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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Am I Pushing Him Too Hard?

Bob attempting to stand with the hemi-walker.
The PT is 5'7" and Bob is 6'3"...

Last week, Bob had his re-evaluation at Outpatient Rehab and was approved for four more weeks of therapy. This only because he has an excellent and very kind therapist who tells him, "Bob, if all my patients tried as hard as you do, my job would be too easy."

Truth be told, physical therapy has been a real struggle for Bob this time around. Mainly because the dystonia in his left ("unaffected") foot causes him such great pain each time he attempts to stand up or walk or put weight on it.

Imagine trying to walk with one paralyzed leg/foot that you can't control and are pretty much dragging along, while the other foot is crippled up, all the toes curled under and digging into the ball of your foot and screaming in pain. On top of that, it seems that the dystonia is also attacking his left hamstring and he cannot totally straighten out his left leg. When he stands, he is all hunched over. And of course, he still has that neck problem.

That's what he's dealing with.

I tell you, it breaks my heart to watch him.

The PT's are still optimistic and still trying to get him up on the hemi-walker. So far, Bob has managed to stand with the walker for the count of five. Yesterday, he toppled over backward, taking the therapist with him into his wheelchair!

I do worry that I am pushing him too hard. That he's doing this for me. And that's the only reason. He wants to make me happy. Because he knows how long and hard I have fought to get him back into therapy and get financial aid to pay for it.

But at what price? He is in so much pain.

And the whole struggle with the hemi-walker seems so fruitless. Pointless, really. I am beginning to doubt that Bob will ever walk again....

We did see the new neurologist about Botox for Bob's neck and, hopefully, foot. We have another appointment to consult with the actual doctor who will be doing the Botox in May. Botox is already scheduled, but not until July 2nd. Which will probably be too late for this rehab session.

On a lighter note: last night, the cats were both sleeping, sort of sprawled out on top of the built-in bookcase in Bob's room and Bob saw them and laughed and said to me, "Take a picture!"

Ripley and Zenith
Which I did.

By the way, "Take a picture!" is a very good spontaneous sentence!


Rebecca Dutton said...

Teaching Bob how to help you when you transfer him from the bed to the wheelchair is a worthwhile goal. Bob gets to feel useful and he reduces the odds of the two of you falling. I'm 5'2" and learned to never let a client who is 6' tall stand up higher than my head. Keeping a tall person low takes away their height advantage. P.S. Landing in the wheelchair is ideal. Once a person starts falling the best anyone can do is choose the safest landing site. P.P.S. Love Bob's full sentence.

J.L. Murphey said...

A very hope filled post. Are you pushing Bob too hard? Nope he is. Bob knows how much pain he can handle. When it gets too much he'll slow down our stop.

As far as the therapy goes. You can postpone further therapy until a week or two weeks after the Botox. That's what I've done with mine. For me, when the pain hits 8 out 10, I'm fighting too hard and getting nowhere. Bob is capable of making the same decision. Speak to your neurologist who ordered the PT.

He may never walk again the way he used to, but hang in there. I fact that he is standing up at all is a good thing. Squeeze that thought tight and hold it in your heart. He's at a five count with toes and a hamstring issue in his functioning side, but that doesn't mean he is not getting stronger. It may take time, but he will do it if possible.

Falling is never a good thing, but falling safely is the trick. Yeah for Bob and the therapist.

In my recovery I focused on someone else, my husband. What would ease his care of me. I worked harder because of it. You are the focus of him trying so hard. If it were just him he might not. Everyone needs something else to focus on when doing the hard stuff. Be happy it's you.

Hurray for sentences! I remember when I started speaking clearly in sentences. It was a major milestone. Keep him talking!

Anonymous said...

Hello Diane, Because you believe Bob is only doing the physical therapy, though painful, because he is trying to please you, it may be the time to have a serious and frank talk with him. Find out what he really wants. Can he continue to deal with the pain? Is he doing the therapy because he feels it will improve his abilities, or is he doing so because he feels it makes you happy? What does he think about his future prospects?

There must be some improvement in his therapy or insurance wouldn't have been approved for another month. Bob is working very hard, you are working very hard, and improvements are taking place. Maybe he will walk again, maybe he won't, but the therapy also builds strength in so many ways.

Don't give up on Bob or yourself. Do take the time to have a serious conversation with Bob and let him know of your concerns as well as find out his.

You're both doing great. I know you'll continue to do so.

Hugs & prayers,


SSTattler said...

Nice article both the human (PT & Bob) and feline (Ripley & Zenith) !!

Regards / John A.

Barb Polan said...

Standing! That's huge. As long as you count the seconds, you can tell when progress is made. And I think that if progress is made, current therapy should be continued.

Re pushing him too hard, if Bob can tell you to take a pic of the cats, he can tell you if it hurts too much.

What's wrong with him working so hard to make you happy? It must make him happy to see you happy.

Keep it up. As you know, progress provides hope for both of you.

Jenn said...

I very much believe Bob does this for himself as well as for you.
J.L's and Dan's advice - good stuff.
And one day at a time. But you know that already. <3

oc1dean said...

No, Thats nothing compared to Pedro Bach-y-rita.