Monday, October 6

Toughing It Out Through The Tears

Today was an emotional day.  It was the official day of Jim’s birthday.  Jackie’s feelings mirrored those that he felt on my birthday and could be summed up as significant sadness.  He was still in the hospital after all these months and so was his Dad.  Spending his birthday attending to him instead of going golfing or going out to dinner.  We tried to comfort him as we had done before and we are hoping that he truly understands that neither of us could possibly be anywhere else than by his side. It is where we want to be.  There will be a time when we can step back, but now is not the time.

As routine plays out, Becca came to get Jackie and they went to her office for speech. Jackie picked out the supplies and made a birthday card for Jim.  These cards are even more precious than the ones we received when the kids were little.  This card and the writing inside was a sign that Jackie was coming back.  PTL

We all decided to sit on the second floor terrace for a little bit before PT.  Both Mark and Erin were not available so another staffer stretched out Jackie under Paula’s watchful eye. As per usual, lethargy dictates and we moved Jackie to bed for a nap, although rest not slumber was in the plan.

You may remember several months ago when a Philadelphia Flyers alumni came to visit Jackie.  Today, Todd Fedoruk would return for another visit.  It was the first time today, that Jackie brightened up.  He remembered ‘The Fridge’ from his previous visit and enjoyed his company.  Todd was able to get Jackie to softly verbalize more words than we had heard all day.  He makes Jackie feel good and also helps him be mentally tough.  After game injuries, Todd also went through a couple surgeries so the two of them can relate on the same level.  Something, Jim and I cannot do. It was awesome to catch up and our hope is to see him another time before heading home.

Shortly after Todd moved on to visit some other patients, Visa paid a visit.  Visa is the service dog that we met at Jefferson hospital.  She was attending a student health fair at Jefferson and was hoping to visit Jackie at Magee as well.  She is a loving dog, and ironically looks exactly like Magee’s therapy dog only smaller.  Jane, her Mom, helped Jackie interact with her and Jackie was comforted just by stroking the incredibly soft fur on her ears.  He enjoyed hearing how Visa had just provided stress release to students at Jefferson studying for mid terms.  Whether he knew it or not, he was also reducing the emotional stress of his day by allowing Visa to comfort him in a way only a canine can.

Nana and John had come to visit and shared birthday treats for Jim with the staff.  We enjoyed their company and as a surprise, Nana brought her special spaghetti sauce for Jim to enjoy for dinner.  I must say, I tried making it myself, but could never quite get the same taste.  Jim would enjoy his birthday meal.

Before we knew it, Paula came to the room to pick up Jackie for OT.  He had a decent session but since he had not napped, tired quickly.  We headed down to dinner as early as we could, due to Jackie’s fatigue and the fact that it was a shower night.  When we got down to the cafe, I worked on getting Jackie’s tray from the kitchen and also picked up a three layer, strawberry shortcake that Chef Ken had made based on my request.  The cake was big and beautiful. Jackie had a taste of the icing and Jim enjoyed a piece for himself.  We then made some new friends in the dining room by sharing the absolutely delicious dessert.

We brought the rest back up to the room and ultimately shared it with the nursing and therapy teams.  It was then time for a shower and bed.  Each night seems to include a little more rest and a little less spasms.  PTL. Jackie will get through this and the victory will be sweet.

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
~Mary Tyler Moore