Tuesday, June 10

A Day of Firsts

Jackie woke up fresh and ready for the day.  We got him dressed and up in his chair on time.  No sleeping in.  His speech therapy was being moved from 10am to 9am and we wanted to be ready.  That meant eating breakfast and getting morning meds all done in an hour.

Becca held the session in Jackie’s room and tag teamed with another speech therapist as she had to attend a meeting half way through the session.  She had given Jackie a quiz when he first came to Magee and she retested him today.  He scored much higher today.  PTL!  Becca came back at lunchtime and took Jackie over to the group room to eat for the first time.  It is the room where patients go that need to be supervised while eating.  We have been feeding Jackie ourselves in his room as he gets distracted easily and needs to focus on his swallowing.  Eating in the group room is the next step to see how he handles eating a meal with distractions.  I felt like I was sending him off to school for the first day.  Becca assured me she would be with him the entire time and he would be fine.  She was right.  He did ok and she will sit with him a couple more times before he consistently eats there.  The ultimate goal is to get him to the point where he can eat in the cafe with us and eventually prepare him for the real world.  I think it will be a while before he eats all of his meals in the group room.

Since speech was an hour early, Jackie had the chance to rest for an hour before PT.  He was unable to go to sleep, but just laying flat was helpful to relieve pain from sitting in his chair.  We got him up and ready just as Erin was coming into the room.  Jackie practiced transfers to and from his wheelchair and also for the first time, stood for a while with the help of a machine he hadn’t used before. It basically was a chair that when cranked up held Jackie in a standing position.  It had to have felt good. Erin positioned a mirror in front of Jackie so he could see himself and work on holding his head up straight.

He was tired after the session since he did not take a nap all morning.  After his lunch with Becca he slept for almost an hour and a half when we woke him for OT.  He still seemed to be tired throughout all of Paula’s session.  She used electronic stimulation on him for the first time.  She targeted his left shoulder and his left hand.  The goal is to get the muscles moving so they don’t atrophy.  Jackie’s brain is not telling the left side of his body to move much, so it is important that the muscles on this side are used to also help retrain the brain.  After an exercise with coins, Jackie was done with all therapy sessions and headed back to the room.  We followed the meal trays down the hall, picked up Jackie’s and ate dinner.  We wanted to visit one of the outside terraces but Jackie was tired.  We let him rest in bed for about an hour and then had very quick visits on the second and sixth floors.  After that is was back to the room for a shave, shower and then bed.  It had been an exhausting day of firsts for Jackie and he gave it his all.

Trying new things can be scary,  uncomfortable and tiring.  Sometimes it is just what you need to get you to your next step in life.