Wednesday, July 9

Normalcy

Jackie got up this morning and felt a little bit better.  He ate breakfast, had his meds, saw Dr. K and other attending physicians.  His schedule got pushed back a little so he had about 30 minutes for speech with Becca.

When Becca and Jackie returned to the room, they were holding crumbled pieces of paper. Written on the remains of the paper were things that frustrate Jackie.  Things like not being able to get in bed by himself and not being able to eat on his own.  All things that 19 year olds don’t even think about, they just do them.  Jackie’s left side is holding him back from being like all other 19 year olds.  He continues to say he just wants to be normal.  He is not asking for super hero powers or extraordinary skills, he just wants to do the things we all take for granted.

After speech he spoke with Dr. Todd the staff psychologist and then spent a half hour with Lori for 1:1 art therapy.  This took him right into PT.  It was a lot but he managed to push through.

Lunch was a struggle.  We had to coach him through his swallowing. Drinking out of a straw continues to be a new challenge; one that was mastered just a couple weeks ago.  Becca stopped by to check in on him and decided to take him into the Day room and observe him finishing his lunch.  She also had to cue him and struggled to keep him focused.  Eating is a slow process and usually takes an hour to complete.

After they were done, we got Jackie into bed for an overdue nap.  He slept soundly. We woke him up so that he was ready for OT at 3pm.  Paula came into the room to pick him up and I mentioned that I had wanted to change Jackie’s shirt as it had food stains from his meals.  The boys were ok with the shirt but Paula agreed with me and used the opportunity for Jackie to practice dressing himself.  As he is more tired than usual it was tough for us to watch him struggle to take off the dirty shirt and put on the new one.  Helping him with everything will not allow him to learn.  Paula’s years of experience were evident as she cued and helped him at just the right times to get the most out of the exercise. They headed to the gym and did some stretching and visual scanning exercises focusing on the left side.  They also did categorization exercises.

Dinner trays were only minutes away when Jackie got back from the gym.  He started eating and fell asleep.  Dr. K stopped in and we decided to let him nap.  He got up about an hour later and finished his meal.  He seemed better so we headed to the second floor terrace for Jackie’s protein snack. PTL

Jackie was looking tired so we did not stay long.  We headed back to the room and got Jackie back in bed.  Our nurse tonight was a retired army nurse.  We hadn’t had him in a while.  He is a good guy and takes great care of Jackie.  After evening meds Jackie all of a sudden started talking louder and was even making slight, purposeful movements with his left hand. PTL. We are not going to even try to figure out why, we just celebrated the moment! We took a video for Dr K and Jackie’s therapists so they would believe us.

Our society today is so driven by the need to be super achievers.  To be better than everyone else and always be at the top of the list.  I now can see how normalcy is underrated.  Just being normal is a gift in itself and should be celebrated and appreciated every day.

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