This part of the post isn't so much about James' recovery- although you'll get some new exciting information in a minute- but about us back at the home front trying to make things smooth for his (imminent!) return!
This past Monday morning was the dawning of a new program for change in our household. With James coming home soon enough, I wanted the house to run more efficiently and with less hounding from me for things to get done. Of course, I also don't want crap laying around the floor for James to trip over.
I laminated some charts, got some money in dimes, and divided it up between four jars. I gave the kids a weekly responsibility and two monthly chores. Then they would rotate to a new responsibility or chore, so they could all learn all the stuff for the household. Plus they are all making their beds now I had to teach them.
This is just adding to their normal jobs like brushing their teeth, cleaning their rooms, putting away laundry, putting away school stuff, cleaning up toys. etc. So the way it works is this:
The money is in the jar. If you do your jobs
- without complaining
- all the way- not half way or shoddy
- right away
It has been fabulous. Right this minute, my coffee table and kitchen table and carpet and end table and kitchen counters are all clear and clean. All the animals are tended to, and everyone just jumped on board with a willingness to get it done and keep their dimes. Woo hoo!!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Today James was scheduled to have a meeting, called an IDT, which stands for Interdisciplinary Team. It consisted of about12 people who looked after James in different ways. The pharmacist, the OT lady, the PT lady, the dietitian, the social worker, the RN assigned to James, the "umbrella" DR who is over James, the recreational director, and at least 4 other people were in a conference room. Every 90 days a veteran goes in and they go over the Care Plan for the patient.
I was joking with James that it was going to be like the scene from Shawshank Redemption, where Morgan Freeman's character goes before the parole board to try to get approved. Well, it might have been that way for the veteran before or after us, but not James.
We went in. Everyone was glad to meet me- I have only been going up at nights, in Temple, so I hadn't met anyone really. Then I flopped my big three-ring binder open on the table. If they were less glad to see me, it didn't show. (And as a side note, why is everyone I meet stunned to see I am not a wizened unattractive hag?! And feel they have to say so? It's getting old.)
They went around the table one by one talking about James' progress and then next steps. I was most interested in what PT had to say- that in 2-3 weeks, James would get a weekend pass to COME HOME! for a few days and see what was up with the house, what was difficult to do and what was hard to manage- the shower, the steps, the porch, whatever. Then they would give him tools and send a contractor to fix the stuff so he could maneuver better. Then a week or so later, he WOULD BE DISCHARGED to the status of an outpatient!!
I told the PT woman that I trusted her but that I wanted her to tell me that James' request to do PT twice a day wasn't going to damage him or actually slow his recovery. She said it certainly wouldn't. It's 20-30 minutes a day.
The attitude, the electricity of the room was nearly tangible. The team was loving the fact that James was a strong, motivated young man- healing, pushing boundaries, doing his assignments (like exercises in his room during the day). I have said before that every other veteran there is older than James by about 30 years. They actually said 'stay, so we don't get a grumpy difficult patient after your bed is empty,' but we told them NO!
We got all our questions answered and all our concerns addressed. So that was an exciting day.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Then, today! James called this morning and told me that PT said for him to bring socks and sneakers in... he needed better traction for walking. What!!! Cornell took Jackson and Lily up for the day- with socks, sneakers, enchiladas, tetrazinni, an Odwalla protein drink, and some veggie juice I made that morning. James and the kids played Uno and chess and hung out. Then James was scheduled to go to PT. They all got to go, to watch.
Tonight James calls me. He sounds exhausted. He has just called his nurse for morphine, the first shot in about 5 days. He says, "I walked today."
I shriek and ask a hundred questions. "Did the kids see? What did they do? How far? With what? Like, limping walk? Did it hurt? How did your wrists feel?"
He said the kids were there, and they were jumping up and down and cheering him on. He said he was totally crying. I asked if their cheering made it hard or easier to walk. He said he was so encouraged that the PT instructor told him to slow down.
I just about fell over when he said how far. I was expecting it to be maybe 6 feet or so, or 6 feet and then turn around and go back, but he said HE WALKED NEARLY 60 FEET!! This man, his determination- is unbelievable.
I've always said that he always gets what he wants. If he decides he wants it, nothing is going to get in his way to get it- it's exciting to see him want GOOD things and GOOD activities!!
He also told me he used a regular walker, not the arm support one I showed you previously. He was wearing his wrist brace on his right arm though. Cornell told me, with her eyes bugging out, that she just couldn't believe how he was progressing.
It was exactly a month ago today that the nurse let us sneak the kids in for their first visit. It was a month ago today that James first remembered the day before. And here he is, walking.
Praise the Lord.