Saturday, November 25, 2006

Noting Thanks

People ask how dad is and when I enthusiastically answer 'good!' they mention something like a walker or going home. enthusiasm extends to dad not having an infection, not being in the hospital and being able to talk. Then I go on to explain how his TIA's (mini-strokes) prior to his major stroke affected one side of his brain, his major stroke left his left side paralyzed, damage to his basal ganglia makes his right arm and leg move involuntarily. He can't do much of anything - they use a big sling/hoist thing to get him out of bed and into a wheelchair. He is still being tube fed and is incontinent. He can't push the call button if he needs something. BUT he IS working in rehabilitation on swallowing, sitting, standing, reaching, looking to the left -- numerous things you wouldn't even think about he does even if he needs someone (or two someones) to hold him up sitting or push him up and hold him standing. I am noting thanks for him being able to gag when the speech therapist checks to see if he has sensation in his throat. I am noting thanks for every 10 or 15 seconds he can stand holding onto bars with therapists in front and back supporting him. I was thankful when he knew my step mom was gone for 6 hours even though he didn't know what year it was. The most thankful moment was the first time he opened his eyes and saw me weeks after the stroke. Another was when he mouthed my name and tried to whisper 'I love you.' Looking back and realizing how long he was unconscious (weeks) and how long he couldn't talk because of his trach (months) and noting that every day that passes means that we are that much farther away from when he had his stroke, I am thankful. To someone who is looking in from the outside, things seem pretty bad; but for me, things are 'good.' Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Children and Domestic Violence

This article only mentions that children who witness violence can have emotional and behavioral problems. From my observations, children - no matter the age - are affected in a post-traumatic stress syndrome kind of way. Young children are traumatized by the sight of someone who should be unconditionally trusted endangering the other parent. One of the worst, deepest and lasting types of damage a kid can have is the fear of abandonment. Older kids are embarrassed and angry. Young adult children wonder about their children being affected.

Myself, I have learned to have a Zero Tolerance for domestic violence.
Also, always call 911 - whether you or your neighbor need help - don't leave cries for help unanswered.
And please file charges, get a restraining order - protect your family!

Noble's Pond

Dad arrived at what we now call 'the pond' a week ago Thursday. He worked with the therapists there, getting assessments, showing what he could do and how much assistance he needed to do them. When people ask me how he's doing and I talk about how good he's doing and how hard he's working, they will say something like 'oh, is he using a walker?' Then I have to explain that well, he really can't do anything by himself -- I have seen him go from unconscious to shaking his finger at me, giving me a hard time (all in good fun) Each inch farther he can reach, each second longer he can sit, each day he can remember what year it is -- that is progress and I am thrilled.

So he was at 'the pond' for a few days and then pulled out his feeding tube. The nursing staff put it back in, but he started vomiting, so he ended up in the emergency room where it turns out he had a bladder infection and lots of chest congestion and the doctor admitted him for a couple days. Of course, soon after starting the strong antibiotics for the infection, he got the intestinal infection he had before. Since they caught it soon, it cleared up fast and he was able to go back to the pond today.

It's a whole two-step-forward-one step-back kinda thing. Very frustrating. Requires determination, patience, perseverance and all that stuff. Dad does great with therapy - trying everything they tell him without complaining. Now if he can keep infections away, he's sure to start making two steps forward for each step back.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Anthony Burgess

In a previous post I told you about my son's interest in A Clockwork Orange. Well, he did a book report for school (he is in the 10th grade) and at first got 36/40 points with the very first thing the teacher marked incorrect being the author. Take a look at the original report:
Chris L.
3rd Period
A Clockwork Orange was written by Anthony Burgess. This book has influenced culture a lot. A Clockwork Orange was originally published in 1962 in England. The book was released in the U.S. but the publisher left out the last chapter; because of this, the movie version of A Clockwork Orange (made by Stanley Kubrick) left out the ending of the book. The book is written in a first person point of view. A Clockwork Orange uses a strange vocabulary of slang terms that Anthony Burgess made up.
The story is set somewhere in the 1960's in an average city. The main character, Alex, is a horrible kid. With his gang, he commits horrible crimes; for example, robbery, rape, and vicious beatings of random people in the streets. His gang consists of 4 members: Alex (the leader), Pete, George, and Dim (Dim is the stupid, rough one). They use strange words like droog (a gang member) and horrorshow (cool or good). They dress in white outfits with black bowler caps and boots.
The book shows you the horrible things that Alex has done, and has gone through. Alex and his droogs (gang members) commit various crimes during the night. Alex is a very cocky character and eventually his gang starts to turn on him. While they were breaking into a womans house, the police were called by the homeowner. When Alex ran out of the house, he was cracked over the head with a milk bottle. His droogs got away and left him to get caught. Alex was sent to prison; in prison he heard of a special treatment that he could go through to get out of jail. The treatment was very horrible; Alex was strapped to a chair with his eyes held open. He had to watch horrible movies of murder, rape, and other crimes. The treatment eventually made him sick, so when he acted in a bad fashion, he felt sick. After the treatment he was released and had to go through horrible things.
The themes in A Clockwork Orange are very unclear. I think that one of the themes tells how people sometimes get what they deserve. Alex deserved to be imprisoned. It also shows you that people change and recieve things that they don't deserve. A man gets revenge on Alex after he is released from jail. A Clockwork Orange shows people that sometimes it's fun to be a bad person. Alex goes through phases throughout the story; at first he is a horrible person and by the end of the story he is a normal man.
I highly recommend A Clockwork Orange, it's a very interesting book. I liked it because even though Alex was such a horrible person, I grew to like him. The vocabulary used in the book is very entertaining. Although I liked this book I wouldn't recommend it to people that have gone through traumatic experiences like rape, and harsh beatings. My sister found it very offensive and disgusting. It has very horrible parts in it, but it's interesting to see a person my age change like Alex did. I also recommend the movie, although it is old, it summarizes the book very well. A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite books.
The teacher told Chris "I don't remember who the author is, but this is wrong." So he tried to tell her maybe she was confused with Stanley Kubrick who made the film and she said no. Then he had to prove it to her on the Internet and ended up with 38/40 points for his report.

Can you hear me screaming?? A language arts teacher!!??? AND YOU THINK SHE COULD HAVE LOOKED IT UP BEFORE MARKING IT WRONG!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006