Six weeks already!
Oscar and I arrived back in Berkeley a month ago Tuesday. While I’d (naively) thought we’d be able to continue at the slower pace we’d grown accustomed to in NJ while recuperating, Oscar and I were both thrust back into normal life…with carpooling, logistics, meetings and appointments.
To start, Oscar (unbelievably) went to school for a few hours a couple of days after we got home. Yes, at 2.5 weeks! I wanted to meet the new Head of School and he wanted to see his friends. He was greeted with a welcome sign on the doors and lots of hugs and smiles from teachers and pals. He went to his regular math class and then, in English class, his teacher pulled up all the photos I had posted on Caring Bridge and he gave an impromptu 20 minute presentation to his class on his surgery and recovery. I heard he even showed off his scar.
The following Monday, at three weeks, he started very gentle physical therapy. I’d made appointments with Ruby’s PT, Andrea, a few months prior to surgery knowing we’d have lots to work on. I was right. Andrea zoomed right in on some basic things that I’d never noticed — like Oscar’s right calf muscle is so tight he rarely ever straightens or puts weight on that leg. His right butt muscle is so weak he swings that leg around instead of through. Oh, and he doesn’t swing his arms when he walks. Instead he tends to hold his right arm close to his body. Here at home we are having nightly walking sessions with Oscar methodically trying to imitate the reciprocal walking pattern most of us employ without thinking. At times he looks like an uncoordinated robot, jerkily marching across the living room. We’ve tried metronomes to help him keep the beat, walking behind him with hands on his elbows, walking in place, and me walking backwards gently prompting his arms to swing at the right times. And then there are the calf stretches, the sidestepping with thera-bands, the squats. It’s exhausting and time consuming but if you know Oscar you know he’s approaching it all with great humor, even laughing at his robotic movements. What a kid!
On the school front, Oscar slowly ramped back up to full school days over the last few weeks. He still needs extra rest and is still trying to catch up on missed work (it’s going to take a while) but his attitude is fantastic. And so is his school. His teachers and specialists are all very proactive and supportive. Everyone is looking out for him, and I’m so grateful!
Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks: