In December of 2011, my Father suffered a debilitating stroke which left him with acute aphasia and paralysis on his right side. As part of his road to recovery, my Mother has brought him to The First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University where he, at the time of this writing, is undergoing extensive stroke recovery treatments. This is her journal...

July 9

Skyped with Arthur and David this morning again. They called Donovan who joined us there. It was really cool. All of them seeing Peter and each other at the same time from literally all corners of the globe. They tried to get Adam and Jamison too but neither answered their phones. It was 10:00 Sunday night for them and they weren't expecting a phone call so not surprising. We will plan it better for the next one.

Donovan had Erica with him and Reed was there too so everyone got to see Peter get his acupuncture treatment. I think they were a little surprised at the number of needles all over his body. The doctors didn't mind at all that they were watching. Arthur of course cracked them up with his shenanigans. Stabbing David with a pen as they were inserting the needles. They thought it was pretty funny. Peter was the only one not laughing, poor guy.

Went to the bakery with Pam for the daily cappuccino and while we were sitting at a little table one of the clerks came over and said in very broken English "my English poor but umm umm you teach?" We finally worked it out that he would like us to come by at his quitting time to talk for a while so his English gets better. Maybe he will teach us some mandarin too. Should be fun.

July 10

Skyped this morning with Arthur, David, and Donovan again. This time we were able to get Jamison and Adam on there too. They all watched Peter get a few of his treatments but Peter wasn't real happy about it because he couldn't respond and then, to add insult to injury, while he was laying on his side (luckily facing away from the camera) Wong pulled his pants halfway down to let the doctors look at a red spot on his lower back. Peter said at once "I want to say goodbye" so we ended the session. We will do it again when it is morning for them and evening for us. That's better for Peter.

Rained all day and I have to walk rain or shine. It wasn't too bad since it cooled it off a little. The traffic here is ridiculous. It's every man for himself like a big game of chicken. Pedestrians included. Every car thinks it has the right of way and if they have the position, they figure they do. They're honking at the others to let them through all the time. The cacophony is deafening at the intersections. Thousands of bikes, scooters and cars vying for position. Add pedestrians into that mix and you have true chaos. If they don't have a lane, they make one. It's a wonder I haven't seen any bad accidents yet. Plenty of close ones though. I'm crossing the street when a crowd does and figuring out my timing between whooshing cars. It's like a not-so-delicate dance where a misstep can be disastrous.

We are taking Peter out to dinner every night now. Wong goes with us and leads the way across the street with Peter in the wheelchair. He's used to this so we just stay on his heels. We figure they won't hit a bunch of us at once.

July 11

Still raining. Jeez. The breakfasts are a little less mysterious. I've sort of figured out what good. There are a few other things that I don't know what the h....l it is and haven't felt adventurous enough yet to try. Black eggs and dark noodle looking things. Peter gets his breakfast at the hospital along with Michelle and they order what they want from a menu. Lucky ducks.

Michelle is leaving tomorrow morning to go back to the states for two weeks. Wong is staying with Peter for that time. She's staying in Beijing overnight cause she has an early flight. She's anxious and busy getting ready, making sure she has her hotel in Beijing written in Chinese characters to show the cab driver when she gets there. Pam and Adrienne will surely miss her because she really livens up any room.

During the soaking of his arm and leg this afternoon he said a big sentence. " hey Toni, how about watching some television?". I was floored. I hope this is the beginning of more and more.

Ruth arranged for me to do some sightseeing tomorrow with a student assistant of hers. This girl speaks pretty good English and is a native of Tianjin. Should be interesting.

July 12

I certainly saw a different part of Tianjin today. There is even a tourist area where they have horse drawn carriages. She also took me to another part that is called "cultural street" but in reality is nothing more than a tourist trap with fake old buildings and souvenir shops. Some funny signs though. There were a few interesting galleries in the mix but I won't be going back there. Another part I saw is called The Italian District filled with German restaurants????? The architecture is pretty diverse with European style buildings mixed with communist style drab apartment blocks. I learned that Pu Li, the last emperor and the subject of that film fled to Tianjin when he was dethroned. She showed me his house. That was cool.

Well, Michelle is gone. Hope she makes out okay on her own.

July 13

I learned today that Peter will be going into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber for at least 10 sessions. I wish we could have done that immediately after the stroke but it wasn't available in the US where we were. They tell me it will help his speech. We'll see. He starts tomorrow.

The nurses told me he moved his arm but I don't believe them just yet. Peter says no too. I think the tone in his arm may have contracted making it look like it moved. I don't want to be disappointed so until there is more evidence I'll presume it is that.

I've also ordered extra physical therapy for him so I hope that starts soon. Can't wait till he can walk. Christian, Adrianne's husband, can walk with a cane. It is very laborious but it makes going in and out of restaurants so much easier. He's not talking much, though. Just gibberish. I'm glad Peter doesn't do that.

July 14

I walked in this morning and got "hello Toni". Wow. He goes into the hyperbaric chamber this afternoon. Went at 3:00 and it was quite an experience. He went into a futuristic looking contraption that looked like the hull of a plane. I don't know how many people it held but it was a lot. All sitting along the edge facing the center like in a military plane. They gave him a bottle of water and told him to sip it if his ears became uncomfortable. He was in there for over an hour. Hope it helps to restore some cognitive functions. He will have a total of 10 sessions but next time we'll go a little earlier to avoid that crowd. It's worse than the elevator.

Speaking of that, there was a new twist today. It was crowded as usual, but this time they added a gurney with a person with tubes and things hanging out. Right there. In the passenger elevator. Got it in too. Incredible.

They sure do things differently here. The toilet paper they supply for the bathroom looks like a white streamer. As narrow and as rough. There's a big store close by so I buy softer, wider tissue there. That store is like a big Target but I understand it's a French chain. Carrefour. They have most of what we need. We lugged big bottles of body soap, shampoo and other toiletries from home but there was no need for that. Dumb. What did I think? They don't wash here?

I bought an angry birds pencil holder for Max there and we're using it in the room so we don't have to look for a pen constantly anymore. Wong had never seen that so I showed him the angry birds app on my iPad. He's hooked now. Oh, oh.

It's Saturday so only morning treatments. Thought we'd go to the zoo but it's pretty hot. Well see.

Turned out to be too hot to be outside for too long so stayed in. Besides, I had a horrible headache. I told one of the nurses thinking I would get a pill but a doctor came in and the next thing I knew I had a bunch of needles in my neck, head and arms.

Ouch. I didn't know they hurt like that. Jeez, Peter gets this twice every day. It better be worth it for him! Lo and behold, though, no more headache!!!!!!!

July 15

It's Sunday so the whole afternoon is free. Yippee. It has cooled off a little so we want to go out. The strap on Wong's sandal keeps falling off and he picks up that little piece of hardware and pounds it back in. They're the only ones I've seen him wear. He doesn't get paid a lot so shoes must be a luxury so I though we'd go out and get him some new ones. Everyone wanted to go shopping anyway. There is a street here that is miles long with nothing but high rise malls and shops. Actually, I think the whole city is lined with shops but this is really over the top. We got there by cab. They don't always want to take a wheelchair and many pass us by but eventually one stops. We went into the men's shoe department of a department store and I pointed to a row of men's sandals. He pointed to his own (fixed for the moment) and gave me a look like "are you crazy, I have these". He ended up choosing a pair of loafers. Go figure.

We ate at a nearby restaurant and when we were back outside Peter very plainly said"I want to go home" meaning the hospital. He'd had enough of shopping I guess. Later, we skyped with Adam Alice and the boys. It was supposed to be everyone but the rest of the lazybones didn't feel like getting up, I guess. Peter talked more than I've heard yet. He said "we went shopping" "I had a good dinner" and a lot of other phrases. He also got a kick out of Nicky's antics and Bryce being super cute. The sound quality of Skype is pretty bad so they didn't hear a lot of it. Next time Adam and I thought a concurrent phone conversation might help.