What a week. Rick has been out of state since Monday, due home this afternoon. My cold is improving but still hanging on enough to mess with energy and balance (and breathing - minor issue ;) ). The deep, barky cough is significantly improving!
I've managed to get up every morning to a 5:44 alarm clock, get all three kids supervised in getting dressed and ready for school, breakfasted and out the door by 7 (this means my parents have also graciously been getting here before 7 to drive them every morning). Afternoons, snacks, evenings, dinner (Rick left the fezzer well stocked with pre-done meals and we shared a couple meals wth my parents), homework, a Nevada Day project, permission slip decisions, emails and communication with schools, and bedtimes have all been on me. Kathy was here on Thursday to help me reclaim the house from the week of single motherhood. I've never been so thankful for a school hot lunch program as I was this week! Not complaining, just amazed this has been possible (other than LOTS of driving help!) rather independantly! Will be so very gald to have my hubby back for so very many reasons though!
The 10-year-old hurt her leg on Monday. Still limping and grimacing, my mom and I took her for x-rays right after school on Tuesday. (No visible break, but if it doesn't improve by the end of the weekend, an MRI to look for other specific damage will be required.) Currently treating for a very painful, high-nerve concentration, pulled sheaf around the bone.
Wednesday morning my parents' van tire went totally flat between their house and the time to walk back out our door to drive our morning shift of the car pool to the kids' schools! My 71-year-old (next month) dad took off on a mile run, back to his house to get their second car. My parents still managed to get all the kids to school before the tardy bells and still get me to the gym in time for water therapy. Triple A even had the flat fixed my 9am!
At 11 on Monday, my mom and I went to a fund raiser for a young mom with a brain tumor (pictured above, I didn't know her before we got to the fund raiser, but of course hers is an issue close to my heart!) and expected to be there about an hour. We were after three getting home and had to call my dad to be at our house in case we weren't home before the kids got home from school! The great news, in addition to being able to help raise some funds for her much-needed surgery, is that I have had several hours of an art project that turned out to be very great hand therapy and required exercizing mental organizational skills AND my mother-in-law has a fun Christmas present awaiting her now. :) That was a rather sureal task as it was the right (artistic) side of my brain that was so hard hit, so it was quite an unusual experience to work on an art project annaylitically and be so changed from past enjoyment and freedom of expression in similar (pre-stroke) projects. This was a huge post-stroke first for me!
My hand was shaking pretty badly, but I was actually able to hold the ceramic with my left for a while!
Wednesday night I was in bed by 7:45 and asleep before 9, in bed as soon as the youngest was down and even before on 10-year-old's bed time (though it took a while for my brain to shut down)! As my head touched the pillow, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that we had survived over half way without Rick already. Single parents, you have my utter admiration!
Befor 6 on Thursday morning I heard a big crash from the younger kids' bathroom. It sounded like our little one had pulled the plumbing off the wall or something. Praise God it was nothing serious! He had just pulled the shower curtain off the rod and the metallic crash was just most of the hooks hitting the side of the tub. Only challenge for me is that I can't tiptoe, the rod was just a little too high to simply reach, the one taller child was occupied in his own bathroom, and the little one was standing there, shivering, waiting to take his shower to get ready for school on time. It turned out to be great physical therapy as I reached and stretched and tried to get up on the tips of my feet and managed to get all but three hooks (that had ripped out the curtain holes) back up. I only badly lost my balance (stomping my little guy's toes in recovery) once, but didn't even fully fall into the tub. Pretty amazing for not having anything to lean against to support nor steady myself.
Thankfully, the only other "crisis" of the morning was running out of milk and having to get inventive for the third child's breakfast. Thursday afternoon also brought about some mystery leaking / minor flooding under the kitchen sink. I'm still trying to figure that one out and get everything dried out!
Today left me with about 20 things on my "hope to do this week while Rick is gone" list, but I think the priority for today is going to be trying to find more school pants for our 7-year-old who has already outgrown the pants I bought for him in the week before school started, and already put holes in the two replacement pair we got him two weeks ago. Savers (local thrift chain) he my mom and I come!
It's been a challenging week, but I am learning a lot about both God's faithfulness and about what I actually am capable of accomplishing now, when there is no other option! Thinking back, not so long ago, to when being the one to care for these needs would not have remotely Even have been an option, I'm so very thankful of how far we have come, far from perfectly, but we are making the journey with God's grace!
On the good news front, this week I have managed (with my mom's or Kathy's help or supervision) to clean a long bathroom counter that was so piled that the bottom layer still included tools and parts from when a hand shower was installed in my back when I was still in the hospital, to wipe down my cooktop by myself for the first time since the strokes, and to clean the first layer of two years worth or stickiness and tarnish off my copper tea kettle on my own! Those are so pretty good accomplishments and feel pretty incredible! :)
I've also been pre-writing a pretty emotionally draining article to post on my second strove-a-versary, later this month, and it is both exhausting and therapudic to bleed all those words finally into ink! Stay tuned! (A friend pointed out the irony of using the prase "bleeding words" when talking of strokes, but I think it is a very valid use of language, especially in this case.)
I learned, this week, that crawling is really great for brain reorganization and development of proper connections. Crawling in reverse, even more so. I remember being coached in crawling last year in home therapy, but I now try to avoid it whenever possible because it seems so terribly futile, I stink at it both because of lack of coordination and because my left arm buckles under the weight of my body so I'm forever trying to face plant when I try to crawl! But Thursday morning I started at the end of the same LONG hallway that I used to practice laps when still in the walker and learning to be independent of it. It took a while and wasn't graceful, but I made myself do something that hopefully looked a bit like crawling, that whole length! When I got to the end, rather than turning around, I just started backing up. My goal was a 1/3 of the hall length backwards, and to say I was much less graceful than I even had been forwards would be a sorry understatement, but I was able to keep kind of my own version of back movement going much beyond my goal, way back the whole length of the carpet again. It took about three times as long as my slow creep forward hard, but I did it! I think this will be a daily goal, hopefully eventually adding laps as well.
Funny story I was recently remebering: In the second week after my stroke, having just moved down from ICU to the main Neuro floor, they kept testing the fire alarms for about 24 hours, and between stroke brain and asking for sleeping meds (they gave me Ambien) I remember one night when my IV alarm went off to signal the nurse that I needed a new bag of fluids, and in that weird semi-dream / semi-conscious state, I laid there in the middle of the night convinced that the smoke alarm was going off, the hospital was on fire, and it was my responsibility to get myself and my room-mate (who had come in at 9PM from spinal surgery) safely evacuated. Somehow it never occurred to me that I was unable to walk myself, but I dreamed up very careful plans about how I was going to carefully push her bed down the hall! LOL Fortunately my nurse convinced me that there was no fire and I should not try to get out of bed!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.