Tom got to come home today – and boy, was he ready.
He’s now marked “independent” on getting in and out of bed and chair, showering and going to the toilet, and running around in his wheelchair. He has progressed so fast that I can’t keep up, and his therapists are truly impressed.
He can eat without help, except for cutting up tough meat or pulling chicken breast off the bone. He can get dressed and undressed. He can put on his shoes and tie the laces. He can take things off shelves and put them back.
He can walk with a “hemi walker,” a kind of half-walker that is used, like a cane, for support but has a very wide base. Yesterday he got a four-legged “quad” cane, and he can walk with that, too. He can also go up and down short flights of steps if there’s a handrail.
Rehab uses a standardized 1-7 scale of 18 categories of daily life activities. When Tom came into the hospital three weeks ago, there were many that he couldn’t do at all, or could only do a little. Today, he scored 6 or 7 on all of them. That’s terrific progress.
Underscored in this entire list is that he can do each activity safely. And if he falls, God forbid, he knows how to get back up.
While these activities are unremarkable for most of us, the fact that Tom can now do them – just a month after his stroke – is majorly important to my sanity.
Because anything he can’t do, I will need to do for him.
He has worked really hard during these three weeks in the Emory Rehabilitation Hospital. Three hours or more of therapy every weekday and an hour on one weekend day, plus the hours he spent on his own working those muscles and making his brain talk to them.
Tom has been his usual charming self, and he got lots of hugs yesterday and today from hospital nurses and staff who love him.
It’s been a long three weeks for him. He won’t miss the hospital food or the intercom system blaring in his ears. He won’t miss a few staff members who treated him like a 5-year-old.
He’s healthier now, though. Healthier than before the stroke. With meds and diet, his blood sugar and blood pressure have normalized. He hasn’t had a cigarette or a drink in a month. He’s lost weight. His thyroid’s getting help from meds and his skin has a nice glow.
The rest is just time.
Today’s penny is a 2015, the year that Livestrong finally got around to writing an article explaining what a hemi-walker is.