Sunday, March 13, 2011
(Rose doing some arm/hand therapy with my dad.)
My dad is in a very regular routine now: speech therapy daily, PT and OT twice/week, and pool therapy 3X/week. That doesn’t count all of the extra therapy he gets at home: writing therapy with me, arm/hand therapy with my sister Rose, speech therapy in the evenings with some of my aunts, and lots of walking- in the house and at malls. My dad had us to measure how many times he would have to walk a circle inside the house (through the living room, dining room, kitchen, etc.) to make a half mile. We measured it: 27 laps.
Sometimes it’s hard to get in all of our extra “home” therapies, because my dad is exhausted and needs lots of sleep. Every afternoon he takes a nice long nap. Then there’s his pre-dinner nap, and his mid-morning nap on weekends. Recovery from a stroke seems to not only be a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fighting tiredness. We let him sleep all he wants, and encourage him to sleep a lot because we keep hearing about how beneficial sleep and rest is.
I think as my dad’s thinking and speech improve, it sometimes seems even harder for him, because he is more aware of what he can’t do right now. Probably the most difficult part is his speech, especially because it is so up and down. For every three steps forward, there seem to be two steps back. It's hard for us, but especially him to see so much progress one week, and then have it disappear the next.
Still, my dad continues to make progress, and uses words like “tolerable, vague, and exhausted” instead of simpler terms that would probably be easier to say. His “apraxia” is probably the biggest hurdle of all, because most of the time he knows in his head what he wants to say, and even knows the words. It’s forming them that’s the hard part.
He fights to remain positive, and repeats “Better and better, day by day,” several times each day.
"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous fall." -Psalm 55:22