Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival~ Back in the Saddle Again Finally!

Well, most of my Facebook friends know, but y'all don't know that I've started OT again on my arm. This was my first week back since September of last year. Why the delay? I couldn't arrange (read afford) a private sitter for my DH (darling hubby) for me to arrange for my therapy sessions...

 $15 an hour (1 1/2 hours with drive time)X 3 times a week X 4 weeks in a month = a HUGE expense on a very limited budget. Our insurance will pay for hospice but not for private sitters for my care issues. I just couldn't justify the extra expense nor did we have the money to spare for me to be in therapy. Although my insurance will pay 100% of the therapy bill, I've been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul for some months now and see no end in sight. No, I'm not whining.

When I spoke to an old friend of over twenty years, who is also a minister and volunteer with hospice, about my dilemma she flat told me it wouldn't do to hurt myself because of my husband's health issues. She arranged for a slew of volunteers to sit with my husband for free while I took therapy.

The only problem was my husband's paranoia about too many strangers in the house. This friend got volunteers who were off duty police officers and their spouses. Although most of the officers I worked with many years ago have retired, their children now work on the force. It becomes old home week playing catch up with all of them.

I started OT with a new therapist. My old therapist works strictly in pediatrics now. I was really leery about having to train a new therapist. My old therapist and I understood each other perfectly since both of us were willing to try anything to get results. I expressed my concerns with the director of rehab services when he stopped and talked to me. So in walks this new therapist. I do mean new because she only graduated last August. I begin clearing the air. I've never been shy to say what I want and what I expect. It's the only way to open a meaningful dialogue. AND, there has to be a meaningful dialogue for progress to occur.

She stepped out of the room for some heat packs for my shoulder, arm, and hand when the rehab director poked his head into the room. I could see the question in his eyes...'Well, what do you think?' I gave him a thumb up. The young lady was open and honest. It was a starting place.

The witch with a "B" about my stroke is paralysis with high tone and spasticity. While the Botox reduces the amount of spasticity in the bicep and pectoral muscles the tone is still in play. This is most obvious in my wrist and fingers.

We've only had one mild disagreement in the past two sessions about paralysis. In school she was taught that true paralysis dealt with only flaccid muscles and no voluntary motor response so because I exhibited high tone and spasticity I wasn't paralyzed. Well, she was wrong. To prove it I Googled the definition of paralysis on my Kindle in a medical dictionary. I left her with one sage piece of advice. Learn something new each day.

The second session I heard something I hadn't heard in over a year. I believed it. I'd worked towards it. But had not heard a medical professional say it. There is hope for almost full recovery of my arm. I had expressed if I could just get use of my elbow back that I would be happy. Then I got a cramp in my hand as she stretched my fingers out one by one. My fingers out stretched like a gnarled, old witch's hand during the cramp. Both of us stared at it in surprise. Our eyes met and "Did you see that!" came out of both of our mouths in unison. The hand curled back into a fist after it was over.

"We've got to work harder on this!" she said. "Heck with only your elbow. We're gonna get your hand back too!"

Now, I can't wait for my Tuesday therapy session. It won't happen overnight, but with time, I may just do that. It was just the hope renewal I needed.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. WoooHooo! That's a therapist you can deal with! And she's bright and excited, or you wouldn't have gotten that response. Go, Jo, Go!


  2. That's awesome! Glad your new therapist is open and you willing to work to get your hand movement back. And what a blessing so many volunteered to stay with your husband.

  3. OMG and bless those volunteers! Great news, Jo! You go, girl!

  4. Your pastor friend lining up volunteers to stay with Terry is just the kind of help we need - not asking you what she can do to help. Congrats too on finding a good OT. AND on you having a hand cramp at just the right time. Have fun!


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