Thursday, April 28, 2011

<-- Easter Sunday

We had a wonderful few days together as a family. The warm, sunny Easter Sunday we had was a wonderful change from the cold and rainy days preceding. On Easter we went downtown Minneapolis after church and took a walk across the old Stone Arch Bridge. First day in a while where my dad was able to take a walk outside again. It was quite wonderful.

My parents and Maggie left Monday afternoon for Chicago for the intensive speech therapy. They stopped halfway in Madison to rest and meet up with some friends, then arrived in Chicago the next day. They are staying in an apartment near where Dad is heading to therapy, right in the downtown. Their apartment is on the 47th floor! They do have elevators, but I think it would be good therapy/exercise for my dad to walk up the stairs. Maybe 47 flights is a bit much, though.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the first day of therapy. There are 10 other people in the program. There are a few who have done the program before and feel they made so much progress that they want to do it again. Each person has their own schedule for the day. They are all there for 7 hours. My dad has specific itinerary that he does every day: a couple hours of individual therapy, an hour of computer speech therapy,an hour of group therapy, an hour "break" for lunch (the people in the program are supposed to talk and interact with others), an hour of reading and writing, and an hour of constraint induced therapy for communicating. Very intensive, but everyone we've talked to has been super pleased and encouraged with the program.

My dad isn't quite sure of the whole thing yet. Therapy at Sister Kenny was great, but he was able to do a lot more out of therapy, too. We would head out for excursions all the time. Now though, his therapy lasts from 9AM- 4PM, and when he gets home he just wants to sleep. He is up for dinner then heads to bed. He liked the feeling of living a fairly normal life, instead of therapy taking up his whole day. We are all real certain, though, that as the days pass he will realize the progress being made. He is definitely giving it his all and will work as hard as he can! The program is until the end of May, and then he'll have a nice long break.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." -2 Timothy 1:7

Monday, April 18, 2011

For those of you wondering, it looks like fall 2011 we will be living in Montevideo. This is subject to change, but as of now this our plan. We'll stay in the Twin Cities for the summer and head back in time for the start of the school year.

One week until Chicago. I think that my dad is looking forward to this more and more, and is looking forward to putting all of his energy towards improving his speech. Not being able to speak and say what is on his mind is definitely the hardest thing for my dad, so putting all of his energy towards improving it will be great. We're all excited to see what progress he makes!

Like mentioned before, the program is one month long. After coming back to the Cities at the end of May, we all head to Costa Rica. We are all very excited for this trip- especially my dad. He'll get a nice break from therapy and just be able to relax.

All therapies have been going real well. Speech is continuously making progress. Every other day or so there are noticeable changes. My dad has been more positive about his progress, too. He is realizing that although it is coming back very slowly, there is significant progress being made.

The right arm continues to make progress. Dad has surprised us a couple of times by putting his right hand out for us or guests to shake. When relaxed, his hand is usually in a fist. We're working with him on tightening it and opening it. Opening his hand is pretty hard, but it's slowly coming along. There was a motion that my dad's occupational therapist had been trying to get my dad to do with his arm, but Dad was never able to do it. The therapist needed him to raise his arm straight in front of him, but my dad would always bring it out on the side. For the first time a couple of days ago though, my dad raised it in the direction the therapist wanted him to! This motion is the key motion in getting more muscles to kick in and more everyday activities doable.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The days seem to be flying by now that the weather is finally starting to feel like spring. Both yesterday and Thursday my dad and all of us went on a long walk- just under 2 miles both days! My dad seems to have had a sudden burst of energy about 2 weeks ago and has been wanting to work extra hard and do more things.

Our walk yesterday was great- we walked along the Mississippi River in 63 degree weather. It seemed like the longer we walked, the better Dad's walking became. He doesn't swing it out much anymore, which is great. Therapists are still working with him on getting his hip flexer to kick in. The hip flexers are the muscles that help the leg lift up and make it easier to walk. That is one thing that my dad has been working on a lot in the pool. It's improving, slowly but surely.

The extra energy my dad has had has made him want to do more homework. At therapy the other day, his speech therapist asked him if he wanted some writing homework. "BRING IT ON!" was my dad's response. So, he's been adding more writing homework, arm therapy, and walking into his afternoons. Less naps and more action! It's so much fun to see him getting more enthusiastic about doing therapy.

Dad has just about another week and a half left at Sister Kenny, then on to Chicago! Sister Kenny has been a wonderful place to be, but my dad is very ready for a change of pace. The intensive speech therapy in Chicago is right in the downtown. We've also been in contact with someone at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago who wants to put Dad in another research program with his hand. My dad is very interested in this, so he might be doing that, too.

Over Easter, we'll have the whole family together. Maggie, Sam, and Joanna will all be flying to the Twin Cities a few days before Easter. It will be great to all be together.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13