Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back to Work

This week has been filled with Dick's PT, OT, and ST (short for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy).  All these therapies are a new form of "work" for him.  Dick's LVAD coordinator  Shawn came to Sioux Falls this past Tuesday to teach a class on the VAD at the Heart Hospital. Because this is not a common procedure, not too many are familiar with the LVAD and need some training. Of course Dick, Dede, and I were there Tuesday afternoon, and Dick seemed quite pleased to show off his equipment.  It was really nice to see that it was so well attended.

While Dick kept busy with his work, the week for me was filled with the long neglected interior work I had virtually left back in July.  I must say, my clients are the best!  They have been more than understanding and have patiently waited for our lives to somewhat stabilized. I praise God for each of them and pray God will richly bless them for their kindness!

Dick is once again talking politics with friends and associates and is planning to get back to the commission meeting next week.  He still gets tired, but is trying to balance his therapies and work with rest. Please continue to pray for him, sleep is still a problem and he still needs more strength in his right hand.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Home Again

Saturday we arrived home around dinner time.  John and Ashley welcomed us with a fire in the fireplace, beautiful mood lighting around the house and a wonderful lasagna dinner.  It is good to be home!

Sunday Dick was able to watch the Vikings with Mike and Jonathan.  During the commercials and after the game they helped me move the treadmill upstairs to the porch and moved Dick's office to our kitchen table. The boys took him through his exercises and had him saying his tongue twisters, many of which I can not say.
Pertaining to living in our three story home, we have considered all possibilities and the one we are going with for the moment is, one time down the stairs in the morning. one time up the stairs at night, and never to the basement.  It is not that he can't do stairs, but rather that he is somewhat nervous about the stairs.  Even last night, after realizing that they weren't so bad, he went upstairs early so I could change his dressing early and go to bed.  My back was really giving me fits and I needed to get off my feet.
Inch by inch, everyday more progress, more strength, more confidence.

On the whole, things are going well.  We are nestling in for the winter.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Home Sick

I think Dick and I are both home sick.  The days seem longer and it is harder to come back to the hotel.  Dick is for sure ready to be released.  Tomorrow (Saturday) he will be discharged from rehab; I pray for the last time until transplant.
Both of us have accomplished much this week, but now it's time to come home.  Back to our home, dog, home cooking, wonderful family, and friends.  I'm scheduled to have my back surgery the first part of October and once again the kids are rising to the occasion to help.  Dede will move into our home for the first week and Robert is trying to coming back for the two weeks following.  I need to  train Dede how to change Dick's dressing but Robert already knows... (he spent all that time after Dick's release helping me).
2010 has definitely been a year to remember.  On June 20th, Dick thought it would be a normal summer...  God has shown us so much GRACE in the midst of our challenges.  It has been hard to be away these past nine weeks; away from our family and dear friends, away from our "safe place."  Like I said yesterday, it will be good to get home.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hard Work

Everything is hard work, even the simplest of things seem difficult.  Although Dick is regaining some strength in his right hand, he still feels numb and those automatic movements just don't work like they used to.  Imagine only using one hand to do the everyday things.  Imagine putting on your coat, cutting a steak, setting a table, typing, opening a bottle, pouring the orange juice, holding a book, making coffee, or getting dressed; he is relearning and adapting really well in spite of the obstacles.

His physical therapy treatments have increased to almost three hours or more a day.  Yesterday he practiced getting in and out of a car and worked in their mock kitchen; I love having help in the kitchen so I was particularly pleased he was learning those skills.  Last night Rich and I took him out for a little Italian, which is one of our favorite types of food.  It started to rain hard so we lingered at the restaurant which seemed so right, kinda like those dinners we used to have.  I guess nothing stays the same, in fact, I have come to the conclusion that we are always in a state of change; it helps us trust God all the more.  The rain finally let up enough for us to dash (Dick's dash is semi-slow) to the car. Both Dick and I long for the day when our life can stabilize, we must trust God to work all this out.
Every night I dress his implant sight; he thinks I do it the best.  I have to admit it is getting to be second nature and going much quicker then at first.  When the dressing is finished, Dick and I are more than ready for sleep; him to his room and me to mine.  It will be good to be home again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today's forcast is SUNNY

Dick is regaining his strength every day.  Yesterday he began moving is right hand fingers. I thank God he is left handed.  You never think about all you do with your hands until you don't have the use of one of them.
He had a wonderful night rest Sunday night and I'm hoping last night was equally as restful.
Yesterday (Monday) he was in therapy all day so I actually hit my lists. Fortunately for me the International Market Square here in Minneapolis is the place I go to work on my interior projects; it felt really good to get some neglected work done.  Today, Dick will be in therapy almost all day again, but unlike yesterday, I intend on sitting in most of his exercises.  Really on the whole, Dick is really responding well, much better than I had ever imagined. I'm very optimistic!

Richard is coming over this afternoon and together we are going to get a new phone for me. If you have tried to call me and I haven't answered, it is because my phone isn't working right and it's time to retire this one for a more trustworthy one especially if you consider that one of these days, doctors will be calling us about a new heart.  Good communication is vital at this stage of the game.  More later.....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice

Yesterday I left Minneapolis but was in communication with Dick's nurse and doctors.  He is beginning to be able to squeeze the ball with his right hand and even press hard enough to imprint a glob of putty.  This is a wonderful improvement!   Although gone, I'm still in communication with him via cell-phone, so he is getting plenty of practice speaking.  I can understand his words and although his speech sounds a little like he has something in his mouth, I can fully understand what he is saying.
Richard and Dick and gone to the LVAD support group and to lunch; I'm sure he practiced lots of speaking in both settings as well.  He is particularly concerned about his speaking because of his County Commission position; rest assured he is working really hard so he will be able to resume sooner rather than later.
I was thinking of the word fortitude this morning and looking it up in Webster's Dictionary I found: "strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage."  As I ponder that word, I think fortitude is a good measure of a man's character. Who amongst us has never had adversity or pain in our lives?  In these past few years Dick has definitely had his share; he has been and is an overcomer, a man of fortitude.  His entire family is truly blessed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Three-Legged Dog?

Decisions have to be made....  If Dick goes to in-patient rehab Thursday and will be there from seven to ten days, then what do I do about housing etc?  I have a doctor appointment on Thursday, so Dede and I will be leaving Dick tomorrow and Richard will stand in during our absence.  I guess when I return, a hotel will be the best temporary stay.

Thank the Lord for Richard who is so willing to cover for me.  I so appreciate the kids who have sacrificially taken time away from their jobs to be with their dad.   Please pray for them.

Today Dick's right hand is still paralyzed and his speech is still slurred.   The speech therapist is teaching him to speak slower and more intentional, and the  physical therapist will teach him how to use other parts of the brain to achieve his desired goal.  So on the whole, he is recovering nicely and the doctors  are pleased.  Dick will need six weeks of recovery before being eligible for a heart, however his doctors will be more aggressive to find him a heart, because of the stroke.
Dick just asked, " Have you ever seen a three legged dog?"

Answer: They learn to adapt and so will Dick.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Visible Miracles

This morning  Dede, Richard and I arrived at the hospital to find Dick eating, walking and speaking slowly but clearly.  The Neurologists were there and were so encouraged about Dick's miraculous recovery!!!!!!   They were concluding that the clot was caused by the heart and there is something that can be done about it: blood thinners.  His cardiologist had been in earlier and said this definitely would put him high on the transplant list, so since he seems to always be in the hospital over a holiday, that means around Thanksgiving.....
He may  be moving to a rehab center tomorrow for about one week then HOME.  If you had seen him yesterday you would not believe it.  The only explanation - the Faithfulness of God.
All your heart felt prayers are being answered.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Emergency trip

Hello everyone,
This is Robert, I'm filling in for mom to give you a quick update.  This morning mom and Dick were preparing to head back to Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis for some post-op appointments with Dick's cardiologist and surgeon.  Mom found Dick around 5:00 AM slumped over the bed unable to talk; he had suffered a stroke.  She called his doctors and they rushed him to MN by plane.  They are both in the hospital now and a team of Neurologists have been brought in to help diagnose what may have caused this.  It will take at least a day to identify the cause but thankfully Dick's  cardiologists are working along side the Neurologist.  He apparently has suffered some paralysis on his right side.

Tonight mom is making arrangements to move back into the apartment.  Please hold them up.  Thank all you prayer warriors, we must continue to persevere, seek the Lord and trust His divine purpose through this storm.

"O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me."
-Psalm 30:2

Friday, September 3, 2010

Silence or Annoying Bell

I have been used to peace and quiet for quite a few years and it is difficult to have that taken away.  I know I must be there for Dick around the clock but the absence of solitude is difficult. John came over to install a doorbell gadget so when I am in the basement and Dick is upstairs and needs help, he will be able to push the button and "ding-dong" me. I don't really know what I think of that!
Dick still has anxiety about his pump for just cause.  If the power is cut off or shuts down for any reason, he will go from 100% blood flow, down to 10% flow.  More than likely he would pass out and it would be an emergency situation.  I guess I can fully understand and justify the reason for his nervousness yet my selfish side does not want to be tethered to a bell.  Most married people I know are different from each other and Dick and I are no exception.  He prepares for all possibilities and tends to worry and I trust God for all things and "fly by faith."  All I can say is that it is a good thing I don't have the LVAD!

Today marks one month since Dick had his surgery and today he is actually driving himself over to the clinic to get his blood checked.  I'm sitting in the kitchen in total peace and quiet and for the first time in about two months, although Dick is doing well and we are finally normalizing, I didn't realize how much I miss solitude until I didn't have it, so for about an hour I am enjoying the quiet time I so love.