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 23

It's Monday again and Peter went back into the hyperbaric chamber as he promised to do. He has seven more sessions and we may do another round of ten after that. We had a talk over the weekend and I told him it was silly to come all the way to China and then refuse the therapies. He agreed.

We have been hearing about the shootings in Colorado. Wow. What is going on? We often hear loud explosive sounds around here that seem like gunfire. It isn't though. It's fireworks. They will set them off for anything. A wedding, a store opening, the street cleaned. Anything. Not the beautiful skyward sprays but just noisemakers. Very loud. At first I was alarmed but they don't have guns here. They just don't, so it's festive. Wish it was that way there.

Wong is really wonderful. I get such a kick out of him getting Peter to stand with his "one, two, shree." The English around here can get a little comical. One of the interns works with him on the "standing bed", a contraption that straps him down and then tilts him to a standing position. The intern will repeatedly ask him "do you feel any uncomfortable"? Peter always laughs when I repeat that phrase to him later. Personally, we both think he gets more benefit from Wong's standing sessions with him but Peter humors them. I think this is one therapy we will cut out. He doesn't need it anymore. This Dr. "do you feel any uncomfortable" takes this thing very seriously and wants us to continue it. Phffft!

July 24

The children around here are so cute!! There is a rather funny cultural difference in that they don't wear diapers. Until they're potty trained, they wear pants that are split in the back through the crotch with their cute little bums hanging out. I didn't get a picture of that because I didn't want to end up in a Chinese jail for being a pervert but it is adorable. What's not so adorable is that they will then pee and poop wherever they happen to be.

Speaking of poop, there's another little matter I feel I must report. THERE'S NO TOILET PAPER IN ANY OF THE PUBLIC BATHROOMS!!! Be warned! If you come to China, bring Charmin and a big purse. There, duty done :-)

Peter is lifting his leg higher and higher. He's clearly getting stronger too. I really do hope he can walk out of here. If not then yet, I know he will eventually. He stands with Wong against the wall for 15 minutes at a time. Now and again, he lets him go and he holds his balance. His knee can still buckle so we're not there yet but it's clearly coming. Maybe we'll start the extra physical therapy again in a couple of weeks.

July 25

Another great sentence today. Wong wanted him to do his standing exercise right after lunch but Peter told him "no, I just want to relax". I'm so encouraged.

We are all tired. It's rainy and gloomy outside. I was reading about the floods in Beijing a week or so ago but fortunately we had none of that. 37 people died there. Michelle's flight is due late tonight and I sure hope she doesn't have any weather problems. I'm sure she'll get a hotel for the night but she hasn't communicated at all. I know Ruth emailed her the directions in Chinese characters to show the cab drivers so she shouldn't get lost. Hope she didn't forget them again. Or drown.

July 26

Looked out the window this morning and went right back to bed. The whole street is flooded. The sidewalks were ok, but all the bikes were on it. I could see girls wading through shin high water from the bus to the curb in their dainty heels. Poor things. The busses let them out at least 12 feet from the curb because they can't go into the bike lane. I would have had to wade through that too to cross any street. No thanks. Fell asleep and woke up again at 1:00. Oops. Missed my morning treatment but the water had receded enough to go. Peter was fine and in the hyperbaric chamber with Wong when I got there.

Michelle waltzed in at 5:00, finally. We had all been worried but she had no way to communicate. She had been delayed at the bus station here in Tianjin when she got back from the airport in Beijing. No problem there anymore so I guess it was Tianjin's turn. She said we were lucky around here because downtown Tianjin, where she had been, was completely under water including some buildings. By dinner time, at least around the hospital, it was all drained away.

Eugene and his mom are leaving on Sunday so we are taking them for a farewell dinner. I will miss him because he was a sweet kid and a perfect translator. His story is sad. He is Chinese and for his higher education he wanted to go to the States and had gotten into the University of Iowa. He was working on his doctorate when he got into a horrendous automobile accident there three years ago. It was his fault. I really think the chaotic traffic he was used to here was to blame, as he expected the other car to stop when he pulled in front of it. Ironic that in this chaos he would have been ok, but with all the rules and regulations in the US, this happened. His speech is slow, and he shakes a little, but he walks and seems to have made a good recovery. He is going back to Iowa.

July 27

No more water. We want to go to Beijing for the day on Saturday for a girls shopping trip. There is a bullet train that takes only a half hour (are you listening, Atlanta?) there is rain forecast for the whole day, though, so we decide to wait until Sunday. Besides, a new couple from the States is due in and we want to meet them.

Ken and Sue arrived late in the evening so I didn't see them yet. They are here because of me. When Peter and I were in Michigan for Peter's program, we were introduced to them by the physical therapist at the rehab center. We only talked briefly but they wanted to know about China so I emailed them a link to Ruth's book. Next thing I know I get an email from them that they followed through and here they are! Ken had a stroke a month before Peter but his was not as severe. He is walking some and does not have aphasia though it was his right side that was affected.. He was fortunate in that he is ambidextrous so his Broca must have been in a different place in his brain. (that's the speech center for those who still think aphasia is a potted plant)

July 28

Didn't rain at all today. They lied. Clear and dry. Hope the storm didn't just get delayed till tomorrow because we definitely want to go to Beijing. Qinninbo is going with us so he can get us out of any trouble we might find. Like not finding the train.

We met Ken and Sue and introduced them to some of China's quirks. Like the spitting part. Wait till they get a load of the elevator. Sue is vivacious and sweet and Ken is very funny. I'm really glad they're here because Adrianna and Pam will both be gone in two more weeks. They also have a helper so now Wong has someone to talk to at dinner. Hope that's a good thing.

Peter seems in good spirits. We had a Skype session this morning with our three guys, Arthur, David and Tom. The sound quality was really bad with our weak internet connection so it was a bit of a disappointment. However, Peter thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone and hearing the little we could. He was not as verbal as he had been the last time but I think it was because there were so many people. I think maybe we'll try using FaceTime or Skype with just one person at a time and see if that works. I know he misses everybody. We both do.

July 29

Well, we didn't go to Beijing. Christian had a bad night and Adrianna didn't want to leave him. Next Sunday then. Went to an antique center instead. We were told people "from all over the world" come here but I'd like to know why. Only found a few derelicts playing some game and lots of junk. Peter didn't want to go because he was watching the Olympics. Nigeria was playing Tunisia in basketball. (yawwnn).

Went to dinner at a pseudo German restaurant with the gang and Qinningbo. The little Asian waitresses were all dressed in their version of German outfits. Trevor was taken with one of them and made a date. Should be interesting how he will fare with his little Chinese freulein.