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Monday, January 17, 2011

Update On Mr. AOW

(For any readers who may not know, Mr. AOW had a devastating brain hemorrhage on September 15, 2009, and has been struggling to recover since that date, with me as his caregiver. Previous updates are HERE and HERE, the latter at my former site)

Although Mr. AOW can manage several steps with his quad cane and AFO brace, getting around remains the biggest issue interfering with his enjoyment of life. He cannot effectively use a walker because his left arm and left hand have not shown significant improvement and remain functionally useless.

We obtained this scooter for next to nothing when a former client's elderly father passed away unexpectedly. We are so grateful that my former client thought of us when he was disposing of this father's possessions.

Mr. AOW does need to learn some specialized driving skills for this scooter, however.

The first day out with the scooter, Mr. AOW attempted to take a shortcut through uneven ground in our back yard and overturned the scooter! He was uninjured; however, he had to lie on the cold, cold ground until my cousin-in-law could get here to help Mr. AOW to his feet and into my car for a safe journey back to the house.

Another problem with the scooter: The scooter doesn't offer much space for a footrest. Mr. AOW cannot rely on his left leg to stay put. As a result, he needs to make sure his left leg doesn't fall off the side of the scooter.

Over the next several weeks, as long as the cold weather hems us in, Mr. AOW will be practicing his driving skills inside the house with me as his monitor until he can safely operate the scooter on his own. It does have a sharp turning radius and, unlike a standard wheelchair, is narrow enough overall to proceed through all the doors in our home.

Assuming that all goes well, Mr. AOW and I will be taking frequent trips to museums in Washington, D.C., with MetroAccess as carrier. I can enjoy such outings much more if I don't have the laborious task of pushing that wheelchair!

36 comments:

  1. Before you know it, you'll be hurrying to keep up with him. :)

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  2. God bless both of you, you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I could not even try to understand what a trying time that you and your mate have been through.

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  3. Best wishes for you and Mr. AOW and prayers for his continued recovery and your enduring strength. I'm sure he'll get the hang of the scooter in no time and the two of you will enjoy new freedoms soon. MY FIL is paralyzed on one side due to a stroke and has a scooter similar to the one pictured. It does take practice but once mastered, whole new worlds will open up.
    Does Mr. AOW have a physical therapist? If so, he or she may be able to help you find a solution to help with the left leg.
    I'm very happy for you two that you've got the new scooter, I'm sure it will make a huge difference in both of your lives very soon.
    (((hugs)))

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  4. Whenever I think I have problems, I will try to remember that there are others with much greater challenges than I face.

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  5. Mr. AOW needs to get stronger (sleeping less) so that we can do some traveling on our own. In that case, I'll have to get a special van, one with a lift that can accommodate the scooter.

    But that need for a van is in the future -- how far in the future, I can't yet assess.

    Now, if I didn't have this bad back of mine, I could disassemble the scooter and get in into the trunk of my car. The scooter does disassemble into five pieces.

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  6. Fantastic, AOW-- I'm so glad to hear of the wonderful progress he's been making! Slow to you, I'm sure, but...

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  7. The progress IS slow.

    And Mr. AOW sleeps a lot. The neurologist doesn't seem concerned about all that sleeping, though.

    I realize that Mr. AOW is bored as he's confined to this house, particularly during bad weather.

    And, clearly, after the recent accident with the scooter, he's not able to "travel by himself."

    Still, a year ago, he couldn't even have gotten into that scooter because the first real steps didn't come until last summer. Furthermore, he has dramatically improved with regard to cognizance.

    The few outings he gets "with the guys" are events that Mr. AOW so looks forward to. These outings exhaust him, of course. The next outing with the guys is scheduled for this Friday, weather permitting.

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  8. MK,
    I may have to dust off my Fuji racing bike. If Mr. AOW starts navigating the bike trail, I'll need to go along to make sure that he doesn't end up in the ditch.

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  9. My friend with MS has such good success getting around with her scooter, backing up, parking it in restaurants, etc...I wish that for Mr AOW (and YOU!) How great that these people gave it to you.....I wish you both all the best. xx

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  10. What good news!!!!

    AOW there is a lift that fits on the rear of your vehicle that can lift the scooter in one piece and then lower it as needed. The apparatus fits in a trailer hitch devise which you would have to have installed if you don't have one. U-Haul and such places install them but I bet Mr AOW has friends who are capable of doing that.
    Craigslists has a few of them from time to time. Occasionally the VFW or American Legion will have them to lend for a period of time.

    Glad to hear that Mr. AOW is improving daily since that has been our prayer here on this end.

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  11. You are an inspiration, AOW. You're living proof that a good attitude and love in your heart go a long, long way.

    I wish you all the best and I too pray that Mr AOW gets back on his feet quickly.

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  12. Ticker,
    AOW there is a lift that fits on the rear of your vehicle that can lift the scooter in one piece and then lower it as needed.

    I'm going to be looking into the particulars about such a device. There is a retail outlet for such devices not too far from where Mr. AOW and I live.

    Thanks for mentioning the VFW and American Legion. Maybe I can get such a lift to try out!

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  13. Silverfiddle,
    An inspiration?

    That's good.

    But I have to say that the daily schedule here is a grueling one. And occasionally my attitude slips into something pretty ugly. Sometimes, I'm so bone weary. If I were younger, dealing with all this would be easier physically for me. Emotionally -- that's a different story. When I was younger, I might not have had the patience.

    Of course, the alternative to the situation we're dealing with in this household was a nursing home, bankruptcy, etc., and unacceptable. Mr. AOW isn't ready to give up on life, and neither am I!

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  14. With best wishes to you & Mr. AOW. Here's to a full and speedy recovery.

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  15. After I thought about my earlier comment, I don't want come across as insensitive.I am sure this is a difficult time. I was thinking of my Grandmother who was so thrilled to get her "little buggy" as she called it~

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  16. That is awesome AOW! I am so happy for Mr. AOW and you. There is nothing next to mobility - of any sort. Being mobile, well, is being mobile and that has to be awesome!

    Praying for you both! :)

    me
    xo

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  17. AOW, you really are an inspiration... And I am certain that Mr. AOW was inspired to do more because OF you.. Kudos...

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  18. Say thanks for visiting and commenting in my neck of the google woods. Prayers for faster and bigger improvements in the hubby's health.

    Linda

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  19. Keep the faith girl..he is getting better all the time~!

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  20. Always good to hear encouraging news from you, AOW, about Mr. AOW. The cold and snowy weather I am sure makes getting out and about quite a challenge, so I do hope by the time the weather breaks Mr. AOW has mastered the scooter and you are able to get the lift to get it hooked up to your vehicle.

    I do admire your patience, as you know my Dad is doing the same caregiving to my Mom, and I am grateful to him for his patience and dedication. In the long run, I do think it will pay off for you both, Mr. AOW will be more mobile and you can do more things together.

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  21. AOW,
    God bless you both!

    My brother suffered the same faith it’s been 3 years since he passed but lived for 8 years after the aneurism.

    He was doing so well but he had other complications. He had diabetes on top of it all.

    He was a Green Beret! He would have been 64 this May.

    Never give up and never give in!

    He expected me to do the same!

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  22. Bunkerville,
    No need to apologize for your earlier comment. I didn't take it as insensitive.

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  23. UGH!

    We are completed iced in this morning. The worst weather event: freezing rain.

    No way can I begin to get down that ramp and to the car.

    At times like these, I really wish that we had a garage attached to the house.

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  24. We have an attached garage but we would need an elevator.

    I think of these situations all the time.

    The what if's drive me crazy! Then you have a husband that wants to move to a house on land some place!

    You know I don’t think that is a good idea either and even if you are on one level no stairs home you are more of less isolated even more from any facility’s. I’m looking at those communities 55 and up!

    Hubby and I are only a year apart in age. Just one has to be 55 and he is! It is still an arm and a leg to live in a place like that. I love my home we did all kind of remodeling and I even put in a patio and fire pit. Sigh!

    Issues and uncertainties are always looming!

    Our garage door froze shut one time already this winter. So there you are. Yes frustrating indeed. But what ya gonna do!

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  25. Dcat,
    I’m looking at those communities 55 and up!

    Until Mr. AOW had that brain hemorrhage, I never even considered moving into such a community. After all, Mr. AOW was physically fit and could do certain tasks (while I did other tasks, too, of course).

    Now, we can no longer work as a team. I have to hire someone to do certain tasks -- or rely on the generosity of friends and family.

    Of course, a lot of those friends and family are getting older too.

    In times past, we had teenagers who would do a lot of work for us. Now, teenagers don't hire themselves out to shovel snow, clear paths, mow lawns, etc.

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  26. The scooter is indeed good news, once he masters using it. I know this has been a long and trying time for both of you from September 2009 to January 2011. I suppose 'baby steps' has been the rule for you, one tiny baby step at a time.

    Stay inside until things thaw and just enjoy each other. It is truly a blessing that Mr. AOW has come so far.

    Debbie
    Right Truth
    http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

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  27. Scooters and Power Chairs so greatly improve quality of life for so many. A word of encouragement to you both: my mother was in a power chair, for the rest of her life we thought, but has been out of it for some time now. Miracles do happen.

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  28. Debbie,
    Mr. AOW's improvement is excruciatingly slow. And when I'm working, I'm just too tired to administer home therapy.

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  29. Maggie,
    I really needed that word of encouragement. I certainly don't want Mr. AOW totally relying on that scooter. For extended outings, such as going to museums, using the scooter is the only way to free both of us up. But around the house? He's getting strong enough to walk to the bathroom. The only problem with that "skill" is the pace he can walk. So, for now, we're stuck with that hideous potty chair in the living room.

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  30. Just from the comments I can see how these scooters can be very helpful and also a crutch. I think it depends on each household to formulate the right balance.

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  31. I think its great that Mr.AOW got a scoot
    er. I have an electric wheelchair and had many wrecks until I got use to it. AOW is a great caregiver and so is LONGRANGE. It takes patience to take care of your mate and to watch them struggle. But its great to get electric scooters and chairs as it gives us some independence and freedom.

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  32. Jackie!

    You're not just kidding about the patience required on my part. I do explode from time to time.

    Mr. AOW has no trouble handling the scooter inside the house in that the scooter doesn't tip over on level surfaces. But making the turns in the house (All these doorways!) means that getting around inside is done at the pace of a snail.

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  33. I'm happy that you were able to get the scooter!

    Baby steps, I'm sure, but it is improvement nonetheless.

    Mr. Aow is a fortunate man in that he has such a wonderful caring wife!

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  34. I pray that both you and your husband will gain in strength, both physically and spiritually.

    I have some idea of what he is up against, being a brain surgery survivor myself (Chiari decompression). I am also under treatment for Meniere's disease (which causes dizziness, tinnitus, and progressive hearing loss). My husband cannot walk and is on crutches on account of post-surgical arthritis of the knee, and wears a back brace on account of several seriously damaged lumbar discs. My husband and I both have other health issues besides that. Nonetheless, we both work part time and are more or less plugging along as best we can. The Lord has some purpose in mind for us to do with our lives, even though we ourselves might not be in a position to understand it.

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