Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting back to center

Wow, what a difference a day makes.  Not knowing when or even if (due to weather conditions) any of us would be able to make it into see Lara today, it was difficult leaving her last night.  Especially now that she is getting to be more understanding of her situation and her sometimes emotional struggle with it made it even harder.

Today was a good day overall.  It is so hard to get details in because so much happens in one day.  Yesterday Lara had worked with PT on trying to sit balanced.  Because her brain is not connected with her left side, basically when they sit her up, she just falls either back or to her left.  Mom described it best as she is like moving oatmeal.  The therapist had her in a seated position on the edge of the bed.  The therapist is in front of her, I mean...almost on her, seated in a chair.  I am standing behind her just in case I need to catch her.  Lara has basically zero strength on her left side.  So her right side overcompensates to find her center, and ends up pushing to the left.  Well her left side can't push back so she falls over.  (I hope that makes since).  So now that Lara is positioned, the therapist has her prop herself with her right hand on the bed...so kind of leaning forward and to the right.  Lara then has to go down on to her forearm and push herself up to center, without falling.  A kind of push up of sorts.  Sorry, but on those cushy beds, I think a few of us with weak abs would have a hard time doing that.  You know the crazy thing was as she was doing it, it got easier and easier for her to find her "center".  Then she was sitting.  She looked like a rolled sack of potatoes, but sitting none the less!  They worked a little while longer on some other balancing and don't get me wrong, she would lean and the therapist would tell her come back, you're leaning, but still classifies as sitting.  She would pull herself back.  Just getting her to recognize and find her balance on an unbalanced surface was a big deal.

Due to the road conditions we didn't get there until lunch time.  Peeked in her room, no Lara.  So we went down to the dinning hall.  Can I tell you Lisa and I were FAR away.  I mean, the other side of the room and still in the hallway just through the door.  I waved.  It's like peeking in on your little child on their first day of school.  We had "perma-grin" you know when you smile so big and hard it hurts...and you can't stop. We waved and she saw us.  I don't know exaclty how far, but we were "I wasn't expecting her to be able to see us" far.   We are not supposed to go into the dinning hall while the patients are eating as visitors can be a distraction.  So...I go in. :)  I lean down by her shoulder, "Hey just wanted to tell you we're here and we will be waiting for you in your room until after lunch."  Her face scrunches up, "Why, you can stay here."  "Well, we aren't supposed to be in here.  We don't want to distract you from focusing."  Totally said for the nurses benefit that was standing right by me.  "Oh, guess what I did today."  "What?"  "I stood up.  And it was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life."  What I wanted to do was squeal like a little school girl shaking my hands in the air with some jumping.  But I refrained.  "Lara, that is so awesome.  I'm so proud of you."  Gave her a little kiss on the forehead and told her we would be waiting in her room.  Then walked over to Lisa to squeal with her.  WOW.

We had the chance to see two of her sessions of therapy today.  Her physical therapist said that because we weren't too distracting we could watch.  Yay for good behavior!  At one point she wheeled Lara out into the hallway.  There are wide hand rails along all the walls.  Using her right hand on the rail, a belt around her waist, and a quick pep talk from her therapist, the therapist then hoists her up.  Lara stands for a little over 15 seconds.  The therapist does have to help stabilize her legs.  They are wobbley and weak, and she has to help her lock her left knee.  But she did it.  When Lara is all said and done with all of this in a year or two, maybe she will let me share the video.  Lara then sat down and did it a second time...even longer.  Wiped out!  They wheeled her up to the gym upstairs.  She met with the occupational therapist.  They played connect four, worked on some vision field, (remember she can't see out of her left quadrant), then she sat on a bench and had to use her right hand to unscrew these screws and put them in a dish (more balancing while sitting).  She was so tired.

It was a fun day.  We got to laugh with her, she had a moment with Justin, she worked so hard she was tired, and she earned it.  It's nice to have these good days, to balance out the not so good days.  Brings US back to our center.


  1. So proud of you LARA!! Love you Aunt Brenda & Uncle Bill

  2. So so so SOOOOOO happy to hear that she is doing it! Go Lara!!!!!

  3. You and all of the family that see Lara on a daily basis are doing a wonderful work, not only with Lara, but sharing the events with all who love her. Please tell Lara that the Palmer family Love her and pray for her daily; give her a kiss on the cheek for us. God bless the Chavez family!