The positive power of friendship
Jackie slept the majority of the night. He is starting to either sleep through or at least fall back to sleep quickly every two hours after his body is turned to a different position in bed. We let him sleep in a little this morning as he is still tired from his busy first week here at Magee. When he woke, he was very hungry and ate a good breakfast. Before he was done, the weekend speech therapist came into the room and Jackie’s first therapy for the day was underway. It was good to see Aimee again. She was the therapist that did Jackie’s first evaluation, the day that he spoke his first words. She worked on Jackie’s short term memory and then completed some reading worksheets with him. They are starting out easy, but so far his reading comprehension is good.
Right after speech was over he went to the gym for PT. We met another weekend therapist who followed exercise suggestions from Erin. She had Jackie work on his chair transitions, basically moving from his sitting position in the chair to a sitting position on the gym table/mat and vice versa. This is still an assisted physical activity for Jackie. She also had Jackie work on his head strength. She pushed him hard, Jackie was getting tired. She managed to get three stands out of him. I was so proud of his perseverance. It was time to head back to the room for a well deserved and needed nap.
Once again we let Jackie sleep a little past his lunch tray delivery. We figured sleep was more important and we could also heat up his meal if necessary. It wasn’t long before it was time for OT. Jackie was starting to wear thin. He was starting to complain about pain while being in his chair and his leg muscles were also getting tight. Eventually he will get stronger, but for now he always seems to start his OT sessions tired. Like Erin, Paula gave the weekend therapist homework for Jackie to complete. He started to work on chair transfers but Jackie mentioned he was feeling sick. The therapist moved from physical exercises to mental ones. He was wheeled under a table and did a quick exercise with fake coins, dividing them in groupings by coin and then counting and adding the sum of the subsets. Once again he stuck it out and worked to complete his last assignment to print his name. He took it one step further and wrote a very short note to Paula. Both her and Erin will back on Monday even though it is a holiday.
Jackie then had some special visitors. Based on our request, it has been a while since anyone has visited. This particular group of very close friends was the perfect medicine for Jackie. His smile lit up the room as he was surrounded by his best buds. They all talked to Jackie and laughed. It was absolutely wonderful. I thought Jackie would get tired sooner than he did, but I don’t think he wanted their visit to end. It was like old times, a glimpse of how life used to be and a vision of how it will be again.
After the visit, Jackie tried to rest but was too hungry. He ate a good dinner and then got a shower. Feeling refreshed and clean, he settled in for the night.
As we have seen this weekend, Jackie’s therapy schedule every day is busy and he gets very tired. If you are planning to visit, please get in touch with either Jim or I first before making the trek to Philly. We can help identify the best times and days for the visit. It is very important that at this early stage in Jackie’s rehab he does not get over stimulated.
We are truly humbled and amazed by the support we are still feeling and receiving from all of you. Even though Jackie’s journey is going to be long, he will make it thanks to all of your positive thoughts, prayers and love. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.