Sunday, February 24, 2013

February update

There’s much to update on, but I’ll stick with what’s going on right now, here in Costa Rica (where I’m writing this and where we’re visiting family).

It’s great to be able to walk outside again, even on crumbly, uneven sidewalks.  (It beats the ice and snow!)  We went hiking in one of the national forests yesterday, and Geoff was determined to walk the rocky and somewhat steep half-hour trail to the beautiful beach.  It was tough work, especially when it got steep, but he did it (with a shoulder to lean on, just in case).  He also walked the short, maybe half-mile trail out of the park, in soft sand, later in the day.  Soft sand is really difficult to walk on, but he did that too.  And that was all with his somewhat new brace that doesn’t offer quite as much support.

Later in the day, to get out of the heat (over 100 degrees), Geoff decided to cool off in the motel pool.  The last time he was in a pool was over a year ago, and he was very cautious, always leaving one foot on the ground.  This time, without even thinking about it, he swam across the pool.  He said it felt great.  (Granted, it was one-armed, but he seemed to do it quite easily!)

Other things to note:  we attended a church service with Maggie and Victor, which was in Spanish, and Geoff said he was generally able to follow along.  When people ask him a yes or no question in Spanish (as long as it’s not too fast), he can usually answer (with a yes or no).  It’s all interesting given that he had been fluent in Spanish prior to the stroke, and clearly some of that has been retained.

He is currently reading two books on the life of Abe Lincoln (young adult versions, mostly -- where the sentences are a little clearer and shorter), in preparation for the Lincoln movie which we missed in Minnesota but is still playing in Costa Rica.  :)

Lastly, Geoff has been working on more leg exercises lately.  He has not been able to lift his right leg up at all (at a 90 degree angle), except just enough to walk.  He is now able to do that movement when lying on his back.  That is, he can lift his knee almost up to his chest.  He tries to do a multitude of these exercises about every other day, with the hope that some day he’ll be able to do it while standing up.


  1. Keep on with the exercises to bend his leg; I have been very persistent (aka obsessed) with doing those, and yesterday - FINALLY - I was able to engage my hamstring.

  2. Hello! I stumbled onto this blog today and it is so moving to read of your struggles and triumphs. Thank you for sharing. I noticed you said Geoff has difficulty lifting his leg. I don't know if you have heard about Kickstart, but this is a new product designed to help stroke survivors lift their leg and walk more easily. You can learn more and view videos of Kickstart users on our website. Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Brian Glaister

  3. Hi Clara, Rose and Maggie,

    We are Speech and Language Therapists doing a Master’s degree at City University London. We are contacting you because we wish to analyse your blog in our Master’s research theses. The name of the project is Blog talk: the impact of aphasia on people’s lives.

    Please look at the information we have sent you on:

    Please let us know what you think.

    We look forward to hearing from you.


  4. Thanks, Rose! I am always amazed at how determined your dad is to get back what the stroke took from him. God has blessed him with such a resolute spirit and a love for life! "Inspirational" doesn't even begin to describe his journey.