Thousend times thanks!

To all the followers of the blog, to anyone who has been supportive of Frank or us in the last months and especially after his untimely death we want to say thanks from the bottom of our hearts. In the week after his passing we received so much warmth, stories, care and love, hardly describable. To us it was a very precious and valuable week and it was so good to have Frank at home where so many of his friends could visit him. And all the help, stories and info shared in that week led to a beautiful goodbye ceremony on a beautiful sunny autumn day. For those of you who could not attend, or those of you who wish to reread the funeral speeches, we publice them here (in dutch and english) with some pictures in grateful memory of, and tributed to Frank.We will miss him dearly, thanks for being with him and with us, one way or another,

On behalf of my family and his closest friends, Esther

Foto's Frank

maandag 9 mei 2011

Here I stand, Literally!

When I arrived today, Frank was in his wheelchair in the 'livingroom' of his floor. Although according to him, there was quite a bit too much living going on in it. He was complaining about the boring shows on the tv and plotting the death of everyone stupid enough to enjoy them. He still thinks of the other patients on his floor as people who 'use oxigen' and today he really wished they didn't. So much for respecting ones elders...

Frank had a physical therapy session planned, though he was confused about the time and refused to accept that his appointment wasn't in another 20 minutes. We went to the gym and played ball games until the therapist arrived, who was very pleased to see Frank so enthusiastic.
When she asked how Frank was feeling he replied 'het gaat' (roughly translatable as 'so so') but when she asked him what was wrong he completed his sentence with 'het gaat goed, erg goed.' ('it's going well, very well'.) Now that the tube is no longer in his throat he speaks much more and with greater ease, but it seems he still doesn't always finish his sentences.

Without the tube and exhausting nausea it caused him, Frank is now much more energetic. If Frank is fighting a battle to regain control of his body, he has proven once again the old truth that an army marches on its stomach and won't desert its general if the food is good.
As we started phsyical therapy, his therapist was amazed by how much he'd improved. She was so impressed by Frank's progress and how hard he was trying, that she proposed a task they had not tried before: standing. So far Frank has trained using his arm and upper body, so standing may sounds like a few bridges too far for now, but the therapist had a trick for this: She explained to Frank that she had a machine with which she could lift him out of the chair, positioning his legs against a hard surface so he could now move forward, and lifting his back up with cables, while Frank would have to support his upper body with his arms. Frank's opinion on the matter was simple: Let's do it.

So the machine was brought in and the experiment began. The therapist was very hesitant about moving too fast but in Frank's opinion things could not go fast enough. Urging his therapist on, he soon found himself seated in the cables that would lift him, took hold of the arms supports and .. behold! Frank was standing! This required an enormous amount of strength on his part. He was swaying every which way and struggling to keep his back straight. You may think that standing is all about using your legs, but upper body balance and control is just as important. Today Frank make a colossal effort to keep himself upright and after a few minutes he asked to be placed back in his chair. In the future, Frank will have more sessions to practice standing in this machine.

After this venture, one would think Frank was exhausted but he was in fact still quite lively. When I asked whether he was tired his face lit up and he announced enthusiastically 'I've got energy! What do you have in mind?'. I proposed several things but he rejected them all. He'd already decided what he wanted to do: watch a movie about Atilla the Hun. He spend another 30 minutes in his wheelchair and when the nurses helped him back in bed, I wasn't surprised to see him falling asleep instantly.

8 opmerkingen:

  1. Heilige Moeder van Kazan (to stea..., I mean borrow one of Frank's favourite exclamations), could someone please ask him to slow down? Us ordinary mortals can't keep up with him... ;-) If he goes on like this he'll be standing next to his bed next month to welcome his guests. And as for Bridges Too Far, if Montgomery had had his energy he would have reached Arnhem before the paras, taken Berlin and been home for tea on 18 September.

    The best bit is that I had taken Frank as my Shining Example for my own fitness/weight loss program ("if he can do it I REALLY have no excuse" - not that that ever stopped me from being a couch-potato) , but this starts to look like a correspondence course in physical training, with Frank as the instructor/motivator. GO GO GO FRANK!!!!


  2. PS referring to my reaction to Esther's post yesterday, those who've read the Miles Vorkosigan novels will understand when I say that Frank really does start to resemble Miles, using boundless energy, irresitstable charm and sheer stubbornness to overcome all obstacles. I think I'll be happy to serve as his Ivan Vorpatril (In the books it's generally "that bloody idiot Ivan" or "Ivan, you idiot!" so that fits as well ;-)).


  3. LOL Walter, I have just finished the vorkosigan saga and am rereading labyrinth.. I can just see Frank as a cryo-revived Miles fighting to get well again! The energy is certainly right, and Miles goes on after his cryo revival to his most interesting adventures.
    Sounds good to me!

    PS, Frank, we missed you on liberation day but you were well represented by Andre Sr

  4. And of course: Well done Frank for standing and being all Milesey!

  5. Do you think the staff at Kalorama have already realized that they stand absolutely no chance against Frank? The poor things...


  6. I can't say that I ever catched Frank on not completing a sentence. As for today, he did not tell a single word about it! So, if he is not starting a word about it I never notice the sentence unfinished.

    Time for me to start reading the Vorkosigan saga.

  7. Thanks for the so lively and acurate picture you paint Rense. It's a small step for a man, but a huge step for Frankkind (free to neil armstrong)

  8. This is good news, keep it up.