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Friday, April 1, 2011

Outpatient Stroke Rehab -- First Week

Bob at the Standing Machine
(click to enlarge)
Well, we completed the first full week of Outpatient Rehab which has left us both exhausted. The Wheelchair Transport helps (Thanks again, Dad & Mom) but it is still a lot of hard work.

In Physical Therapy, they are working on strengthening his legs. This is the first step toward walking. Bob has been bedridden so long (five months) that even his "good" leg is weak. Above is a picture of a Bob at the "Standing Machine". You can tell, he's not a happy camper... I'm sure it hurts. (Click on the photo to enlarge it!) But I can't begin to describe how happy it makes me to see him standing upright. The device has a hydraulic strap in back that pulls him up and holds him in place. He spends about half of the therapy session in this device and the other half on the parallel bars with a therapist holding onto him or doing mat exercises.

Occupational Therapy is conducting "e-stim" (electrical stimulation) on his right arm. They attach electrodes to his shoulder in an attempt to get the muscles to move. They tell me that the shoulder is the first part of the arm to come back. They are trying to induce a "shrug" movement in his shoulder. No luck yet, but it's only been a week. The rest of OT is spent with range of motion exercises and games to try to get Bob to focus on his right (affected) side. Bob thinks the games are stupid and spends a lot of time rolling his eyes, but the therapists tell me that the idea here is to retrain the brain to recognize the right side of his body. The games include tossing bean bags with his left hand across his right into a bucket or reaching for things held far over to the right.

Bob enjoys Speech and Swallow Therapy the best. The Speech Therapist is great. They have been doing a lot of evaluation on his abilities to try to pinpoint his deficits. This is something the other therapists never did. Turns out that he does have some reading abilities if the words are accompanied by a picture. He still struggles with naming objects but does much better if the object is accompanied by a written word. He's better with numbers than letters. After just one week, his speaking is a little clearer. Swallow Therapy is continuing with "e-stim" on his throat. He struggles more with swallowing than he used to, i.e. a lot of choking and coughing, although I'm told this is a good sign as it indicates his sensations are coming back--before things were just sliding down the "wrong hole" and he didn't even notice.

As for the other thing, that dreaded urinal, I'm quite happy to report we had a dry night last night!!!! YES! I played around with the new urinal, filled it water and held it in different positions, and I think the trouble is backflow--because he was holding it wrong. I mean, you can't pee uphill! I got him to put the thing between his legs and steady it that way. Seemed to work. Pray it continues.

Finally, today we have "off" and can relax. I'm letting him sleep in a bit. We both need a break.


Nikki said...

Hope the new urinal keeps working! Sounds like things are getting a tiny bit better- hang in there! I'm sure you'll have good days and bad days.

Jenn said...

Yeah! Thumbs up! : )