Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Much has progressed since I last wrote an update. Bob is improving a little bit every day. He has sat in the wheelchair once (for about 15-20 minutes) and wants to again, but I need at least two able bodied men to help with the Hoyer (hoist) and sling before we can try again. Hopefully, this week.

He is able to feed himself a small cup of apple sauce with cinnamon, and yesterday and today he had a half cup of diced water melon. He is able to drink out of a light weight cup, so has water two or three times each day. He wants to eat real food (grown up food he says!). I plan to start him on bananas, custard and yams in the next couple days. If he tolerates those, we will try other items.

He has put on a little fat in the calf and shoulder areas. Thank goodness--it was hard looking at those bones---let alone hugging them!! I have been giving him a third cup of chicken broth and a tablespoon or two of beef broth with each feeding--mixing it in with the canned formula.

We work with his legs and arms a couple times a day, gently stretching and building some muscle. They are definitely improving---he has enough strength in his arms to help hold the side bars when we need to turn him and move his legs to facilitate turning, cleaning, etc.. Carlos, the occupational therapist, brought a "rubber band" yesterday for him to start stretching to build muscle in the shoulder and arm areas, he also had a "trapeze' installed over him so that he can build strength by reaching and holding on to it. So far, he is able to grab on to it and move his body a very tiny bit, -----but everything is progress.

His mental state is fine, I have not noticed any depression. Some irritation, because he wants to sit up and walk, and has a hard time realizing how debilitated he was. (And still is). We are filling him in on that a little bit at a time. He is cognitive about 85 % of the time. His mind will wander and be fuzzy when he is real tired ----or possibly hungry---or maybe low blood sugar might influence that. I try to monitor it all closely. His hearing is good. He speaks in full sentences and makes sense almost all the time, sometimes he has a hard time thinking of the right word, but then, so do I. He speaks out loud almost all the time and loves to talk on the telephone. (Very briefly). I think that gives him a feeling of control---he has been so vulnerable for so long.

I think I have covered most everything. We are so appreciative of all the good wishes, prayers, food, cards, gifts, flowers, trips to the store, visits, the carolers(!) and all the other things I am too tired to remember. I don't know how we would ever be able to even begin to repay any of this---I guess we will be "paying it forward" for a long time!! and happily!

Several of you have asked about me----other than sleep deprived, I am doing fine! If he wasn't improving, I am not sure how I would be feeling. I am finding that this is a 23 out of 24 hour job!! I have had a couple four hour sleep sessions, otherwise, two and three hours are about it at one time. He wakes me a couple or more times every night, sometimes he is cold (because he pulls or kicks his covers off!) or too hot, or to ask me questions about his situation or the future. Sometimes he doesn't make sense or can't understand why he can't walk (RIGHT NOW!!!) Sometime I am too tired to explain or talk much and he seems to understand. In fact, he will tell me to go back to sleep or he will say that he doesn't see how I do it all---sometime I wonder, too!! This was my choice tho, I could not see him in assisted living with how sick he was. There may come the day when he is getting up, sitting and walking where I can't manage him--and may need assistance in some form. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. I would love to cross that bridge!!

I appreciate all the help and support that I have been given by so many; it has made coping with this possible. The children have been absolutely wonderful with all the help they have given, and each in different ways.We couldn't ask for a better family. The church family, neighbors and friends have also been phenomenal. Thank you,everyone!!

The morning hours are really busy with all the items I am supposed to do. Visiting hours and phone calls are every day from 2 to 4:30. ---except Tuesday---Tuesdays, please no phone calls or visitors at all. Bob has a massage around noon and sleeps all afternoon, so that gives me a chance to catch up on sleep. Also, please come to visit with Bob, not me! As much as I love people, your visiting with Bob gives me a chance to nap, do bills or other paperwork or the many items that need doing. There will be time to visit with me in the future. Thank you!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and we are wishing you a Happy New Year!