Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yeah for physical therapists!

Grandma Ann was so proud she was able to stand during PT today by holding on to the ballet bar. It was like I was witnessing a kid taking first steps. 

It's the first time I've seen her stand all by herself since she's been in California. She was also able to do alternating knee lifts up to the bar and also shift her weight from leg to leg which the therapist said is very helpful when getting her in and out of the car.

That will help Bill a lot because up till now he was just lifting her straight up like a child and setting her in the car or chair. She also said we have to talk her through the entire process because the dementia makes it hard for her to remember the steps needed to stand or shift her weight. So even though her body can do it, her brain cannot remember the order of how to do it. I think she called it motor skills organization, but I'm not sure.

She was tired after her workout, but she did good. After lunch, she couldn't remember that she had been able to stand :( but now I know she can and I know how to help her get there again. Her physical therapist is an angel!

The therapist is also going to help us get her a proper wheelchair through Medicare. She said the one she brought with her is a simple, cheap one designed for transport only, to make it easier on the person transferring her. She recommended a narrower model to help Ann stay more upright in the chair, because otherwise she tends to slump towards one side of the chair. It would also have bigger wheels and more cushioning, so I think it would be like shock absorbers and be a gentler ride. Bill is regretting donating the super nice wheelchair he had for Donna as she was dying. 

But really, who thinks they're going to need a wheelchair for a loved one again so soon? Ironically, Bill and his Mom Ann have a very big thing in common, they have both been the primary caregiver for their beloved dying spouses. They both really understand the physical and emotional work that the other one has gone through caring for a dying spouse. They have quite an emotional connection, and it's obvious that Ann trusts him very much. Whenever she seems worried or confused, just hearing his soft voice really calms her down. It is really something to see. No one else gets through to her like he can.

I married a good man. 

(and his Mama raised him that way.)

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