Saturday, September 29, 2007
China Day 8: Saturday is a Special Day
I thought we might get a little break today as it is Saturday – but no – still forging ahead. This is a good thing – but I think it is unusual as next week is a major week long holiday and a lot of the therapists will be gone. They will be taking turns, so they are all working the weekend before the holiday to make sure we get taken care of. Apparently the 'Moon or Autumn Harvest' festival is a big family gathering event, much like the Christmas holidays are for us in the USA.
Today we had speech therapy for the first time – I really liked it as well. It is with Lily – our occupational therapist (she doubles up and does speech therapy as well). Where speech therapy in the USA has always been about breath control and pronunciation, this therapy was about moving Dan's lips. She massaged his face and molded it until it would pucker – this is exactly what Dan needs. It is great! I included a picture to show you how she worked him over. We taught her a new English word that she didn't know before – 'slave driver'. Now she sees us in the hall and laughs and says 'Slave Driver!'. She is fun to work with...
Baseline: We did a baseline last night of Dan's speech in areas that we had records on about two years ago. These are a couple of lip exercises that Dan has done to try and improve his speech.
Open / close mouth = 48 (normal 88)
Pucker / smile = 14 (normal 60)
I timed myself for the normal readings – when comparing to his time a couple of years ago he had 46 open / close mouth as opposed to 48 this time, so a bit of an improvement. However, in the pucker / smile category he went down from 19 to 14, so there still needs to be some work done here.
Before we left for China we also went to the mall and did a baseline walking exercise for 5 minutes. Dan walked from Mervyn's to a store just after the Tree House. Angie and I walked from Mervyn's to Radio Shack-- so as you can see we have taken some measurements and videos of what his current capabilities are so that we can clearly measure the progress made.
Tonight we all went out to dinner as a group from the hospital. They arranged to take some vans so that all the people in wheelchairs could go. We went to a traditional Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant. It as a lot of fun and we were able to get to know some of the other patients better. We are now back in our room and Dan still has two bags of IV to go through before we can retire... my guess is at least a couple of hours.
Hope all is well in the USA – we miss you guys, but we think this is a great opportunity to be here! The changes won't happen overnight – but we are prepared to do our part and work hard to see improvement again. It is a good environment here to work toward these goals (and hopes and dreams...)