Diff'rent Strokes is your source for information about Todd Thelin and his stroke recovery. Please feel free to add comments about posts, add new information in the comments, e-mail new information for me to post, or ask questions that we can answer. Keep in mind that posts are moderated, so they will need to be approved before they show-up. This helps fight spam.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Progress check, thanks to visitors

We had family in town for Thanksgiving, from both of our families, which was a perfect opportunity for some outside perspective for me. None of these family members have seen Todd since before he had his stroke, so I was very interested to see how they found him now, as it's pretty difficult for me to see the incremental progress, being with him nearly every moment of every day.

I'm afraid that I kind of jumped on them for input, and I hope I didn't come across as insensitive or rude, but as I've told so many people, I don'thave the time or energy, or emotional wherewithall to beat around the bush, or worry about causing offence (or being offended, so don't worry, it does go both ways) or picking up on social cues or body language, or any of that. But the verdict was that he is changed, though not necessarily for the worse. That the stroke has aged him, or perhaps a better word would be matured him. He's slower, in movement, speech, and thought, and more deliberate. Which, if you knew Todd pre-stroke (or Todd v1.0 as his brother likes to call him) you would know that that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Todd's family kept forgetting that he had a stroke, and needed special consideration in things like noise level and physical labor. (Of course, they made every consideration, it was just hard to remember that he wasn't just tired, or on NiQuil or something normal like that.)

Todd has been making amazing strides lately. He gets himself up every day at a reasonable hour (before 10:00 a.m.) and I don't have to nag him to get out the door. In fact it's back to being pretty even as to who is responsible for making us late. Because we were never punctual people to begin with.

Each of his therapists are amazed at the progress he's made. He didn't see them much for a couple of weeks, due to illness (theirs and ours) and one was on vacation, and in that time he progressed a ton, though we didn't really see it at the time.

In talking to one of my sisters-in-law, I realized that I have a hard time quantifying Todd's progress, so I'm going to give it my best shot. In addition to the waking himself up (without an alarm by the way, which is more huge than it probably sounds) he can:

*Complete tasks with his therapists with relative ease that just a month ago were very difficult, both in the cognative ability to think it through, and generally stay on task with out getting distracted (and when he does, can redirect himself to get back on task.)

*Stay on topic in a conversation. When he does get tangential, it's a much smaller leap for outsiders to follow, and he's usually able to get himself back on track, or explain how he made the leap.

*Work on the computer. He has been doing a lot with our computer, and with my brother-in-law Devin's help, has replaced the power supply and hard drive, reformatted and reinstalled everything, backed up everything, and has been working on thelins.org, his family website, of which he was the web master. Other than the occasional hiccup, he's done great.

*Understand that some of the difficulties that he faces (like with crowds and noise) may never go away completely, but he is learing to compensate for his defacits in productive ways.

We hosted Thanksgiving Dinner for my side of the family at our house, and, well, it was a lesson in what not to do. It was just too much, for both of us, really. Oliver too, for that matter. But we were able to take some lessons from it, like that Todd really does need rest breaks, often, and needs to take them before he feels like he needs one. And that ear plugs are a good thing. And that we won't be hosting that many people again. At least, not for A LONG time.

The next big things on the horizon are getting him back behind a wheel, and repeating his cognative testing. In the next two weeks his OT will check out a student driver car, (the kind with the extra "just in case" set of brakes) and begin the steps to approve him to drive. They will approve him in incremental steps, for example, if he does ok with her, he may be able to drive on city streets, in the day time, without the radio, and with only me in the car with him, and move on from there.

The cognative testing will be done on Dec. 8th. We are hopeful that he will be approved to go back to work, but we know it may still be a little while. But things are progressing. I feel a lot more positive than I have in a long while.

The other perspective that I'm very interested in is when Todd's mom Sue comes to visit for Christmas. I know that she'll be amazed at how well Todd is doing, and she's really the only person who can give me an update from the perspective of someone who has seen Todd since his stroke, but not for a while. She was here for the month of August, basically from the time Todd was well enough to go home from the hospital, so I'm very interested in the progress that she sees.

I'm certain that all the prayers that are still offered in Todd's and our family's behalf are being heard, and the blessings are felt. I'm so grateful for all of you and your support. I'm grateful for the power of God's holy priesthood, and having worthy holders of it in my life, who were able to give not just one, but MANY blessings each of which independantly promised Todd's full recovery, which we are seeing in action before our very eyes. God is good.


Hayes said...

That is all amazing to read. I guess I didn't see that much change either, but it is there. It is the little daily progress that will make the difference. Nothing short of a miracle. As always let me know if I can help. If Todd does get to a point were he can drive with just you, you can drive over to my house and drop off Oli and then he can drive the two of you around to run some errands or something. Just let me know, what I can do.

Jj Starwalker said...

Thank you for this update, and thank the Powers That Be, Todd's inner strength and determination and his wonderful medical team for the wonderful progress!

This is indeed great news. I understand how hard it can be to see the growth and changes from your perspective.

You know, we all can take a lesson from your words, and take a moment to re-evaluate our own lives, for as surely as we live and grow and change, we get into places where we really need to step back and say "no thank you" or "not now" to things that we might have enjoyed -- or tolerated -- in the past, but no longer work for us.

Maybe that is more obvious to me, with a disabled partner -- who will not "get better" over time -- but I believe it is true for us all.

Camilla said...

i am so glad to hear Todd is progressing well. and hey that is impressive he can do all that on the computer! sounds mighty confusing to me! i am sure todd will enjoy being aboe to drive again too.

oh and our big family gatherings are too much for me too as i am sure they are for half the people there! So dont feel bad. :) I had to take 2 ativan just to get through it and surprisingly I was ready to go before porter was!