Have you been there? Have you ever been in a place of progress in anything: school, relationships, building a house, painting a bathroom, etc. where you think you are doing GREAT and all of a sudden, 'something' happens that makes you regress? At that moment, either, you fail a test, have a huge argument, the contractor bails, the paint spills or anything else can happen and you think that all of your progress is just for naught.
Well, this is where we were with my dad a couple of weeks ago. We were making great strides with therapy, my dads strength and confidence were growing by the day, and we were setting goals and accomplishing them - until last Tuesday. Then, we had "a bad night". By this I mean we were up for hours with pain, spasms coming in at 3 a minute every minute, and there was no relief in sight. We finally got enough medication in him to stop the pain and spasms but in turn, it 'knocks him out' for about 5 days. Then we have to re-start the process of building strength again, we had cancelled therapy for the entire week and so we start over with all of that, etc. We all admitted we were in a position that our forward progress was hard to see when we were in the process of going backwards.
It is so difficult to watch and to have hope beyond explanation or even belief and then slide backwards so far that your hope is only a mere glimmer in the distance. We were doing great, building strength, and dad was gaining courage each day. We were making steps forward and had finally left the bedroom and made his way to the living room by way of wheelchair for the first time since mid-April. Then Tuesday happened.
We, remembered, though, that Dystonia is a monster that is not easily defeated, but defeatable, none-the-less. We backed up, allowed the Dystonia to calm down, allowed his body and brain to 'reset' over the course of a week, and then decided that we were NOT going to miss out, lay down, and be defeated. Instead, we grabbed the reins of this disorder and began to steer the ship again. The storm came and we got thrown off course, but we never lost sight of the destination - WALKING AGAIN! SO, what did we do, but on this Wednesday, dad took steps for the first time since mid-April, Thursday dad got IN the shower and had water run over him for the fist time since mid-April, Friday he walked to the living room and back for the first time since mid-April and he at dinner at the kitchen table for the first time since mid-April, Saturday dad sat on the couch for the first time since mid-April for almost 2 1/2 hours, and we will be keeping on.
Now, if you have Dystonia, you might find this post frustrating as you haven't had great progress soon and you are still sailing off course somewhere in the midst, but try not to lose the glimmer of hope! We are celebrating today as we never are promised tomorrow, and we are doing what we can to continue the strengthening and encouraging and, as of now, the Dystonia is cooperating. We will continue to fight, continue to strive, and continue to hope for better tomorrows!
YAY for the progress and we are celebrating, tonight, the end of a great week!!!