Tuesday, February 2, 2010


There haven’t been many updates about function, until tonight. The student OT was there working with Brooke, while some good friends were setting out various dishes for dinner; Peggy was at home, catching up on piles of work. The OT tried something new: an arm skate, just a little piece of wood with four small casters screwed to the bottom, set on the smooth surface of the tray table over the bed. The arm and hand rest on the top of the skate, and you try, try to move it back, forth, back. It takes triceps and biceps, muscles that for Brooke have been completely nonfunctional for the past 14 months, and which he’d been told he’d never have the use of. But this is a wonderful never-give-up OT, working on the left hand. Here’s what the dinner guests said in an e-mail they sent me after they got home:

the time with Brooke was positively thrilling. The movement of his left arm was stupendous, amazing, wonderful, unbelievable--and a whole host of adjectives I can't summon up at 11:45.


ed ranney said...

Hi Brooke,

How great to read of the arm-skating exercise - what a great innovation, new development, and spur to increased arm activity. Congratulations to you and your therapist. Sounds like it could a major step to renewed movement, and rather good fun to do!

Good to hear too about the new insights regarding the accident, hope you are able to keep assessing all those intricate details, which I'm sure you process mentally with positive acuity. It also affirms the wonderful role the blog has in terms of moving forward, but recapturing those elements of the past that are important to your progress. I've been sorry to hear you've been bed-confined these last weeks, and do hope you'll soon get back to your chariot, and outside activities! But it's great to hear of your continuing progress on breathing, and the speaking exercises, all very positive.

Recent steady snowfalls here, with weekly storms apparently still coming, so even as days are getting longer, sun stronger, still a white landscape around the ribbons of dark roads in town, lovely, cold, and a bit messy of course. But it is time to be trimming fruit trees, activating compost piles, etc, when there's a break from the ice and snow!

Be in touch soon,

Ed and family

Anonymous said...

Dear Brooke,

I don’t know if it’s been remarked on the blog, but one of the most amazing things about reading it over these months is the discovery that the experiences I’ve had with you, which are so powerful and transformative and positive, so good for me personally and intellectually and spiritually, are echoed by so many others. Of course, of course . . . but it remains a powerful testament to your generous and outgoing spirit. Anyway, all those incredible conversations we shared, whether deep on a multiday backpacking trip, or out biking some utterly empty west desert road, or simply catching a breath or two between intervals at the pool—not even mentioning the amazing classes I got to take with you—those conversations shaped my life and carried me through many, many crises of faith.

I thought about all this on the plane trip home Monday night, and a deep sense of calm and serenity came over me, which lasted until I had to face work again, and all its petty entanglements. My visit with you last weekend was, for me, simply another of those conversations we have shared, better, even, than any of the others. I know that you’ve suffered a great loss and have much to mourn, but the truth is that what you mean to others, the extraordinary gifts of empathy and intuition, are much, much stronger than ever now. I hope that all your friends get to experience such moments with you as I did last weekend. Also I’m very sorry and depressed about your suffering, and I also wish I could take part of the injury for myself. But I wanted to say, it is so clear to me that you’ve never had more to offer others, and I know it is in your nature to want to share it, so I know now why you’re fighting so hard to achieve some physical autonomy which can serve you in your larger purpose. I am going to continue to always, always think of you, and will pray both for you and Peggy, and for you to get home again.

much love,

Lorraine Seal said...

The arm skating news is fantastic. Wonderful news!

And, Mike, your comments are very moving and beautiful. For some of us, who can only share these experiences at a remove, it's good to read of Brooke's extraordinary gifts and their effect on you from someone who can be there with him. Thank you.

love to all,