A Major Victory

Today was the 32nd consecutive day that Kate has not gotten out of bed. That streak ended around 4:00 this afternoon. This victory came after at least three weeks of encouragement by her physical therapist, her caregivers, and me.

It was only the past ten days when Kate herself expressed any interest at all. Two of those times she wanted to go to the bathroom after  the caregivers left for the day. I was hesitant to attempt it but consented. When I tried to help her, however, she backed out. Within the past 5-6 days while caregivers were here, she said she wanted to get up. Each time the caregiver and I offered to help and spent as long as thirty minutes encouraging her. Ultimately, she was too scared to try it.

Yesterday’s caregiver and I decided that we were going to try again tomorrow, and we will. Today, however, Kate told her caregiver that she would like to get up. I walked into the room right after and join the caregiver in offering to help her. As it was with our previous effort, it took Kate a little time, perhaps 15-20 minutes, to go through with it. Even when she first tried to sit up the process didn’t go quickly. At one point, she rested at least five minutes with her feet and calves extended over the edge of the bed. The caregiver and I were like a crowd at a sports event saying she could do it. We tried never to push her. Instead, we asked her to tell us when she was ready, and we would help. Finally, after 30 minutes, she was on her feet. We supported her. I know she would have fallen if we hadn’t. We helped her into a wheelchair. Then we asked if she would like to go to the bathroom. She said she did. We maneuvered her onto the toilet and were successful.

We were approaching time for dinner, and the caregiver and I decided to take her to the kitchen table to eat. It brought back memories of the past as she enjoyed looking out the kitchen window to the neighborhood. She ate a good dinner. Afterwards, we took her back to bed. It was just as difficult getting her into bed as it was getting her out, and she was tired. Since then she has been resting quietly.

Apart from my own excitement at seeing Kate sitting up for more than an hour, the caregiver was also excited. It was a mutual victory for the two of us, but I must add that it was a tremendous victory for Kate. It was her will along with our encouragement and assistance that did it. We couldn’t have done it without her determination .

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