The countdown continues as there are now only four more days until Paul comes home. Thanksgiving went well and, although I know it will be a huge adjustment from life at Pate, I think Paul is ready to be home and will be stimulated by being back in his real life.
Paul still is not verbal so we continue to communicate via the letter board. We don't have the Dynavox machine yet as there is paperwork involved because the machine, which is fairly expensive, is being provided by the state. (Thank you, everyone in Texas, for paying the universal service charge on your phone bill. Now you know where some of the money goes.) Right now, we have a Dynavox trial software program on my computer that we've been practicing with but since Paul is still adapting to using the keyboard and typing with only his left hand, it is slow and he prefers using the letter board. The letter board works fine, but is time consuming since you have to concentrate as he spells out each word. If you miss a letter, it gets very confusing. Of course, oftentimes, I can guess the word before he finishes spelling but sometimes I am wrong in my guess. For example, on Saturday a friend who we had not seen for some time even before Paul's accident was visiting. It was an emotional visit and I was teary eyed when Paul began spelling out, "C-R-Y..." Before he could finish, I said "Crying, yes, I was crying but don't worry about me, I am fine." Paul shook his head and continued spelling, "C-R-Y-S-T-A-L L-I-G-H-T." It turned out that he was not really concerned about me but just thirsty. The old Paul continues to shine through!
I expect that the actual Dynavox machine, which is touch-screen, will be easier for Paul to use. Again, he continues to work on his speech and I remain very hopeful that it will come easier in time.
Paul's other main focus still is his walking. He wants to practice all the time and often just tries to get up out of the wheelchair. I think when he gets home, his determination will multiply and we'll have to keep an eye on him until he has more control and balance.
The renovations on the house continue and, right now, it is a mess but I think most of it will be done by Friday and we'll be able to clean up the coat of dust that covers just about everything. We plan Paul's arrival home to be low key because we think he will be overwhelmed enough simply by being here. His coming home is just one more step forward on his journey to recovery. I've been doing some research on traumatic brain injuries and have read that, although much of the recovery takes place during the first year to two years, the brain can continue to heal and change throughout a lifetime. Right now, I believe he is far from done with his recovery and nowhere near where he'll be in a year.
That said, I'll continue to update the blog even after Paul's homecoming and perhaps, one day soon, Paul will be able to take part in updating the blog too.