to continue posting the blog for now – he says once handed typing is very tedious!)

Thanks for all your support.
Michelle & Ted

Friday, May 8, 2009

Update from Michelle

Thursday, May 7th, a group of 20 – 30 friends surprised Ted with a “sing-a-long”. Dave Lindley, vice-president of the Summer Place Community Theater Board, arranged with Marion Joy to bring in a keyboard and actors / singers from various productions in which Ted has been involved ( including Guys & Dolls, Peter Pan and Even Stephens – a review done in March of 2009). A grand time was had by all singing favorites from a variety of shows.

Though the staff at the facility looked a bit amazed at first we had quite a crowd gathered by the end of the event.

Earlier in the day Ted had several therapy sessions continuing to work on daily living tasks, walking (doubled the walk from Wednesday by doing 100 feet!) and climbing stairs. He said he is doing so well on the speech therapy (you’d know it is true if you had heard him singing last night) that they are cutting one of the speech therapy sessions and replacing it with an additional physical therapy session. He also had a rousing game of Dice with the recreational therapist and cannot wait until the Scrabble Game day!

We are counting the days until he can come home and are working on figuring out how to get to as many Cubs Games as possible. Their website gives details about disabled parking and wheelchair access so … we’ll see what happens.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Theatric Extravaganza!

Thursday evening, 25 or more of Ted's closest friends gathered at Marianjoy Rehab Hospital to put on an impromptu performance of some of Ted's Broadway favorites. This was organized by Heather Hutchinson and David Lindley. An electronic keyboard was furnished by David (I think), and Heather played and conducted. Some of the numbers were:

"Everything's Coming Up Roses" -- Gypsy
"Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" -- Guys and Dolls
"What I Did For Love" -- Chorus Line
"Side By Side" -- Company

This event was a surprise for Ted, especially since he wasn't in his room when Dave went to fetch him. However, he was soon found, and a great time was had by all.

Day 3 of rehab report: we have an end date!

Yesterday was an exciting day for us as we now have a target date for Ted’s dismissal from Marion Joy!

The therapy team believes that he will be sufficiently functional / self-supportive to come home May 23rd. Though this is a tentative date dependant on his progress we are very excited. He has daily assessments (and a lot of acronyms I am still learning to understand) regarding his trength and mobility. For example, his UE (upper extremities) level is 75-99% compared to the norm (100%). He continues to have more and more use of his left leg and, in true to Ted fashion, he beat his physical therapy goal yesterday by walking 53 feet (the goal was 50!).

His right arm is progressing with strength and mobility in both the shoulder and elbow. He still needs assistance in ADL (average daily living) when eating since it is difficult to cut up one’s food with only one hand, especially when you are left handed and that is the one that is not working (at the moment). He did ask that I include on the daily report that he was able to butter and jelly his morning toast with no assistance.

His case worker is very confident that we will be able to attend our niece’s wedding on June 20th – most likely without the aid of a wheel chair (though he was amused by the thought of wheel chair races through the airport!). We have a series of tickets to the Chicago Cubs home games, including a couple of games at the end of May. We are hopeful that, perhaps with some help since our tickets are WAY up in the nosebleed section, he will be able to attend those games as well! Talk about your motivator.

On that note, I will sign off for today.
Thanks to everyone for your support and … Go CUBS!

Michelle & Ted

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 2 of the road back

From Michelle:

Ted was in good spirits when we spoke last night. Though everyone has told me how tired he will be he seems to be holding up well so far.

Yesterday he did a morning and afternoon session of Occupational Therapy concentrating on daily living tasks in the morning – get dressed, shave, brush teeth. In the afternoon he worked with a “skateboard” (he said it’s not the kind you normally think of – thank goodness!) that is a device that goes under his left arm. Though he cannot move the arm without assistance he was able to move it while on the “skateboard” – which sounds like the upper arm strength and control must be returning.

Physical therapy is moving along – in addition to the walking practice he has added learning how to navigate stairs. (They have a 3 step practice unit in the therapy gym – quite nice!) Speech therapy continues to work on exercises with the lips and tongue. He said his pucker still works!

Today we hear from his case worker regarding the assessment by the total therapy team and the doctor to determine an estimated discharge date.

Thanks for all the cards and phone calls. He loves to hear from people and will call you back when he is “on break” from his therapy sessions and at the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Update from Michelle

Ted’s first full day of rehabilitation began at 6 AM with his morning wake up / here’s your medications followed by breakfast at 7 AM.

(All of us who know Ted know this is WAY earlier than he normally awakes much less has food).

Therapy consisted of three sessions – Occupational working with ways to get dressed, brush his teeth and otherwise do the tasks of daily living; Physical both worked on walking with a cane – he is able to put weight on his left leg and has some voluntary movement which apparently helps him in the walking; Speech – new exercises including sticking out his tongue and pursing his lips like he is kissing someone (I LIKE this last one). While the tone of his speech is still not the same as before the stroke the speed at which he speaks has increased / does not sound so labored and some of his normal inflections have returned – especially when the Cubs were winning the game last nite.

The therapy team is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to evaluate his sessions and to give us an estimated discharge date. Once home he will continue his therapy on an outpatient basis. They tell us there is a facility in Oakbrook, which will be more convenient to our home.

We continue to thank everyone for their cards, their prayers and thoughts. We would not get through this without you.


(note from Mary, the blogmistress: I think he would do better if they started therapy at around 9PM, and finished up at 2AM in the morning. He is definitely the night owl!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

From Michelle's cousin Steve--a stroke survivor!

Stroke Therapy --- what to expect

Ted and I have a lot in common. We both love my Cousin Michelle. We both love music. We were both born left handed. And we've both suffered a stroke. It is important to note that each person's recovery is unique so Ted's progress my differ from mine. Here is my story.

On the afternoon of February 1st, 2008 I had a hemorrhagic stroke, a rupture in a blood vessel. I was home alone and unable to get to my phone to call 911. A worried friend with a key found me 15 hours later. This was a month before my 41st birthday. I spent the next few weeks edated in ICU.

On February 25th I transfered to a rehab hospital to begin therapy. On the 28th I had a birthday party in my room (Michelle & I have the same birthday).

My left side was the side affected. The good news in that my long term memory was completely intact, as will Ted's. Besides the lack of movement in my left side my speech and short term memory were affected.

Therapy is broken into 3 segments --- physical therapy for the leg & walking, occupational therapy for the arm and ADL's --- activities of daily living (brushing teeth, dressing, etc..) and speech therapy for speech & memory exercises. This initial therapy is big picture stuff --- getting Ted walking and moving his arm.

During the week the schedule is full with therapy sessions. Still the sense of time when spending weeks & months in a hospital can be weird. Not sure if it is the change in routine or the drugs or both. I wanted to nap all the time. Finally a nurse told me I needed to work on staying up later so I'd sleep better so I'd be good the next day. That worked wonders.
So although I was not always fully awake I loved having visitors. Check with Marion Joy, but I loved getting food from the outside!

I also loved getting my iPhone & laptop so I could resume blogging (my blog,, is the #1 blog in St. Louis). I had to adjust to typing with one hand but communicating with the outside work was great. Ted already has his phone so once we get him set up with a laptop we'll start to hear from him.

Ted very likely has "left inattention" Therapy will help him pay attention to the left side. Little things like keeping track of his left arm and watching how he is steering the wheelchair so he doesn't hit stuff on the left. Games like bingo help with looking to the left to check for numbers. Over time this isn't an issue like it is at this stage.

In the coming weeks I'll share more about what to expect in the coming months as Ted finishes rehab, returns home, starts driving again and goes back to work.

Update from Michelle

It was a good weekend with Ted’s mother, sister and our niece coming out to visit. We all got to see Ted moved from Central DuPage Hospital to the Marian Joy Rehabilitation Hospital. The facility takes a limited number of patients as “residents” who live as in patients in the facility until they are at a point that they can be somewhat self-sufficient. We know this is just the first step of a long journey back and we are excited to be on that road.

He received his assessments from the therapy team yesterday and has his first sessions this morning. We expect to hear an estimated dismissal date once they have had a chance to work with him.

For those who wish to send “snail mail” the correct way to address correspondence is:

Ted Waltmire
c/o Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital
26 W. 171 Roosevelt Road
Wheaton, Illinois 60187

(No need for the room number – they know where to find him).

For those who wish to visit:

Visiting hours are 11:30 AM – 1 PM (during which time he also receives his lunch)
4 PM – 8 PM ( dinner is served at 5:30 pm)
The facility asks that we try to limit visitors to 2 at a time.

He is still “burning up” his cell phone and loves to pick up those messages. (630-776-6087).
We are working on getting the email / wi-fi access going sometime soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

All about Ted

May 3, 2009: If you weren't aware, our great friend, Ted Waltmire, suffered a stroke a week ago. He was very smart to wake up Michelle and tell her he thought he was having a stroke. She was very smart to immediately call 911, at which point he was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. He was given t-PA (a clot busting drug), and then transferred to Central DuPage Hospital's Neuro ICU.

In case you are wondering who is writing this, I am a good friend of Ted's who has known him since we were both 15 years old, and got detentions together for sword-fighting with our rulers in Spanish class. I'm also an RN, so, here's the public service announcement: If you think you are having a stroke, CALL 911 RIGHT AWAY! Remember, TIME IS BRAIN. Michelle was a smart cookie. You can be, too. Okay, end of public service announcement.

So, at this point, Ted is now at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center in Wheaton, Illinois. He will be working very hard at Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and then will do it all over again!

In this blog, I will post updates from Michelle, and she and Ted can let us all know when he is up for visitors, when he would like to rest, etc. He will be kept really busy in rehab.

Also, please post your comments and get well wishes. Ted should be able to get on a computer soon. So, here's to THE MIGHTY TED!