Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Joy of the Grandkids

I can't believe I forgot to let you in on one of the main highlights of the last few weeks! One of the hardest parts about the loss of strength in my dad's hands and arms caused by the disease is that he has been unable to hold his grandkids- Ethan (2) and Maia (8 months).

A couple of week ago, my dad went up to visit my sister Angela for a few days. I hadn't talked for him since he'd been back so I decided to call home and chat. To my surprise, he answered the phone sounding more chipper and in better spirits than I'd heard in a long time. A few minutes into the conversation I knew exactly why.
He was so ecstatic to tell me about his visit to Worsley. "Steph... I found a way to hold Maia!" His excitement had already spread to me. "Angela put her in the Jolly Jumper and I sat on the floor and played with her and was able to hold her!" Praise the Lord for whoever invented the Jolly Jumper! Genius.

One of the things we've routinely begun to do as muscle atrophy has taken place is massage my dad's hands and arms to try and stimulate blood flow. Angela was putting Ethan to bed on the last night of his last visit and said to her, "Mama, 'nuggle Papa?" Ang proceeded to find my dad and invite him into Ethan's cozy bed. On the way to lying down, he bumped his head on the headboard. Ethan looked at him with concern filled eyes and said, "Okay Papa?" then proceeded to kiss him on the forehead and say, "All better Papa." If that weren't cute and special enough, once he was laying down, Ethan proceeded to softly run his little hands up and down Papa's arms just as he'd seen his mom doing all week. My dad said, "It was funny... I felt like Ethan was taking care of me!"

What a joy children are!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gotta Give Him Praise!

Upon returning from the Philippines, my dad decided not to go back to work due to his decrease in functional ability. This was a pretty devastating step but at the same time, we were thankful that he was able to know when it was time to stop. We had a bad "breathing" scare not too long after. The doctor assessed his breathing ability (which is the biggest indicator of lifespan) and it looked grim at first. He saw a Repirologist today who confirmed that he is at 73% of normal capacity and has not declined since August. Each new day is a gift, and every day that the symptoms don't worsen, we celebrate!

Since then, 4 of his siblings have been up to visit. The golden girls, Cleo, Fely and Rose made the long drive up for only a 1 day turn around a couple of weeks ago. Among the many highlights was my Aunt Cleo stir-frying dad's healthy breakfast cereal (concauted by Aunt Remie) thinking it was brown rice. She added the usual onions, soy sauce, etc. to OATMEAL and the best part was... she ate it! Bless her heart for not wanting to waste food! You have to find joy in the little things, right?

Last week Uncle Lope and his family were up and thank you to Les especially who has the wonderful gift of humor. I know he made him laugh hysterically on more than one occasion. Uncontrollable laughter is a symptom of ALS but we've unanimously decided it's our favorite symptom! Praise God for laughter.

This is a hard road that we're on. But as I was told by a very godly woman, you have to revel in those little moments of happiness that God brings your way. Otherwise, we're doomed to being a victim of circumstances.