Monday, June 9

The Next Level

It is hard to believe it is Monday evening, days go by quickly at Magee especially during the week.  Jackie continues to sleep well. Rehab is hard work and his body and mind is exhausted at the end of each day.  Not only are the routine things we do every day a chore for him, but adding therapy sessions on top pushes him to a new level each day.  I find myself wanting to do more for him than I should. I guess that is the Mom in me, but ultimately that is not helping Jackie get any better.  Jim is very good at striking the perfect balance between helping him and letting him help himself.

Today we waited for each meal to arrive with anticipation. I usually order the meals, but Jim ended up placing the orders for today.  We made a big deal out of uncovering the lid on the plate of each main dish.  Breakfast was Belgian waffles, not a real favorite of Jackie’s but nothing a little margarine and a lot of syrup couldn’t fix.

Breakfast led right into speech.  Becca came into the room as usual and started the session. Jim and I stepped out of the room to speak with one of the docs on Jackie’s progress.  When we came back into the room, Becca and Jackie were listening to Usher and playing the card game War.  It wasn’t long before Erin arrived to take Jackie to the gym for PT.  After looking at Jackie and how he was sitting in his wheelchair, she worked to find a different back for the chair, one that wrapped around his back more so he would stay sitting in an upright position vs slouching to one side.  While others on the PT team helped get the right parts, Erin stretched Jackie and worked on his standing balance among other things.  She also likes to end her sessions with a walk and today was no exception.  Today he used the walker with the left arm extension for his stroll.  It will be a while before Jackie walks on his own, but each step gets us a little bit closer to that goal.

We returned to the room for lunch in his updated wheelchair.  Dad’s selection of a cheeseburger and Mac and cheese was different but good.  Jackie is still fairly new to eating the regular diet, so his quiet room and occasional coaching from us keeps him on track throughout the meal.  As soon as he was done and had his mid afternoon meds, he was in bed and napping.  It was only a short hour before OT.

We almost had Jackie out of bed when Paula came to the room.  Before heading to the gym, she tried out different chairs that would assist Jackie with different tasks in the bathroom.  We continually explain to Jackie that his condition is temporary and that his wheelchair and other accessories and devices are meant to help him get back to being independent again. He has not asked us how long it will take.  We will cross that bridge when we get there.  Paula also took Jacke to the gym and did a work out there.

We had hoped to keep Jackie up until dinner, but he was ready for more rest.  Considering he did not rest at all this morning he was due for a little more shut eye.  I ‘m not sure what woke Jackie up, but  we were able to get him out of bed and in his chair right as the dinner trays arrived on the floor.  The meal selection was a hit; hot sliced turkey breast, mashed potatoes and green beans. We have noticed a positive difference when Jackie wears his glasses for meals.  The glasses improve his accuracy when he moves his spoon toward his next bite.  We broke out in laugher today when we put his glasses on.  He took one look at his food and said, “Oh my gosh, HD.”  PTL, he still has his sense of humor! (In case you don’t know, HD in this case means high definition)

Right as he was finishing up, Lori, Magee’s art therapist, came by for her first session with Jackie.  He had taken some art classes in high school and we thought he would enjoy this type of session.  Lori is a soft spoken, kind hearted women and Jackie responded well to her.  She talked with him as he used markers to draw a picture.  He stayed focused the entire time and seemed to really enjoy what he was doing.  Jim and I are going to talk with Lori about setting up more sessions.  She will bring her art cart next time and may even explore Jackie’s interest in molding or working with different types of materials.

We had a little bit of time to burn before bed, so we headed to the covered second floor terrace for our first taste of fresh air for the day.  We all enjoyed a little snack and then watched some of the action of the cars on the busy street one floor below where we were sitting.  The noises soon became too much for Jackie so we went back up to his room.  Even though it was early, he headed to bed.  Rest is good for the body and he earned every bit of rest he will get tonight.

We all work hard, if you sometimes feel the task ahead seems too hard or unattainable, think of Jackie and try to push yourself to the next level.  You will be surprised where baby steps will take you.

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