Tuesday, September 1, 2009

9/1 Ditch that walker!

When we're hanging out alone in the hospital room these days, Chuck jumps up all the time and walks from chair to chair to bed to door post with practically no assistance from me. This afternoon, when the PT had him taking long walks down the hall using the walker, he tended to veer and get tangled up in his feet, so I told her how little support he needed in the room. We ditched the walker and strode with Chuck up one end of a long hall and back, just lightly guiding him at his elbows. The PT nearly cried and said, "Oh my gosh, Chuck. You're going to be our poster child!"

Bye bye walker.

Speech therapy continues to move at snail's pace, but Chuck's tolerance and focus seem to have increased. He really applies himself to the tedious work. Lots of sighs and retries.

ST: [pointing to a written list] What do we wear on our feet? Toes? Beds? Socks?
Chuck: [long pause and a lost look]
ST: Chuck, do you know what we wear on our feet?
Chuck: [very clearly] I have no idea.

Chuck often cannot access a word or sentence he wants. I'm reminded of our poster with a TBI who said it was like swimming in wet cement. Very exhausting and difficult.

I sometimes hang out in the background out of sight now, because I feel Chuck tunes in better to individual therapists when he and I aren't exchanging looks. In OT for example, I showed up a little bit after they started and saw Chuck from behind knocking himself out on a strength machine that had him reaching and pulling, right, left, right left. He did a majority of his therapy without knowing I was around and I saw that signature determination of his in operation. The OT told him to rest while she set up the next station, so he rested for like three seconds, then started up again on his own, unprompted. He was delighted to see me when he finally turned around, but it is a good practice, I think, sometimes to take a back seat in Chuck's personal journey of self-reclamation, watch him take it on in his own terms, make his own calls.

I can't remember what got us started off but we both walked into PT today guffawing over something and everyone else in the place lightened up too. Nothing like tooling down a long corridor with Chuck's laughter echoing all over the place.

Kali, one of Chuck's aides from Manor Care came by and visited tonight with her dad, Steve. She says Chuck is still the talk of the Manor Care aides.

We hung out and watched "Scrubs" tonight and Chuck laughed at some fairly complex turns of phrase and humor. Even though he has significant difficulty speaking at this moment, I'm convinced his wit and subtlety of thought are very much in place.


  1. That's awesome that he's doing so much better walking! He never ceases to amaze me! Just like when we walked in Saturday and he was standing next to the pool table shooting pool balls into the pocket!

    Yeah Dad!!


  2. We are all amazed at your progress Chuck! I know your will and determination will get you through this difficult process. God has His mighty hand on you brother and I love you charlie my boy! seeya in a couple weeks, your sis, Beck