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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Still No Luck With The Hemi-Walker

Last year, about this time, Bob's home health physical therapist ordered this hemi-walker and it has been collecting dust in the corner ever since.

This type of walker is especially designed for people who are paralyzed on one side and cannot use both hands. So, it's sort of a "one-handed walker".

Back then, the home health PT tried to get Bob up on it but he was too weak.

While he was going Outpatient Rehab, I asked the therapist there if she could try to get him to use the hemi-walker. Well, she tried. Without luck. He was still too weak.

So here we are, a year later, and I know Bob is much stronger now. This past month, I have tried, once again, to get him to use the hemi-walker.

My thought was that if I could just get him to stand up with the hemi-walker, I would then ask his primary care doctor to prescribe a home health therapist to come to our home and teach him to walk with it. I had my eye on the calendar and was aiming for tomorrow, his March doctor's appointment to make this suggestion, but alas, Bob just cannot do it.

I have tried to coach him to push up from the arm of his wheelchair to a standing position, but he cannot do it. I have placed the walker next to and also in front of the wheelchair to see if he could grasp onto that and push/pull himself up, but he cannot do it.

I have also wheeled Bob to the computer and had him watch videos of a stroke patient using a hemi-walker hoping it would help him if he could see how it was done. I purposely picked a video with a fellow who was much older than Bob and had the same right arm/leg problems in hopes this would motivate him. But when I asked Bob if he thought he could do it and he said, "I don't know."

But he tried. We tried. And he still cannot do it. It seems the only way he can get up to a standing position is to pull himself up with his hand on the rail in the hall. No matter how much I coach him to use those legs, push with those strong legs! he is still basically yanking himself up with his left arm/hand on the rail. He cannot even lift his butt a little bit off the wheelchair without pulling hard on the rail.

I am at loss of what to do, except to keep up the leg exercises and keep up the rail walking and hope/pray he will get stronger with time. But how much time should this take? It seems to be taking forever.

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend who had not seen Bob in a long time. It went like this:

"I can't believe how great Bob is doing! I can't believe he's doing so well!"

Me: "Well, he's better, that's for sure. But he has a long way to go."

"Oh, I think he's doing wonderful! You are doing a fantastic job!!!"

Of course, to me, Bob is not doing "wonderful". Wonderful would be if he could get up and walk to the bathroom to use the darn toilet.

Are my expectations too high?


Anonymous said...

No D your expectations are not too high. You want the husband you love so dearly to get at least to the point where you can see all your hard work h as payed off. Sounds simple but with the massive damage he suffered you know it's anything BUT simple.

Stay strong and keep believing my friend. Hugs and love, Patricia

oc1dean said...

My OT gave me a trick to start the process of getting the butt out of the chair. Clasp both hands together in front of you, swing your upper body forward using the weight of the arms as counterweights to get more weight directly over the legs, allowing the legs to push directly up. This should have been one of the handouts from your PT.
Similar to this

Jenn said...

How to build abdominal muscle strength......I will have to look into that. Strengthening the abdominal area will catapult him into the walker.
Leg lifts straight up are good
another good one is "cat- puppy" . while seated, have Bob round his back like a cat (pulls belly in), then arch his back lifting his chest (he can wag his tail -lol). This helps lube the spine and can ease low back aches.

Rebecca said...

Now that I can count on my fingers and toes how many years I have left to live I'm motivated by things that make my life easier or happier. For me the struggle to learn to stand up was a means not a goal. Both you and Bob want him to have his pain patch. Will standing up make the trip to the doctor to have his urine tested before he gets a new script easier? Maybe another motor skill will make that monthly ordeal easier. You are so resourceful and dedicated that I know you will find a way through your dilemma.

Anonymous said...

As my wife Karen progresses in Pt to learn to stand once again, I follow what they do each and every day. Over the past few days to build her leg strength without standing they have had her pull herself about half way out of her wheel chair, using arm strength to lift her butt about 4" from the chair, so that she is in a squatting position...legs slightly angled back, knees bent. Today she was complaining about sore thigh muscles due to the work out. Later they had her standing, but the squatting is the leg muscle strengthing over all. She too has a long way to go, but improvements slowly continue each day. Prayers and hugs, Dan

Barb Polan said...

Of course your expectations are not too high - these goals are what you and Bob have been working on so long and hard for. And Bob IS doing wonderfully. Believe your friend - those who see me periodically always see leaps in improvement, while the ones I see all the time are less impressed.

BTW, at first, standing up is really hard for all of us.

You ARE doing a fantastic job!!!

One more thing - when Bob stands up to go to the bathroom, you'll both be looking forward to the next goal to work on; don't forget to revel in each accomplishment along the way.

Nikki said...

I'm sure he'll get it someday- not sure when, but someday. Tell him to keep trying.

Anonymous said...

It hurts to bare weight on it the pain is like a cont. cramp in foot.
No muscle rub helps or soaking it in warm salt water Thanks for any help.
Feel free to visit my webpage Discover More

jack lam said...

I think you have to try to teach Bob in another way.
1. If he can walk with by holding the rail in the hall, that means his legs are strong enough to walk.
2. But to walk by holding the rail in the hall, he should rely on the rail by pulling the rail to avoid himself from falling down. The same method cannot be applied when using the hemi walker
3.When using the hemi walker, Bob has to learn to press it. By pressing it, he put the weight to the hemi walker, and so can relieve his weak leg from the weight of his body. Thus he can lift his weak leg to walk
4. My mother has exactly the same situation, and now she can walk with the hemi walker. And now I am helping her to claim up stairs with the hemi walker.

If you have any question, write me email: I am happy to share my experience