What a busy week it’s been! Once the isolation scare was over Mark was ready for visitors. He especially appreciated a visit from an old friend (from his camp days) who drove all the way from Cleveland, with his guitar. Mark LOVES music, particularly live music. I truly believe this is a great therapy for him. Mark really enjoyed the private concert in his room. His buddy Tom even sang to him, Mark watching intently. It was beautiful. A few days later, Jordy came by with the new Wilco album on his iPod and his headphones, as opposed to the ear buds Mark is used to. Mark gave Jordy the big thumbs-up several times, and moved his right leg in rhythm to the music. There was a little head-bopping in there too!
On the medical side, Mark is slowly putting some weight back on, which is great! He’s doing really well with the physio therapy exercises. His coordination of his right side has improved immensely. He follows the physiotherapist’s instructions most of the time. His left side is still mostly paralyzed, but there are times when we can notice the smallest muscle contraction in his thigh when he is instructed to lift his leg. He is certainly trying. Yesterday he managed to kick his left leg out of bed and onto the floor somehow. Remember, Mark is 6’4″ and even though he has an extra long bed, there are times when it’s just not long enough. When he felt his left foot resting on the floor, he instinctively lifted his leg and tried to put it back on the bed. I got so excited when I saw this, I said to him “Mark, lift your left leg!” but he didn’t. We know he CAN lift it. He just needs his brain to make the connection. I’m sure this will happen eventually.
I spoke to his doctor this afternoon who is encouraged with Mark’s progress. He believes that Mark is going to clear the pseudomonas from his lungs on his own, and that means that the trach will be removed one day. It is not a permanent thing, thankfully! He is coughing less and less, with fewer secretions. I have no idea how long this will take. We still need to be patient. The doctor says Mark looks brighter, which is true. He shook the doc’s hand and smiled at him for the first time! Mark continues to whisper to us daily. He wants to go home. Sometimes he asks to use the washroom, and I have to remind him that he can just ‘let it go’. Obviously his short term memory is still compromised. I really hope it doesn’t stay like this! This is one of the first things that went when he had his stroke, so maybe it’ll be the last to return. He is also showing signs that he can swallow. The doctor is sending the speech therapist in on Monday to see if Mark can pass the swallowing test. This will be huge if he does! Lately he’s been asking for food and water. He hasn’t had anything in his mouth for three months. I try not to eat in front of him anymore because he keeps asking for my food. Once we get rid of the feeding tube, then we can start to give Mark some healthy food for his brain, instead of that stuff in a can.
Finally, I’ve signed the papers for Mark to be transferred out of the hospital and into a complex continuing care facility. There are only 5 places in Toronto that can handle this type of patient. I spoke to our social worker today. There are beds available at our number one choice and they are considering Mark’s application this weekend! I won’t jinx it by saying which facility it is, but I have a good feeling about it! Please keep your fingers crossed for us. We might be leaving the hospital next week!
One last note – Mark can be a real rascal even in his condition. As Ariel and I were preparing to leave his room tonight I asked for his right hand so I could put the restraint on it. He begrudgingly gave it to me. I strapped him in, which I absolutely hate doing, and he made a pretty sad frown, started moving his hand the best he could, and then whispered “my hand.” So I unstrapped him to see if he had to scratch his nose or something. He didn’t do anything. He just wanted his hand free. I don’t blame him. I tried to explain to him why we have to restrain his hand. I asked him “Are you going to try to pull the tube out of your throat?” He nodded “yes”. I told him that that would be very dangerous and only the doctor can remove the tube, therefore we have to make sure that he doesn’t pull the tube out. He reluctantly gave me his hand again. I strapped him in, and then Mark gave me the middle finger. Ariel started laughing her head off. I said, “Mark, did you just flip me the bird?” He nodded yes, while trying to stifle a grin. Very funny, Mr. Silver. Very funny!
We got our goodnight kisses, and left with smiles on our faces.