I haven't blogged in forever! I think I burned out a little bit and needed to take a break, but on top of that, there is very little new stuff to talk about. When Joanne was in the ICU, LTAC, and rehab these was stuff to talk about every day. But now that she has been home for a month we have settled into a new normal, that to be honest isn't that exciting. And to be honest, that is a good thing. It feels good to be in a routine and to have a rough idea of what the day will hold.
Joanne is doing out-patient therapy so we have therapists into the house just about every day with the occasional day off (like today). But it's not the same as the rigors of rehab where she was doing 3-4 hours of therapy every day. Her schedule is much lighter now. But that will all change in a couple of weeks when she goes to the day program at Spalding rehab. I think she will be there every day from 9-3 and will be very, very busy. I think she is looking forward to going back, even if it is just for the grilled cheese sandwiches that Rosie made her for lunch every day.
Joanne's list of simple pleasures:
Doing Bible study every morning at the kitchen table. We get her set up with her cup of coffee and some breakfast and she spend a good amount of time in the Word.
Sitting out on the deck. Gran and Papa bought us the most amazing umbrella that covers the entire seating area, so we can sit out in the shade almost any time of day. Joanne loves being outside.
Showers. AS long as I have known Joanne she loves to take a good, long, hot shower. Papa did an amazing job making the shower handicap accessible with a shower bench and hand rails and Joanne spends a good long time in there every night.
Having friends visit. Joanne loves to have people over.
Going to bed. This represents the end of the day for Joanne. I get the bed turned down just the way she likes it with pillows in place to keep her feet elevated. She climbs into bed and we wrap our pinkies together and say, "We made it through another day!"
Joanne's list of challenges:
Joanne is walking with a four point can, but walks very, very slowly as a result of the paralysis on her left side. She can get around but has to do so accompanied by one of us. She isn't quite stable enough yet to truck around on her own.
Left side pain. Joanne still experiences pain on her left side--shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle. We work to keep those muscles and ligaments limber but it is a real challenges. She tightens up on that side due to the paralysis. We do a lot of therapy on these parts of her body but no break-through yet.
Discouragement: As you can imagine, Joanne (and the rest of us) are still dealing with feeling of loss and sadness. We were looking at the "grief chart" that outlines the five stages of grief and determined that she and I are in stage four, which is depression. Although for us depression just looks a lot like sadness. I am sad for Joanne, that she has lost so many of the activities that made up her self-identity. Running, writing, teaching, studying, cooking: these have all been taken away for the time being and that is a very sad thing and leaves her feeling like she doesn't know who she is anymore. We are in constant prayer that God will bring many of these activities back into her life as the months go by.
So that's about it. It is so good to be at home after 4 months in hospitals. Even the best ones can't measure up to being in ones own surroundings.
The girls! I almost forgot to mention the girls. Audrey and Emma are settled into their own routines. Yes, it is very different to have mom at home after 4 months of her being gone, but they seems to have figured it out. There are definitely parenting challenges that we are facing as they try to get a sense of what mom's place is now that she is home. Because of Joanne's inability to modulate tone or volume, it is hard for them to understand direction or correction from her. But As Joanne's voice improves and as we continue to coach them through it she should be able to get back to parenting as usual. I have to say that they are handling it very well, especially Audrey, who, as a 12 year old girl, has enough challenges to face in the best of circumstances!
1. Perseverance for Joanne. She still has a long road ahead of her in recovery and she needs the desire, drive, energy and commitment to get through it.
2. Joanne is getting a new orthotic for her left ankle and we would love to have that help her move more easily. Pray that it fits, that it is comfortable, and that it gives her the support that she needs.
3. Praise, praise, praise that we are back in our home! There is no hospital room that can come close to the comforts of home.