Sunday, February 28, 2010

Have you been waiting?

I had just yanked Joel outa the car and helped him shuffle into his wheelchair, and we were setting off on a walk down the board walk at Snells Beach. Nana and Mum were in tow and off we went...then some bloke drove up to us to ask if we had heard there was a tsunami warning and in that it was obvious that Joel was not into running away from such an event he advised us to leave. So we did a 'uey' in the chair and headed back to the car. Much to my surprise the 'two woman' suggested that I push Joel along the waterfront and then up the hill...while they drove!  Joel and I did a bit of brainstorming and speculating as to their motives... did they want the tsunami to take us both to a watery grave...or was it just to see the fat boy run pushing the chair with wheels if a 'big wave' came...or was it yet another weight loss ploy to see me push Joel up a hill while they watched from the safety of the top?

Joel is back in the rehab after a visit up north. It was a relaxing time in some ways, as it was familiar ground being back with family and yet demanding as well because Joel needs someone with him whenever he needs to move or do anything. All good. He enjoyed Nana's cooking and 'milked' it for bacon and eggs, and lamb roast etc etc. We watched rugby Saturday evening and we watched rugby on Sunday morning! Joel had cousins visit and managed to fit in his afternoon nap, which is needed as fatigue is still an issue.

The most exciting thing for us all is that Joel has been able to wiggle his toes on his left foot often. When he tries he can manage 3 or 4 wiggles and then can't do anymore for a while. He describes it like waiting for the batteries to re charge. When he has relaxed for a while he can manage some more twitching... then another relax for half an hour or more. It was neat to have him 'at home,' but we would like him to have more independence before we bring him home to Tauranga. All in good time... but we are encouraged by his progress. More tomorrow...

Friday, February 26, 2010


Not sure that there is much to wirte about tonight. Joel has had a reasonable time with OT and Physio and set new goals for the week ahead. One of these is that he is going to be taken out shopping next week to do some grocery shopping coz he has to make his own lunches for a few days...all a part of his rehabilitation we are told...and it has to be bacon and eggs as far as he is concerned. He had some visitors which he enjoyed and managed to scare the wits out of his two and a half year old cousin with his 'bed that moves.'  We'll let you know how our trip away goes. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Joel's really enjoying this new house ... there's more action going on and people to interact with.  He was really impressed that on the first day in House 5 he got dessert after lunch and after dinner ... and was served bacon and eggs in bed for breakfast the next morning!  And here we were thinking that this new house was all about him becoming more independent and making his own breakfast and the like. I think he's pretty good at turning on the charm and not above using flattery to get some perks :-)

He had to be ready for an early physio session at 9 am with his new physio, Steph.  I'm sure she's going to be just as good as Anne has been.  His walking is coming along although it's a bit jerky and his left arm has a tad more muscle tone than normal so he tends to hold it stiffly as he walks.  Steph was explaining to him that  the messages from the brain to his muscles should flow smoothly like a river but in his case it's as if there are dams and blockages in the way, so it spurts over all at once sometimes and makes things jerky. Please continue to pray for smooth muscle responses and for the nerve impulses to consistently reach his left foot. 

In the afternoon he enjoyed having a go playing 'Wii' against his new OT, Mandy and his sister, Hannah.  He was really pretty coordinated (and competitive ... I don't know where he gets that from?).  He won the tennis, it was a draw with Mandy in baseball (0-0 - they were both pretty bad) and Hannah pummeled him in a boxing match.  For those of you who have no idea what 'Wii' is ... we're talking 'virtual' sport that gets your arms and body moving, not just a click of a mouse!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We’ve got twitches! ...ok before you all think I've gone nuts and haven't taken my medication let me explain. Today I squeezed out a couple of tears of joy as I saw Joel's left foot twitch. Well... not his whole foot, but as Anne started to work with him a few muscles in his left foot did some twitching and as she continued there were a little more and a couple of times he moved his toes...on his left foot! It's a great start to what we have been hoping and praying for. Now to watch the whole foot come into line with the rest of his body. His left side continues to be weak but with persistence it is improving. He continues to walk slowly with his 'stick.' Next week he goes down to the local pools for a session so that could be fun. He is settling in ok to the new routine of his new house but there is a young bloke there that  hangs around Joel all the time which could become a bit much.
We are moving on Friday. We will still be based at Laidlaw College but we are shifting outa the single woman’s accommodation block and heading into a studio unit. Some wonderful saint has paid for all our accommodation here and we are very grateful for their generosity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving Day

Today was the big move with a few surprises. We got Joel into House 5 and it was a bit daunting for him but he will settle in. It's just that in his previous house it was very quiet and where he has moved to there are 6 clients and it is run a little more like a 'family'. What we didn't realise is that when you shift house you also have a change of OT and Physio. Now that ain't all bad but he was responding very well to the last ones, so it's just something more to adjust to. Yesterday, because he isn't allowed to use his wheelchair in the complex, he had to walk a heck of a lot more than he had all the rest of the days put together. Now he is complaining of very sore joints in his left knee and ankle...can you please pray that this doesn't become a set back to his walking.

The psychologist gave him a test this morning to check his reading and responses to certain social situations by watching, and then answering questions to, some short movie clips. She wasn't surprised that he scored 100% in recognising sarcasm and come backs!

We took Joel out this afternoon up to Westgate Shopping Centre. I got the job of pushing him round and he had been given a gift voucher for a cd store. This gave us both a little insight into what some people have to deal with on a daily basis. Firstly to push a wheelchair into some stores is almost impossible. The above mentioned cd music store was an interesting obstacle course... just to get in I pushed some of their displays sideways. After some tight maneuvers that would have gone down a treat in Top Gear, and some umming and ahhing by Joel, a selection was made. With a cunning 3 point turn I managed to position Joel next to the counter and he put on his best 'look at me I am sick' face...and proceeded to get a 5 dollar reduction in the price of the cd! After getting him out with some dexterous backing maneuvers, Joel announces to the 3 of us that he has learnt a new trick. He reckoned that if we continued to shop he would say, "excuse me but could you give me 50% off this item coz I'm sick and don't have long to live". Arrhhh...Joel! Pushed him in the shade to a well known coffee franchise just to find the footpath narrows to the point that a wheelchair can't pass! Quick wheelie out onto the get the picture. Then the ladies headed to a craft shop... yuk... so us men went for a trek elsewhere. Now this is what I found interesting...we went into 5 different shops where normally you would be harassed by sales people, but all we got was a quick quiet 'hello' and then they would turn their heads and look busy doing nothing! It was that obvious and I would never have known this had I not seen it and felt it for Joel. Which of course left me with some questions: do those who use wheelchairs all the time have to put up with this... and do we treat them the same as anyone else or do we also turn?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday...the day when it all happens

Righteo... not sure where to start. The ladies are back from their break away and it's great to have them back! We have gotten over the rush of visitors who made the pilgrimage from Tauranga to see the man and have settled back into the rhythm of physio and speech and stuff. It has been a day for facing changes. Firstly Joel's walking is being pushed to the next level and they have taken his walker off him and handed him a walking stick as a replacement. He is only allowed that for 3 days and then he will have to 'fly' solo. He had speech therapy in the morning working on his tone and facial expressions to get them functioning appropriately for what he is trying to communicate. Lunch next and then off to physio. This is where the switch of walking styles took place and Anne did more work on strengthening his left side. Then we all trooped off to a family conference with all his key workers. Wow - they are pushing him forward quickly! Tomorrow he is moving house! Yep from house 3 to house 5! House 3 is where most clients start life at rehab. House 5 is the next step towards freedom in that the clients have to take more responsibility for themselves and their welfare. And house 5 is where younger clients (like Joel) leave rehab from....and....they are predicting about 4 more weeks!!!! It might be extended if for some reason his progress slows but if he keeps going at the rate he is, then about 4 weeks and we come home! Shall I say it again? About 4 weeks to go! But wait there is more...he gets his first trip away. Saturday morning we head to Nana and Poppas and come back late Sunday. So if you are thinking about a journey north to see Joel in the weekend... he won't be here. Although this is all great news there is still a lot of work for him to achieve between where he is and where he wants to be. Every visitor that arrives is now conned into laying hands on his left foot to pray that it might start working. Joel has continued to change since leaving PTA behind. He is far more positive and makes extra effort and is starting to really focus on coming home as an acheivable goal. Anyone for a party?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Did Joel enjoy his Sunday????

Saturday, February 20, 2010


As you know the weekend is a little quiet for Joel as far as physio and stuff goes but it wasn’t in regards to visitors. Joel was pretty stoked that Eric and Joel came to visit and then the 3 boys from town arrived, then his uncle and aunty! So it was full on for a while... then they peeled off and the ‘3’ filled in his afternoon and went out for dinner with him. McDonalds was the choice -wouldn’t have been mine, far too healthy! He gets a real buzz when he gets visitors. It is also neat to hear the 3 talk about all the changes they see as they only come up every couple of weeks or so. They were excited to see so much more facial expression and to see him hobbling along. When I prayed with him tonight his first prayer was thanking God for such great mates! Ones that will go through thick and thin with him. And that's not just the ones that have been able to come visit but all that have prayed, written and visited, you mean a lot to him and he says 'thanks'. Notice Joe's new mullet, Donna will be pleased.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Today...and a bit of yesterday

How to start? I am here holding the fort while my two ladies are away having a break... so there will be a few spelling mistakes and typos in this blog. I might even try to find a photo so that I don’t have to write so much! Joel had a full day today. Might not sound too strenuous for us but it was very tiring for him. An hour of OT, lunch, an hour of physio, an hour of speech therapy and then a goal setting meeting with all three…by 3.30 he was bushed. Other than the long term goals that roll on he had achieved all that was set for this week and now they are going to push him a little harder. There are a multitude of tests that they are running him through to try to work out if there are any areas of his brain that have weakness or have dropped out the information that he needs to function. So they look at his thinking patterns, memory, logic, problem solving and a host of other things. Some of these I have sat in and to date he has shown very few areas for them to have to work in...Haha wonder why! But the job isn’t done yet so we’ll see what they dig up. Mary said she was going to test his maths to which he said, “I hope you’re good enough.” The other big announcement was that from next week he will have his trusty zimmer frame taken from him and he will have to walk with a walking stick for a few days... and then no support except someone walking with him! This is huge even though his left foot isn’t working yet. Once he is getting around with no devices they will probably shift him to the next house which will start preparing him for the level of independence he will need before coming home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Yep you guessed it; Joel is now officially out of PTA! …And this on the 6th week anniversary of the accident. We are rapt about this as his progress will improve even more (apparently). He is very excited about it coz he doesn’t get asked the ‘questions’ again. Anne got him all wired in the physio session. Not as bad as it sounds… she put electrodes on his leg in the appropriate place and when the button got pushed, hey presto up came his left foot. This proves that the nerves and muscles all work properly and it’s more an issue of brain power telling his foot to move… but early days and we continue to pray. She did this with him for 20 or so minutes with his left foot flicking up every time the red button was pushed down. Weird to watch. Then some more time on balancing and walking properly finished off a good session.

Yesterday I alluded to Joel having to re learn some social skills. Often in brain injury patients some of the ‘social screening’ that we use to be appropriate in our speech etc is affected. This is sometimes evident with Joel in his dealings with staff and others. Sometimes we think things but don’t say them as we know we shouldn’t…well brain injury patients sometimes just blurt them out. Now Joel ain’t too bad in this area but he is seeing everything very ‘black and white’ and taking most comments very literally. This also makes him a bit argumentative when he has reasoned through something and he doesn’t always accept that others have a different point of view.

We went out for a coffee this arvo …wheelchair in the boot, wife and daughter relegated to the back seat and we are away. All goes well till we come to what was supposed to be road works. You know the type, where there are a few scattered road cones, no workers, no machinery, no obstacles and no reason for the 30 signs placed on the side of the road. Any way I slowed down and hit the 30 area doing 40 (I won’t need any comments bout my driving if that’s ok). Well Joel takes exception, “dad the sign said 30, slow down” “ok,” “dad you’re doing 35 slow down to 30,” “I think this is alright son,” “no dad do 30,” “how’s that?” “Dad that’s 32, slow down to 30.” I slowed to 30 and by the time we got out the other end to the 70 sign and my literal friend next to me gave me the all clear to accelerate… there was a large queue of traffic following us at snail pace. Hmm this could be interesting. [He was just joking around but it’s sometimes hard to tell if he’s kidding or serious.]

At the beginning of the week the three ladies that do all the work with him, physiotherapist, speech therapist and occupational therapist, gave him a list of goals to reach for the week. Some of these were more long term like his speech goals, but of the remaining 10, he only has one to achieve and that is to stand for 3 minutes with no support. He will do it tomorrow. Gosh my son I’m proud of you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Hi... I hope you don't get bored with good news, if you do you might have to follow a more depressing blog! Joel has done very well again today. He managed to go up and down a small set of stairs 3 times with support, changed his walker from the large one to a smaller more racey model and switched wheelchairs from the large heavy dunger to a modern one that he can move around slowly by himself. He got his second 12 in his PTA test. We found out some more info today about this PTA thing...Post Traumatic Amnesia. Cheryll and Joel went to a meeting which is an educational class for the clients. They explained the PTA like this...after a brain injury if you are in PTA for 24 hours or less you have suffered a minor brain injury, if PTA lasts up to 7 days you have a moderate brain injury and if it lasts over 7 days then you have had a serious brain injury. Joel is not yet out of PTA but it will be the 6 week anniversary of his accident tomorrow. Sobering to say the least. Anyway if he gets 12 tomorrow he is officially out of PTA... so here's hoping.
Joel had the house manager in hysterics today. If you don't like toilet humour don't keep reading. He has now been assessed and given the all go to not use the commode any more but sit his butt on the loo like the rest of us. When the house manager asked him if he was happy about this step of progress he answered no. Then she made a big mistake and asked him why he wasn't happy... to which he replied, " well actually I liked using the commode because it was quite interesting letting it go from such a height." She shouldn't have asked!
So what are we praying for:
Still need heaps more improvement in his left leg and foot.
Some of his social skills are having to be re learnt.
But we are very happy with how he is doing and thank God daily.

Monday, February 15, 2010


3 weeks today since we arrived at the rehab ... Today at physio Joel spent 10 minutes pedaling on the exercycle. This was a huge improvement on the last time as he kept a far smoother action. He also spent time stepping up and down a step which helps with his balance. He is getting a bit frustrated with himself when his left foot doesn't go where he wants it to. After a bit of a walk he practiced getting in and out of the car. That accomplished, I whisked him away for a drive down the road for the mandatory ice cream. At first he felt motion sickness, all to do with the brain and balance and stuff, but that soon came right. A small drive in what Aucklanders would call 'coutryside' and then back for lunch and bed.
In the afternoon the speech therapist talked with him about getting different tones and expressions in his face and voice. At the moment the majority of his speech is still monotone and it can cause trouble when he is being humerous or sarcastic, as it can come across fairly pointed. All stuff for him to re-learn. He is taking a wider interest in things happening and talking future stuff at times which is all good. We are also back up to a 12 for his PTA and he seems a little more determined to remember so that he gets rid of the test. 
After dinner, the ladies escaped to watch a chick flick down in Henderson and I was going to walk Joel back to his bedroom from dinner and asked if he wanted to walk a short distance outside. He agreed! Usually he has taken the option of least effort... wheelchair over walking and certainly no more than what is asked for by the professionals. Well we walked out of the house (dont forget walking frame) and started down the drive. I sugested a turning point which he blew off with the comment that, "he wasn't that much of a cripple" and suggested twice as far...which he did! This was great to see coz it was self motivated. Long may it continue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Valentines special

Just come home for dinner and when leaving Joel he said, “I’m wasted but I have had a great day.” 13 visitors today (not counting his olds): some Tauranga Boys’ College mates, some Bethlehem College mates, some mates of mum and dad and another friend. Chocolates, card, poem, hugs, hand shakes, ice creams, pineapple and laughter all made for a great Valentines Day for our battler. The only official thing of the day, other than food intake, was his PTA test where he scored 10…at least he is being consistent.

So Valentines Day is a day to celebrate ‘love’… or ‘like’ for the more bashful. And while I went for my walk this morning I got to thinking about the people I love and like. Didn’t go down the track of the dislikes but hey none of you are in that category. I don’t want to be defined as the ‘father whose son had a nasty accident’ but more as a ‘father that loved his wife and kids.’ It is going through an event like Joel’s accident that you start to look at priorities and what really counts. It’s not stuff or money or position or fame or possessions; these are worth nothing. This life is about people and relationships. My mind wandered…as it does as you get older…and I thought how some have said how strong our faith has been through all this …but we are the same as you; it is just that God has allowed us to put our faith into action in an extreme context. We would never put our hands up to go through anything like this. And it has not been our faith alone but very much a partnership with all of you who have stood in faith with us and prayed for us and Joel. Well I continued to think of Valentines Day and love and romance and that sorta stuff and I started to think of God’s love for us and I reckon He is a Valentines fan. He gave us the ultimate gift out of His love for us… his son Jesus. I saw a gift being given today and it took two… one to give and one to receive. God has given us all a gift…as receivers what do we do with the gift?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Weekend Again

We arrived today to be met by Joel walking down the hall using his gutter frame (the tall version of a zimmer frame).  He was on his way to the kitchen for morning tea.  Once he had finished his yummy Milk Arrowroot biscuits he hopped into his wheelchair and we went out for quite a long walk down the road ... and just for a change we turned right instead of left.  The most interesting part of the walk was coming across the local Naturist Club ... well just the entrance to their site :-) We took the laptop in today and he spent a bit of time scrolling through his Facebook pages and added a heap new friends.  He also discovered he had 106 emails on his hotmail address which he was pretty impressed about ... but he was too tired to look at them by then.  He had a big sleep this arvo and another walk down the road after that ... this time via the dairy for an ice cream. A little thing I found interesting this evening when he was trying to shake his carton of flavoured milk and it started squirting over his singlet ... was that he got a bit grumpy and then stopped and said, "sorry, I'm just getting a bit frustrated with myself."  I thought this showed some quite good insight on his part into his feelings... which we've been told can take some time to come back / relearn.  He also whispered to me when I was giving him his good night cuddle ... "sorry for giving you this scare, mum."

Friday 12th

Yesterday was another full on day for Joel with lots of lying on the bed and sleeping. Oh and he had a strenuous physio session. Not anything that would tire us out but he was whacked at the end of it. Anne did a lot of work with him standing, walking, stepping and even hitting a ballon while standing. Now that sounds not too hard, but for Joel it was all about strengthening his legs, moving his left leg and mostly about balance which is still a big issue. But… he did a few steps between the bars without support or holding on! Agony to watch. We had a friend with us during physio and I made the comment that watching is sometimes very hard coz there is the excitement that he is achieving new things and also the reminder how sick he was and still is, compared to his ‘normal’ health. But mostly deep felt gratitude to our God who is loving and powerful and restoring him. They have set new goals for Joel for next week including going up stairs and in and out of the car. The look on Joel’s face when Anne was talking about his goals showed that the stairs scares him a tad, as he doesn’t think he has the balance or the strength to do it…watch this space. My goal is to continue to ask God to reconnect brain and left foot!

Now for something a litle different…Joel has one of those fancy beds where you hold down a button and it lifts his head, and also for the legs and up and down. Mother decides to have a play…mmm…manages to get Joel nearly folded in half and then pushes the up button and when about one and a half metres off the ground the bed decides to stop. Everyone thinking that this was the full extension of said bed were all reasonably happy until… mother pushes the button to bring him down from such heights…and nothing happens! He is stuck in this elevated position and father realises that it is far too high for the hoist to lift him off the bed… but father keeps this to himself. So after mother has a panic and a nervous giggle and Joel has some interesting questions and statements re his predicament, father is despatched on a search and rescue mission to find out why the bed is not cooperating. After climbing under it and mother coming to help, we find that a power cord had been caught on the foot thingy and slightly pulled out a plug from the ‘black box’. And so Joel came down from his lofty position much to the relief of mother, father and a protesting Joel who was asking why she had done it in the first place. (Now I won’t say anything here about woman drivers, whether it be beds or any other mechanical device)

Had my blood pressure done by one of the nurses and it is all good … so don’t worry about me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A comment on comments

Lots of people have had difficulty placing comments so last night I had a look around the ? whatever it is and found a thing called settings. I clicked this and wow to my surprise there is this other thingy that says that comments have been restricted to intelligent people only. No, it was restricted to...I'm not sure what it was restricted to... but it said it was I clicked the thingy that said comments were open to all comers. So that might make a differance! Have a go... you might be surprised. Sometimes when making comments it will reject the first attempt but accept the second or third, so I hope this all helps.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have just polished off a very nice sirloin steak courtesy of my lovely mother in law! She’s the best! I wasn’t allowed chips with it…I think it might have something to do with Eamons comment, but I ate my salad then ate the steak!

Joel has continued to improve. He is taking a keener interest in things and his reasoning has improved a little. We have now talked him through the accident and the month that he has no recollection of at all. Last night he was asking about the blog, how we got to start it and why and how many people are looking at it and praying. This is the first time I have seen another emotion other than humor/smiles. He hasn’t started laughing out loud yet but does smile at funny things but when he realized how many have been touched by his accident he had tears well up in his eyes. He was a little overwhelmed by your guys love, prayers and the interest you have shown. This morning I took in my lap top and showed him all the pics that we have taken as a record of his recovery and I think he is starting to gain some perspective on the severity and seriousness of what happened. It is like watching someone coming back to life in slow motion.
The physio had another good session with him today. First he ungainly managed to perch himself on the exercycle. This is the second time for him...  the first time I found so sad to watch that I didn’t write about it. This time he was sitting more upright, still supported on both sides and he pedaled for 5 minutes. Because of the lack of brain messages going down his left side every time his left foot came to the top it would stop and he would have to concentrate to get the circular motion going again but he did his 5 mins which earned him an ice cream later in the day. He then did his exercies and to finish his hour session went for another walk. This was even better than yesterday as nobody had to guide where his left foot went. Sometimes he has to have a second go at placing it in the appropriate place to keep moving in a straight line but we are very proud of him. Anne (physio) has now trained the caregivers about his special needs re walking and he is allowed to walk in his house with 2 caregivers for support. This is huge for him as now he can get to the loo in a little more dignified manner. Cheryll and I have also done our ‘basic training’ and are allowed to help him from his bed to the wheelchair and back again after a walk or whatever.
This has all been so promising that they are now saying that in a couple of weekends we may be able to take him out for the weekend. Sadly Tauranga is out of the question due to the distance but Nana and Poppa live under an hour away so we might venture north to give him a change of scenery.
PTA test…after scoring a 12 then 11 then 12 they changed the flash card pics and he was down to 9 today missing the 3 picture cards but that is normal and ok. He is also getting a little annoyed with himself that he can’t remember and keeps asking us. We aint telling coz we aren’t allowed to... and can’t remember! But this is showing that his motivation and reasoning, even if small, is coming back!
When talking about the blog and mentioning how we have been putting prayer requests on it for specific things, Joel has asked for people to pray for something. He has asked if everyone could pray that his brain and his left foot could start talking to each other. He has no control of it at all and would love to be able to walk and lift it while walking instead of relying on a splint. Thanks so much for partnering with us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Day...

Today Joel excelled himself with a 40 metre walk...please refer to photos and previous posts for a description of 'walk'! He was nearly about to give up after 20 metres until one of his mates arrived and so he turned around and walked all the way back again. The doctor has given him a check up and has discovered that he has double vision in his right eye just when looking down and slightly to the side... something to do with a muscle that isn't working yet. He (the Dr.) is reducing his anti-seizure drug so that's good and he is very pleased with his progress. Joel is getting more interested about what's going on and gets a bit demanding when tired... he's doing a lot less sleeping during the day now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some snaps of our Joel


Just a short blog tonight ... we were back to an 11 again on his PTA score ... but I found it interesting today that he now and then asks me out of the blue, "what were the three pictures I have to remember Mum?  Were they a toothbrush, keys and ...?"  I, of course, can't tell him (and by the way I actually can't remember the third one myself even though I saw it when he was doing the test!!) but it does show that he is now remembering that he has these pictures to remember and he is trying to recall them off and on to keep them in his head.  Hannah reports that physio went well (I was taken out for coffee with a friend during his physio time and Kevin was in Tauranga today) and he is now allowed to transfer from the bed to his wheelchair with 2 people helping him instead of using the hoist.  This is great news because it makes it a whole lot easier and quicker for both him and the caregivers.  Hannah and I gave him over an hour of foot massage this evening (one on each foot) and he was lapping it up ... we'll have to watch that he doesn't start enjoying the sick role :-) 

Just want to say thank you again to all of you who have been praying, sending cards and letters, offering help and support, given, cooked meals and yummys, visited, phoned, txted, read the blog, posted messages ...  and more!  We have been truly blessed and please know that we are so grateful for everything people have done for us and Joel over the last month :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who loves mondays?

So where to start? I am starting to enjoy Mondays coz after the weekend rest we can see what has happened with Joel during the rest time. To start with...after having a string of 11 out of 12 for his PTA test, today he scored 12! Now the trick is for him to do it 3 times in a row. But what we didn't know is that when he hits a 12, the pictures on the flash cards get changed making it a little harder for him. But hey he got a 12!
And yet again we have to report that he is a little more alert than yesterday.

Then off to the gym for his physio and he now moves with less support and no slide board from the wheelchair to the bed. They work with him to stand and with zimmer frame in place and only two support people he goes for his walk. Slow, ungainly... but they are called steps! A big improvement from Friday was that he was able to swing his left foot through by himself even though at this stage it is still what they call a 'drop foot'.  Out onto the deck and then the slow struggle to the other end of the deck...the 8 metre walk. But this time he sits in a chair for a while for a rest and then stands again and walks back... 16 meters today. So he started Thursday with 8 steps, Friday 8 metres and today 16 metres...discounting weekends, I wonder how many days it would take him if he keeps doubling his output to walk a very slow marathon?

After that it was back onto the bench bed thing to do more exercises especially for his left leg to help strengthen it and the brain responses to get it moving properly. After this the poor man was whacked so off for lunch then back to bed for a 2 hour sleep. Normal afternoon and evening... but overall a great day.

Another real highlight is that he all of a sudden finds that he can read more clearly close up! Eyes functioning properly! Thankyou Jesus.

After 2 days away for work committments, Hannah returned and was really delighted to see that Joel was 'more' Joel than she had seen, so she saw a real change in 2 days. But it is not just about us as there are others here that we see and talk to...and pray for, and one family have seen changes in their child which are answers to our prayers that we have shared with them! So we have asked them for the next thing they want to see in their daughter and it is that she might start communicating! So we pray.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lazy Sunday...

A lazy Sunday? Or a great opportunity to be with your son! Joel and I have spent a bit of time together today discussing his accident and what has happened since as he has no recollection of any of it. He even asked if we have been visiting him all the way through…and he remembers no visitors at the hospital. So today he asked to look at his scar for the first time. He had a gork at it in the mirror and said, “That’s pretty radical.” The word ‘radical’ sorta rang in my ears for a bit. Coz Joel for several months while talking to me about his future had often commented, “Dad I don’t want to just be an ordinary boring Christian but want it to be radical and count for something.” Made me start to wonder if this was the beginning of the answer to that sorta desire and prayer. During our conversation today Joel has started to acknowledge that he feels that God has been with him and looked after him…and also said that the last couple of days he has been thanking Jesus for what He has been doing in his life! His reasoning is slowly returning and he has commented that his eyes are ‘behaving’ a lot better. So even though it was a lazy Sunday it was also a very rewarding one and I’m thankful for the ‘more of Joel’ that I saw today.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday...the weekend

Now I thought this whole thing about 'Bogans' and 'Westies' was all a bit of an urban myth ...but it aint. Now that we have lived out here in the west of Auckland I can confirm that it is not myth.  Grown men with pony tails and mullets and tatoos of  'I love Mom' and Fords and Holdens and Valiants and all that stuff is everyday life here. And the other thing is that out in the wild west the traffic light rules are very seems to be the new green! If you slow down for an orange light you risk cars entering the rear of your vehicle or at the very least honking of horns and odd hand gestures...

Why have I written all that? So that you had something to read. Nothing much happens here in the weekends as the physio's and OT's don't come in, so it's just routine stuff... breakfast, wash, back to bed, up into chair, lunch, back to bed for rest, up again for dinner then back to bed for sleep preparation. To relieve the monotony Joel had the delight of another 3 great mates arriving. Like the last lot these 3 are legends...driving up from Tauranga to spend what could be seen as a dull, boring day and then driving back again. We thank God for such neat friends for our son and that they are so committed to encouraging him! Another day similar tomorrow probably...

Friday, February 5, 2010


Kevin, Hannah and I started off the day with a meeting with Joel’s ACC case manager from Tauranga. She was very lovely and helpful. ACC gets a lot of flack at times but we’re very grateful for all they’re doing for Joel’s rehabilitation.

Yesterday it was 8 steps … today Joel walked 8 metres. As Kevin stated yesterday, don’t think of walking as striding on out … it is slow and deliberate and he uses a frame that he rests his arms on for support. His left leg is still quite a bit weaker and he is still unable to move his left foot up and down. This makes walking difficult as he can’t lift his foot up to swing through. His physio put a splint into his left shoe to help keep the foot up when walking. He was pretty keen to walk to the end of the deck as Kevin had promised to push him to the nearby dairy for an ice cream if he tried really hard during his physio session.
This afternoon he was pretty chatty and instigating quite a bit of the conversation. He is showing a lot more expression on his face and his smile is much more natural looking now. He gets a bit grumpy after a while of sitting up in the wheelchair as it tires him out and all he wants to do is get back on his bed.
Please can you pray for Joel’s left foot … that he starts to move it up and down. Also that he would be able to see things that are close up clearly. Thanks team :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wednesday & Thursday

Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes that got sent to Joel via texts and mail :-)

Joel was really tired on Wednesday so he slept a lot of it and had a mediocre effort with the physio.

But after his day of sleeping he bounced back, today, very well. It was the first day that he put in a whole hours work with the physio in the gym, did all his exercises and to cap it all off, proudly took his first steps in a month. Now before you all sart having visions of him prancing took 3 of us, plus an oversized zimmer frame to get him there. The physio Anne was on his weak side making sure his left knee didnt pop sideways and also supporting him, Mary the OT on his right supporting and moving the walking frame forward, and me bringing up the rear pushing his bum in so that he stood straight rather than slumping forward. 8 steps, not overly glamarous and only about six inches long but 8 steps never the less! Then lunch and back to bed for a couple of hours sleep as he was bushed again. The last 3 days he has scored 11 outa 12 for his PTA test so he is close to the magical number...and so we prepare for another round tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What happened yesterday

Big day for us all yesterday. Joel had a great visit from his great mates. These guys are legends, the sorta friends that you want your kids to have. His 4 best (male) mates have all visited in the last 2 days and it has been very good for him. Joel still gets tired quickly with visitors but we are sure it will help in his motivaion to get better and I think they all get excited when they see the changes in him. 

The last few days he has scored 10 for his PTA test but yesterday got 11. The staff are happy with this but as we have already said his improvment will be much more rapid when he has reached the milestone of 12 x 3 days. But wait there's more...Joel did a 55 minute session with the physio and stood up (with help to get up). He actually stood on his own two feet for 2 minutes with a physio behind him and in front of him to help support him.  There was a bit of swaying as he concentrated to stay upright but they clocked him for 120 seconds. The 2 main reasons for his lack of drive and motivation is his fatigue level and due to frontal lobe damage in his brain. He is still struggling to see close up but his distance sight is good...although he sometimes squints one eye in order to focus.

Yesterday we had a 'round the table' family confrence with the staff that are involved in his care. They are all very encouraged and excited about how much progress Joel has made in the first week here. Although the speed at which he is improving is extremely good they emphasised that we are still looking at about  3 months before he will be ready to come home.  The thing that hit me was how encouraging and positive this meeting was about the future. The time frame is a calculated test as it all depends on Joel and how he is responding.

Prayer points:
That Joel's eye sight would be healed
That his intrinsic motivation would start
That his legs would continue to strengthen (especially the left side)
12 for 3 consecutive days in his PTA
Praise and thanks for what has and will happen!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Joel had a lovely birthday albeit not what he had planned for his 17th.  He had pizza and more than his share of lollies.  He said it was ok to put a couple of photos up so there's an early one and one from today.  It's hard to believe that the photos are only 3 weeks apart. Thanks Shelley for the yummy birthday cake you brought up :-)

17th Birthday

Happy birthday Joel
we all love you


Hope you had as gooda day as us. Joel was served breakfast and up till now someone has fed him... but one smart nuse yesterday morning stuck it on his table and said he was to feed himself and he did! Now that may not sound much to you but to us and the staff it was 'one small step for Joel and one giant leap towards full recovery.' Lunch, dinner and drinks are all now self fed! While in his wheel chair he managed to self propel it 10 meters which is also a great acheivement. On his PTA test today he scored 10 outa 12 and so they continue until he gets 3 days scoring 12. While sitting with him up on the deck he stated to wheel his chair but got frustrated coz the front wheels twisted sideways and he couldnt budge it...he was frustrated and when I asked why his answer shocked me. "I was heading for the steps to go down them." Flip... I was wondering what was going on in his head...then he said, "I was only going to go towards them to see how fast you could move." Ratbag!

If you start to wonder if God is still doing healing in Joel you gotta believe it.  There are 3 patients with similar injuries, one of them being Joel. Neither are yet talking, eating by mouth or moving around as much as Joel. (We're praying that they catch up to him soon).  Prayer is powerful.