Belt's Robert Back Continues His Recovery at Home - News, Sports and Weather

Belt's Robert Back Continues His Recovery at Home

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The days aren't easy. They begin before six in the morning and span well into the night.

"Things kind of get fuzzy as the day goes on, you kind of get tired as the day goes on," Shannon Back says.

But every hour spent is worth the moments.

"It's wonderful... wonderful," Robert Back Sr. says.

There's the smile.

"I know you've seen the smile... It warms your heart," Shannon says.

Then she recalls the:

"The chuckle.. the chuckle out of no where."

"It means a lot to me he still thinks I'm funny for one," Robert Back Sr. adds.

He and Shannon cherish these and are there for so many more now that their son is home.

"Every day... every day... you see more and more of his old personality coming out of him. Once you're around him a little bit, it's the same kid. He might not be talking right now, he might not be walking right now, but he's the same kid," Robert's dad says.

Robert fights for every inch of improvement. He has seven in home therapy sessions a week. Three of those help work on his speech. He is learning to communicate with his eyes. Right now, he blinks once for yes and twice for no.

"Robert, are you excited to be back in Belt?"

He blinked once, of course. Eventually his eye movement, coupled with a computer will help him communicate a lot more. He also works with a physical and occupational therapist four days a week to help restore his movement.

"Robert has a lot of high needs and it's not just one person, as you've seen here today, it's not one person. It takes multiple people to do it," Shannon says. 

Shannon is at the forefront. She left her job with the state and is there when Robert wakes up until he goes to bed and checks on him several times while he sleeps at night.  

"I'm a business person, I come from a business standard. It's a lot to take in and a lot to monitor," Shannon says.

Things like Robert's swallowing and regulating his temperature. He also has severe spasticity so his muscles are very tight and he needs to be handled with the appropriate care to avoid injury. The Back's say that care can be difficult to find and is one of the hard parts of his transition home.

"It's where he belongs and where he needs to be, but there is always the downside. Are we getting him what he was getting at QLI and what he was getting at Craig? Because that's the last thing you want is to hinder his progress, so it's definitely a mixed bag of emotions. It really is," Shannon says.

Robert's favorite part of the day is when he gets to go to school.

"He loves being in school," his dad says. "We were a little unsure of how that would be on him, but being around his friends and a familiar place and people, he absolutely loves it."

And his friends love having him back. Some days he's there longer than others, but Matt Metrione makes good use of the time. He says he gets to experience those moments too.   

"It's been great, I grew up with the kid and I hung out with him so much, I've been talking to him a lot. Every Wednesday me and my friends Colton and Dusty, we talk to him, ask him some questions, get him to laugh, he smiles quite a bit, it's just great having him back," Metrione says.

On Thursdays, Robert has his media class. His group was working on a parody of the movie 'Benchwarmers'. Throughout the week, he also receives a session of speech, physical and occupational therapy at school. But, more importantly he gets the support of his classmates and friends. Just another reminder of how much so many want Robert to keep getting better.

"I'd like to thank everybody for their support over the past year. The kid has been home for over a month now and the community support and other communities around Great Falls has been wonderful," Robert's dad says.

That support has really helped the Backs get through this. Seeing their son everyday continues to. Because the more time that passes, the more Robert continues to progress providing more moments to collect.

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