The past 10 days have been a bit of a roller coaster, and started with a wonderful trip to Southbank with the family. Here’s an e-mail from Rachel, sent on Sunday 19 August, at 9.17 pm:
We had a truly lovely day today. After a good week of tough physio, a well needed haircut and the arrival of his new electric wheelchair, Matthew has decided that four walls will not keep him in. His new wheelchair can be driven by a chin control (for now), has a range of 25 km’s and can go pretty fast. It spins on a dime and after two days, Matthew seems to have mastered it. And it is his first one, well before any enhancements can be found.
Matthew has formed great relationships with his OT, and physio and is getting them working for him. Nick, the OT and Matthew went on a test run down to Southbank in the new wheels yesterday. With the route mapped out, Matthew was given the ok at 5pm last night that he could have an outing on Sunday with the family. We met him at rehab and the family headed down to Southbank. Matthew led the way masterfully dodging the very bumpy roadworks alongside the Mater and we ended up at Southback for nearly 3 hours in the sun, eating Subway’s, drinking coffee and had a lovely long awaited catch up with Aunty Jan, Deb and Sal. The kids shared icecreams and lollies thanks to Jan, and proceeded to run riot on the grass while we all had a chance to catch up. A photo of the crew attached. This was Matthew’s first public outing and I was astonished at his complete delight to be outside with the family, oblivious to the rest of the world. It wasn’t hard before we all felt the same.
Matthew is doing so much better than any of us could begin to have imagined. The kids are doing well and so is Di, although the more time we can find for her and Matthew, the better. Date nights over the weekend are great, and thanks to the Leighton & McMahon clan for setting up the roster, and Cheryl of course!. Di was even talking about taking Matthew to a movie at Southbank in coming weeks.
As you all know, we have said ‘no visitors’ and we are going at Matthew’s pace all the way. Matthew has indicated he might be ok to see just a few more people. For those on this email address, you are welcome to come and see Matthew over the next few weeks if you would like. He is still getting tired, but he is getting stronger. Mondays and Thursdays after 4.30 are the best times, as the Ames kids are not coming up on those nights to visit. Just pop a message by txt to me/Di and we will let Matt know that you are coming along. We will send his room details etc then. 🙂 We will try and manage the crowds for a little bit longer…!
We havent really had the chance to stop and say thank you. Thank you. To you all for your understanding, support, calls, meals, thoughts, kind wishes and respect for the family. We are so very deeply appreciative of everything that you have been doing behind the scenes and we know that the support networks around us are there. It has given us all the strength and more to help Di and Matthew the best we can, and thank you.
Kind regards, Rachel.
From there, the week went well, and Matthew really enjoyed his first few visitors: Martyn, Gwen and Anthony, and Graeme and Rosahlena, on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, however, he learned that he has a detached retina, and would have to have an operation on his eye over the weekend. A bit of a bummer, because it means immobility for at least a week. The bad news was tempered by an overnight sleepover with Luke, who stayed in with Matthew overnight. Very exciting, and Luke had a great time watching unlimited movies!
Matthew had the operation on Sunday afternoon, and it’s taken a day or so to get over the effects of the anaesthetic. So he’s got to stay very still for at least the rest of the week, which is going to be very frustrating for him. However, he is supposed to have another well known visitor arriving on his doorstep soon, which should boost his spirits again, so we’ll post photos.
While we were always expecting the one step forward, two steps back nature of this journey, it hits hard when the step back happens, but as usual, Matthew’s taken it in his stride and continues to show us all how things should be handled.
Here are some photos of the visit to Southbank: