Monday, February 28, 2011

"One day, I will conquer," said my dad this morning. And this is something we truly believe.

If we hadn't before, we certainly would now. Within these past couple of weeks, huge progress has been made. I feel like I'm on repeat, saying the same things every post. But it's all true! I forget how much progress has been made, then I look at a previous post a realize that the improvement is great.

Speech continues to be the most visible change every day. He is speaking so much more. Whole phrases and sentences are becoming much more consistent. It still takes time and much concentration, but it's coming! He has many phrases and sentences that he can consistently say, and many more sentences just pop up out the blue. It's so fun and wonderful seeing this progress. My dad is also understanding and comprehending things more easily now. We love watching movies, but with all the conversations going on and jumping around it was difficult at times for him to understand everything. Last night though, he was laughing with the movie and making small comments. After church yesterday he was talking about the sermon and writing down things he remembered. It was quite amazing. His comprehension is definitely improving.

We found out last week that my dad was accepted into the RIC (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) Intensive Speech/Aphasia program. This program is 6 hours every day(M-F) and works very intensely on just his speech and aphasia. This will be great for him. He'll have to work very hard, but it will definitely be worth it. We've heard only wonderful things about this particular program.

Geoff can now raise his right arm to just below shoulder level. It's really cool to watch. It takes most of his concentration, but it's becoming stronger. We have him shake our hands. It's hard work because he has to work super hard on raising his arm, but then has to try to relax his hand. It's not perfect, but it's getting there!

At therapy last week, they tested my dad on several reaction activities, and then worked with him a bit in a practice car they have in rehab. The therapist worked with him on several things that had to do with driving, and said that soon he could take a test to drive again. My dad was never a big fan a driving, so I don't think he necessarily wants to rush into this, but it's cool knowing that the therapist thinks he is soon ready to try to drive again. Maybe someday he'll decide to get back to work on his pilot's license again...

Friday, February 11, 2011

When my dad came home from rehab today, I asked him how his therapy was. "Good," he answered, "and speech was excellent!" Geoff improves all the time even though we may not always notice it. Looking back just a month ago though, we realize how much progress he has made. He is so often able to contribute his thoughts to our conversations with words or small phrases. It's so wonderful and amazing to see all the progress he has made. He has homework that he does, where he reads a sheet of paper that has about 20 three-word phrases. He can now read all of them, and rattles them off as if he has always been able to say them! I think he gets bored of saying them over and over again, so has now started acting out the phrases, too.

My dad's walking is continuing to improve. I feel he has become more confident with his walking, and is now starting to walk faster. He takes strolls around the house to practice walking everyday. Now we have to hurry and step out of the way though, because he's walking so fast! He's a man on a mission! One day he even went up the stairs by himself when no one was watching. Typically we are with him just in case, but not this time! (The photo posted is of my dad on the LokoMat. It's really cool to watch, because it makes his leg walk perfectly.)

My dad's arm is probably one of the slowest things to come back, but nonetheless makes progress. He is still wearing the electrical stimulator 6 hours a day. The therapists are very encouraged by the progress that he is making with his arm and wrist. He is getting closer to being able to open a tight fist, which is something we've been working on. Once he can do this, he will be allowed to be in a special therapy session where they tie his left(good) arm to his side and force him to use his right(weak) arm.

We're trying to stay warm in this cold Minnesota winter weather. With the nice new wool mittens my dad has, it's easier to stay warm. I guess that means more coffee runs!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -John 14:27

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bearded Geoff and Clean-Shaven Geoff