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Thursday Update: 03/06/08

I can’t believe it is Thursday evening and my time here in China with Matt is drawing to a close. With each passing day I feel more and more comfortable with the arrangements here in the hospital, as we work through the kinks and establish our ‘system’. It seems unfair that just as I’m getting into the groove, I have to leave. Two days ago I was ready to run screaming back to the airport, desperate to get us back to our home and our comfortable surroundings. Today, I feel much, much better. I attribute that in large part to the many prayers I know are going up for Matt and me. Thank you! I could not be more grateful for the support we’ve received through e-mails and prayers!!!

Today started with a pleasant surprise. As we were laying in bed getting ready to get up…Matt said ‘I have to tell you something’. I jumped up, ready for it to be something bad…and he proceeded to tell me that he discovered this morning that he could lift his right arm straight up next to his ear and behind his back with ease, and no pain!!! His right shoulder has been tight ever since his stroke, making it difficult and painful to get his arm up and behind himself…but today, it was a piece of cake! It was the first real change he has noticed, and he was just beside himself with excitement. The past few days he’s had moments where he felt down that nothing had really changed yet…and I tried to assure him that he’d just have to be patient. Of course, we all know this is easier said than done. Matt wants to get better so badly, he was just hoping there would be some sort of change right away.
Well, today, we saw our first change…and it felt great!! I also noticed this afternoon that the right side of his mouth and cheek seemed more even and later he felt a little muscle spasm in his right cheek…so maybe it is coming to life as well? Who knows? But it sure is exciting and reassuring! I can’t say enough how great the doctors and nurses have been. They are so excited that we are here and seem to genuinely care for his wellbeing. I think we see his main doctor probably 5 times throughout the day…UNHEARD of in America! Of course, we had to see the special ‘wound’ doctor as well to check on Matt’s knuckle.

This morning Matt had acupuncture treatment with his usual doctors and another professor…Professor Sure (well, that’s how it is pronounced anyway…not sure how to spell it).

After lunch we went across the hall for Matt’s first day of exercise. They wanted to first evaluate a few things while lying down, and then we walked over to the bike. One of the helpers there stood next to me, he was about my height, and seemed to be commenting on how we were the same height which was good for walking with Matt. I wanted to tell him I was Matt’s Little Human Crutch (as he has referred to me in the past) but I figured this wouldn’t make any sense to him. Matt rode the bike for about 20 minutes, then the sat him in a chair and tossed a ball back and forth. To my surprise, he was throwing and catching VERY well! There were two assistants that he was tossing the ball back and forth to, and before I knew it Matt was joking around with them, psyching one of them out by pretending to throw it to her and then throwing it to the other assistant. They were all laughing…it was so good to see Matt at his usual, playful self. It was my first little glimmer of Matt showing his ‘Mattness’ to the group…and this clearly means he is becoming more at ease with things. How great is that!?!? Overall, I think they were impressed with how strong Matt is and how well he gets around. I think they’ll enjoy working with him…but really, who hasn’t loved working with Matt? What’s not to love?! Of course, part way through the bike ride, they had him stop to rest and asked him if he wanted some water…this made me chuckle and I’m sure all of Matt’s other therapists will get a kick out of this as well. It has been a long running joke with them that Matt NEVER drinks water while working out!!

After Matt’s acupuncture I ran to the bank AGAIN to get more money. Apparently I need to give the Foreign Affairs office the money for the helper and they will pay him each month. So, I had to get enough money for that and my car drive back to the airport tomorrow. Thankfully the teller at the bank was able to help get money from my credit card and did speak a little English so I didn’t feel totally at a loss. I have to say I have been pretty frustrated with the lack of guidance on these types of things…who to pay what etc. I would hoped for more assistance in this way…especially the first week that the families are here when you have the most questions. I decided to just put this frustration aside though, and focus on all the many positive things going on here. I want Matt to just focus on the treatments and use all his energy to keep a positive attitude on what they are doing for him…and that’s what I’m going to do as well. The nurses and doctors here are really, truly great…I can’t say that enough. They do a lot for each patient. Matt will be in good hands here – and hopefully his helper will be friendly and reliable as well.

Matt has had 2 acupuncture treatments daily, as well as the herbal soak treatment and cupping. The massage treatment should start tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'll get to see that or not...kind of bummed about that.

I will try and post one more time before I leave tomorrow. My driver picks me up at 1:00 PM, so I should have time over lunch. I have some other videos to post as well, but YouTube is down right now. I'll get those uploaded as soon as I can. We wanted you all to see what it is like for a dozen people to mill about speaking in Chinese - as well as see them actually peforming the treatment. Please be thinking of us tomorrow as we say goodbye to each other and I hand over the reigns to the helper. Please pray for safety and healing for Matt…and for God to be with us both.


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