Sunday, November 28, 2010


Well, we made it to Lake Champlain yesterday and then some!  First I took Chico to 'my' hairdresser, Andrea, (An-dray-uh) who I knew has also been in a serious car crash.  I thought it might be helpful for them to chat.  They shared stories, she marveled at his transfers and more to the point: Chico got a great haircut.  All the while huge snowflakes drifted down outside the glass in the parking lot.

We ventured to Waterfront Park on Lake Champlain.  The sky was overcast, visibility poor ("You can't even see any mountains!"), temperature low and the snowflakes were by now tiny and greyish.  They were mean looking.  Over the Lake to the north was this funnel shaped cloud-wider than a tornado, actually more like a wall of cloud, coming down  fast.  You know the look of a cloud sweep?  It was coming.  We didn't care. We were tickled to find the little hairpin ramp into the park from the street and headed for the north end.  It's always interesting to see what is accessible to the handicapped and what isn't.  We trundled over the tracks and began to notice that we were now in a freezing cold cloud of whipping wind. Snowflakes aplenty.  Our glee was only slightly dampened but I did worry that the wind would overturn Chico and his chair.  I held tightly to the handles and walked fast until we got to the photo op for "Chico and the Lake" which really doesn't do the treachery justice. 
Really, there was a sort of blizzard, you just can't see it.

Once back at the Leahy Echo Center we went to see if there was room in The Skinny Pancake for a wheelchair rider.  It looked like there wasn't as we peered inside giving way to all kinds of wind and snowflakes. As we shut the door and turned to leave this guy named Alex came out and assured us that there was room for a wheelchair.  There surely was!  Chico's first meal in a restaurant in  ninety nine or more days was a big success.  He had Eggs Benedict and a maple crepe dessert. Unusually fervant appetite.

He also managed a little time for wallet clean out. 

The weather had cleared when we left.  We went for another lap around the park and had a look out toward Juniper Island-I recently learned its name.  

When we got home we sorted out a few things and then I headed off to Michael Chorney's fiftieth birthday celebration in Montpelier.  Chico stayed home with his disappointment and stiff upper lip.  He assured me that this was an event not to be missed, and that I would hear great music.  Michael's musical genius was reviewed through a retrospective of twelve bands who came together for the event.  It was amazing.  I felt such delight listening to the music and marveling at the passage of time.  (We watched this movie about Ram Das post stroke the night before; it kind of framed my experience.)    Michael played intermittently throughout the evening.  I also saw all kinds of great people that I haven't seen in awhile.  Thank you Anais, Rob, Beth, Mark, other organizers and all you musicians.  That was an Event. 

Today Katy, our neice who lives in DC, came for a nice long visit.  She wanted to see all of Chico's progress, hear his story.  We got to learn about her life this year, her classes, the work she is doing with Globe Med (one aspect of which will take her to work in Rwanda next summer) and her plans for the next Rugby season (nationally ranked top ten team)!  She has a lot going on.  Chico, "I like how she is still herself."   She is open, intelligent, inquisitive, vivacious, sincere= lovely. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Big News

Well, it's all relative, isn't it? Chico was able to put a sock on his left foot today!  Actually, I put it on.  Chico being able to sock himself will be another step.  Although last night he accidentally did put his red no-skid (known as skidless, 'high fall risk' at Albany Med) sock on his left foot in order to walk steadily to the bathroom.  I found him in a laughing fit trying to get it off to put it on the right foot and make his way out of bed.  He must have been sleepy. 

This morning we decided to try putting a sock on the injured foot again for the outdoor excursion.  Chico definately needed assistance.  We are heading out for a walk along the lake in Burlington.  Daring.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

We are ever so thankful for the support of our friends and family, Addison County Home Health, my school support (all inclusive), our lives and Chico's positive prognosis.  Happy Thanksgiving, people.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

[Select parts of] The Week in Review

We're having a cozy evening celebrating Chester's birthday.  I found the greatest recipe for chocolate cake this time in one of Andrea Chessman's cookbooks.  The dessert followed a delicious Chinese dinner courtesy of Anna Sun.  All of this followed a day long headache, a casualty of Chico breaking his glasses by rolling over on them during his self guided PT.  Sadly, I think I threw out his spare pair in an effort to rid our house of useless accident memorabilia-Chico was wearing his shades on the sunny afternoon of the accident. Turns out that case wasn't so useless; it held the spare pair of glasses.  Oh well.  The broken glasses were nothing a little trip to Burlington didn't take care of.  Meanwhile, Chester put in some solid time in the yard raking leaves and bedding down gardens.  It looks great.   It's really nice to be home together.

Yesterday I graduated. from the Vermont School Leadership Project in the company of my 21 courageous colleagues. We've been working together for eighteen months and hope to continue our collaboration for years!  After some great sessions Friday and Saturday, we were honored by Mark Snelling and Tim Donovan, who both gave provocative speeches at the commencement.  I think it is the first of my own graduations that I have attended since high school. It was well worth the trip to Lake Morey, even under these circumstances. 

-Meanwhile, Chico spent his first night at home alone since the accident.  He's not really up to several hours in a car, followed by several hours in his wheelchair in public, and several more hours in a car-especially over two snowy gaps.  This is what his attendance would have required.  He did so well at home!  Chester arrived around lunch time Saturday and they were busy making a congratulatory meal fit for a lama (my favorite meal) when I got home. 

Further back in the week, (sorry for the delayed posting, Tom) Chico returned to the Bristol Planning Commission.  There he recieved a warm welcome in the newly renovated Town Offices.  They are gorgeous and VERY handicapped accessible.  It was a pretty interesting meeting with a guest presentation about some changes happening in downtown Bristol.  Chico's endurance was definately tested.  It was obviously difficult for him to stay for the whole meeting which ended at 9:30 PM, as usual. 

We continue to give thanks for your ongoing encouragement and interest.  We send you Thanksgiving greetings.  We hope you'll have time to enjoy whatever you like and include at least a little time for reflection.

Maybe we'll have some interesting capers to blog about this week. Chico hopes to visit Lake Champlain.  We'll see.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Encouragement Twins

Bristol is really busy outside on a sunny Sunday, let me tell you. 

Chico had two walks today.  One with a kind man named Gary who escorted him to church.  That was nice.  Chico marveled at things he had not noticed before-like the gorgeous stained glass windows in the church with the sun light of day showing them off. 

The second walk was in the afternoon.  Snow is still melting in the shady places on our east facing foundation  and side roof spots.  The warm sun can't seem to reach it.  We returned dishes to people, strolled the streets.  We enjoyed visits with many people.  Two were headed up the mountain to the ledges.  We gave them pointers about time and terrain.  They called us 'The Encouragement Twins.'  I think it was the baseball caps. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Again

How's this for a Friday night?  Close friends bring over a delicious dinner, share it with us at the table and then leave before Chico is too beat to endure any more?  Pretty good, huh?

Chico is doing great.   I believe when I came down this morning he was doing backward leg lifts while lying on his belly.  Crazy fun.  After Shower Number Three Since August 20th, he was resting on his bed in the morning sunlight when I noticed a stray staple in one of his skin grafts...ah yes.  He'd been predicting this.  A little, silver-looking tooth.  Hopefully Chico's skillful nurse will come this week and remove it painlessly as he did the last time Chico spied a staple. 

After a wicked snow and sleet storm last Monday, the weather warmed up nicely.  I played two hand touch football (I hate football) twice this week at school during recess.  It was a blast.  Pam came to get Chico out for a walk yesterday-lucky two.

We just got home from a long (hour and a half) walk around town.  Even though there are some small snow banks in our yard, it was pleasantly warm and the light was beautiful.  Chico is building up endurance.  He's been doing his exercises with weights ever since we got home. I hear puffing and the joy of accomplishment. 

Thanks for your ongoing interest and support.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Great Day

The walk around and down town was a blissful treat.  We sat in the sun outside the bakery.  We met and chatted with great folks all along the way.  FUN.

Mission Foot Soak and Mission Shower have both been completed. 

All is well.

November 7, 2010

We got all of our perscriptions refilled yesterday.  You know what that means?  Chico's been home a month, and I'm familiar with the pharmacists.  Every day brings new progress and new people into our lives it seems.

So the pins came out Thursday.  Chico learned to use crutches on Friday.  Yesterday flew by crutchlessly.  It was a chores and rest kind of day.  Chico does a lot of exercise during the day; leg stuff, arm weights and just the regular getting around the downstairs is pretty consuming.  He has long, restless nights.  Here we are on Sunday=Soak 'n Shower day.  We get to soak the pin foot (it still has blood on the bottom from August) and then try the shower.  I bet that will feel good.  The new complication is the donor site (where the skin was taken off the right leg for the grafts on the left).  It hurts and itches regularly but now it has blistered.  Not handy.  Hopefully the blisters will stay closed so that Chico actually can take a shower.  That would be GREAT.  I'll keep you posted.  I get to go work out first which is an unusual and welcome treat theese days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 27?

Chico went to Albany to see Dr. Hospodar today.  Two pins were removed from his toes, one from the pinkie and one from the next one up.  You've seen them.  Apparently they were just pulled right out.  The first one hurt, the second one didn't.  I wasn't there; this is the home report. 

Our friends Mark and Michael took Chico down to the Medical Arts Center.  The patient said they were, "Perfect." Plain and simple but it doesn't get any better than that.  We are relieved.  Chico is sleeping.  His foot, by the way, still covered, looks increasingly like its old self.  Soak day is Sunday.

More perfection awaits us in the box of pastries Kim dropped off for in my office.  WOW.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Some post Halloween treats for us last night...It was unusual for me to lounge around and read when Chico got up, used his walker to get to the bathroom, use it and brush his teeth.  He was able to roll around in his wheelchair helping as I washed dishes too.  He could put away recycling, reach for things he's not been able to reach for thus far and so on.  More energy, increased mobility.

This morning as I began cruising around downstairs I hear 'Look!  Look!'  He was lying on his stomach!  I'd never seen it before (in this era).  I think he has only done it once before.  Exciting.  Still not much sleep for him.  I am startled by how thrilling this is.  I had to 'edit post' just to convey that.

Apparently he stood erect on two legs yesterday with weight only on one (as per doctor's orders until January) during PT.  He has an awesome therapist.

Hey, don't forget to vote today.  If we could only heal the system as determinedly as Chico has dealt with his.