Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009 - Update, Ride of Silence

This past Wednesday, May 20, we attended the Ride of Silence here in Dallas at White Rock Lake. The Ride of Silence is a worldwide event when cyclists gather and ride in silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding on public roadways. The ride began here in Dallas in 2003, by a cyclist who wanted to honor a friend who had been hit by a mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

Paul, Buzz, Beth and I met Holly Mason, a friend of Paul's and her daughter by the stone picnic tables off Lake Highlands Drive and waited for the cyclists to pass. We didn't really know what to expect. Paul wanted to stand so Beth and I stood on either side and we all were amazed as hundreds of cyclists, led by a police car with flashing lights, slowly and quietly rode past us. It was actually very moving and kind of emotional. A couple of friends stopped to say a quick "hello" and give Paul a hug. The event made an impact on all of us. I think for Paul, he felt honored but also expressed that he would like to be a part of the ride next year.

The next day, I received e-mails from my uncle, Dick Stevens, who lives in Portland, Maine. He had participated in the event, in honor of Paul, in Brunswick, Maine. He is in the photo above showing a sign on his back. The sign says he is riding for Paul Jerde. My cousin, Hilary (Dick's daughter) also participated in honor of Paul in the ride in Newark, Delaware. I was so touched to hear about their participation. I can't even begin to explain how much strength and energy that both Paul and I get when we know there are people out thinking about us, supporting us and cheering for Paul's recovery. It comes in many shapes and forms but always helps, and in this case, I hope will also raise awareness for bike safety, which is something that I had not thought about prior to Paul's accident.

On another note, Beth, Paul's sister, will be moving to Berkeley, California, on Wednesday. She got a job there and starts June 1. We are all so happy for her because, although she has been looking for a job for a long time in cities all over the country, her dream was to find something in the Bay Area, which she did. We will miss her so much though. I am so grateful that she could come to Dallas last Sept. and help us at a time when I don't know what I would have done. Those first weeks when Paul was in Anna were extremely difficult. I did not want Paul alone there except when he was in therapy and sleeping, and Beth was my savior. She took care of Buzz when I was in Anna and was in Anna when I was with Buzz. And, because she was in Anna and with Paul so much, she became my ally in figuring out what was best for Paul. And, when Paul came home, she was strong and positive and helped us get through the adjustment period. Not to mention that she is fun to be around, makes great salads, and is forever doing laundry for us.

As I am writing this, I am wondering how we'll get along without her. I know that we'll be fine, we'll adjust and it will be good for us as a family, but there will be a huge gap when she leaves. However, she already has promised to return at Christmas and, some day, Paul, Buzz, and I will take a trip to Berkeley.

Thanks again everyone and I hope that you all have a good Memorial Day. Weather permitting, we will be having a cookout at my mom's house and are planning on getting Paul in the pool to practice some walking there.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update - May 11, 2009

As I mentioned before, Paul was getting Botox shots in his right arm. He got the shots about three weeks ago and the purpose again is to fight the spasticity and to relax those muscles that are fighting the muscles he should be using. The Botox has helped. His right arm is less constricted and he can open his hand more than before. In addition, he is wearing splints several hours a day that stretch his elbow and his finger muscles. This is to avoid the muscles shrinking, which they will do if they are constricted for too long. Paul's occupational therapist, Kim, has been working vigorously with Paul by having him pick up, with his right arm, small blocks and objects. She also has given him a project of creating a photo gallery. He has taken photos, which he will upload to a photo gallery and write captions. Kim wants him to use his right arm as much as possible while taking the photos, using the computer, and writing the captions. As soon as the photo gallery is complete, I'll include a link to it on the blog and you'll be able to see Paul's accomplishments but also many of his friends at Pate.

Thank you again everyone for following the blog, especially Mary Ellen up in Manistique, Michigan. We can feel your support 1,200 miles away!

Patty and Paul

Saturday, May 9, 2009