You remember Maynard G. Krebs? He was Dobie Gillis’ sidekick. The first hippie/beatnik on TV. I barely remember watching the TV show, but enough to reference. Pretty sure my dad didn’t like him. If you want to watch clips like “WORK, man?”, start watching links here.
Paul is chafing at the bit to do more. There is a fine line between what he tells me he can do and what his restrictions actually are, so I’ve been known to ask for verification in writing. He had no problem getting the order for 6 massages a day confirmed.
What He Wants To Do
– Vacuum (Bless His Heart – The therapist said he could try as long as he doesn’t move the vacuum from floor to floor. Paul assures me it is lightweight; because, yes… how would I know?)
– Drive (Not for at least 6 weeks – and when he can turn his head…)
– Water the garden. He wants to help and I appreciate that, but am thinking this falls under pulling, such as laundry, which, no, he cannot risk.
– Use his right hand the way it should work, as in typing, writing, guitar playing, eating, etc.
What He Physically Can’t Do
– Laundry (This might be a permanent restriction in my book.)
– Walk our 55 lb. dog who likes to pull.
– Use a knife, or other sharp instruments. His right hand shakes from the nerve damage and the left hand is uncoordinated and weak. i.e., no cooking when a knife is required.
– Ride in a car (Right, so how can he even want to drive yet?)
– Lift a gallon of milk. I leave small containers of milk and the rest of the food he wants on the lower shelves of the refrigerator . There’s also a little stack of plastic plates and cups on the counter.
– Raise his hands above his shoulders.
– Shave. His scar under his neck is still healing and his hand isn’t steady. He suggested I shave him. Really? Seriously? Uh, no. I prefer my mountain man “as is” for the time being.
What He CAN Do
– Walk alone as far as he wants (as long as he calculates getting back home) without the walker, but wearing the neck brace.
– Walk with someone who can handle ZuZu.
– Wear the neck brace at all times. As the surgeon said, people respect people in neck braces, and Paul cannot afford or withstand the slightest hug, or misplaced touch. The teeniest cough or sneeze sends his ribs into excruciating pain. He also needs the brace for protection in case of a fall, and support as his neck becomes tired.
The other thing is… it’s become his “badge” of what happened. Yes, we have new replacement pads, but he “likes” the old ones because his blood (and who knows what else) from the surgery is visible. I asked the nurse in the hospital to change the pads while he was asleep and she deferred me to the physical therapist. When I asked the physical therapist if she could change them (There are about a hundred different little pieces “to be assembled” so I couldn’t figure it out.), Paul jumped in and said he “liked” it the way it was because… the blood, now the sweat, and the tears. Okay, another reason not to get too close to him.
– Strum the guitar and sing. His voice is becoming clearer and stronger. I LOVE to hear him sing.
– Play lots of board and hand intensive games with little pieces for his right hand to use such as:
– I didn’t know there was a game called Farkle, but one of our neighbors has a standing date to challenge Paul. (Thank you!)
– Stacking coins (okay, not a game, but good practice)
– Stacking games, hmm, maybe I should get him some Legos…
– Monopoly, backgammon, checkers, chess
– Anything else he can think of that fits his restrictions. And he is thinking.
Overall, Paul’s getting there. We continue to be blessed by the helping hands of family, friends and neighbors mowing our lawn and bringing us meals.
Something so sweet it bring tears to our eyes is a fence project which Paul was in the process of planning and “building himself” when the accident happened. A couple of big-hearted guys have offered to provide the labor and go ahead with the project. (Ironically… it might be completed even faster than with Paul doing it himself.)
We debated going forward, but at my urging, we are. I envision our back yard garden as Paul’s sanctuary as he continues to recover this summer. I love to garden, and when people worry I’m not taking care of myself, they should know I’m very happy planting, weeding, transplanting, and drawing energy from getting my hands in the dirt.
Paul is so touched by the cards, texts, calls, and e-mails he’s receiving. Not to mention impromptu walk-by or drive-by visits. If he’s sitting out on the front porch, he’s fair game. If he starts to look tired, I step in and become Nurse Ratched. As much progress as he’s making and how impressed people are when they see his energetic attempts, when everyone’s gone and he’s worn out or has “over-done” , he looks about 100 years old, so I am still – I know – overly protective.
PS: I played a nurse in our high school play, Hip Hippie Hooray. How’s that for weird Karma. When I find my “publicity shot” I will add it here.
So, this is my weekly update. Hard to believe it will be a month on Tuesday since his accident occurred (original 5-6-14 details here), and I’m still learning exactly what happened. One chilling, freaky, and overly scary detail that reminds me how lucky we truly are. I overheard him telling a close friend that after the impact when he saw stars, he looked over and saw his right hand and arm twitching and moving of its own accord. He couldn’t control the “flopping” around and realized there might be a problem. Hello Houston.
That man. So glad he’s here. And so glad for your support. Thank you. Love you, P & G