I have been questioning today, how do you know when to it's time to stop saying "no" and when to start letting him try again? What I am thinking about is, when Patrick was released from the rehab center, I was given "recommendations" of what Patrick should and shouldn't do. For instance, he shouldn't shave with a razor, he shouldn't walk up and down stairs unattended, he needs to use a cane, he needs to wear this leg brace, he shouldn't use the stove or the oven. They did tell me to let him do things, that they wouldn't be perfect, but that he should continue to try.
He takes coumiden, so I am not going to hand over a straight razor and say 'go to town' or anything. The electric razor is working fine. And I've recently stopped following him up and down the stairs everytime- he walks slowly and his balance is very good. And one of us is always right there, we just don't walk behind every step with him. He folds the laundry (which is one of those things far from 'perfect', but I hate doing it anyway, so HAVE AT IT, PATRICK!) besides, I am happy to see him figure out how to do things while using only one arm. He also loads and unloads the dishwasher. The only thing I have to do is put away the dishes that are stored too low for him to reach. I am lucky he wants to help with the chores.
But I wonder about cooking, the cane and the brace. With cooking, the fear was that his balance was not strong enough to be able to pull something out of the oven with one hand. It was also because he has difficulty reading and following multiple task instructions. They didn't feel he was capable of turning the stove on and off, or of not panicking if say, a pot boiled over. I am just not sure this is the case anymore. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect he'll be pulling cheese soufflets out of the oven, but what about a cookie sheet of garlic bread or do I dare say, some pillsbury cookies? Do I start having him cook with me to see his abilities, or, do I not risk showing him something because he might mistakenly think he can do it alone? I am scared if I have him help me with something and come to find out that he is incapable of it, that it will be a huge reminder of what he can't do. Sometimes those small reminders of setbacks can have lasting repercussions that I cannot possibly predict. But I know if he COULD do it again, it would have an equally positive effect.
The cane? He walks around the house most of the time now without it. This has been a marked improvement from when he first came home. I think he uses it now mostly when he has to walk distances or on uneven terrain. He had his hands full the other day with his bookbag that had fallen off his shoulder, and he ended up carrying the cane into the rehab office rather than using it. Seemed easier to him rather than fight and juggle to hold the cane and get his bookbag back up.
And his brace. He wants it gone so badly. I keep telling him when PT says it's okay, he can stop wearing it. But it seems that getting rid of the brace is not a goal his PT has for him. She really never has him take it off and do any work without it. But I see him walk a few feet occasionally without it on, and I think there is a chance. I don't know if he will ever be rid of it completely, or the cane for that matter. My crystal ball broke years ago. Please, can somebody let me use theirs so I know when the can'ts have become the cans?