12 April 2007: Mike is on the move!!

Category: General
Posted by: bonnieh
I'm Bonnie Howard posting this and am an old (old!) friend of Mike's. Until today my husband Jim and I have just been visitors and I haven't been involved in any of his hospital routine. Today I was fortunate enough to be Mike's companion during his OT (one hour) and PT (two hour) sessions. I arrived in his hospital room around 12:30 to find that he had just finished eating lunch and looking real good. His appetite hasn't been great, but he told me he drinks an Ensure at each meal so everything after that is cake. He told me a psychologist had visited him earlier that day as part of her routine rounds and they had a good talk about things. That spurred Mike and me to talk about his late wife (and my dear friend) Kathy, his amazing daughters, and his feelings about what his accident has meant to his closest relationships.

The nurse then came in to get him ready for rehab. This is not an easy deal of just popping from the bed to the wheelchair!! Mike changed out of his hospital gown into a t-shirt (okay, so far so good). But then he had to be wrapped up in an absorbent pad because of wound leakage, anchor it with special briefs, put a support stocking on his unaffected leg, hospital scrubs on his lower half and then the shoe. It took about twenty minutes for something that would normally take two or three, due to his limited mobility and trying to maneuver in a hospital bed. Then the nurse helped him pivot from bed to wheelchair and we were on our way just down the hall to the gym.

Oh! And I am thrilled to say that Michael farted away during all of the above and if anything spells getting back to normal, it's that.

He started first in OT. He looked both excited and nervous when we first got there. Sort of reminded me of a kid on his first day of school. "Boy! I am so excited (but a little scared and apprehensive too)." I won't go over all the stuff he did in his rehab (Erin does a wonderful job of covering all that). But in OT he did practice transferring from his wheelchair to a bedside commode, which impressed the heck out of me. He did exercises to help with his upper body strength. I talked to his doctor who stopped by briefly, who said that it takes three days for a body to become "deconditioned." Mike has been in bed for 24 days, and upper body strength is real important to him now so he did things like a "hand pedal" for five minutes forward and five minutes backwards. He lifted three pound hand weights and moved rings back and forth on a three foot (?) arched tube while wearing three pound weights velcroed on both wrists. He also did something with clothes pin type things putting them on a tall rod, again with the weights on his hands. Mike's comment was that at first when he saw people playing with the "toys" he thought it had something to do with doing puzzles. Then he realized it was all about arm movement with weights on. His comment: "Hey! Pick your nose with three pound weights on your wrists!" So, what Mike was pointing out is that it didn't matter exactly what he was doing, as long as he did it with weights. The boy's mind is still so awesome! Some of these very simple seeming activities had Mike sweating and he mentioned several times just how deceiving they were. And of course, Mike made friends at the OT game table because he is Mike.

PT did a lot of things Erin has already covered. But the cool thing is that I was the first person to see Mike leave his wheelchair and walk (hop?) about 30 feet using the walker. One therapist walked next to him and one followed close by behind him with his wheelchair in case he needed it. But he didn't need it. They let him rest a little and then he walked about ten feet with the walker, turned around, and walked back to his chair. His ability and confidence levels increased as the afternoon progressed.

He did great. He needed periodic sips of water and occasional wipes with a washcloth to his forehead. He loves having his back (lightly) scratched. Mike is one easy to please guy and it's obvious everybody who comes in contact with him at that hospital immediately becomes a fan.

The physical therapist (Amanda?) is filling out the paperwork for Mike to get his own wheelchair, which he will probably have by the middle of next week.
Jenny Kennedy arrived during PT and gave him lots of moral support. She hauled an industrial sized bottle of Gatorade to Mike's room because that is one of his favorite beverages. Those two are cute together.

Erin arrived shortly after that, right before PT ended, so we met her back in his room. After a short visit she went off with him for a dressing change and bath, and Jenny and I headed out. I have to say it warmed my heart to see the love flowing back and forth between Erin and her Dad. Wow!

I'm interested to see the progress he will make between today and my next date with him doing rehab!

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ruthie wrote:

Bonnie, thank you so much for your wonderful story of your "rehab date" with Dad today. I am truely amazed at his progress so far and I can't wait to see it with my own eyes!!!
-- 12 April 2007 18:44:47

erin wrote:


The dressing change went very well. Dad moved himself from the wheelchair to the spray table and back, with Tammy spotting (no support), and me holding the chair.

She was totally blown away by what he can do already. Dad told me later that it's one thing when all of us are amazed at his progress (I mean, we love him, so to some extent, of course we're amazed), but when Tammy is amazed? That means he really is doing things that are above and beyond "normal"..
-- 13 April 2007 00:39:06
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