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...

August 13

It's a beautiful day today and I walked slowly to the hospital to enjoy it. The heat has broken and it is finally pleasant. Peter is practicing walking every day now. He still cannot do this on his own, but I am very confident that he will soon.

The doctors have told me I can stop my blood pressure medication as their treatments seem to be working. They will monitor and see what happens. I'm delighted.

August 14

It rained today, yet again, and it cooled off a lot. I now have to find Peter a jacket because we (me) stupidly didn't bring one. Sue went with me and we took a cab to the shopping district. It is so huge, and I could not remember the department store where we were last time, so just wandered a bit. We saw an escalator that seemed three stories tall that went right from the street straight up into a building. It was dark at the top and we couldn't see where it was going but we got on. Turned out to be a huge sports emporium with blasting American music and all kinds of brand name sports clothes (seemingly). I saw the perfect little jacket at the right price and took it to the counter. It was an XL because they're all so little here. When the salesgirl came over she had a calculator and put three times the price on it. I know they try to take advantage of westerners so I said, hey, that's not the price it says here and I pointed to the calculator and said, no!. I actually argued through the translating app for a while and kept pointing to the price tag on the jacket. I couldn't understand the bewildered look on her face until I saw the decimal point on the calculator. Oops. Talk about embarrassed. It was half off. Here I was insisting on paying full price. She must have thought, stupid foreigners! To top it off it was too small for Peter and I have to go back.

August 15

Sue and Ken, Peter, me and our two helpers had dinner in a local joint. Ken couldn't believe what he was seeing. He's still overwhelmed by all the chaos here but is taking it all in good humor. The restaurant was crowded and noisy. People were eating all sorts of weird things all around us and moving around and getting up and down. One table had three guys who had had too much to drink and had taken their shirts off. The waitresses came over and made them put them back on. Thank god. Ken said he felt like he was having dinner in a jail riot. Peter just calmly ate his food without paying any attention to it. I guess he's used to it now.

I'm pretty proud of myself. The elevator operator asked me whether I wanted the first or second floor in Chinese and I understood her and answered in Chinese. I wanted the first floor, which is eelo, by the way. Maybe I could get a job as a translator; they clearly need a better one:

August 16

Went to see Hensley and Ying's baby today. As expected, he's beautiful. When he is old enough they will bring him to visit Peter. His mother will be coming from Holland soon and I'm looking forward to that. Not sure if she speaks English.

August 17

Peter read a lot of the emails people have been sending and it has given him new energy. He's doing his exercises without a fight and seems very motivated again. I'm glad as I was worried for a while. He's been walking in the hall on a daily basis and clearly getting stronger. He's growing more confident too. His vocabulary is steadily increasing as well. At dinner tonight I asked him if I pushed him too much. He glanced quickly at me and said "no comment". Ken and Sue broke out laughing. I guess I better cool it.

August 18

The new people are here. A mother and her 28 year old daughter. They live on a farm in a very small town in Arizona and are really intimidated by all they see here. Michelle has taken them under her wing and shown them why they needn't be afraid. Not working. They said they won't leave the hospital for a week. We will see.

August 19

No entry for today.