Dan started occupational therapy bright and early at
6:30 AM today with practice with daily tasks – getting dressed, washing and
folding laundry, etc. A big step forward was standing at a kitchen counter and making
coffee. He was able to do everything except measure out the grounds, which required
two hands. As long as he was able to keep one hand on the counter though he was
Later in the morning Tom and Ian (a friend from St.
Louis) joined to watch Dan’s physical therapy session. After some leg stretches
he put on his AFOs (ankle-foot orthotics, L-shaped braces that go on each foot)
and made his first attempt at walking. Dan walked seven feet between parallel
bars four times, then moved over to his new walker where he walked an
additional 12 feet for a total of 40 feet for the day. Tom helped by following
immediately behind with the wheelchair in case Dan needed to take a break and
sit down at any time. Another big milestone is that he has graduated to minimal
contact from the therapist which means that while they keep hold of his gait
belt for safety while he is standing and walking, they are not providing any
support or guidance.
After the therapy sessions, we had an excellent
conversation with Dr. Meesala, his rehab/spine doctor. Dan is in Acute Rehab on
a week-to-week basis. He was re-upped for a second week on Wednesday and will
be re-evaluated again this coming Thursday. We have been concerned that the
doctors and therapists would suggest that he go home after this week. The
doctor put our minds to rest saying she wouldn’t even think of suggesting it.
Until Dan can walk unassisted 150 feet and at least has some way to address
going up and down stairs (something he has not even attempted yet), they do not
want him leaving rehab. While we both want Dan home as soon as possible, we
also know that the longer time he spends in rehab the better his quality of
life (and Tom’s as well) will be when he comes home. Because of this, we are
both extremely happy at the prospects for the immediate future.
The afternoon was spent visiting with several friends,
including Brian, Michael, Colin, Mike, Dr. Mike, and Chris. It was great to
have fun conversation and catching up. These visits help more than anyone can
know, and we appreciate everyone taking the time to come out and say hi. All
the socializing was tough on Dan, and a good reminder that he had some pretty
major surgery just two weeks ago. While he really enjoyed it he was clearly
exhausted when we left him this evening. It was a really great day though –
good progress and good company is always wonderful!
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