Therapy Notes – Wed. 9/1/21

How did it get to be September? What happened to August? Oh wait, I spent it in the hospital and rehab. No wonder I’m confused. I haven’t been outside for weeks. But that will change next Tuesday, September 7th, when I will be discharged from Olympic Rehab Center and moved to Meadow Lake skilled nursing. Closer to home – in the backyard, almost – but not quite there. BUT it’s where I need to be. I’m not ready to go home yet, much as I want to. I’m not safe alone for things like walking to the bathroom, which, let’s face it, is a pretty basic thing. Not to mention actually getting in and out of bed. And putting on my own shoes isn’t something I can do myself yet. So I still have things to learn. They will come and get me in a transport van and whisk me off with all my accumulated stuff for the next stage of this journey.

Today I had a different PT therapist because Veronica was off. We started out walking, because I told her that’s what we usually do, to get the walking done while my legs are fresh and strongest. I walked 100 feet with two stops on the way. My right foot up to about the top of my sock was feeling really weird and clumsy – and trying to explain it, realized that it was because my foot felt tingly needles and pins, something it hadn’t felt in over a year. The right foot has been basically numb dead weight, with the ankle frozen and unable to move up and down. The left foot is a lot better, still with the frozen ankle problem but able to wiggle toes and bend them up and down. But today the right foot felt for the first time as though it’s starting to wake up a little. I didn’t really notice a functional difference, but could FEEL a difference.

Yesterday afternoon Veronica used a TENS unit to try some stimulation to the leg muscles, to remind them how they’re supposed to work. Today we did more of the same, with the electrodes placed differently. Not sure if yesterday’s session was responsible for the “waking up” feeling of today, but it was worth trying again to see if there’s more sensation tomorrow. Every day builds on what came before. And after the stim session, I walked over to the Nustep (about 13 feet) and did 15 minutes on my favorite machine.

OT time was the usual 15 minutes on the arm bike, but changing up a level and adding hills for extra effort. I really don’t like this thing, but on the other hand, my upper body is a lot stronger. We followed it with more arm weights with pulleys and with the rickshaw and pull down weights. I know, it’s the same thing I do every day – because they work. Then we did another pass at using the bathroom commode from the walker, which was easier except for the standing up part. The commode is lower and there’s only a grab bar on one side, so it was MUCH harder to stand up. But so far today I’ve done it twice! I’m still sticking with the bedside commode when I’m in bed because it’s not safe for me to be doing much walking or foot movements without my AFO splints in the shoes, and who wants to put on shoes just to go to the bathroom?

Roommate situation is not ideal but I’ll deal with it. She’s a nice woman who is in a lot of pain from a fall in her house where she was alone for a long time before someone found her. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” for realz. I feel sad for her, because it sounds as though her children and grandchildren don’t pay much attention to her, though that may be completely wrong and just a case of “poor me.” But she needs help and that’s what they do here. I’ve been urging her to speak up early when she has pain or needs help, not wait to not cause trouble. A tip from one patient to another. That’s how we roll.

Oh, and one more thing I want to remember – I have been making my transfers using a walker and not the wooden sliding board. It feels like graduation.