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

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