"Miracles are never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith...they are the natural result of the Messiah's presence among men."
Bible Dictionary

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Manual wheelchair

Not yet exactly...but a manual wheelchair is the big goal in physical therapy that we are working for. Stephen tried out two different kinds, one with rope wrapped around the wheel, and one with knobs sticking out every few inches. He wears quad gloves and pushes off with the heel of his hands. The left side is still has a ways to go, so the tricky part is evenly pushing off and going in a straight line. I love seeing him in the chair because it represents a tangible purpose for the exercises. A manual chair means strong triceps, wrist rotation and extension, trunk control, shoulders, and back. It signifies a little more independence, because it is moving by his power. Just a couple of laps around the gym was exhausting, but a good workout. Stephen is also starting to work towards helping with transfers using a slide board. I realize that most of you have no clue what that means, but he is trying to lock out his elbow and wrist and bear weight on board that bridges from his chair to the bed, or chair to chair. Then he slides along the board while sitting up. Those are both significant goals for us.

His aquatic therapist was really pleased with his right wrist last week. He is getting more control over the extension. Actually, that small improvement might be enough to keep him from discharge. We are wrapping his hands with the fingers in a fist and using the e-stim on his forearm to bend the wrist up, hoping that will begin to carry over. When he can bend the wrist up, then the fingers follow naturally into a "pinching" form with the pointer and thumb. There are splints that help too, as soon as Stephen gets the wrist movement down.

We are pleased to report that the standing frame has been delivered and assembled. Rather than wait for the therapist to help, we adjusted it ourselves and Stephen watched football yesterday standing up. Nobody else in the family had gotten to see him stand up yet, so it was fun for everyone (even Spence) to look up to him. It was nicer for Stephen to look down. This will become part of our daily routine, which is great for weight bearing on the bones and weight relief, blood pressure, etc. It is one of those things that Spence and I both need to be there to transfer him, unless I can figure it out. So, if you want to come by in the evenings, he might be standing up?!

Thank you for your continued prayers and fasting. We are learning what if means to pray always. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers those prayers.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No more St. Joes!

Well, the latest news is we are now discharged from Occupational Therapy at St. Joe's and will soon be discharged from aquatic therapy. I had a feeling this was coming when he was evaluated last at St. Joes and we had a hard time coming up with "attainable goals", which is used for insurance purposes. All the therapists continue to comment on how he is getting measurably stronger, but that doesn't count for therapy. The only thing that really matters is functional progress. So they set us up with a home exercise program, assuming that someone will be able to assist him and that we will have all the equipment or drive to a disability gym and use their specific weight machines and equipment. In theory, the therapeutic pool is open for personal use for a small monthly fee, however we aren't sure if they will allow Stephen access since he is a risk in the water. At least we still have the Neuro Institute and will hopefully be able to begin occupational therapy there. I feel a critical need to get as much therapy as possible, hoping to get the maximum benefit and retrain the neuropathways. In reality, I don't know what else we would do without therapy, not that I particularly love having appointments every day and always hurrying to be somewhere on time...but therapy represents work towards progress and hope. We aren't ready to give up yet on working towards progress. Of course, they always leave the door open for us to return to therapy when there is increased mobility, which we continue to hope and pray will happen.

We have loved the cooler weather this week! The summer temperatures are brutal, especially for Stephen. He overheats when he is in hot temperatures for too long and hasn't been outside for long periods of time in months. The younger kids are out of school for two weeks for intersession and it really isn't an option for us to take a trip this year, so Thursday we spent the day at the zoo. I felt totally guilty when Sarah couldn't even remember going to the zoo...I know I've taken her before but it's been awhile. Anyhow, it was wonderful to get outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery, animals, and weather. We had a great time together, even though we had to endure Nathan's moaning and whining about how he hated the zoo all the way there. Of course, he had a great time when it was all over. It was great just to do something relaxing and destressing.

I want to comment on thoughts from General Conference...I'll work on that for tomorrow!