Isaac with his mitt on at CIMT
We had our first weekend at home together as a family! I wish I could say we did something totally crazy and spontaneous, but we took the opportunity to relax with family and close friends. That in itself was amazing. Isaac couldn’t believe it that he could stay at his house with us for the whole weekend. He asked over and over if I was sure, if he could really stay. When my answer was always Yes, he just smiled and said “I like it.” This is just one example of Isaac’s struggle with short term memory. He has a great long term memory, but often forgets he asked and already got the answer or that he told a certain story already. We are pretty used to answering the same question over and over but eventually it sticks. While we were home Isaac finally got the opportunity to hang out with his friends like old times at a local Mankato restaurant. This was the first time we turned him over to his friends without one of us tagging along. Much needed guy time. From what I hear, it was a real fun time!
Isaac completed all of his assessments as of today. So he is officially an outpatient client of Courage Kenny! Yay! All three (as Alex Stelmoch describes them the Holy Trinity of TBI) Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy have each recommended 3xweek sessions. In total that will be 9 hours of therapy each week. Obviously this is a HUGE difference from inpatient where he was getting 25+ hours of therapy each week and was still benefitting from that work load. That is why we are so thankful to also have tapped into the additional programs for Isaac to partake in.
On Monday, Isaac started the CIMT program and the ABLE program. These programs will supplement his outpatient schedule giving him an additional 24 hours of therapy over the next couple of weeks. We certainly are working hard to keep him and his brain busy! The CIMT program is a two week program, every day, for 4 hours straight. Using only his right hand they complete a 20 minute task like folding laundry and then take a 10 minute break. For the first time Isaac had to eat his entire meal with his right hand. We are hopeful this will give his right hand the extra push to reconnect with his brain. It is all about reconnecting new pathways through repetition, making that brain remember he has a right hand and how to use it. We were worried that his brain injury would cognitively hold him back in this program but he has been doing exceptionally well in following directions and staying on task. When he is done with his therapies, he even has to wear the mitt at home. Last night we did the dishes together. There was water everywhere, but it was rewarding to have completed that task using only his right hand. We are looking forward to what this program will do for Isaac, his brain, and the function in his right arm!
ABLE is also very exciting. It is just right up Isaac’s alley. It is a four week program, three times a week, and involves an hour on a treadmill and harness and then 30 minutes translating what was learned on the treadmill to over the ground. His first day they got him up to high speeds on the treadmill and really worked on natural walking. They encouraged him to sway his arms because when he gets concentrated his arms tends to tense up and hang out up at his waist. He was looking great! Then off the treadmill he ran, jumped, and completed some agility drills. He was sweating, breathing hard, and loved it! Today of course they pulled out the football and incorporated that into his workout. Almost like old time drills. You can tell he is already enjoying what this program has to offer.
Let me tell you all; I am so impressed with my husband. I could not be prouder. CIMT and ABLE are some of the toughest programs for individuals with these types of disabilities. Isaac is exhausted at the end of the day. All the hard work leaves him more unsteady, more irritable, and yet more determined. The biggest challenge of being home is us as caregivers being cautious with his every move in his new environment and his struggle with us for his independence back. At times he isn’t aware of his limitations and believes he can do more than his injuries allow. But we all push on together, with a great understanding that this is all in love. He has really stepped up to the plate to take on these new challenges and he does it with a smile on his face. He is so encouraged by those that reach out with their comments and their hello’s. We read them together and all he can say is “Wow!” and “Thank you!”. Thank you for helping me encourage my husband. He is doing so great!
Always #22Strong, getting stronger every day.