Slow and Steady Progress

Physical and Occupational Therapies

This week, I continued independent physical therapy at the local hospital’s rehab outpatient center. I’ve continued to increase the amount of weight I’m lifting. Depending on the machine, and what part of my body I’m using to lift weights, I’m now lifting between 32 and 70 pounds. Instead of walking the track at the outpatient center, I’ve been trying to get in walks at local nature places or in our yard. This allows me to have more of a variety. This week, on a trip to Grass River Natural Area with one of my nieces, we were able to walk about a mile, and I got as many steps in as I do on a low day when I’m teaching. It felt really good to be able to go a little longer this time! Last week’s walk was about 1/2 mile, for a reference. We also stopped to rest a few times during our walk, but I’m slowly building my endurance back. I still have pain when I walk, and numbness in my left leg from all the surgeries. Some of this may be permanent. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so usually I can go awhile before I have to stop because of pain, but I’ve learned to not push it too much or my pain level will greatly increase later. I also have twinges from the internal injuries still. We are hoping the surgery coming up this fall will fix this, but time will tell.

I can now get my left foot almost up to my knee on my right leg. I still need a sock aid to get a sock on, but this is progress.

For Occupational therapy, I do exercises the therapists taught me, and do everyday tasks such as laundry and vacuuming. I also draw, color and write to build endurance in my hands. When I first started, I couldn’t go more than 15 minutes without pain. Now I can usually go for at least an hour. Sometimes progress feels very slow, but it has been steady and looking back, it feels like it comes in leaps and bounds.

Art at Grass River Natural Area

Grass River is the local nature center, and they offer art classes throughout the summer. This summer, between appointments and my limited mobility, I wasn’t able to make most of the classes but I did make it to two. One a couple of weeks ago on clay, and one this week on watercolor drawings.

I’ve never been much of an artist, but I enjoy drawing. I could really tell the difference in my wrists though, as it was hard to hold a pencil and shade the drawings compared to before the accident, but it was good to work the wrists that way. There was some pain, but not a lot.

When I was in the hospital, I set a goal for myself to one day walk the boardwalk trail at Grass River. This week, we did part of it. It felt so good!!!! As always, I took a lot of photos. Here are some of them.:

Summer Beauty

Besides appointments, and walking at nature places between appointments, I spent a lot of my time at home. We were able to visit with a niece and two of our nephews this weekend. They helped us plant native plants in our yard earlier this summer, and we’ve gotten some really pretty flowers in our yard from them! The birds also planted a little sunflower garden for us from the birdseed. It’s also a busy time of year for Ben, with harvest season beginning. My mom was able to come up and can some green beans for us, that Ben’s mom gave us. Both the beans and the canning were greatly appreciated!

It’s been a rainy month in August, and this has led to some awesome cloud cover. We’ve had a few clear nights too.

Quotes from this week:

Until next time,

Cindy

Birdwatching Photos

This week, I have a lot of photos to share from birdwatching this summer, so I’m doing an extra post to make it a little shorter. As part of occupational and physical therapies, we’ve worked in my personal interests, as you are more likely to stick with something if you enjoy it. So photography, writing, birdwatching, art projects and hiking have all become a part of my daily and weekly routines. Over the summer, I’ve tried to get in a small amount of birdwatching between appointments. I have yet to hike very far, but you can see a lot from a car too. Some photos are better than others. I’ve been having some problems with my camera, and I also struggled to hold the camera at first with the weakness in my wrists. As it gets easier to hold the camera, I’ve been able to take better photos as long as the camera isn’t acting up. I also put in a couple of photos of other critters, like a chipmunk that likes to visit our backyard and our black lab, who LOVES to birdwatch with me.

Photos:

Therapy Day 12…  January 12, 2021

Occupational Therapy

Today we worked on doing the ring activity where I move rings back and forth on a loop to work my finger and arm muscles.  I also folded laundry.

Physical Therapy:

Today we worked on slideboard transfers.  We raised the height of the mat and I was still able to slide board on and off up to about 21.5 inches.  We also began doing measurements to get stuff ready for me to come home. 

Other

Today we worked on getting ready for me to go home.  Ben took measurements at home to get things ready for me to come home.  We worked with the case manager to get things ready for me to come home.  Ben also remodeled a little to get my wheelchair to fit. Ben’s brother Jed and his two sons were able to come and help. They did a great job!

Door into living room eeds to be 30 plus inches…. too small
Looking into the kitchen, not wide enough
Bathroom….. tight turns for a wheelchair

Way too small! Need over 30
Tub could maybe work with a shower bench if we can get the chair in, but far from ideal
Entrance to the house…. wheelchair will fit!!
Entrance is wide enough
Our nephew helping to make the door wider. Thank you!
Working hard
Wesley supervising while everyone else does the work. Thank you to our nephews and Ben’s brother for getting this done!!!
Now over 30! We did it!

Songs:

From my mom:

Another song to focus on:

Bible Verses:

From my mom…

Another Verse to focus on:

Time Marches On

Eleven years. How is it even possible that eleven years have gone by since Morgan went home?

(This was written in 2019, so if you are reading this after that, it will have been more than eleven years.)

For anyone who doesn’t know, Morgan was my sister-in-law who passed away from cancer eleven years ago today.

Time goes on, despite the losses we face, the hard times we come across and the journey life takes us on. This day brings back a lot of memories. both good and bad.

Before Morgan’s passing, we lost my grandparents, several uncles, an aunt, and family friends. Death and loss have always been a part of our lives. You get used to that person being gone, get used to a new normal to some extent, but there is always that person-shaped hole in your life. My family talks about those who have gone before us often, not because we can’t let go, but because they left such an impact on our lives that they will never be forgotten.

Time marches on. People have gotten married, babies have been born, we’ve gotten jobs and bought houses and gotten college degrees. There has been more loss, more death and pain in the last eleven years too. But the past, and the people we’ve lost helped to make us who we are today. We’re stronger, as a family and as individuals.

Sometimes life is hard, even brutal. I love this quote from the Hobbit:

Frodo asks:
What are we holding on to, Sam? 
and Sam Responds:
That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

Even in great loss, there is hope. Even in death, we have hope that we will see them again in Heaven. If there is anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that winter doesn’t last forever, and in even in the darkest of winters, there is beauty. #collateralbeauty

Something I wrote shortly after Morgan’s passing…

Eleven years later, we still do not say goodbye. We say “See you in the morning.”