Monday, September 27, 2010

A Glimmer of Hope

At Lynn's outpatient therapy session this week, we received a tiny bit of hope.  Joan, his PT, asked him to try to point his toes.  When he did, I believed I saw movement in his upper thigh on the left side.  Joan was still talking to Lynn at the time so she asked him to repeat it while she put her hand on the thigh to see if she could feel the muscle contraction. (Therapists don't trust eyes; they trust feeling a muscle.)  At this second command, Joan felt his muscle voluntarily conract.  However, on a third and fourth try, nothing.  So it is one of two things:  1. It happened but the muscle for lack of use, tired after the first two contractions or 2.  Both of us wanted this so much we imagined the situation.  Of course, we hope it is the first possibility.  Lynn continues to do the exercises and visualizing every day to stimulate movement.  We will keep you posted.

We also had our first post-Rehab visit with his paraplegia doctor - Dr. Annette Weller.  We had a list of questions for her and she patiently answered all of them.  Without going into detail - Lynn's biggest and ongoing challenge is NOT being able to walk - it is the paralysis of his bowel and bladder functions.  Dr. Weller was able to give us suggestions on how Lynn could get some freedom from constantly dealing with this.  She did say though that it could take up to a year before he could be totally comfortable with say eating away from home.

Lastly Lynn went to the Huskies' football game Friday night.  We snuck in the back way through a locked fence.  We were able to watch the game from our usual spot.  By the third quarter, though, Lynn's legs were getting pretty cold and the team had the game thoroughly in hand so we headed home.  It was the first time Lynn had attended a public event since the injury.  One thing he noticed was how hard it is to have conversation with people who are all standing while you are sitting in a wheel chair.  One plus is that babies like to sit on your lap.  Julie Harvey's, Trent, sat there contentedly for quite some time.  That pleased Lynn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The highlight of this week was to finalize the purchase of Lynn's chairs.  Insurance is buying him a motorized one because he has had surgery on both shoulders and his left wrist is fused. They believed this was his best option. At first we wanted to reject the offer out of pride but we were convinced by people who cared that we should accept.  Lynn can use this chair in the house and take some strain off his shoulders during the day. (They are already beginning to ache quite a bit from the constant use wheeling the manual.) Privately, we will purchase a light weight manual that he can use to be able to drive again and to use when he wants to go "walking" for his heart health.  Tomorrow they will deliver a demo model so he can see how the motorized chair works in our house.

We so wish that we could be reporting the return of some movement to his legs but we cannot tell you that.  He faithfully does the exercises they have given him and we hope through prayer maybe something will happen before the two year window.

I close with a little story, however, of God's grace.  This weekend had been a hard one for Lynn.  He had eaten something that had not agreed with him and the rain dampened his spirits too.  We were on our way to church with the rain pouring down and I silently asked God if he would give Lynn a little sign of His presence.  Would He stop the rain so Lynn could get into church dry?  Even as we came up Fifth Street the rain was falling but as we pulled into the parking lot and began the process of setting up the wheel chair, I noticed the rain had stopped!  Quickly he transferred and he got into church dry as a bone!  Just minutes later other parishioners walked up to greet him and their jackets were soaked as a downpour had caught them.  Thank you, God for letting our family know in big ways and small that You are taking care of us! (PS - we also left church without getting wet.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Week of Firsts

1.  Lynn's first doctor's visit post Rehab - This was with Lynn's GP, Dr. Hindmarsh.  No new information but we did get told his coumadin visits could now be a month apart!!!

2. Lynn's first outpatient therapy visit.  This one was hard because the PTs evaluation really showed no improvement in movement or feeling from Rehab.  The good part was that we did have the choice not to go to Eugene twice a week but to make the journey just once weekly.  Our goals will be to ensure the best exercise program for Lynn and to monitor progress.  Until there are signs of return, that is the most he can do.

3. Lynn's first venture downtown -  He hadn't had a haircut since the beginning of July and access to Buddy, his barber, is out so Deb Cooley got a new client.  Both of us felt a little self-conscious about unloading the chair in a downtown parking lot but the only way to get over this is to do it.

4.Lynn's first trip back to church - This went well.  His chair just fit down the side aisle coming back from communion.  People were so warm and welcoming.  Like # 3 we were nervous about it but hopefully being out will get easier and easier.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Inservice Week

Well, I have realized right off the bat that this blog has to move to a "weekly" because I don't have much time since I returned to work.  I decided that at least for awhile I will update it every Sunday.  This wasn't a terribly stressful week for me or Lynn because both Becky and Joe were here every day to help Lynn over the rough spots  Becky worked her tail off organizing literally EVERY room downstairs to accomodate Lynn's wheelchair existence.  Joe had to go to work in the afternoons but he helped load, pack and carry plus doing chores outside.  Becky leaves Monday but Joe will be home in the mornings until school starts at LBCC.

I left school this week at 4:00 PM so Lynn could start his workout program.  Every other day we loaded up and went out to Wiley Creek to spin around the sidewalks there for a half an hour (more is just too hard on Lynn's shoulders right now).  On off days Becky has cleared out room so Lynn can use the Bowflex on upper body exercises.

Another wrinkle we hadn't expected is that Lynn has to have his blood drawn and tested every week for 3 months because he takes the blood thinner - coumadin.  This is because paraplegics have a greater chance for blood clots.  This testing involves a trip to the doctor's office for what is literally only a 5 min. experience.  I want to see if a home health nurse couldn't come here for this.  Going places right now is arduous because Lynn's loaner chair is much heavier than the one he used in Rehab and I am already missing so much work for other doctor and therapy visits.  It won't hurt to ask.

There has been no change in toe or foot movement but I definitely have seen an improvement in Lynn's use of his hips.  The other curious thing we are going to ask the doctor about on the 21st is that Lynn's left leg (the more feeling one) always feels warmer  than the right leg.  They used to both feel uniformly cold but not now.

Well, there are some highlights.  This coming week Lynn sees Dr. Hindmarsh, his GP, and his outpatient physical therapist on Friday.  As always,  we ask you to keep us in your prayers!