Monday, December 20, 2010

We're back in Minnesota! Our third day here, and we're already being bombarded with more snow! (As if 2 feet weren't enough!)

We left Plainfield, Illinois Friday morning and split the drive into two days. Early Saturday afternoon we arrived at my dad's mom's house, where we'll be living for the next few months.

Huge improvements have been made with my dad's speech. He continues to improve, literally every day. No improvement could be fast enough for him, but it's so wonderful seeing the progress he DOES make. He is able to say full sentences sometimes, and is almost always able to answer us with a one word answer for questions we ask him (i.e. Delicious! Fantastic! Good night. Thank you. etc.) It's so much fun and great encouragement to see the improvements he has made with his speech.

His walking continues to improve. As mentioned earlier, strengthening his hamstring is the most important thing to be working on with his leg right now. My dad does not like the cold weather, so is working on walking fast to avoid any unnecessary time out in the bitter cold! He does enjoy walking though, and we never use the wheelchair anymore.

The electrical stimulant that we have been using on my dad's arm and hand has been a huge success. He can now bring his arm out a bit, and squeeze our hand quite firmly! It takes a lot of concentration but it's a great workout! My dad was one of the first people to whom they had used the electrical stimulant on for so many hours, and were just amazed with how beneficial it was. They even entered him into their books, so they can use this on more patients!

Today my dad had an appointment at the Sister Kenny Institute to figure out the routine he will have there. My mom was very impressed with the institute, and we look forward to having him work there. He'll have a nice Christmas break from therapy for a bit, but right after Christmas he'll start back up again.

It's looks like Christmas outside with all the snow. We're going to decorate our tree tonight and watch "It's a Wonderful Life." It is certainly the most wonderful time of the year! Merry Christmas!

"The LORD will guide you always." -Isaiah 58:11

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

well, we're into the holiday season now, and our last couple of weeks here in Chicago.

we spent a wonderful Thanksgiving here in Plainfield with family and friends. some of Geoff's family came down for the holiday, and Sam and Etty were able to fly down for the weekend as well. thanks to the generous, kind friends who hosted us, we enjoyed not one, but two freshly cooked turkeys! we spent the holiday weekend together as family by spending a night in downtown Chicago and watching a Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre.

my dad checked out his first book at a library since the stroke, one called "American Moments," in his attempts to further improve his reading/comprehension abilities. his mind continues to feel 'foggy' at times, but we've found that his memory and comprehension is still sharp and in tact, he often just needs us to slow down when we communicate with him or even write down ideas for him, often the visual aid is helpful. he admits that although it feels frustrating, he's coming around . . . it's just a part of the healing process.

his physical rehabilitation is going well. his balance continues to improve -- at rehab now he can keep a balloon in the air by hitting it back and forth without any reliance on his cane. they're also putting him on a bike machine and having him pedal backwards in order to get strength back in his hamstring (on his right leg). the grip in his right hand is quite strong now, so the big challenge is getting him to be able to release and relax it.

and the words keep coming! today at therapy they are taking him out to Baker's Square. i asked him yesterday evening what kind of pie he was planning on ordering when he went, and he said, "peach! or blueberry! or cherry!" his accuracy with word use is really getting much better, he doesn't struggle so much with trying to find the right response. for instance, the other night we were watching a TV show and my mom thought perhaps we should stop the show early so that we could all go to bed. so Clara turned around and asked dad if he wanted to stop or keep watching the show, and he thought for a minute and then said, "WATCH IT!" (so of course we finished the show, no more questions asked!) anyway, that kind of response is amazing, because he was able to vocalize exactly what he was thinking, whereas a couple of months ago he would not have been able to come up with the right words at all.

soon we had back to snowy MN! dad has less than two weeks here and then we'll drive back to St. Paul. he'll meet with a rehabilitation doctor at Sister Kenny at that point, and start therapy again soon after.

P.S. i've posted an updated family picture! it was taken in downtown Chicago just a couple of weeks ago.

"now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen."
-- Hebrews 11:1