Monday, June 19, 2017

What are the Fergusons up to?

Gosh time flies!  I can't believe we haven't posted anything since November.  But that is mostly because we have been so busy.  Our current adventures included a quick trip to Colorado for the funeral of Patrick's grandmother.  It was such a sad reason for a visit but it was so good to see family and friends.  We have the best support group ever. 

I (Melissa) have been working hard at school.  I am so happy to be able to say that I am officially a Junior now - it sure felt like this day would never come!  After this semester, I will be halfway through the part of the workload that I need to do at BYU-I.  So it's all downhill from here, right? 👍

But even with all of my hard work, Patrick really blows me out of the water.  He has been attending a Financial Self-Reliance class through church, has been working extra hard on becoming more self reliant in every way, and has been working so hard on his physical therapy regime.  He's set a lofty goal for himself, but we really think he might actually accomplish it.  Here's a little taste of what he has been doing, with a promise that he is working on some really incredible things.

We certainly wouldn't be able to accomplish such amazing things without each other's love and support.  I am so grateful that Patrick has been sacrificing so much to allow me to go back and earn my degree.  We are also very grateful for the love, support and encouragement that we receive from our family, friends and health care professionals. We have been so richly blessed with wonderful people that inspire us by their own actions.  Often the inspiration that Pat needs to get to the next step from his walking comes from something that someone else says to him. 

One small example is the Father's Day Gift he received at church yesterday.  If you don't know, one of Pat's biggest inspirations to walk again is a man named Arthur that used to be a paratrooper but lost the ability to walk due to injury and poor health.  But now Arthur is running again.  His motto is Never give up.  For Father's Day, each of the children helped to make cookies and write something special about fathers on the gift tags.  The box that Pat received had a tag that said that fathers are special because they never give up.  I'm sure it was no coincidence!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Walking U progress and what I want for Christmas

At his last physical therapy appointment, the therapist told Patrick something that seemed like it surprised him.  He essentially told Patrick that if he wants to walk, he needs to increase his effort by three times the amount of effort by the next therapy appointment.  He told Patrick that he needs to be doing as many of the daily activities at home as he can with the walker instead of the wheelchair.

It reminded me of what my brother Reed said about meeting his new wife Deborah.  Sometimes in life you need to change your seat.  For Reed, it was a figurative seat change, but for Patrick, it will be a literal one.

It is the shifting of a wheelchair mindset to a walker one.  

I have to confess that when we were first married, I felt like I did a much better job at this.  We would almost always take the Geo metro when we were out and about and so we usually had just the walker.  Because it is so much easier (and faster) to take the van and the wheelchair, I have been guilty of not presenting the opportunity to use the walker as much as we should.

But just watching the therapist ending each session by having Patrick push his wheelchair for a bit is giving me some new ideas.  Even if we don't always have or take the walker, there is no reason that Patrick can't push the wheelchair (or grocery cart) for a few feet on each isle when we grocery shop.  I know it will be hard at first, but isn't every worthwhile thing difficult?

Patrick seems a little bit discouraged by the advice the therapist gave him but I actually see it as a wonderful sign. Because of Patrick's hard work over the past few months, perhaps it is easier to see him walking on his own someday as a possibility.

At our last appointment, the therapist had him working a bit on weight shifting, and eventually had him take a step or two on his own while weight shifting.  To give this proper perspective, Patrick didn't have anything in front of him and the only place the therapist was touching him was a light touch on the shoulder to help him feel more secure.  It brought tears to my eyes because for just a second, I got another little glimpse of how close Patrick is to meeting his goal.  Now we just need Patrick to catch the vision!

So please help me to encourage him in his goal to walk.  When you talk to him, text him, or see him, ask him what he has been doing lately to increase his walking efforts by three times.  Help him think of outside of the box (especially fun) ways to practice walking and strengthen his muscles.

To those who are wondering what to get us for Christmas, I would love nothing more than a box full of ideas on ways to get Patrick to do a little bit more walking each day or activities that help encourage us to change our seat in relation to his walking.

Walking University

First of all, thanks to all of the family members who pitched in and joined us on the Family Fitness Challenge.  It was a great way to kick-start Patrick's walking progress and really helped to motivate him. 

Things have kind of fizzled out with that though, and he is wanting to get himself going again.  After discussing our family goals for the year and the progress we each have made, we decided that maybe Pat needs a more formalized plan. 

We decided to create our own walking plan called Walking University and style it after one of my online classes.  The first thing that we did was to pick a reward and set a time-frame for how long the project is going to run.  We decided that because we are a family that strives for excellence, the best reward would come from getting an A+. 

1.     An A+ is 97-100% and is worth $100. 
2.     An A is 93-96% and is worth $50.00. 
3.     An A- is 90-92% and is worth $30.00. 
4.     A B is 80%-89% and is worth $20.00. 
5.     C and below will not receive any reward. 
Rather than randomly assigning a grade to each day (tried this in the past and it just doesn't work), the grades are based on a points system. 

-        Plan for Success – 25 points
-        Daily homework – 5 points each with a total of 30 points per week
-        Weekly walking projects – 50 points each
-        Therapy visits – 50 points each
-        Mid-term tests (visits with the specialist who runs time-trial measurements) – 100 points each
-        Final essay exam – 300 points each
The plan for success is just Patrick's plan for how he will accomplish his goals, his opportunity to select the homework assignments he wants to work on for this quarter, and a chance to make a list of potential weekly walking projects he will work on.  The one he is working on this week is getting a glass out of the cupboard, filling it with water and carrying it to the table, all while just using his walker.

The final exam essay is made up of 5 questions that Patrick already knows about that he needs to either write a response to or create a video.  These are questions like what did you accomplish, what will you do differently in the next quarter, what did you learn about goal setting and things like that.  I am hoping that he does a video response so that I can post it here for him to be able to refer back to.

We created a rubric to help him know how to grade himself on his daily homework and he is required to report in each day in order to get the points.  Not because he needs someone to keep tabs on him, but because there is a huge benefit to having an accountability partner.

Here is an example from his rubric, based on the 5 daily homework activities he selected.

5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Ready with orthotics on, stretching done Ready by 8 am Ready by 9 am Ready by 10 am Ready by noon Ready by afternoon
Squats for at least 25 minutes with proper form Proper form and more than 25 minutes of squats Proper form  and 15-25 minutes of squats Improper form and 15-25 minutes of squats Proper form and 1-14 minutes of squats Improper form and 1-14 minutes of squats
So far things have been going well and we are almost halfway through the quarter.  We'll keep you posted as things progress.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pat is at the top of the leaderboard

The Family Fitness Challenge is off to a roaring start.  We are currently using Everymove so if you want to join us, please do!  It has been great to see what everyone is up to and to cheer each other on.  (Even if you don't want to track and post your own activity, you can still see and cheer anyone you are following on). 

When I last checked, I wasn't in last place, but it is close.  Now that Pat is on the top, all he can talk about is the activity he intends to do to stay on the top.  It is a refreshing change to see him excited about physical activity, especially stretching and crawling.  I have been taking a few videos of him at his physical therapy appointments that I will try to post or at least post on YouTube and post a link, but just not tonight. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

It's that time again!

What time you ask?  Time for a Family Fitness Challenge.  Or rather, a Family and Friend Fitness Challenge as any who want to participate are welcome.  We are currently researching and voting on ideas, once we have selected one I will post additional details about the one we have selected and how you can join up with us if you want to. 

Patrick is super pumped about it.  Just for fun, here is his motivational picture that we printed at Costco on poster size paper for $6.99 and plan to pin up on our ceiling right above his head so it is the first thing he sees when he wakes up in the morning (his idea!). 

We have been watching some really great youtube videos lately from people who have learned to walk again as an adult.  I think we are going to try to get in touch with a couple of them, sometimes a 15 second glimpse of something someone is doing on a video is enough to get the creative juices flowing in my mind to come up with new and fun ways to challenge him. 


Okay, so the picture is super teeny and I can't figure out how to make it bigger.  But you get the idea!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Guess what today is?

Here's a hint, this is what we had for dinner. 
Apple pie with ice cream and pizza pie

 Poor pat is so confused!  I tried to explain that today is 3.14, but I lost him somewhere.  :)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Setting goals and learning new skills

Some of you might know that Patrick had a goal to walk without any support aids (human or otherwise) by Christmas.  Well you probably might also know that he was not able to make that goal this Christmas.  At the time he made the goal, he knew it was a huge stretch but still wanted to work toward it.  Personally, I think he is doing amazing.  Nothing really big or impressive, just a lot of slow and steady progress.  The biggest way I can tell that his hard work is paying off is when I look at the muscles in his legs.

Yes that's right!  He has muscle in his legs (both of them actually!)  What a blessing to find a specialist who could help him find a dose of medication that would allow his muscles to start develop in his left side.  I sure wish I had measured his calf muscles when he first started, but I didn't.  So while he might not be walking all on his own yet, he is getting so close! 

I have been inspired by his ability to set goals and work toward them, even if he doesn't always accomplish them.  In my health and personal fitness class this semester, we have been talking about all of the dimensions of wellness.  This week we are discussing spiritual and intellectual health and I have been reminded of the need to set new goals and learn new skills so that we can help our brain to maintain its neuro-plasticity.  It is so crucial to healthy aging and for avoiding development of memory and brain related illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease. 

Patrick and I have a habit of making individual and couple goals at least a few times a year and for one of my homework assignments this week, I have to learn a new skill.  This brought up an intriguing thought.  What skills do I want to develop that I don't currently have?  At first I couldn't think of anything, but once my brain started working, I found that I easily came up with a list of 25 new skills I would like to master this year.  Sounds ambitious I know, but if I don't finish them all this year, there is always next year.  And having a concrete list will give me something to refer back to and add on to.  It is my intent to pick one and learn it and then move on to another until I have finished the list, without worrying about how long it takes me to master each one.  In no particular order, here is my list:

-        Learn to rewire a lamp
-        Learn to play the guitar
-        Learn to knit
-        Learn to crochet
-        Learn to type faster
-        Learn to speed read
-        Learn to kick a soccer ball really far
-        Learn to draw
-        Learn 5 new ways to tie a scarf
-        Learn to make tortillas
-        Learn to replace baseboard pieces
-        Learn to make my own table
-        Learn how to install dimmer switches on my lights
-        Learn better knife skills – how to chop like a chef
-        Learn how to sharpen knives
-        Learn how to whistle
-        Learn how to pick a lock
-        Learn calligraphy
-        Learn how to throw a boomerang
-        Learn to play the organ well enough to play in sacrament meeting
Learn how to juggle
      Learn how to put in a zipper on a skirt
      Learn how to make a modest swimming suit from scratch
      Learn three new swimming strokes
      Learn CPR and get CPR certified - DONE!

      Yes, I started at the bottom of the list.  Not sure yet which one I will pick for my project but now I have lots of ideas of how to bring fun into my life.  I plan to run the list by Pat and see if he wants to learn any of them with me.  :)  Fun date nights planned for a while.  :)  

      So my question for you is, what would your 25 new skills be?  Feel free to share in the comments if you want, it is always fun to be inspired by each other.
     I can't resist sharing one last thing.  This week at our Stake Relief Society conference, someone shared this really short Android commercial which I thought was just amazing.  It made me really think about our talents and why we are giving unique talents and what are responsibilities are to increase our talents.  I hope you enjoy it! (Android: Monotune video)