It's a good thing our plans are always cast in Jello. Things have not gone as expected this spring.
After spending our two weeks along the Salt River in Mesa, on March 27th we moved to an RV park just north of Wickenburg, AZ for an opportunity to explore an area of the state we had not spent much time in before. We visited Prescott and toured the museums in Wickenburg before Deidra returned to Texas on March 31st. We stayed at the campground for another couple weeks, making an occasional trip back into Mesa or Tempe to visit Mom and pick up mail or packages that had been sent to Daryl's. We were on schedule to leave for Southern California when plans were changed.
On Saturday morning, the 14th of April, we got a call from Mom. She said she couldn't move her right hand. We contacted Donna who went over to get her and take her to the hospital. Although it was initially misdiagnosed as a palsy and she was sent home, Daryl stayed with her on Sunday and took her to see her own Dr. on Monday. He sent her for an MRI and it was confirmed that she had had a stroke. She was admitted to the stroke ward at Banner Baywood hospital that day.
Dianna drove down to be with her that Monday, and I packed up the trailer and moved our home back to Mesa on Tuesday. Since then our lives have been pretty much taken up with caring for Mom. She was in the stroke ward for about a week, and then was moved to rehab for over two weeks. We were there at least once and usually twice a day. Between caring for her and helping with logistics and other things, we have had little time to ourselves.
Mom was released from rehab on May 8 and moved back to her apartment. For the first few days we never left her alone. Dianna spent the first two nights, then Daryl spent Thursday night, and I spent Friday night. She had almost nonstop visits from a home care nurse, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, as well as visits from friends and family. By Saturday she was doing quite well and we left her alone for the first time that night. We have continued to spend time with her every day as she continues her recovery, and we are leaving her alone more and more.
Her strength on the right side has improved. She is probably at 70-80 percent of where she was. The fine motor skills are also much improved, but still have a ways to go. She does not have the strength in her legs that she used to have so mobility is something of an issue, but she is getting better. There are still questions about how much help she is going to need in the future, and where that help will come from.
A major complication with her recovery occurred from an unexpected place. She began experiencing severe back and shoulder pain while doing the therapy. At first it was thought it was just muscles that hadn't been used in a long time, but the pain kept getting worse instead of better. X-rays showed nothing but finally an MRI revealed that she has numerous tendon tears in her rotator cuff and other tendons. No wonder it was so painful. It still is. The pain is severe enough that much of the strengthening exercises and other therapies have been scaled back or put on hold. We are trying to get a handle on the pain, other than taking huge amounts of Vicoden every day, but have been frustrated by the availability of doctors who accept her insurance. It is still an ongoing issue, but the pain is getting somewhat less and she is not taking as many pain pills as she was.
As I mentioned, until today (which will be the subject of my next blog post) we have been with Mom every day since the stroke. Of course, Daryl and Donna have also been very involved, but we are staying only three miles from her apartment and we don't work, so it is much easier for us to deal with most of the day to day stuff. Heaven knows that Daryl and Donna have done far more than their share over the years. We are glad our lifestyle lets us support Mom in this way when she needed it, and lets us take some of the burden from Daryl and Donna for a while.
We currently plan to stay here in Mesa until the end of the month. At that time we expect to resume our plans for visiting Southern and Central California, then on to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest for the summer. Of course, anything can happen at any time to change those plans.