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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sliding Backward On The Rail

I'm always prepared for those "plateaus", you know, those times when there is little or no progress in Bob's recovery, but I was not really prepared for this: a complete reversal. A wrong turn. A going backward instead of forward.

I'm talking about Bob's rail walking, which he was doing so well at, I mean, back in October he had hit a new all-time record of 31 times at the rail. His stepping was more confident. His strides were getting longer. Each time we practiced walking, he was determined to add one more time to his total. And it had seemed as if there was no stopping him.

Since then, it's been nothing but a slow slide backward.

Lately, he fairly creeps along the rail. He wobbles and his knees buckle and he has scared the living day-lights out of me a couple of times by nearly tumbling to ground. We are lucky to hit 15 times, these days--and that's a lucky day. Usually, he is hovering around the 9-10 mark. And the whole time we are practicing is peppered with complaints, i.e. his toe hurts, his shoes are too tight, his arm hurts, etc. The other day, I changed his shoes four times because the first pair (his usual) were "too tight" and the second pair was "too loose" and it felt like we had landed in a Goldilocks fairytale. When I finally dug out an old pair of his sandals, which were "just right", he then decided he had to pee and the whole practice session came to a screeching halt.

Lord almightly, some days, I just don't know what to do. Last night, I had a little "pep talk" with him. I haven't had to do one of those in awhile. By "pep talk" I mean a bit cajoling, some coaxing with a few threats thrown in for good measure. A year ago, on New Years Eve, I brought Bob home from the hospital. I told myself, at that time, I'd give him a year and if he hadn't gotten better, it would be time to start scouting for a nursing home. I reminded him of that. He did not like it one bit.

I do hate to sound mean. But I'm hoping this will kick-start him back in the right direction.

Today is Sunday. The weather is gloomy. It looks like rain. I'm thinking it's a good day for some Scrabble therapy. And we'll start again, fresh, tomorrow on the rail.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like it is time to start scouting for a nursing home.

Nikki said...

Hopefully things will get better soon!

Linda said...

I am so sorry things took a step backward. Hard to persevere when you don't see progress, especially when you have so little back up support.

Is there anything like a day hospital he could attend regularly? or perhaps a weekend respite set up? Things really are different here in Canada, so I really don't know about what you can latch onto for help.

Not saying this applies to Bob, but your post made me think about how much whinier I got about exercise when I started to regain some sensation. Walking when I couldn't feel anything was different than when I started to be aware of a ton of joint and muscle pain. I fell way backward in my ability for a long time.

Jenn said...

Diane - reread Linda's post again. Particularly her evolved awareness of pain in her progress.
Isn't it true when we all feel pain, the brain sends the appropriate signals.........perhaps where it appears Bob has plateaued on the rail, could it be possible he has progressed with the brain-nerve connection?
With that, how are his abilities with the other therapy activities?
For piece of mind, maybe get updated info on nursing homes?

Barb Polan said...

Diane: According to one train of thought in rehab, a plateau occurs when what you're doing has gone as far as it can, and it's time to try something new, therapy-wise. It's not a permanent plateau, just a plateau until you try something else. Then there's a jump and then you progress using that technique until it's been effective and you're at another "plateau."

Linda's right - To have his shoes bother him means that Bob is feeling his foot, which is huge.

I know that you haven't gone through all this just to move Bob to a nursing home, but don't think of him being in a nursing home as a failure on your part. You have been a trooper for the past year, and I know he will always be grateful for his year at home with you.