Friday, April 29, 2011

Time passes so quickly...

I think I have now officially lost the month of April! When I'm only home for 2-3 days I don't get much accomplished other than putting out fires. The good news is that Nicole continues to make rapid progress with 5 weeks of therapy still scheduled. She graduated to a cane and showering alone this week. Last week we talked about how much we take the use of our muscles for granted until they don't work. Even chewing takes a tremendous amount of energy and can be exhausting (or so I've heard - I seem to be having no problem consuming mass quantities).

The bad news is that our youngest cat, Merry, has severe food allergies including such foods as chicken and venison. He has a very short list of canned foods available to him, none of which Pippin can eat. Dry food has totally left their menu which makes for unhappy cats. It appears they will have to be fed in separate rooms to keep them out of each others food.

Nothing new on the knitting front though I did resume work on a Spring Forward sock. Maybe by the end of May I'll have a pair :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

My first block of 5 days home in over a month! Nicole and I left Phoenix Wednesday night after therapy to make the trek across the desert. Although we were very tired, it was so nice to be back in our own environment and headed to our own beds.

Progress continues in therapy and Nicole is working hard to get back to work and school. I am grateful they aren't giving me some of the cognitive tests they give her - quite sure I wouldn't do well. One of the fun things suggested are games like Scattergories and Taboo that require categorization and problem solving. We've also downloaded some computer games like Azada that use many of the same spatial and problem solving skills that her therapy activities do.

On the home front, Guitar Guy and I are celebrating our 31st anniversary on Tuesday. We don't have the energy or money to do anything big, but will get out for dinner sometime before I head to Phoenix. Hard to believe we've been together that long, especially since my parents were convinced it wouldn't last :-)

One of my weekend chores was taking 2 or the 3 cats to the vet. It appears Merry may have food allergies and required $200 of blood work to see what we should be feeding him. If it solves his bowel and skin problems it will be worth it! Ah the joys of sharing one's home with fur person.

Off to the shower now. Nicole and Patrick are coming over to Skype with the Iowa clan. Video phone is wonderful for seeing my grandson but does require that I look at least moderately presentable!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sprung from the Hospital!

Nicole was discharged from the hospital Friday so now the next phase of recovery begins. This weekend we are just sleeping a lot and watching a lot of movies. Tomorrow the fun begins again when Nic starts 8 weeks of outpatient rehab in Phoenix. Although we all really want to go home, her inpatient therapists were worried about whether she could get what she needs there. Most of the therapists in our community are not used to dealing with 25 year old stroke patients who are planning to return to work.

Since I'm the family member with the most flexibility in my schedule, I'll be one going back and forth with her. We're going to try it for a couple of weeks and see if the extra travel is worth it. Thankfully we have a place to stay in Phoenix, which helps keep the cost down. The up side to all of this is how much better Nicole is doing. If you didn't know her you'd probably not notice anything other than the lovely suture line across her head and the nifty walker(we are calling it a sports injury :-). She carries on witty conversation, has amazing rote recall and still cracks a lot of jokes. What isn't working so well is her numb left side (it moves fine she just can't feel it), her truly lousy visual/spatial sense and planning/processing slowness.

One of the big concerns early on was her inability to read. That is returning, though it gives her a headache and isn't nearly as fast or easy as it used to be. The therapists continue to remind us that this is still very early in the process and to be patient. They are very optimistic about where she will be in 3-4 months so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

The big question has to do with the naughty blood vessels still sitting in her head which could bleed again. We are scheduling her visit with the radiation guru to find out what to expect from the treatment they are proposing. Supposedly it is very effective for about 85% of patients but has its own side effects ,may set her recovery back a little and has a 2-3 year window to take effect.

As a family, we are acutely aware that life holds no certainties and we have to treasure every day. Hope your day is a wonderful one!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Moving forward

Looking back, it is amazing how much progress Nicole has made since Monday. She has gone from walking with 3 people helping to tooling around rehab with her walker. A week ago she had just started talking again and this afternoon we had a 1/2 hour conversation on the phone. The rate of change is encouraging as is her quirky sense of humor. She keeps trying to convince me that her Drain Bamage is responsible for anything she wants to get away with :-) I told her that bullshit wouldn't fly.

Although Patrick brought some of her favorite books for us to read to her, I decided the Little Goddess books weren't a mommy read aloud. If I read with appropriate passion we could probably draw a good audience though LOL.

When Nicole moved to rehab on Wednesday, she had to create her goals which included things like typing, reading fluidly and KNITTING. We thought it would be good therapy for her numb left hand. Since her concentration is less than usual, a garter stitch scarf seemed like a reasonable goal. The healing power of fiber - got to love it.

I was home for the day today but am back on the road in the AM. The poor cats are so confused with my absence but seem to be surviving. Now I'm off to make some Scotcheroos for Nicole's birthday on Monday.