March 29, 2012
Today was another really great day – all because of Elaine’s determination! She is truly amazing! Staci took Elaine to therapy at Hoag today. She had a one-hour session with her physical therapist (PT) then another hour with her new occupational therapist (OT). It was such a privilege for Staci to take Elaine and watch her work. It was an incredibly humbling two hours! Although we have all been there every step of the way from the first day, there are days when we truly marvel at what has really transpired over the past eight weeks.
Elaine started with PT. They worked the entire hour on walking on her left leg focused on keeping her left knee straight. It tends to have a slight bend in it initially due to muscle weakness resulting in muscle memory. She did incredibly well!
Elaine tends to “drag” her left foot a little and she feels like her toe is going to get caught. In an effort to correct that feeling, they built up 3-inch wood lines that she had to step over. She did SO well! It was really amazing to watch her not only walk with a stronger left leg but also with some air under her step.
After that drill, she went straight to OT. It was technically an assessment that turned out to be a very productive session that left her feeling that these therapists could really help.
They went through the series of questions, one of which was, “Have you ever lost vision on your left side? She answered, “No.”
Staci jumped in and said, “Yes you did! That day in the ER you had complete paralysis on your left side and couldn’t move your head from side to side.”
Fortunately for Elaine, she doesn’t remember that day very clearly. Although her lack of memory of that awful day is mostly for the best, it is unfortunate in the sense that she doesn’t always realize just how far she has progressed!
They did a grip test on her as well. Her right hand measured at 59, her left at 10. She was discouraged, but both the therapist and Staci were happy and reminded her that not long ago it was ZERO! She then had to take out really small pegs out of a box and then put them back in. She shocked Staci by even being able to do it with her left hand! She did her right hand in 22 seconds and her left in 1 minute 59 seconds. It was very impressive!
The therapist also said that she needs to incorporate Little Darlin’ into her life. A perfect example of this: Elaine learned to tie her shoe on her own today! She needs to use her as much as possible and have her help do everything that is safe to do. It will take some getting used to but we have no doubt Elaine will do it. Staci was thrilled to be there today (and every opportunity she gets) to watch her mom. It is impossible to be more proud of her as she deals with all she is faced – and especially when you see what truly hard work she has to do. There is nothing to compare it to and the fact that Elaine continues to work so hard and push herself to do things that come so naturally to the rest of us (and used to her) make her our idol, a true hero, and the strongest person we have ever met!
Today was also an incredible experience for Staci to be reminded of how much Fred does for Elaine. As Elaine was answering a series of questions, often times the answer was, no, my husband does it or my husband helps me. The two of them are dealing with such different challenges and yet both handling with courage, love, determination, and passion.
No one can pretend they know how Elaine is feeling or what she is going through and none of us pretend we could handle it the way she has either. Fred had been incredible too! We often say, it is easy to take care of someone when you love them. It is true that for us taking care of Elaine is easy. This situation sucks, but we are also the luckiest family in the world because we have each other! No one or no circumstance or situation can change that. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and you appreciate every minute of every day!