Life at Pate continues for Paul. He is really working hard on building up his leg endurance with several therapy sessions daily that include pedaling exercises, a standing frame (which assists Paul in standing for long periods of time), exercises in the pool, and walking with assistance and a walker. On his own, he also builds strength by using his legs to mobilize his wheelchair.
He also recieves occupational therapy daily, where the focus is on his right arm and hand. Unfortunately, the movement of his right arm and hand are affected by ossification of the muscle, which means some of the muscle tissue has ossified (turned to bone cartilage). His therapist continually works on the range of motion and has made progress but, right now, Paul is not able to use his right hand. As he is right-handed, this can be a problem but he seems to be adjusting fairly well to using his left hand.
Paul's biggest hurdle right now is the apraxia and his inability to talk. He can often repeat words but has a hard time communicating his own thoughts and messages. This is very frustrating for him as he seems to know exactly what he wants to say but, as soon as he begins talking, the words that he wants to come out, don't come out. At least that is what we believe. The obvious solution would be to write down his messages, however the aphasia has affected his ability to write as well. His speech includes repeating words and sounds, practicing writing, and even exercsises and programs on the computer designed specifically for patients with brain injuries. Of course, he has to maneuver the mouse with his left hand (akward) and left click, since it is a PC as opposed to a MAC. I'm pretty sure that he has an aversion to working on a PC because he almost always seems disgruntled during his computer sessions, although he succeeds well on the exercises.
All around, he is making progress but it is a slow process and we expect him to be at Pate for awhile. We feel that Paul is beginning to realize the bigger picture in that something drastic has happened to him. He gets very sad at times, which is to be expected, and angry. However, he also seems to realize that his hard work helps his recovery and will accelerate his being able to come home. As we've all known about Paul, determination is one of his greatest traits and it is beginning to show through once again.
We encourage people to come on the weekends as Paul has a lot of free time and seems to benefit from visiting with friends. Please send me an e-mail if you plan to come out.
On a related note, Paul's sister, Beth, has moved to Dallas from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help me take care of Paul and of Buzz. (My mother and sisters helped with Buzz all summer but once school started and Buzz and I moved home, things became a little more complicated.) It has been wonderful having Beth here. She is great with Buzz and makes the drive to Anna almost as often as I do, which has allowed me to spend more time with Buzz as well. Now she is looking for work. She has an extensive background that includes program management, teaching, training people, grants administration and PR. So, if you hear or know of any openings (full, part-time, or even seasonal) she is immediately available and open to almost anything, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for all of your support,