Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today Brian had his first round of real physical therapy! His first session was at 8:30 am and consisted of the standing machine, the Magic Thinking Cap, and the Robot Arm. 

He had already done the standing machine a few days ago; though this morning his leg was a little painful. His splint wasn't properly seated on his foot and it hurt a bit. We cut that one a little short and moved onto the Magic Thinking Cap. It consists of several electrodes on a skullcap sort of affair. Each electrode vibrates or sends a low electrical charge into his head in a pattern. Brian really like it; he said "It's very relaxing." I though the headtricity was quite appropriate given the resemblance of the standing machine earlier rising up like Dr. Frankenstein's table standing up his monster. (It's alive!!) After that, he moved on to the Robot Arm. It's a sort of splint thing attached to a machine that moves his left arm to stretch it and tone the muscles. He did well with that also. That did it for the morning session.

He had brief stroll (roll!) around the garden and a brief nap. Then in the afternoon session at 2 pm he went back to therapy. The afternoon session consisted of the Terminator Arm, a series of electrodes that stimulate the nerves in his left arm with electricity. Then it was back on the standing machine. He did much better with the standing machine in the afternoon; Sean and Brian worked to stretch his left leg and foot out to get it in more normal position so the splint would fit. Later Sean & Brian went for another little roll-stroll in the gardens and tried to see what effect the therapy had. 

The day before, Sean had tried to raise Brian's left arm above his head. About halfway vertical, Brian started comlaining of pain. Today, after the second therapy session, not only could Brian have his arm raised all the way up without pain, but his left arm as MUCH more limber and pliable! He could actually feel the difference, and later said he felt as if he had gotten more benefit in one day than he's felt in two years! Both Sean and Brian had a very good day today.

Meanwhile, Shane and Grainne finally made it into Beijing City for some shopping. They got some great prizes as souvenirs, including some beautiful silk kimono-style robes for Sean, Brian, and Grainne's roommate Mike. And a wireless iPad keyboard so Sean can post these updates on Grainne's iPad. During the thunderstorms the other day, it seems Sean's laptop got hit by lightning and is now slowly dying, piece by piece. At least Grainne & Shane were able to have a decent meal and wine in town too - a welcome change!

Sadly, when Grainne got home she received an email that her roommate (and good friend) Mike's beloved Aunt Tracey died today. Aunt Tracey had written a series of short stories that Grainne has been reading to Brian. Every story had us laughing, crying and wanting to hug Tracey simultaneously. We're very sorry to hear of her death, and we're keeping Mike and his family in our thoughts and prayers. We're sorry and so sad for you Mike. I'm sorry we're so far away.

So, tomorrow Brian had another to sessions of physical therapy. The next day, Brian's other brother and sister, Jonathan and Nevis arrive! We're all looking forward to seeing them, and to the proper coffee, crisps, tea and goodies they're bringing from Ireland! Can't wait!

Tune in later for more pictres and updates!

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