Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17, 2007 Father's Day

Wow, what a Father's Day this has been!

Richard got his hair cut yesterday. He just decided yesterday morning that it was time to get it done and wanted me to go with him "to make sure they cut it right". So, off we went to the Hair Cuttery in Chester and Richard came out with a nice "Richard Gere" type hair style.

Mack had his evaluation done on Friday, instead of Thursday, as it was originally planned. The doctor seems to think Mack is doing well and ordered more physical therapy for him and a CT scan that will be done on Wednesday, this coming week. We'll know more after we get the CT scan results.

We went to visit Mack today and Jason and Kristen were already there with him when we got there. Mack seemed to be in very good spirits today, although he still gets tired easily.

I think he thoroughly enjoyed seeing Jason and Kristen again. Jason and Mack had a water pistol battle for a little while and that made Mack happy. Richard and I took Mack some cold watermelon (like a pint size container full) and he ate it ALL! He will eat when he gets something he likes. He really likes to eat crushed ice and it seems that once we give him a little crushed ice to eat, then he will eat his food better. I wonder if it's more about him being thirsty, than being hungry. We take him juice boxes, but he doesn't always want those. Maybe there are only certain flavors he likes.

The biggest thing that happened today is that Mack actually wrote his name on a plain piece of sketch pad paper and also wrote I love you - twice, without any help or assistance.

Below is Mack's first attempt at writing. I wrote his name and I love you in big letters, and you can see where he wrote his name and tried to write I love you - maybe copying what I wrote. Then, I turned the page and asked him to write something he wants to tell me and he wrote I love u on his own without any prompting or copying. That was the best Father's Day present Mack could have given his Dad (and me too!).

One of our friends, Tommy Saunders and his wife, were also in Nevada/Arizona while we were on vacation. (we didn't know it then.) He took some spectacular pictures at the Grand Canyon which he's given me permission to put on the blog site. I hope you all enjoy them as much as we have. Tommy, you are one heck of a photographer!

Aren't these pictures beautiful?

I just love this one with the stars shinning in the night sky! Please click on each picture to enlarge it and fully appreciate the colors.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers who read this blog.

'Till next time,
All the best to everyone,
Ruth & Richard

Thursday, June 07, 2007

June 7, 2007 - Las Vegas Vacation

This picture of Richard and me was taken inside the Paris Casino in Las Vegas.
I didn't realize that time has flown by so quickly since the last time I updated the blog. Lots of things have happened in the past month both at home and also with Mack.

Mom sold her house and is packing up her stuff and getting ready to move. She will be moving into a mobile home once it is built and set up on a lot for her. We're still undecided where she's going to move to. Most likely it will be near where she lives now. She will probably have about 4 weeks to decide while they're building the mobile home to her specifications. Then we'll have to move her into it. Moving her into her new home won't be too tough, but getting the rest of her "stuff" she's not taking with her out of that huge house will be. It's probably going to take Richard and me at least 2 weeks or more to get it cleaned out, I'm sure. And most likely it will be when the weather turns hot. I dread the thought.

Mom has also been in the hospital for chest pains recently. The Friday, May 18 before the Saturday when we were to fly to Las Vegas, we got a phone call from the JRH emergency room saying that Mom went in there for chest pains. Needless to say, I panicked. We had tickets to fly out on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Mom is in the emergency room with chest pains. I almost cancelled the vacation, but I didn't because Mom insisted that we go on vacation. Finally, on Saturday evening, the doctor released her to go home after running lots of tests and keeping her under observation for 24 hours. We left on Saturday as planned, but I called her every day to check on her and so did my neighbor Shari.

Las Vegas was a blast! Belinda and I had never been there before, so it was all new to us. Richard said he hadn't been there in almost 30 years, so everything has changed since he was there last. We also went to see Hoover Dam and drove to Arizona into the desert, through Joshua Tree National Forest, and on to a real working ranch in the desert, surrounded by a huge mountain range. It was beautiful! A friend at work told me about the many free things to see in Vegas, so we scouted around and found them all. Most of them were really spectacular. We did pay for a couple of shows we wanted to see, but that was all. I bet we walked 10 miles a day touring Vegas and the casinos, but it was worth it. Girls, I recommend that you go to see "Thunder From Down Under" if you're ever in Las Vegas or if they're touring in your area.

Yep, that's me standing in the back in the picture with the guys! (remember, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them - only the picture now!)

They each autographed the booklet for me. What a memory that will be when I get OLD! :)


Seems that Mack has improved quite a lot this past month. On June 14th he will be brought back to MCV for a re-evaluation because of recent signs of improvement. Richard still goes down to visit with Mack and check on him three times during the week; then, he and I go to visit him together on Sunday. Mack has shown signs that he can recognize numbers, plus basic adding and subtracting using his fingers. Richard has been working with him asking him to give him a thumbs up if he's okay and a thumbs down if something is not okay. Then, one Sunday mid-May Richard, Belinda and I went to visit him. Richard asked him how many Pollocks does it take to screw in a light bulb and Mack held up two fingers. Then I asked him how many people were there to see him and he held up one finger. Richard corrected him and said that no, three people were there to see him and asked Mack to hold up three fingers - and he did. Mack has also been nodding his head to yes and no questions. Just recently Richard has asked Mack what two plus two is and Mack hold up four fingers. He holds up one finger if you ask him what is four minus three. Mack can put 5 of the different shaped blocks through the shaped holes into the bucket, but he still has a little trouble putting the one in the middle. He's also progressed with his etch-a-sketch from doing scribbles to trying to write letters. Last Sunday I told Mack that his Dad's birthday was on Monday and to write Happy Birthday, Dad. Mack definitely tried to write an H and the A, but when it didn't look right to him, he scratched his head and gave up. He will turn his electric razor on and off and try to shave himself, but he misses more than he shaves, so we still have to help him shave. Lately, Mack has not wanted to eat his food. When he's done, instead of swallowing the last bite, he holds it in his mouth like a chipmunk until someone notices it and removes it. For some reason, he won't spit it out or swallow it when we tell him to, so we have to use his toothbrush and a basin to remove it. I'm afraid he might get chocked if someone doesn't notice it soon enough. Last Sunday, he was in his chair at the nurses' station when we arrived to visit him. I noticed immediately that he had a mouth full of something again. So, I asked him if he had something in his mouth and he shook his head no. Then Richard asked him again, saying "are you sure, because it sure looks like you have something in your mouth". Again, Mack shook his head "no". Then, we got the basin and toothbrush and started checking - sure enough, he had a mouthful of leftover food he was holding on to. Once we got him taken care of, Richard started telling him some jokes and Mack started laughing - sometimes with sound. The one particular incident happened on Sunday that Mack (and I) thought was really funny. We had him outside in the courtyard on the porch. I spotted a turtle hiding behind a bucket, picked it up and put it on the table beside Mack for him to watch. Then, Mack held out his hand like he wanted to hold it, so I put it in his right hand. Richard was sitting on Mack's right side and I was on his left side. Mack held the turtle for a couple of minutes and all of a sudden, the turtle started peeing and peed on Richard. Well, Mack thought that was the most hilarious thing he'd seen in a long time and got a good laugh out of it. Of course, I laughed too, 'cause it WAS funny as heck. Later that afternoon, David, Crystal, Matthew, Cora and Lindsey came to visit Mack too. Mack looked very surprised and happy to see them. We all had a good time just telling jokes and visiting with Mack.

Please send Mack lots of good luck at his next evaluation on June 14th and keep those prayers going. We know that he wouldn't have gotten this far without each of your prayers, good wishes, and support.

Until next time, may God watch over you and bless you,

Ruth & Richard