It's been almost a month since I last posted a blog and a lot has changed since then. Dad is still in good spirits and has had many uplifting out of town visitors including his brother from Seattle, in-laws from Richmond, daughter and family from Worsley and sister-in-law and family from Salmon Arm. It's been a wonderfully busy couple of weeks. He's also had many local visitors including our wonderful family from the Bridge International Church, new 'massage therapists' Bruce, Abe and Dan on a weekly basis and many other friends and family. Dad loves having company and on many occasions it is the highlight of his day. I will encourage people to continue visiting even as verbal communication becomes increasingly difficult.
If you know my dad, you know that vehicles in his garage used to come and go quite regularly. Let me share with you the latest additions to his repertoire of transportation:
He can still walk with assistance and usually relies on a friendly shoulder or hand to travel from one area of the house to the next. For longer outings such as Em's basketball games, the wheelchair can be found stored away in the back of the minivan just in case his legs aren't cooperating! There has been talk about 'pimping his ride' but mostly for the purpose of making him laugh.
He has an automatic reclining chair in the living room that moves with a remote in a fairly slow manner. We've discussed putting a turbo charger in it so he can 'spring' out when necessary. The latest and greatest however is for sure the stair lift that was installed on Saturday. This eliminates having to spend extra energy to get up and down the stairs. It's quite a nifty little contraption and goes probably about 0.2km/hr. I think Ethan will enjoy discovering it on his next visit!
His speech has unfortunately declined with the loss of muscle movement in his mouth. There are certain letters that offer more difficulty than others such as the letters 'l' and 'p'. You really don't realize how much muscle movement is involved with simple, everyday, automatic tasks! We have still been able to communicate with patients, repetition and laughing our way through miscommunication.
Eating has become increasingly fatiguing. He has an appointment in the near future to get a feeding tube installed. This will help ensure that he gets the adequate nutrition required without the fatigue of eating all day. Though he has lost 12lbs since the diagnosis, he has gained 1.2lbs in the last week!
It's easy to forget that in the midst of all the physical changes, he hasn't changed on the inside. He's still the same person. He's still my stubborn, helpful, wise, caring and coaching dad. He still has Biblical advice for any problem, opinions on every basketball game and encouragment for people visiting him. I just had to smile to myself the other day. In the midst of his difficulty speaking, he was caught sharing the simple message of the gospel to a very special visitor. After wards I laughed and said, nothing can stop you huh?!