Dad's notes on Lisa's recovery

October, 1998

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Ann Arbor - 10/26/98 03:00 AM Central Daylight Time - Mike
Friday night, Lisa was laying in bed at bedtime and started crying. We asked her what was wrong and she said she missed Amy. This was kind of a breakthrough for us, so far, when she's mentioned Amy's death to us spontaneously, it's been pretty much "matter of fact", this was very much more the type of pain and grieving we're used to. Very mixed blessing when your five year old starts grieving like an adult.

Last Wednesday night, dad went to a taping of a local talk show (Amyre Makupson?). The topic was "Drinking and Driving: the truth". I've posted some comments elsewhere.

Lisa's been to school (Eberwhite) three times.

The first time was from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. a week ago Friday (Oct 16?). She came just after the kids went out to the playground. Mrs. Anderson called them over group by group (about 5 kids per) and they introduced themeselves to Lisa. She knew two kids from the past: Sam Mikol from CDC and Diana Hassler's little brother Ryan. Quickest new friends were Elise and M... (I have to get her name, sorry!)

She did some walking around the play structure - dad following her to make sure she keeps balance, doesn't get bumped, etc. She had fun and there were no events, not even any real scares.

Afterwards, everyone headed back inside for story time.

She went back again last week on Monday and Wednesday (? - need to verify with mom), about an hour each day.

Her reaction to being there has been great and the kids have been good to her and good for her.

Lisa's physical mobility is good, but she's still shaky in a lot of respects. She's been OK'd to start running a bit, something I've been hoping for the last few weeks. Hasn't started, but did a little hopscotch today with Fumika, Chiharu, and Ayano.

Something interesting to report about her short-term memory. Tonight I read Sendak's "Chicken Soup with Rice" to her. Then, she wanted to read it to me. I gave her the book and she remembered a lot of the powm. With some prompting, she was able to remember maybe half of the verses. Some of the phrases were out of order, but the elements were there. Very exciting stuff.

I've been playing writing games with her. At Eberwhite (Mrs. Anderson) and at Med Rehab (Angie) , they take the approach of letting the kids sound out the words, spelling them phonetically even if they're wrong. Lisa and Amy had always worked together, Lisa asking Amy "how do you spell PLEASE" or whatever. If she was with Jean or I, it was the same approach. We're trying to encourage her to work the other way. She objected the first few times, today she tried it twice. At home, she wanted to write something like "DO NOT CROSS" on a chalk line on the porch. We let her sound it out. It ended up "NTCRS". (I'll try and go back and get the actual words later)

The next step in getting Lisa's life back to normal will be two trips to Eberwhite this week - one hour per day.
Ann Arbor - 10/12/98 14:00 PM Central Daylight Time - Mike
It's hard to believe that it's been this long since I've paged the page, sorry to all. In brief, the reason is that dad's been pretty demotivated. No details here, this is Lisa's page.

And Lisa's doing great!

This weekend, for instance, she went to a pumpkin patch with Noah Kaczor and Sam Mikol, then to Taylor for an open house at the fire department. (Uncle Vince is on the force there.) Then, on Sunday, a visit and dinner with Julia Caproni and Leah Penner.

She's walking much better. We still have someone hold her hand, but she's much more stable. She has an aide several hours a day which makes life workable for mom and dad.

She's having a good time with her teacher and speech therapists - working on the seasons, days of the week, and memory exercises like telling what a story was about after hearing it.

Lisa's mentioned missing Amy several times, we're talking with her about it and she seems to be doing better. It's hard to tell. At her age, she doesn't have the same sense of finality about it that we do. We don't see her break down and cry, but we know she's sad in her own way.

There are plans we're working out with her rehab team to get her into school sometime soon. She will probably go in for half an hour a couple of days a week to start with, increasing it as she seems to handle it OK.

Mrs. Anderson at Eberwhite has been wonderful - enthusiastic and supportive about Lisa getting started there. We're really looking forward to seeing Lisa at the ANT table with her other new buddies.