Sunday, June 7, 2009


The last two days with Dolly have shown a lot of progress. It's amazing to see her accomplishments, to see where she was -- even just a week ago, never mind two and a half -- and to see her now. She has a long, long way to go of course, but it is now clear that she is already working very hard and has a lot of determination and desire to make progress. She is speaking a little clearer, and she's even sleeping a lot less. Her rest time now needs to be more scheduled due to her three daily therapy appointments. Now that she can sit in a wheelchair, we are starting to try to plan things we may want to do with her - such as go outside for a short walk - around the times when she is already in the wheelchair, such as after occupational or physical therapy appointments (provided that she is not too tired). While Dolly still is very tired as a regular thing, lately much of the time, her desire wins out and she allows us to keep her up for awhile longer to wheel around outside. As time goes on, she will probably develop a higher threshold for staying up than she has now. But as a regular thing she will likely always get tired a lot quicker than non-stroke survivors do. It's just a side-effect of stroke.

One thing I have noticed is that, when tired, Dolly cannot make thought-to-word connections very easily. Yesterday she had speech therapy when she was very tired. I think she would have done a lot better had she been well-rested before the therapy. This cognitive disconnect is something she will be able to work on long-term. She is aware of the issue and is motivated to improve. I think it's a victory that we have even gotten to the point where she understands the challenge and has the desire to work on it.

Food has been a big motivator for Dolly. She has started on complete pureed meals, 3x a day. When there is a possible time conflict, she chooes to eat her delivered meal right away, rather than take a nap now and eat the meal later. Food comes first! It's such a pleasure to have her eating. It's a long way from where we've been and I know we've said it before, but food is a HUGE thing. A grateful as I am for it, I can now allow myself to get excited for the day when we kiss that tummy tube good-bye.

Things are feeling more positive since earlier this week at the hospital (before we moved here to Spaulding). I can tell through Dolly's attitude that she feels like she is finally on the mend, and seeing and interacting with her now is a much more sunshiney experience now - she is more engaging, conversational, talkative and her personality shines through a lot more. In my world, that means our regular "mother/daughter dynamic" is back in full swing, which is GREAT because although she can be bossy and stubborn, I'm so glad that she is feeling well enough to be bossy and stubborn... and in the end, she always listens to reason, anyway. ;)

Today, Julie is bringing Dave (her doggie) and Sam (mom's doggie) to visit. Mom is really excited about it, and so am I! She has not seen Sam since her stroke so this is a big thing.

I go back to work tomorrow, almost full-time: I will be working four days a week and then will be able to spend one full day a week at Spaulding when I can attend mom's therapies and talk to her team about her progress and next steps for mom. I'm looking forward to getting back to work, and I also feel like this is good timing. Mom is in a better place now. She will be very busy throughout the day. She can speak clearer to better communicate with the Spaulding staff. She is, in many ways, more communicative now -- so she will be able to be a better minute-by-minute advocate for herself when myself or another family member is not there. I am happy with Spaulding and I feel she is getting great care here and making progress, so I'm mentally ready to shift my own focus as well to accommodate other things.

Speaking of which, when Dolly had the stroke, I was on a planned week of vacation time, so that week was spoken for. But then, I was able to take the following two weeks as vacation time with only a couple days' notice. My manager and the rest of the team have been very supportive. I am very fortunate to have a working environment with people that are so accommodating and flexible when a life event like this happens and turns your world upside down.

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