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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Progress

As many, or all of you know, Mike's uncle, Bill, had a massive stroke back in January. He has been staying at a rehab facility in Everett for about a month and a half now and is getting ready to be transferred to stay in Arizona with his daughter. We are really hoping the change of scenary will do him good, as well as a nice climate change. Farrah and I have been visiting him at least once a week to check on his progress and to simply say hi. He loves seeing her. It really seems to brighten up his day. Every time I go there, it seems like there's a change for the better. The first time I saw a big change that I thought was great, was when he used the word, "shit." This was very significant, because of Bill's inability to communicate. For a while there, he could only say a handful of words, mainly yes and no. Now, when he tries to tell us something and gets stuck, he simply says, "shit" and that's all we need to hear to understand his frustration. It's a very good release for him. Last week, however, was probably the biggest break through. Farrah and I were sitting next to him and I was bouncing her on my knee and she was smiling very big at Bill. The whole time, Bill would coo at her and make noises. He heard me saying little things to her and suddenly, Bill formed a whole sentence!!! He said, "Look at that face." Can you believe it?!!! I just about fell out of my chair. I flipped out and said, "Holy shit, Bill! Did you just hear what you said?!!!" He shrugged it off and said, "yeah, but." That's all he got out. I asked him if he felt like the words just came out on their own, and he said yes. I reminded him that even if they just slipped out, they were the correct words to use in that moment. It was awesome. Well, lastnight we stopped by to see him again. Someone had helped him to the bathroom, but he managed to take care of business, get himself back in his wheelchair, open the bathroom door, and wheel himself out of his room to the hallway to meet me and Farrah. I was so impressed. We wheeled back to his room and got to his bed. He started to unfold his bed sheet and I asked if he wanted me to go ahead and do it. Yes. I thought maybe he wanted to use the sheet to go over him when he got into bed. He said, "No, make..." MAKE! New word! He pointed to the bed and said, "make." He asked me to make the bed. Done! Then there was the heavy blanket. It was very hot in the room so I assumed that he would want the blanket at the foot of his bed. I asked him and he said, "No, put..." and pointed up and down the bed. "Do you want me to lay the blanet out so it can cover you?" "Yes." YAY!!! We were fully communicating. To some, this may seem so trivial, but it was extremely exciting. With as little communicating as we can get out of him, it's so great when we can get something. I asked if he remembered saying, "Look at that face" and he did. He didn't shrug it off this time. He's noticing his own progress which is so important. I think it helps give him some hope that there will be some independence and communication at the end off this rough road. We can't wait to get Bill back. And I'm pretty confident that we will.

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