It was my intention to share with you the schematic framework of Todd’s day. The writing was well underway, providing the understanding and interpretation of what the day’s work consists of…..how does one recover from a traumatic brain injury? What is does a slow path mean exactly (of course there are no concrete answers for anything which is difficult for us and how we like to process information) and what is Todd relearning? Well I have been cut off at the pass………by none other than Todd.
Returning to the states has been a full plate. …..our days as a team our considerably longer than what we had grown accustomed to. Many things that we must accomplish in a week, or even a day will never even reach the page. We are both busier than ever, in Amsterdam we were healing and surviving. Now Todd is recovering and that, as we are learning, is a great deal of work. Tackling the simplest of tasks, which we all take for granted. The layers involved in the simplest moves are obvious once dissected but I would guess most of us have not deconstructed the amount of various movements in a chew and swallow or even smile for that matter…..or how laying in bed for a great deal of your day will affect the muscles in your feet and ankles thus your step and stride. How a step is not just moving your foot forward but requires both a lift (requiring the building of strength) and the shift of weight.
Last week’s highlights took us all (therapists included) by surprise. The first occurred while Todd and I were messing around with range of motion while in his chair awaiting the therapist for the first morning session. I have taken to coming in a bit earlier (around 9ish) to start some stretching and movements to increase the benefits of the day. While Todd was in his wheelchair I dropped his hands by his side to stretch out his shoulders and loosen things up a bit. Todd’s hands found their way to the wheels of the chair and then without any prompting he propelled himself forward for the distance available with one full roll. It was not far but what an amazing moment it was. We couldn’t’ wait to show off! Not only did he do it once but he did it again for two separate therapists! Indeed Todd had it in him to (with assistance in repositioning) move forward enough to hit their shins at the urging or challenge of these very needed individuals. This was Todd’s first opportunity to strike back! And boy did he step up to the plate! No bruises were given with the gentle tap he was able to muster but a glorious confrontation of sorts. What a guy. Sometimes these days it’s when you aren’t even looking that the most amazing moments can occur. Now this may sound good but that is just a drop in the bucket.
You thought that was cool?! Listen to this. Setting: We are in physical rehab, which is our major afternoon therapy. (This currently consists of standing frame (which stretches out his legs and drops his heels), to holding himself up on the parallel bars (with assistance), to the assisted walking with the aid of the LiteGait (which takes his weight when he is strapped in to the harness). He is currently in a 3 assist situation with this contraption which is me + two therapist if not three. Well we were on the parallel bars Todd holding himself up……. right got that picture? All of a sudden Diane (our lead physical therapist) shouts “He is moving, All right gang here we go Todd is walking! Alex follow with the chair!” So I am behind while Keany is in front (two more one on each side) and Todd is moving one foot in front of the other! “Go Todd!” we are all shouting enthusiastically. All of us were in shock and I had tears of joy streaming down my cheek. When Todd made it to the end of the parallel bars I was there with his chair for him to sit down softly and rest. What a smile. Todd did this one more time, and that time his mom Annie was watching quietly from a chair. TODD IS A ROCKSTAR! I say it every day….. and I will continue to. Is this a turning point?