Saturday, September 12, 2009

Silver linings

I have not been posting much lately here because, for one thing, sometimes it's no fun to post when all you have to share is one gripe after another. For another thing, when there are no new developments, posting is like publicly staring at my belly button (..or sitting through a David Lynch movie. Take your pick.) Well, Dolly's progress is dragging a post out of me today. It's been a week where some small, happy things have snuck up on me and said "Boo"! These weeks don't come too often... and early on, a good week or couple days were often followed by the opposite. Nowadays I have to stop and acknowledge it here, no matter how little the victories have been.

This week, John (mom's PT) said that mom is doing well in PT, very well. I knew that she's been using a walker with John during her appointments, but he actually said that she is a good candidate for training to walk with others. This is HUGE. He invited any family to come to train to walk with mom during her appointment. I told him I'd be there Monday.

Another thing John said was that mom is being vetted to possibly (possibly... don't want to get my hopes up too high, but POSSIBLY...) get put back on Medicare B. Backstory: mom was kicked off Medicare about a month ago for lack of making progress, and we've been paying for her PT privately for weeks now. I don't know what the "B" stands for in this level of Medicare, but I bet that it's a lesser coverage of Medicare than she has been getting. Honestly, I'm just thrilled that it's even on the table at this point. Her Medicare re pick-up window is closing (early October, unless she was to have another "event" in which case full benefits would kick back in, obviously). So, if she is becoming a candidate to go back on Medicare, that is a big thing and there is not a large window for assessment. John's away for the next week, and mom will be in PT with a substitute teacher. The plan is that he will contact us when he gets back to let us know if the Medicare B is going to happen or not.

Mom has been taking part in some social activities at the Sherrill House, or says she is, and I'm inclined to believe her. Bingo and coffee/TV hours. In previous weeks, she spent most of her time in her room and reacted very grumpily when I would ask her about taking part in some of the daily social activities provided at Sherrill House. So this is a win. I am not sure how involved she has been in the activities, but she is definitely attending them and interacting with others.

Something else I've noticed that she has been paying attention to doing some smaller things for herself now. I've seen this happen a number of times, and in an unself-concious way. What I mean by that is that, at the time of the event, she clearly was making the attempt due to her own innate desire to accomplish a specific goal (non-ego-driven) and not to just put on a show for me (ego-driven). This has been one of the broader major road-blocks in mom's recovery so to see even this teeny tiny amount of self-driven desire to accomplish a task and grasp for independence is a big thing. These are just the infinitesimal daily tasks, to you and me - things that she used to (and sometimes still does) bark at me to help her with, like moving her bed up and down via the control buttons, or putting the brake on her wheelchair or even adjusting her arm. She is also eager to show off the progress she has made with her newfound abilities: standing and general wheeling. It is impressive to me. She is definitely making progress. It's slow, and it might not keep her on Medicare, but it's still progress and should still be praised and celebrated nonetheless. There are still plenty (PLENTY) of issues we are contending with --she is still very neglectful of her right side for one thing, and there are for sure other issues I'm not touching upon here. But it's been more positive than negative this week for me, and it makes me feel sort of hopeful. I praise her, and I am thrilled about all these small victories --but I have to be really careful with the way I show her this because, for instance, I praise her for pushing her bed button up and down on her own, and the next minute, she thinks she's well enough to go home and manage all by herself. (That's a good example of life with Dolly right now.)

We will be planning Dolly's birthday dinner soon. Her birthday is September 28. I think we are going to take her out to the Summer Shack, but I have to check on their wheelchair access.


  1. This is all so wonderful to hear Kathy. I'm happy for you and Dolly!

  2. I hope her focus on walking and the intense concentration that she puts into it will help her in other aspects of her disability. This is great! I'll plan to be at the next training session. Let me know when it is.

    I have no idea what this Medicare B is, but I am super interested to find out!