Friday, November 23, 2007


The first picture is of Mack and Richard on the front porch at Trinity Mission Convelescent Center in Farmville in September, before he was transferred to Healthsouth in Petersburg.

The second picture was taken after Mack had been at Healthsouth for about 3 weeks. He looks more alert and content.

The third and fourth pictures were taken after Mack had been at Healthsouth for about a month. He ate cantaloupe and was laughing at pictures I showed him on the laptop.

The fifth picture was taken yesterday when we had him at home for Thanksgiving.

He was giving all he had into playing the piano for us. He obviously needs to improve quite a bit more to be able to function on his own again, but we have seen huge progress in him in the past six weeks. We talk with Mack explaining frequently that he is in Healthsouth so they can help him progress more rapidly and that he needs to cooperate and work hard with them to help him. He WANTS to get better and he says he is trying to do what is asked of him, but sometimes it's hard and he gets really tired. Mack has never been a quitter and I believe that he will prevail in due time. Please help us to encourage him to continue his progress and to never give up. He can do it and will!

Thanks for your support and encouragement,

Ruth & Richard

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day - November 22, 2007


Thinking back on this past year, I can honestly say that Richard and I have quite a lot to be thankful for. First, we have each other to lean on to get through the rough spots but we also share our joys large and small. Life is so much better when you have someone you love to share it with. We are also very thankful for our family and friends who have been there for us this past year. It would have been so much harder to go through Mack's recovery and Mom's illnesses without your support. And of course we are very thankful for Mack's guardian angels (the staff at Trinity Mission Convelescent Center of Farmville and the staff at Healthsouth in Petersburg) who have been taking care of him. Mack's recovery has been astounding over the past 16 months, but it has been particularly miraculous over the past 6 weeks, since he has been at Healthsouth.

This morning Mack was in his usual daily physical therapy session at Healthsouth. They gave him a cut out maple leaf to color or write on. After attempting to color the edge of the leaf, they asked him what he was thankful for and he wrote "DAD" on the leaf. You can imagine how that made Richard feel when the nurses gave him the leaf and told him the story. Richard came home this afternoon still pretty emotional, but very happy. When he told me the story, I had the same reaction and I told him that if he had any doubt about how Mack felt about him, this erased the doubt.

Richard picked Mack up from Healthsouth today and brought him home for Thanksgiving dinner. Mawmaw was here too. We had turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato/pineapple casserole topped with toasted marshmallows, collard greens and kale, cranberry sauce, winter veg. mix; tea and Mawmaws pumpkin cheesecake. Mack ate a little bit of turkey, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato casserole and a lot of the broccoli. He didn't eat as much as we hoped he might, but he did eat. His aunt Carol Sue and uncle Kevin came by to visit with him for a while. Richard pushed Mack's wheelchair up to the piano and asked him to play something and he began to play the keys at random trying to pick out a melody that he was familiar with. Then, Richard started playing some of the familiar songs that he and Mack used to play together and Mack started playing, trying to join in like he used to. I asked Mack to play chopsticks and he began to play the beginning 3-4 chords of it without being prompted further or shown how to do it. That was amazing! We were all overjoyed seeing him responding to the keyboard that way. I have a feeling that he will play again soon.
Since Mack has been at Healthsouth, he has learned to pull himself along the wall rail in his wheelchair with his right hand. He also shuffles his right foot and pulls himself along. This past week, Mack told Richard twice that he needed to go to the bathroom, which he has never done before. He has learned to catch the nerf football and he also throws it back, which is new. His left arm and leg are much more moblie than they were when he came to Healthsouth six weeks ago. He talks more to everyone now, but still has times when he is tired and shakes his head yes or no. Shevon has even gotten him to do a little dance with her and spiderman. Last Sunday Mack had taken Magic, put his hand inside, bounced him around as though he was jumping and made Magic's mouth move quite a few times because Mack wanted to make me laugh. Mack also brushes his teeth on his own once Richard gets him started and he has also shaved himself with the electric razor. He actually did a fairly good job of it. Oh, Mack also waves goodbye now and gives good hugs without biting. That is quite an impressive list of accomplishments for Mack in six weeks. We hope and pray that he will continue to progress as he has been for the past few weeks. We want to give a huge thank you to the staff at Healthsouth for everything they have done for Mack, and for the kindness and patience they've shown to us and other members of his family.
Count your blessings daily. Say "I love you" to those you love each day. Have a kind word for a neighbor or friend when you see them. See the good that people do and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Take good care of your pets and love them.
Happy Thanksgiving,
Ruth & Richard

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007

These are pictures of Mack in November of 2006, about a year ago. He had started to come out of the coma and we were giving him foam swabs to drink water from. Since then, Mack has gained weight (about 20 pounds or so). He used to weigh 119 at the lowest end and 135 at top end before the accident.
Now, November 2007, he is drinking from a straw, and sometimes, eating regular food with a fork or spoon. He is sitting up in a wheelchair and moving his left arm a lot more than he was two months ago. The BIG thing since last November, he started talking since these pictures were taken. He continues making progress, even though he does get discouraged now and then. He is aware that something is wrong with him, but still hasn't quite comprehended just how severe his accident was. He, like the rest of us, has his good days and bad days. We still have to watch out for him wanting to bite, especially when he's uncomfortable about something. That's when he usually tries to bite.
It is so much better for him and for us, as well as the rest of the family, having him nearby in Petersburg, than making that long trip back and forth to Farmville. We've noticed an improvement in his hygiene since he has been at Healthsouth. Those things make a difference in how he feels about himself too. Richard has been there everyday since Mack has been moved. He's working with Mack asking him questions and telling him jokes in order to get him to remember things and keep his brain active and stimulated. Mack has been going through physical therapy regularly for about three weeks and we can already see an improvement in the movement of his left arm and his legs. Richard also shaves him, washes his face with Noxema because of the acne, cuts his hair, helps Mack brush his teeth, feeds him and whatever else needs to be done for Mack on a daily basis.
We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween. Richard took Mack a small bag of candy for Halloween and spent most of the evening with him while I stayed at home and answered the door for the trick or treaters. It won't be long before Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for this year. We are counting our blessings daily and keeping the hope that one day Mack will be able to walk again.
Much love to all,
Ruth & Richard