Wednesday, November 23, 2011



<--- Dad doing his "mirror therapy"

It's been a long time since I updated my Dad's blog! Now that we're back home,
things just seem busier!

Dad is doing great back in Monte. He goes to speech 4 days/week, and PT and OT
2 days/week. He was first set for just two-months' worth of PT and OT, but has been doing so well that it has been extended- hopefully for another two months.

In OT, he is slowly working his way down his arm: beginning with his shoulder, then
his upper arm, and now concentrating on his lower arm. Progress seems to keep
happening, and he works real hard on this at home too- doing "rowing" exercises (a rowing movement mid-air), weight-bearing, e-stim on his wrist and fingers. It's cool because for a long time he was able to do the arm movements only in the pool therapy when supported by water. Now, he is able to do a lot of
them in the air, unsupported!

In PT, his therapist is really concentrating hard on his ham string and hip-flexor. It's still difficult for him to lift his leg. His therapist is great and very imaginative, and is trying all sorts of things to get that movement to kick-in. The therapist is also working with Dad on swinging his arm while walking. Even though he is getting a lot of movement with his arm, it doesn't swing freely while he walks.

Tonight for one of the first times, he was able to go up on his toes. That was exciting! He is also doing "mirror therapy" now. This is done by doing movements into the mirror with your good leg and arm, and trying to trick your brain into thinking that the reflection is the affected limb. Sometimes, this can actually initiate new paths in the brain to really move those limbs. My dad tries to do this for an hour each day. Dad's therapist did warn us,however, that since he is so smart, it may be hard to trick his brain.

In speech, his therapist is working mainly on apraxia drills. Dad has learned a
"key word" for almost every sound now (Maggie for the "mm" sound, key for "k," cheese for "ch", etc.), and is slowly able to sound out words. He is working at reading two-syllable words and short sentences out loud. He picked out one of our children's books the other day, and for the first time was able to read part of it out loud. His brain gets real tired doing this, but he has been able to read 12 pages at a sitting. At night, he is slowly making his way through Hemingway's "Farewell to Arms" before he goes to sleep. My brother thought this was one he could tackle, since the sentences are quite short. He reads this silently, not out loud. He is about halfway done!

Many people have commented on how much improvement my dad has made with his speech. Sometimes it's harder for us to tell, since we are with him every day. But other people notice a lot of changes. It's so wonderful, and we are encouraged by every little improvement he makes!

Happy Thanksgiving!

2 comments:

  1. I'm a stroke survivor with aphasia. I always enjoy the updates on your dad! I hope you don't mind that I listed your blog on my bloglist.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    -Grace
    http://myhappystroke.blogspot.com

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  2. Like Grace Carpenter, I am a stroke survivor (hemorrhagic stroke at age 60 on September 6, 2008).

    It is heartening to see such family support as you have for you dad!

    One can never tell what is possible in recovery. All sorts of unanticipated healings are possible.

    I was one of the many stroke survivors who missed passing on by a hair. I could not speak for several months. My entire right side was 100% paralyzed. Initially my short-term memory and basic cognitive functions were severely impacted. While still recuperating 3 and 1/4 years later, I walk, sometimes without a cane, and clearly speak. My memory and thinking are much clearer.

    All this being said, every stroke is as individual as is the stroke survivor. (I am certainly NOT a medical professional. I have a blog of links and thoughts at http://www.Stroke Revelations.com.)

    Blessings to you and your dad as we enter 2012!

    Billy Ethridge

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