My dad's occupational therapist said the other day that my dad's right arm is at the point where he should start using it in everyday activities, such as turning the light switch off and on. For a while progress seemed super slow with his right arm, but they've been trying out new techniques and exercises with him, and certain muscles are starting to kick in. This is definitely encouraging.
Speech has come a long way-- these past few days, especially! He continues to say things that surprise every day! We went to see the King Tut exhibit at the Science Museum last week and on our way home when we asked him what he enjoyed, he answered almost instantly: "Tutankhamun!" He is saying many new phrases and new words every day. "I think I can," "we'll see," "I think so," etc. are just a few phrases he has started using recently. My dad didn't always realize he is saying these things aloud, as he has been thinking them for so long, but never was able to say them. Now that he's able to say them more often and frequently, he is realizing it. It's super reassuring, but it can also be frustrating for him. He's making all this progress, but he's still not perfect. He's improving, but not fast enough. As always, slow and steady.
Outside of therapy, we've been keeping busy. Tuesday was my mom's birthday, and my dad picked out a special meal for us to make her. We all, including my dad, helped prepare the Hungarian Chicken Paprikash and the Budapest Pecan Cake. I think Dad liked working in the kitchen. Definitely a good thing- maybe he'll starting making his amazing pies again soon...!
Less than a month until the intensive speech therapy in Chicago. My dad is very ready for a change. It will be very tiring and hard, but the outcome will be huge and it will be good for him to do something new. The program is just a month long (end of April to end of May), and we'll be back in Minnesota for the summer.