Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Update from David

Aloha to our Ohana,

United 59 from Denver to San Francisco to Kona was not nearly as bumpy as
the outbound leg, however the flight was uncomfortable in its own way as
this 767 was completely full. In fact, 14 passengers on the standby list
didn't make it on board and wound up cooling their heels for eight hours
until the next flight -- not the best of ways to begin a Hawaii vacation,
and it brought back old memories of Theresa and me on our first trip to the
islands in 1997. Back then, we were caught up in Calgary morning rush hour
traffic and when we finally made it to the airport, it seemed it was too
late. As we waited in the snow covered parking lot for the shuttle to take
us to the departures level, I still remember looking up at the pre-dawn sky
and saying a silent prayer. That prayer was answered as we learned upon
checking in that the flight was delayed for an hour due to mechanical
reasons. Looking back, that was certainly not the first time I recall our
Lord answering my prayers but it was one of the most memorable. Fast
forward 14 years and for the first-timers on this flight, there was a sense
of excitement in the cabin as the attendants did their best to get everyone
involved in the festivities. Once again, I did not win the Halfway to
Hawaii contest, missing it this time by a whole 10 minutes. Blame it on the
0300h wake-up call and miscalculating for a tailwind when it should have
been a headwind.

While it was difficult to leave Theresa again, we did have a wonderful and
miraculous week together as documented in the last update. Theresa was
even up and out of bed to send me off that morning and for that I am most
grateful. It was hard for her to understand that I was returning to our
home in Hawaii to do some work, since for her, home is Craig Hospital for
now. Theresa kept asking if I would be joining her for dinner or any other
meals this week. Finally, I took the tack of asking if she remembered how
her Dad used to go away on business trips. That jogged an old memory and
it seemed Theresa finally understood why I was going away for a while.
While it is sad for us to be apart, I leave with a warmth in my heart
knowing that the progress Theresa has made in the past month is truly
remarkable and I dare say it is mostly due to her strength, determination
and faith in receiving God's grace and healing powers.

For the past few weeks, Theresa has had limited range of motion in her left
shoulder and arm, complaining of pain whenever her arm is lifted above the
head, out to the side, or extended too far forward. Despite negative
imaging results for sprains, tears, fractures, etc., she continues to feel
pain on that side. So with no other proof of disability, the highly
technical diagnosis the specialists have come up with is that Theresa has a
"frozen" shoulder due to lack of usage in the past three months. Both OT &
PT are concentrating their work on freeing up Theresa's left shoulder by
various stretching and lifting exercises but the most success seems to come
from the use of overhead pulleys. When attached to her wrists, this series
of ropes and pulleys allows Theresa to use her right arm to control how much
stretch and motion the left arm can tolerate, similar to how a puppeteer
controls their dolls. In the course of a week, there has been measurable
improvement in Theresa's left arm motion and flexibility and she is
encouraged to use that side more. Otherwise, she will continue to go in
circles when wheeling herself down the hallway.

The other significant development this week is that the sutures were removed
from Theresa's right ankle/calcaneus (heel) surgery that was performed a
little over a month ago. Recall that this was a repeat surgery to set the
ankle properly above the heel, as the original surgery would have created in
an unstable ankle/heel connection resulting in pain while walking, dancing,
etc. Over the next few days, additional imaging will be taken of the foot
to determine if it can be partially weight bearing, thus allowing Theresa to
finally try standing on both feet. Being able to stand is a major step on
her healing journey because it means Theresa will not need to rely on the
Guldmann lift to get her from the bed to the wheelchair to the commode or
the physiotherapy mat, although she is also learning to transfer using the
slider board.

In fact, Theresa was so excited by this development that she phoned to tell
me the good news herself. It was wonderful to hear her voice for the first
time since I left and we could have talked for hours except that Theresa's
arm was getting sore from holding the phone too long. Also, I don't think
she realizes there is a 3-hour (soon to be 4-hour) time difference between
us so it's somewhat amusing for me to answer the phone at 0500h and try to
shake off the cobwebs while Theresa recaps what she just had for breakfast.
I don't mind trading sleep for conversation with my wife and I'm sure it's
God's way of preparing me for the sleep interruptions to follow when Theresa
does return home. In the meantime, I will build up my energy reserves in
anticipation of the next visit, hoping and praying that Theresa will be far
enough along her healing journey to begin the move to the transitional
living unit upon my return.

For these blessings and miracles above all else that has taken place in our
lives, I continue to give praise to our Lord for His gifts of grace and



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