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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Therapy: an update

Recently, someone asked how Bob was doing with his "other therapies" (meaning, besides the walking and reading that I've covered recently), so I thought I'd give a little therapy update here.

Since we've been on our own, without any support from professional therapists, everyday is pretty much an all day therapy session here at The Pink House. In the mornings, he draws and is getting better at that. In fact, he's been working on one drawing which I find quite good and will post here when it's finished. At around 10:30 a.m., I give him a bedbath and help him get dressed and transferred into his wheelchair. He is now able to transfer into the wheelchair without the slideboard--sort of scooting off the bed into the chair, though I have to boost his right thigh into the seat. He still is unable to sit at the edge of the bed and unable to stand--with the exception of pulling up on the rail in the hall. He still needs the slideboard to get back into bed. After sitting up in his wheelchair for about a half hour (a therapy in itself) while I change the sheets, he then gets back into bed. Around noon, we begin his daily exercises.

He is up to 30 repetitions on his leg exercises, though still struggles with synergy in his right leg. He has improved moving his leg side-to-side, but has little to no control over his knee. His left leg, though, is much stronger.

After leg exercises, we work on range-of-motion on his right arm. Unfortunately, there is still no movement at all in his right arm or hand. He has not regained any right shoulder movement. I hate to say that we have pretty much given up on any other therapy on his arm/hand simply because there has been no progress and seeing no progress has been quite frustrating for Bob. Also, given our time constraints, it seems more conducive to work on the things that are progressing instead of "beating a dead horse" or dead arm, if you will. We have even given up on the mirror therapy as the only movement that induced was a bit of happy jumping of his thumb. Strangely enough, if I give him two squeeze balls, putting one in his affected hand, his thumb will still jump without the aid of the mirror.  I wish I had better news to report on his right arm/hand, but that simply is the way it is, right now.

After range of motion, we work on mouth/tongue exercises for swallowing. Bob is able to stick out his tongue much better than before and also to move his tonque over to the right side of his mouth. This was something that he could not do before. This coming week, Bob has an appointment with his Ear, Nose, Throat doc and I am hoping he will schedule another video swallow.

After those exercises, we work on Speech Therapy. Bob is getting better at making the "p" sound, but still has trouble with "t" and "k". We work a lot on saying complete sentences and a rather eerie phenomenon has developed, which is Bob's amazing ability to somehow psychically anticipate exactly what I am going to say and so says it with me, using the exact tone of voice and inflection that I use. When he first did this, I thought it was merely because I was using the same sentences and he was anticipating them, so I have tried to stump him, to slip him up, by coming up with new and sometimes strange, quirky sentences such as The parrot pooped on the pop tart. or The snail sailed over the interstate. to no avail. He says these things exactly with me, not skipping a beat and I think, what he's doing is watching my mouth and mimicking my movements and sounds. It's eerie, but also immensely funny and we end up both laughing at his antics. Laughter, too, is good exercise for his epiglottis. I do believe the speech therapy is working, he is getting better at saying complete sentences, though still has a long way to go. His latest new catch phrase is "Well, I'll be!" Still, though, I am often unsure if he is speaking more clearly or if it is just me getting used to him.... And he still has a terrible time with the names of objects and people.

After speech therapy, we work on his walking practice at the rail. He has been consistently doing 17 times since my little "pep talk", though still complains of pain. Mostly in his left, unaffected, leg.

If there is time after walking practice, we will play The Memory game or a game of Go Fish, but often the above therapies take all afternoon and we finish at suppertime. Bob gets a cup of pudding then, to practice swallowing. Then it's time for his overnight feeding pump to be connected and we watch a movie until bedtime.

At least one day a week, we take a break from the above routine and have a Scrabble Day. Yesterday was Scrabble Day, and Bob played all seven letters for the first time. The word he made was "BARRETS" and he managed to connect the B with an A to form "BA" and the A with an N to form "AN" and well, he trounced my butt! Though he still calls Scrabble "football".

And right now, I look at my watch, and it's time for Bob's bedbath and the start of another therapy day. So I end this post here.


cheri said...

is "barrets" a word?

Diane said...

Yes, it is a word, though, um, I had to look it up!

Barb Polan said...

Do you remeber in grammar school, when we had to use the spelling words in a sentence? And it could NOT be, "Yes, I used 'barrets' in a sentence." For Bob to play Scrabble with you is such a positive thing!

Nikki said...

The snail sailed over the interstate- haha! You come up with some fun sentences to try out!

Jenn said...

Have you tried placing Bob's hand on your throat when you pronounce "k" , etc.? Or his hand in front of your mouth? Just a thought. :-)