Then, he got pneumonia. He was hospitalized for several days. Then, was sent home to finish recuperating. I'm not sure that part of the recuperation was for him to get in his truck and drive down to the barn as soon as he arrived home from his hospital stay. I'm also not sure part of his recuperation was to be in a tractor spreading fertilizer after a week at home.
Suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, he began feeling rather bad and my favorite sister-in-law took him back to the emergency room. The doctor diagnosed an infection and began antibiotic treatment. Jim was complaining with some back and shoulder pain. When his fever subsided and he seemed to improve for a couple of days in a row, the doctor considered sending him home.
Wisely, Jim spoke up and let the doctor know that he really wasn't feeling all that much better. In fact, in addition to his upper back and shoulder pain, he was feeling some numbness in his legs. An MRI was scheduled and it was determined that he had an infection around some of his vertebrae. So, emergency back surgery was scheduled. This involved a transfer to a different hospital in a rushed ambulance and surgery performed during the wee hours last Friday morning.
Thankfully, he is now recovering and has been moved to yet another hospital for rehabilitation. The almost complete paralysis in the lower half of his body has improved to where there is only some numbness. He is working hard to improve and is almost re-learning to walk again to get those muscles and nerves back to firing and working properly.
I made a hospital visit yesterday afternoon and was greeted at the elevator by Jim, a hospital technician, and his therapists. The therapist is a tiny little woman who is almost dwarfed behind my brother-in-law and cannot be seen as she is helping to steady him in case of a fall. The technician can be seen peeking over his shoulder. He almost raced around the loop of hallway encircling the elevators while I was there!
He spends his days exercising, taking four IV treatments of antibiotic, and walking. His distance has doubled almost everyday with his strolls around the hallways there at the rehab center. Yesterday while I was there, he made a little over 150 feet.
As I crawl out of bed each morning this week and shuffle around to get my stiff muscles and joints going, I think about how he is walking the walk to get where he is steady and completely independent again and I do a lot less grumbling during my mornings. How thankful we are to see this guy trucking around those halls!
He even has a bit of a smile on his face!