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Friday, May 19, 2006

One foot

Every house has bedtime rituals. This is ours. Generally I tell Ellie when it is time for bed. Like most kids she tries to negotiate an extension on bedtime. She is generally allowed to do this, but after the bedtime call I won't talk to her (because it's time for bed).

When she gets tired of that (usually about 5 minutes), she'll tell me she wants to go to bed. She'll lay on the floor on her back and stick up one foot, calling out One foot!

Somehow it has become our tradition that I carry Ellie to bed upside down by one foot at bedtime. She's very particular about it. On some nights when I'm tired I try to cheat and hold her by both ankles. But she won't have it. One foot. That's it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Busier than busy

So with finals behind, you'd think things would start calming down. Not true. It's more like the floodgates have opened. All of our friends are academics too, so they're starting to throw those end-of-term parties and relearning to search each other out socially. So despite there officially not being school, we have some kind of appointment every day all week long. That will be trying on Linda's endurance.

Yay, no more mowing

My John Deere lawn tractor is giving me fits. It limped through mowing the lawn yesterday, and I took it in this morning after a lot of personal troubleshooting. I figured that it would probably pay in the end to buy the engine manual for the mower engine, so I have a reference at hand.

Something is wrong with the left cylinder (it's a two-cylinder engine). According to the book, the 2-cylinder engines can run just fine (but underpowered) on one cylinder until they are overwhelmed by load. That's true. I could pull the spark plug wire off the left plug, and the engine would purr (although I was getting mildly electrocuted). Obviously the right cylinder works fine. Reversing and removing the right plug definitely leaves the engine in a sickly state.

So yesterday, I went in to ask about this behavior with the mechanics at the local JD place. They said, Bring it in before the warranty expires. Well, who could argue with that? They put my tractor in a pen with about 60 others, so I'm figuring it will be a while before I hear back.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I know I haven't updated with stuff lately. That's the way of finals. But I have one little story. Recently, Ellie handed me a play sword and demanded that I exercise with her. This amounted to a modest amount random clashing in generally unskilled sword play.

Then she told me that my sword should fall from my hand. I wasn't sure what she was getting at, but I obediently dropped my sword to the ground.

She stepped in with her sword and delicately traced a perfect little Z on my stomach.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Speech therapy 101

It wasn't really 101, but Linda and I went to talk to a class of speech therapy students this morning.

I intentionally didn't talk at first, because last time we did this Linda said I did all of the talking and she wasn't even necessary.

I had a sense that the students today were very keen to hear her speak because she is such a classic dysarthria patient. I couldn't be positive, but my sense was that they understood her pretty well despite the white sound of the ventilation system in Barnette. One of the girls was her former clinician, so I'm sure she understood.

Linda told them the general outline of the beginning of her stroke, how long she was in the hospital, how long she did therapy, etc. She doesn't actually remember a lot of those things, so she doesn't tell a lot of details.

I took a turn, filling in some of the details that I know better than Linda. I showed them the communication devices that I made for Linda, and explained how we used them.

I showed them diagrams of blood vessels and a snapshot of Linda's MRI showing the location of the clot.

I even showed off my prototype speech software which impressed the room (except for Linda of course, she's never impressed). Then I had to leave for my calculus class, so Linda stayed a bit longer on her own. I haven't met up with her, so I don't know how the last part went yet.

She hasn't been online today, so I'm thinking we must have worn her out.