Thursday, June 5

A Real Hug

Jackie had yet another good nights sleep.  We occasionally need to redirect his hands away from his head, but the frequency is slowing down. Since rest is good for healing we have been letting him sleep in.  If necessary we can always reheat his  breakfast.

Erin, PT, was his first session  today.  She had to go to another facility later in the morning so we were able to see her before she left.  We met one of the recreational therapists at the gym.  She worked with Erin the first half of the session. Jackie had the choice of either playing life size Jenga or corn hole.  This choice took about two seconds – corn hole. Our neighbors back home are big corn hole players.  In fact, they got us hooked and now we love to play.  When Jackie and Jim team up they are pretty much unbeatable.  With help from Erin, Jackie stood to play and really enjoyed it.  He did not play against anyone, it was merely a practice session that had many PT benefits.  He even threw a couple with his left hand.  The second half of the session had everything to do with walking.  Erin brought out a walker that had a tall extension on the left side with an arm rest on the top.  Jackie used this to support his left arm.  This souped up walker seemed to help stabilize Jackie as he walked with assistance.  Each day he gets a little bit stronger.  PTL

When the session was over we went back to his room for speech.  Becca worked with Jackie on short term memory skills as well as sequencing. She planned to finish out the second half of his session over lunch.

Jackie took a good nap and then was back up and in his chair waiting for Becca at noon.  She walked in with a huge Philly cheese steak, fries and an apple.  If Jackie could eat the apple without any issues, he could possibly go on a regular diet with no restrictions.  We stayed in the room for the first bite, but then left until the session was over.  When we returned, Jackie had passed with flying colors.  We still need to coach him through eating foods that are harder to swallow and he will remain eating with us in his room.  The next step will be moving to the group room to eat.  Jackie is super sensitive to distractions, so this next step will be difficult for Jackie and for me.

He stayed up a little before heading to bed for a nap,  his next session was pushed back until 3pm.  Paula, OT, was coming to the room to see how Jackie could handle a shower in a chair vs the shower bed/trolley.  The test went well.  Jackie even washed his own hair with his right hand.  When Paula asked if he would rather have a shower in the chair or the trolley, he said trolley.  When asked why, it tied back to the fact that it was easy.  As we all know, rehab is not easy.  It is exhausting, painful and at times frustrating, but it is necessary to push through in order to get better.  Jackie agreed to move forward with showers in a chair.  I was part of the trial today and can help Jackie as long as I have another person with us.

We wheeled Jackie on the shower chair, back into the bedroom.  She moved him to the bed so he could help get himself dressed.  Then it was back up and in his wheelchair. Paula and I were talking and she realized I was not trained to assist Jackie when he wanted to stand.  She taught me how.  This lesson turned out to be an extremely emotional moment for both Jackie and I.  I followed all of Paula’s instructions and had held him in the standing position for the first time.  I gave him a huge hug and he squeezed me back.  We both started to cry.  This was the first time   I truly was able to hug him since February.  I had hugged him in bed before, but this was the real deal.  I cannot explain how I felt, I just know it was a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

When we both pulled ourselves together, Jackie thanked me for being here with him.  I wanted to stand him up and hug him again and not let him go.  He is such a caring young man, who seems to be acutely aware of the amount of help needed to get him through one day.

Jackie and I decided to take a walk to the second floor terrace prior to dinner.  The street sounds on the terrace were a little loud, but we stayed for a short time and then went back down for dinner.

We decided to put Jackie back in bed for a quick rest and to relieve the pressures associated with sitting in a wheelchair.  Once awake, we took a stroll to the sixth floor terrace, but it was a little windy and cold.  We moved down to the second floor  terrace and it was much warmer there,  the boys enjoyed some ice cream for a snack before we headed back to the room.  Jackie once again was tired and soon fell asleep.

Next time you give someone a hug, hold it a little big longer and realize it is a special gift instead of a passing squeeze.

Thank you for your continued positive thoughts, prayers, and support for Jackie.