Monday, June 15, 2009

Good Thing Going

It seems hard to believe it has been only / already 3 weeks since Ted left Marion Joy’s rehabilitation hospital and moved from being an “in-patient” to an “out-patient”.
Out-patient continues to be an accurate description and Ted (and I) lead our busy lives – just a bit slower these days than in the past.

This week brought several changes including Ted’s brother Rick leaving on Thursday morning to go back home to Florida after first being in Nebraska for our youngest niece’s graduation and then straight to our house to be Ted’s driver and all around “home health care” provider. Thanks so much to Rick for all your help – we could not have made it this far without you!

Ted’s strength continues to improve and he continues to note things he could not do 3 weeks ago, a week ago and yesterday. Getting in and out of the car is much faster for him. When out and about and in the wheel chair, he leaves the cane in the car and walks the 3-4 steps from the chair to the car with no assistance other than the leg brace. For short distances, such as going into his favorite Starbucks location, he leaves the chair in the car and negotiates the journey via the leg brace and cane. Though I stay close by to lend an arm, he really doesn’t need it!

After Rick’s departure Ted was “Home Alone” on Thursday afternoon and Friday before getting a ride to his therapy session. He was justifiably proud of being able to get around the kitchen to get his lunch on Thursday and, on Friday, to get showered, dressed, put on his brace and shoes, get upstairs and deal with breakfast and lunch on his own on Friday!

Over the weekend we worked together in the kitchen to prepare various meals including yummy (and heart healthy) hash browns and grilled chicken. The stairs out to our patio are very similar to those into the house from the garage so getting outside to “man” the grill was not a huge new challenge.

Ted’s strength continues to build through his physical therapy work-outs. They use a treadmill, steps, a walker and various other tools to help build both left leg strength and to be sure Ted’s “gait” and follow through are correct. Drill Sergeant Sara would be so pleased. (We don’t want lingering hip problems down the road). On the occupational side, we see controlled motion returning in Ted’s thumb and the first two fingers of his left hand. Though he still cannot lift his arm without help from the right hand or play the piano yet we know it won’t be long until those other two fingers “wake up” and the whole gang is ready to sit down at the piano and re-learn those Broadway show tune bass lines.

The upcoming weekend brings a new challenge as Ted and I travel to Nebraska and South Dakota for our niece’s wedding (yes – the same one who just graduated from College). While the wheelchair is still a part of our lives, we are pleased that SW Airlines seems to have their act together re: how to check the chair, provide a “loaner” to get to and from the gate (and baggage claim). We (that would be Michelle) will also be learning how to drive an SUV (much bigger than our “normal” cars) – as the automobile of choice when traveling with a wheelchair.

When back from the wedding Ted is looking forward to beginning his “driver certification” to re-learn how to drive – pending approval by his new doctor.

If you happen to be in our neighborhood give a call and stop by. Ted has therapy on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons (though he will miss this week) but is generally available on Tuesday and Thursdays for visitors. (Afternoons are best – he is still not a morning person!)

As always, thanks to everyone for your prayers, your calls and emails, and all the support you provide us.

Ted and Michelle

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Glamorous Life

It’s hard to believe that it has now been two weeks since the Mighty Ted left Marion Joy to begin the next steps of his journey to recovery. This past week and weekend continued his (and our) busy social schedule.

During the week he connected with Dr. Glen Nelson and began a long term relationship as having a regular physician. They get along well and Ted is comfortable with Glen and his “Doctoring” style.

The outpatient sessions began in “full force” on Wednesday and Friday with intensive 2 hour sessions. In physical therapy focus is on improving the strength in his left leg including lots of work on stepping up with the left leg (reminds me of my aerobics step classes – too bad I gave away my old bench and the risers!). On Friday he worked to improve his “gait” using a walker rather than the cane. The walker should help to make a more even “swing through” on the left leg rather than a step-touch approach. (We want walking not 8th grade ballroom dancing here).

The use of electrodes continues to help stimulate both his leg and arm muscles. His left arm is much stronger and he can control how it behaves when he walks. Prior to this the arm just sort of “came along for the ride” and he could not easily keep it from bumping into things when he walked.

The weekend brought our usual busy schedule. Saturday afternoon we had a ‘road trip’ to Peoria to see the Corn Stock Players’ production of the Producers. Since Mary (as in our Blog Mistress) was our hostess on the trip and has, no doubt, already posted much about this trip I won’t give the details. We thank Mary and her son Bob as well as our good friend Carl for making the trip possible. Ted was in theater heaven regarding the trip and the production as well as dinner at Agatucchii’s (my apologies if I misspelled it!)

On Sunday we made it to church where Ted was, once again, the center of attention with many, many choir and church friends coming by to say Hello and see how he is doing. In the afternoon Ted, Sharon Place, Sandy Roberts and I went downtown to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to enjoy the last of our 3 concert “Beyond the Score” series. (So for you DGUMC Choir members, we were not snubbing you at the banquet – we had another engagement). The concert exceeded our expectations with a wonderful program in the first half that used a narrator, two actors, a wonderful Contralto and the CSO to set the context of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The actors portrayed Dvorak and various people in his life, the CSO and singer played themes from music that influenced the symphony and from the symphony itself. The narrator pulled it all together helping us understand the meaning of each of the movements, why there is what may seem to some as repetition when in fact it is “remembrance” of the themes and the culmination of all the elements via the final movement. Magnificent! We highly recommend this series and have already renewed for next year. To celebrate our wonderful experience we dined at Rhapsody – the restaurant within the Orchestra Hall building. Wonderful Walleye, lovely surroundings, great company and a fabulous server (Ask for Alexandra when you dine there!). Rick took the “day off” from the crazy Waltmire schedule and stayed back in Oakbrook Terrace after church making sure the Cubs hung in there and got another extra inning win. Thanks Rick!

While all these good times meant we did not get home in time for the start of the Tony Awards DVR recorders are a wonderful thing. We did not make it through the entire ceremony so please don’t “give away the ending”.

Also thanks to Rick for all his support since Ted has come home from Marion Joy. Rick will be leaving us this week on Thursday to go back home to Florida and get ready for the trip to South Dakota for our niece’s wedding on June 20th. Ted and I will be attending as well – not as the wedding musicians as was originally planned but attending none the less. We have a bit of work to do to understand the logistics re: traveling with Ted’s wheelchair but Ted is confident this will all happen. We expect to have a grand time!.

That’s it for this update. Stay tuned for a request for assistance re: life after Rick goes home.

Thanks as always for everyone’s support!

Old Friends

This is the blogmistress writing here. Ted had an action-packed weekend (I'll only write about Saturday events). Ted's friend (and mine) from high school, Karl Augsburger, was performing in "The Producers" down in our hometown, Peoria, at Cornstock Theater (a summer stock theater-in-the round). He was playing Roger DeBris, and I must say, he looked STUNNING in his black sparkly gown for the Choreographer's Ball.

We obtained a van, and Ted, Michelle, Rick (Ted's brother), my son (age 24 and designated driver on the ride home because he has good eyes), and I ventured down to Peoria Saturday afternoon, where we dined at Agatucci's (a somewhat seedy pizza joint that has been in Peoria since the Stone Age), drove by our old homesteads, and attended the show.

The production was great, and we ventured home after the show, with aforementioned young person doing the drive back to Chicago (thanks, Bob).

Below are some photos:

Below: Ted and Karl

Below: Karl, Ted, and the blogmistress