I was actually going to post last week but something told me to hold off as I would hopefully have more good news to share than initially anticipated, and I’m glad I did. First off, Thom has been doing a great job just hanging out at home. He has been watching TV and taking care of himself if I set him up with food and drinks. He’s been changing the TV and performing other self-care functions without any issues. I’ve also been very impressed that he's called me while I was out to alert me that he needed me to help him with some things (whether it’s TV issues as he’s not perfect with the remote just yet or to indicate that he’s ready for bed). I have been leaving him alone while I play hockey, a total of 3 hours on Sundays. this last weekend, I left him alone while I worked the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game, a total of 6 hours and he did great! I think he feels more comfortable being himself at home more often than not, possibly because he is no longer is feeling useless and 100% dependent. That being said, I’m sure he’d still enjoy company during the times I am not around.
Regarding therapy, speech therapy has been working on writing and working his brain with some simple math. As you can see from the pictures, he was trying his hardest to write some numbers and eventually got it. He’s not only dealing with apraxia, he’s having to use his left hand to write. It’s hard enough to write with the non-dominant hand for some of us, but to throw something major like a motor planning disorder on top of that, it’s stunning that just after a handful of months of therapy and healing, he is able to start this. For someone who was dealt such a bad hand and truly had the odds stacked against him, he’s doing a tremendous job.
PT and OT have also seen some pretty significant gains. Both have done their 10-session re-evaluations and they have been very pleased with how well he’s performing. Heather, his OT, was especially shocked on how well he was did during the evaluation. For Thom, OT is his toughest session as it’s the last of the day and he’s usually pretty exhausted, but for the evaluation, he was a rock-star. They have him working on puzzles to help his problem solving and motor skills. They are also still continuing to work on the activities of daily living. PT has seen him improve quite a bit too and he’s even starting to move his right leg. I never imagined after such a short period after such a massive injury that he’d be able to move his leg, even just an inch. They did have him attempting to do some leg presses (as seen in the picture). Even at home, he’s starting to put more effort into his recovery with standing and doing some exercises, but I need to push him more.
All that above being said, the biggest news is that Thom and I will be heading to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the University of Michigan Aphasia Program! While there several programs around the nation, the world renowned and the model for many others is the one in Ann Arbor and I want nothing but the absolute BEST for him as that is what he truly deserves. If anyone is curious, more info for the program can be found here: https://mari.umich.edu/ucll/umap/program-components . We will driving up on Friday, November 24. The program is only 3 weeks due to how the holidays land this year, but if it’s worthwhile, we can always go back up at another session or we can explore other programs that are closer, but I firmly believe this will provide the best jump start for Thom. There are a couple obstacles I do have to overcome before going, the biggest being cost. The cost of the program alone is roughly $14,500. The other hurdle is finding a place for 3 weeks that can accommodate us. There were two hotels that were recommended to us, the Sonesta ES Suites and the Residence Inn-Downtown. I’m going make a few calls tomorrow but the estimate for a hotel for that period of time is roughly $3-4000. I know before I asked for financial help from everyone regarding the home renovations at thomstrong.com and I cannot thank you all enough, and I hate to ask again, but this expense was truly unexpected but extremely worth it. I did explore to see if insurance (https://mari.umich.edu/ucll/umap/session-dates-rates ) would cover a portion of the costs but sadly it will not as Thom is only on Medicare now as he is technically not employed anymore. I will be applying for financial assistance from the program but I will not be holding my breath to be honest. I cannot express enough how much Thom would like to join this program and anything to mitigate any of the stresses, even somewhat, would be a godsend.
As always, thank you for following Thom’s journey to recovery. He continues to have a few visitors come by, local and out of town, between posts and they always light up his day. I hope this week brings more than usual as his birthday is coming up this weekend. He tells everyone he hates it when people mention his birthday but deep down inside, he absolutely loves it. I remember the first time some of the teachers at school really went out of their way to celebrate it and he couldn’t stop talking about it for a week. I’m pretty sure he’d kill me for mentioning that but he felt so loved that year. More often than not, people wouldn’t mention anything because he would refuse to tell people, but all that changed that year.
Until the next post!