Sunday, July 12, 2009

Now you know


No you did not misread this - the mighty Elmhurst Cubs (team members include our Godson Evan Weiger) won the Elmhurst Little League Championship game and Ted was there to see it! It was great fun made even sweeter by the fact that the game was initially rained out and had to be rescheduled. The game was followed by a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant where Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox fans put aside their differences to agree on one thing - the Elmurst Cubs ROCK!

Outings this past week included two Chicago Cubs games - unfortunately their performance when we attend is not as good as the Elmhurst Cubs. The first game, Zambrano pitching after Dempster's toe incident, was well pitched on both sides with Atlanta getting the best side of the deal in a 2-1 win. The second game, with a number of pitchers including Rich Harden as the starter, was exciting in the beginning with a DLee 3-run homer but got ugly when the Cubs "defense" decided that the St. Louis Cardinals deserved not 3 but 5 outs in the top of the 5th inning. (Our St. Louis friends may not see it that way but we were there!) The good news - in both cases we had WONDERFUL seats. The first game - right behind home plate and the 2nd game .. for the first time in our lives .. in the bleachers. Yes - Wrigley Field has wheelchair accessible bleacher seating. You don't have to stand (or sit) in line ahead of the game. There are actually reserved seats / places for the wheel chair. The Cubs even delayed the game by 35 minutes to give us time to get there and get settled. (They claimed it was due to the rain but we like to think they were just waiting for "The Mighty Ted".)

Speaking of wheelchair accessibility , we are learning that seeing a wheelchair symbol does not always mean that someone in a wheelchair can actually have reasonable access to / from the venue. Case in point - for the 2nd Cubs game, we (Michelle) drove downtown and we parked in the Monroe Street underground parking in Chicago then took the Red Line the rest of the way to Wrigley Field. (No way we are going to drive and park anywhere near the ballpark!). We have used the Grant Park South underground lot in the past and had no problems - the wheelchair parking is right by the elevator to the street. Silly us thinking the Monroe Street parking would be the same. After parking in the wheelchair designated spots we looked in vain for an elevator. Luckily Ted is now sufficiently mobile to walk from the car to the escalator and navigate getting on and off the escalator without getting tripped up (something that would not have been true only a few short weeks ago). Michelle followed on the escalator with the wheelchair. (An interesting sight to say the least). Once at (almost) street level we encountered yet another obstacle - a final set of steps leading from the garage up to Randolph Street. Again, we managed since Ted is mobile and Michelle could drag the wheelchair up the few steps but we cannot imagine the frustration that someone who is truly and permanently wheelchair bound would experience if in our shoes on that day. We suspect they would still be trapped in the garage! Getting onto the Redline, to Wrigley Field and pack to our car in the garage demonstrated how wonderful people can be as we had many offers to help including people to carry the wheelchair in those places where there were NO escalators (getting on the Redline at Lake Street and getting back to our car - escalators go up but not DOWN - only stairs). CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???

Therapy included the vision and written tests for the beginning of Ted's Driver Certification, measuring his progress against the rehabilitation goals - the insurance agency is looking to understand his progress against his last "test". He bettered his time from 47 second to 25 seconds to do 2 loops around the rehab center. (Watch out you marathon runners - here he comes). He received applause when he was able to get up off the floor by himself from a sitting down position (he has been practicing that one a lot at home - our DVD player is very low to the ground!). Ted continues to work at therapy with the single -tipped cane and has a "loaner" for practice at home. He should get the official prescription when he sees the doctor this next week.

Ted's stair climbing skills have been getting a workout (and not just in Chicago) as he has had a week of being able to sleep upstairs in our Master bedroom, eating meals on the main floor and watching TV and movies in his "man cave" on the lowest level. He still uses the downstairs shower as it has the bench and the hand held shower and feels more secure than our small stand up shower in the master bedroom.

The appointment with the orthopedic doctor at the Marion Joy facility in Wheaton (I'm not sure that is her official title - she's the one responsible for the leg brace) and her team went very well. The entire team was thrilled and very complimentary of Ted's progress since his dismissal. His next appointment is in three months. We expect this to be after his full time return to work.

While he will still be using the brace for ankle support they expect to be able to cut off the part of the brace that is no longer needed for the stronger parts of his leg. While at the Marion Joy facility Ted was able to visit with a number of the people who were so helpful when he was there as an in-patient including physical therapist "Drill Sergeant" Sara, occupational therapist Nancy, speech therapists Megan and Andrea, Nurse Laurie and assistants Ted, Nicki and Reggio. All were as thrilled to see Ted as he was to see them. It was a wonderful, if short, reunion. There will be many more as Ted continues to improve.

Ted has also graduated to "big boy" pants from "pull ons" having mastered the art of buttoning and pulling up zippers with one hand (the non-dominant hand at that). (I doubt that many of us could do that unless forced by circumstances - I tried. It isn't easy!)

Last, but not least, in this update is Ted's need to be at work while out on sick leave. He worked with his assistant Dale G. (sorry Dale - I'm never going to learn to spell your last name!) at the library to clone new computers and to prepare to attend the ALA (American Library Association) conference on Sunday. ALA is in Chicago this year giving Ted and Dale a great opportunity to go through the exhibits together and talk "face to face" with some of the vendors with whom the library works to provide services to the patrons. In anticipation of Ted's graduation to the single-tip cane, Dale provided Ted with a quite classy cane - complete with a Zebra top and carvings along the body of the cane. There was a reference made to "Dr. House" when the gift was presented but personally, I think Ted's cane is much classier than that of Dr. House (it's a TV show for those of you confused by the reference). (By the way, for those of you who watch the show - look at the side on which he uses the cane. It was pointed out to us by Ted's therapists that he uses it on the wrong side!)

Pictures of Ted and the new cane coming in a future update. Thanks Dale!

That's it for this week. Sunday brings church and Ted off to ALA with Dale. Michelle will be home working on her resume and the other work needed to be prepared for her next career after leaving WMS.

Thanks, as always for everyone's prayers as we travel the road to Ted's recovery and to Michelle's next career.

Michelle and Ted

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