Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Before Al was released from inpatient therapy, I asked his physical therapist to cover a very important practical matter: how would I help Al get up if he fell down? So we practiced the scenario a few times, until we were comfortable with the process. The PT also made sure to teach me how to assess whether anything was broken or dislocated, other than the obvious bone poking through the skin. I felt confident that I was ready for the potential situation.

Strangely enough, Al has not had any major falls. He has stumbled and lost his balance a number of times. Early on, he rolled over in bed and fell halfway out. But he has never fallen. Until today.

Evan was having a technology crisis in the basement that only his father could solve. I've learned to do a lot of things since Al's stroke, and I've taken over a lot of his former responsibilities. But when it comes to computer networking, I'm still pretty much an ignoramus. So, I'm very blessed that Al still has his computer networking abilities.

Al was summoned to the basement by our son, who was having trouble getting his computer page to load. Al made his way down the stairs, an exercise for which he no longer needs help. He made it to the bottom of the stairs, only to get his cane caught up in the ladder that was lying by the basement wall. I heard a *clang* and then shouts from the kids, "Daddy, are you OK???"
I went down to find Al lying, face-down, on the basement floor.

The kids were more alarmed than I was. I just had to figure out how to help him get up. After maneuvering him into a sitting position, he was able to get up by himself with little effort. I didn't think about it until after he was standing, but I finally asked, "Does anything hurt?" He said nothing hurt except that he hit the floor with the left side of his face. I guess it's somewhat of a blessing that the left side of his face is still numb.

Al has been getting more adventurous since his brace was minimized. He has been doing stairs more confidently and more regularly. He has been driving (shhh, don't tell the Secretary of State). I'm glad to see him becoming more mobile, but I was also reminded today that he still needs to be cautious and careful. Most movement still isn't as easy for him as it is for you and I. It's not second nature yet.

Sometimes my heart cries out to God for Al, as the psalmists did:

1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13)

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