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New Routine



So it has been a week since I cut my working hours to be able to be a bit more supportive of Bruce and his new energy towards recovery. Last Blog he was already hesitating and trying to short cut, so I was a bit concerned that I was going to work less and end up right back where we were 2 1/2 years ago, Bruce doing absolutely nothing towards recovery. Me home. I still needed caregivers in to spell me off and I did do a lot of work in the house and yard.


But what a difference. Morning routine is the same except we added stretching on a hassock. I get home just after noon. Caregivers have done light housework and laundry. Bruce and I have lunch, nap, 1/2 hour of exercising, shower, one full hour of no TV, dinner prep, dinner.


It has been four weeks with the home exercising, PT and OT. PT ended last week. OT the end of July. The shoulder blade is working - not always, but definitely coming back. It is remarkable to see it move. Rob can get more time for OT if need be, but we'll discuss end of month. PT was basically a "tune up". Bruce knows what he has to do - there is nothing new there. He has to do the work.


He is walking every day. I have discussed this with Mary Beth and Julie. First off, I do not want Bruce walking in this house alone with a hemi. Our doors are 29" wide. And what is he going to do when he gets there anyway? Has to let go of the hemi, balance against something. He can't bring anything back with him. He can get to the toilet grip bar, but has to go from hemi to grip bar, balance, let go, work clothing, work clothing back up. Something we will have to revisit down the road. So for now walking to and from bed. Sunday we did get some done outside finally. He needs little spotting, especially when in the AFO and is now transferring independently, so great news.


Exercises. Amazing thing is now, it is all stretching. Muscle strength is there, just have to loosen it up and tone it. This is hard and very painful for Bruce - way too much time off and in a WC. His right hip has been rotated since the stroke and the overtoning. Botox is wearing off, but we got a solid four weeks in. His knee is finally loosening up - Bruce's leg weighs as much as me, so working it has been tough on me. Don't forget, I told PT I wanted independent exercises. He does need belt attached to his affected foot and thigh to do two exercises - lifting and PT added two stretches to the affected leg, on his side, if I was going to help. But 99% of the routine is on Bruce. Thing is he won't do it alone or ask the caregivers to spot him onto the bed. That I knew and that was the reason I needed to be home.


Showering. I don't know why Bruce balks at a shower. We use a shower bench. The scariest part is transfer back to the WC. Bruce has to lead with the affected leg-foot, wet shower floor. Couple of steps at the most, but still the least safe part of the shower. I spot him, but really if he is going down, best I can do is slow it up. It is truly our intimate time. Water is warm, we talk, share. And who doesn't feel better after exercising with a nice warm shower and clean, comfy clothes? Mostly I insist Bruce does the part he can. In the past, sometimes, yes it had to be the quick shower. Not so now. So there has been improvement there.


Weekends: always tough. I wanted so much to just have Bruce and I but then I had so much to prep for the week, especially with the new diet restrictions, lunches and two dinner meals to prep. Errands and just getting Bruce out - you all know he loves that. By Sunday night I was exhausted, testy and Monday was my long day, so no time off there. Last two weekends, so different. Long rides, visit to the local farm market to stock up, two sessions of exercising both days. Bruce does his quinoa-bulgar and hummus. Since I am doing all meals, so much easier. Bruce is included in the prep and that just makes him happy.


We have Bruce's PCP and OT during this week, but I have promised that we will continue to work towards no caregivers and more time alone at home for Bruce. Plan is for me to go back to work late afternoon. Bruce to feed Kira, get his dinner out of his fridge (accessible by WC) and clean up after - into the kitchen in the WC. But I have to say, I am not in a hurry to start this. Just enjoying our time alone, me off the treadmill for a bit, concentrating on the important things. And I think it is important to make these changes from time to time. It was right for me to go back to work when I did and it is right now, to cut that back and reconnect with stroke recovery. I am going with Bruce's priorities. Yes, I have a wonderful job that accomodates these adjustments.


So just a check in. Debbie


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Well Debbie, there is no question that you are the best for Bruce. He can be so thankful he has you. I had to laugh about the leg part. Even I have trouble lifting Larry's affected leg to the chair for stretching. I don't know how you do it with your petite size.


Bruce is making progress for sure but you also need to take care. I grumble with doing what I call a two person workload but you do that and more!

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I think Bruce can handle 99% of the routine and more after a little while on his own. It seems the transfer back to the WC might slow him down for now but he will master that part too before much longer! He listens to you Debbie.

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Get one or two of those bathtub mats to put on the wet floor so he doesn't slip from bench to WC on the wet floor plus a towel or two on the floor if needed. You can always put them in the dryer or hang on the rack to dry. That's what my wife did for me now I can do it all myself.


The VA put in two railings in the shower which is over the tub when I first came home unable to walk.

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