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Thursday, January 22, 2015

4 Years Post Stroke and A Squeeze!

Yesterday, at therapy, the PT was trying to get Bob to squeeze his right hand. Now, most of you know, Bob has had no movement what-so-ever in that right hand/arm/shoulder since the stroke. So, I'm sort of sitting there, rolling my eyes, because man, we've done this a million times with about a million other therapists with no luck. And I, too, have tried this a million times...

So imagine my surprise when the PT states that he has felt Bob squeeze his hand! I tell you, I didn't believe him. So the PT had me take Bob's hand and he asked Bob to squeeze it.

And to my amazement, I felt a squeeze. A little squeeze. But a squeeze! It felt like an "inner squeeze" sort of coming from inside his hand. I couldn't believe it, I really thought I just imagined it, because I didn't see Bob's hand move, only felt this little squeeze. Then, Bob did it again, on command.

All I can say is "WOW!" After four years of no movement, this is nothing short of a small miracle!

The technique the PT used was this: He had Bob lean back as far as he could in the wheelchair, hold his head as upright as he could, shoulders back -- this position, the PT says, "opens the nerve pathways to the brain". He told Bob to visualize energy flowing from his brain and "zapping" his right hand. Then, he also had Bob visualize the actual activity of squeezing his hand. Here's a video I took after that first, phenomenal, squeeze:

The PT also used another technique which he refers to as a "distraction" technique. This method is to distract the brain from the activity you want to perform by adding other, easier movements, simultaneously. In this way, the brain has a more spontaneous response. In this video, the PT has Bob move his head from left to right then squeeze his hand.

This PT thinks that Bob can regain the use of that right hand/arm. Though I'm not holding my breath.... I guess, I don't want my hopes dashed. So we'll see what happens... 

Birthday Boy!
In other news, Bob celebrated his 56th birthday last week. I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate and he said "shopping!" So we spent another afternoon at an antique mall. Though I must say this antique mall had the steepest wheelchair ramp in the world. I had to get help to get him up and down....  grrr  But! We had fun and that's what counts!


Rebecca Dutton said...

I am amazed at how much more head control Bob now has. The ability to make eye contact IS HUGE. He will also need head control to see where he is going in his power chair. Go for it Bob!

Anonymous said...

Every tiny step is one more step forward and he continues to take those steps. Continued prayers and hope for both of you. So good to hear.

Hugs & prayers,


Theresa Loder said...

Hi Diane and Bob
A very Happy Birthday wish for Bob..
He is looking great!!
Expect a miracle Diane , it's coming , with time��

That's the way Rick first started feeling his hand.. It finally came..
Are you in the new place yet? I don't get on as often..

I had to put a new profile on to get back on so now I have two .. One has a picture of Rick and I and the other is a picture of Rick..

So glad Bob got his new chair too..

My son got me a new 3 wheel bike for Christmas so I have been riding..

Take care and keep in touch as time permits

Jenn said...

Think of those steep ramps as cardio workouts for you! lol

Oh, D! I'm excited, encouraged, and believe Bob will regain movement in his right side, too. More head/neck mobility! Wow! I watched both videos and noticed the PT stimulating Bob's arm just below the elbow joint. I also feel, from watching the videos you've posted, that Bob's PT is a compassionate individual that treats Bob with integrity and respect. You've a gem of a PT there, my friend.

Happy Birthday Bob! I saw you gettin' into the tune playing in the background! "All about the bass 'bout the bass 'bout the bass..." has an infectious, happy beat!!!! Be proud of how far you've come and will go! You, too, are a gem!
Love you two!!!!!! <3

J.L. Murphey said...

A GIANT step forward. With each step comes hope renewed. WTG!

Barb Polan said...

Wow! That's just it - it takes hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of attempts to rewire the brain so that a part of the brain can do what a different part used to. It just takes so long to get to that number - far more than the couple of years allotted for recovery. Which is what makes recovery so darn frustrating - trying so many times and FAILING so many times. Keep at it, and Bob will get there. And congratulations to you both for your inspirational perseverance.

Grace Carpenter said...

That's great!

I think sometimes it's getting the right therapist at the right time, and trying it--again.

I was also impressed by the improvement in Bob's neck. Way to go, Bob!

Linda said...

What great news. Happy for the two of you.