Tami is impatient with the rehab process because the progress that is made every day is in small things. Things you can’t do one day and then you try something new and it’s hard to do and then the next day you try it again and you can do it a little better. Propelling the wheelchair backwards with her feet – hard to do, but building leg and core muscles, so one day she makes maybe 10 feet in a few minutes. Next day it’s probably 20 feet in fewer minutes. Last couple of days have been propelling the wheelchair forward with her feet (can’t use her arms yet until Monday, which will be 8 weeks after her surgery, according to the surgeon at Duke on Wednesday) – same thing, hard to do, now she has to pick up the left foot that drags really bad and isn’t able to lift the toes very well off the ground, instead of dragging it along sometimes backwards – but one day, with manually lifting the left leg a lot and doing what she can, she makes maybe 10 feet – next day, with her toes wrapped in an ace bandage to help hold them up, she does better, maybe 20 feet – today, again with a toe-lift wrap, she is off and running (ok, not running) but does like 60 feet. Sometimes the attitude can be “yeah, ok, that’s great, but I’m not walking, not going home, not getting out of the bed or wheelchair alone, not getting dressed, etc. – just more exercises to do…”
Today was a new PT that we hadn’t met, and she says “have you tried standing with the parallel bars?” – well, Tami hasn’t done that in over a week, and it took 2 people pretty much dead lifting her into a semi-standing position the only times she tried that. “Well,” she says, “I think we’re going to try that today.” So, some setting up and getting ready later, the PT helps Tami into a standing position – holding herself completely upright, with some help from the PT, but fully standing! Yep, Tami stood up for the first time on her own, without a machine lifting and holding and blocking her up, and with only some help to get and stay there. And twice more again after that! So, the first day of standing. So, also, not just another day of little things. It was just one new thing, but it was a psychologically big one – the ability to make yourself stand up. Up until today, just one exercise after another strengthening all the muscles it takes to stand up. (Next time you stand up, by the way, do it slowly and think about every muscle you use and what it would be like if one or all of those were too weak to do any work for you, and then give thanks to God that you can stand up and use all of those muscles all at the same time and keep your balance and walk!) And then one day – today – Tami did stand up. That’s a big deal.
Now we have started hearing between the lines that they want to get insurance approval so we “get to” stay a little longer. They make it sound like a vacation – “get to” stay so Tami can keep getting better – the key is that she does continue to make improvements, in strength, range of motion, regaining lost movements, functional activities, etc., and it’s then – when you are getting better and have the potential to get even better – that the drs, therapists, and even the insurance co want you to have more time in rehab getting the therapy that is benefitting you. The other side is that while they want us to “get to” stay, what that means to us is that we will “have to” stay longer than originally projected. And since Tami desperately wants to be at home, this is a struggle. So pray for us that we can be patient as we wait here longer to see Tami get even better (walking sure would be nice before we get home!) and as we see God work through and around us here. We are in this place at this time for His purpose, as hard as that is day to day.
So, a great milestone day with the mixed blessing of getting to/needing to/having to stay longer.