Isaac with his Bethesda Physical Therapists
Last update I mentioned Isaac was acting more ‘Isaac’ since we got home. I will give you an example of this! We were going over some speech therapy worksheets at home. The purpose of the worksheet was to pick out the most appropriate response to things like “The softest one”, “book, pillow, or rock” and “The longest one”, “pencil, ruler, yard” with pillow and yard being the right answers. Isaac was getting them all right when we got to “The fastest one”. And without skipping a beat he says “me!”. Yes Isaac you were quite the fast one, still holding some track records at Mankato East! Then we go down a little further to “The funniest one” and he says “you” to me. What a funny and clever guy! At least we didn’t have to re-teach him humor, sarcasm, and wit, that just comes naturally.
He is even getting faster in ABLE. Again, his starting stumble speed on the treadmill was 4.8. This week he was running at 7.6. They even had to turn off the treadmill a couple of times because it was over heating. The treadmill maxes out at 8.0, hoping we can get Isaac there before his time with ABLE is over. They continue to incorporate football drills into his exercises to work on his agility and balance. As if ABLE wasn’t his favorite thing to do already!
Speaking of football (always it seems!) Isaac was able to give his old teammates a surprise visit at their team meeting. I dropped him off and he was gone for 4 hours! Probably the longest he has been away without a family member in toe since his injury. We are thankful for his friends that have visited and followed Isaac’s journey of recovery this whole time so we could feel he was in safe hands when we were away. Isaac had so much fun reliving some of his glory days with the boys. They watched some old film of Isaac and he gave his boys some tips to make plays like he once did. He encouraged his teammates to always work hard and to never quit. This attitude has brought Isaac to where he is today, and we hope it brings the boys another win today.
Isaac is working on cognitive skills in speech and occupational therapy. We are working on things like recognizing the keyboard, navigating the computer, always using the right arm, and sequencing. An example of difficulty with sequencing is when Isaac needs to complete a task with multiple steps. One night Isaac wanted some apple crisp after smelling mine. So he asked if he could use my bowl to get some for himself. I told him yes and he said he would do it himself so of course I let him. He then proceeded to the kitchen, without my bowl. He started the microwave with nothing inside and then got the apple crisp out of the fridge. Then he came back out and got my bowl. When the microwave turned off, he put the bowl inside, with nothing in it. Then he went and got a spoon to scope out the apple crisp but got stuck when he had nothing to put it in. This is when I stepped in. We do a lot of trial and error and stepping in when he gets stuck. This is helping him re-learn those steps and figuring this out for himself. Most times we can laugh it off, but it can often times get very frustrating to be lost in the steps of completing simple tasks. He is determined to do things independently again and hopes in the next 6 months to reach that goal.
As of this month it has been 6 months since Isaac’s injury. It isn’t so much of a milestone in recovery as every day is a milestone. Looking back on the last 6 months, Isaac has truly completed an incredible feat. Many of his therapists have doubted the progress Isaac could make, not because Isaac was doing poorly in therapy ever, but because historically those that they worked with in the past in his condition did not make this kind of progress. This experience so far has been nothing short of a miracle. Isaac continues to improve and we are so grateful for that. As long as we continue to improve, therapy will be a part of our lives. A part of our new normal. As we look at the next 6 months we know that there will not be huge gains like there were in the beginning, I don’t think we can get bigger than accomplishing walking, talking, and eating all over again! But there will be little miracles, little changes, all a part of the bigger picture of recovery. The road is still long but I have always said I was more willing to tackle the long road with Isaac than the short road without him.