Stroke Update 19 – Rehab Done

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Who’s suddenly completely done with all of his professional rehab?

I’ll give you one guess. 😉

This morning, my outpatient physical therapy rehab session went (in my rehab therapist’s words) “better than really, really good!”

I did everything today without any walker, including walking in to the appointment, walking back out to the car afterward, walking up and down four flights of stairs, and taking a bunch of tests, to measure my strength, agility, and balance against those that I had when I had first started outpatient rehab, several weeks ago.

They had me do all kinds of tests, such as sit down on this soft rocking chair, without using your hands. Now, stand up again, without using your hands. Stand up straight, put your feet together, and close your eyes for several seconds. Without moving your feet, bend at the waist and stretch your arm really far forward, to touch my hand. Turn around in a circle. Now, turn around in a circle the other direction. Can you pick up this pen from the floor? Stand up and balance on one foot for several seconds. Now balance on the other foot for several seconds. Walk forward, backwards, and sideways, both ways, with even more than normal resistance added to the resistance machine.

All together, he tested me for a long, long time.

That was party because they did a lot of different tests, and partly because I did some of them very slowly and carefully, like taking about 20 seconds to turn around in a circle, and another 20 seconds to pick up a pen that was on the floor.

When he was done, he told me that, several weeks ago, I had scored 39 out of a possible 56 points. Normally, the rehab therapists hope that people’s time in rehab can help them be successful by improving their scores by 5 or 6 points when they are retested. Instead, my retest score was 14 points higher, improving from my original 39 out of a possible 56 points, to a “better than really, really good” 53 out of 56 points, which is 94.6%.

Then he said that he’s really happy that I know what to do to continue to improve, and that I’m doing all of that on my own. Then he told me that, even though I still had several more rehab sessions scheduled with him over the next several weeks, the fact is that, less than four months after suffering a major stroke that had completely “disconnected” all of the muscles on the left side of my body, I really don’t need him any more!

So, he canceled my upcoming appointments. He’s going to send a report to my primary doctor, to tell her about my progress. This coming weekend, my wife is going to take me to a large, vacant parking lot, like that of a school, so that I can practice starting to drive a car again!

After rehab, my wife and I went to Walmart and to an auto parts store, to buy some exercise equipment and several supplies for me to be able to start getting my rider mower working again. Yes, at both places, I walked around with just my gait belt.

Woo-hoo!

Update, Thursday, 4:58 PM: ANOTHER goal met! My wife held my gait belt very lightly, and, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, THE TWO OF US JUST WALKED AROUND THE WHOLE BLOCK (81x, total), WITHOUT ANY WALKER!!!

No problems. No acetaminophen. No pain.

I didn’t have my metronome with me, but it was a leisurely, relatively smooth walk, at something faster than 60 steps per minute, but slower than the 104 steps per minute that I’ve been zooming around the block with my walker. I also took smaller, safer steps. It took us awhile, but we took our time, had a fun time, and did it!

Wow! What an excellent day!

Now, I know for sure that I can walk, with only my gait belt, much, much further than the couple of hundred yards that I had walked each of the last several times that I was in rehab, including today — and even many, many times further than the few driveways away, and back, that I had walked, with only my gait belt, on our sidewalk, each of the past few days!

Update, Thursday, 6:42 PM: Sunny, with a cool breeze. I zoomed around the block alone (82x total), with my walker, like it was nothing, speaking with a few friendly neighbors on the way.

Update, Friday, April 20, 5:52 AM: One result of yesterday’s events was that, last night, I was too excited to fall asleep, so I stayed up until 1:00 AM, before finally going to bed! Then I woke up, only a few hours later, and couldn’t sleep. So I got out of bed, took my walker down the hall, to my office, and edited this post several times. When I was done, I walked back to bed, in the dark. As I climbed into bed again, I suddenly realized that, despite the fact that it was still very dark — and just like I had done in the dream that I had a few weeks ago — without even thinking about it, I had gotten up from my office chair and walked back to bed, accidently leaving my walker back in my office!

Now I’m all excited again, so I think maybe I’ll go out to the living room, watch TV, and start my day!

I think I may need a nap or two, or three, later today. 😉

Update, Friday, 7:47 AM: It was way too early to find anything decent on TV. Our outside antenna receives about 30 non-Spanish, non-shopping channels, but all I found were competitively cloying morning news programs, 30-minute commercials, black-and-white cowboy shows that are as old as I am, and unwatchable sitcom reruns that I considered to be garbage, even back when they first aired, in the 70s and 80s.

So, I went back to bed for awhile. Now, I’m up again, for the day.

Update, Friday, 9:43 AM: Sunny, clear, and still. I walked around the block my daily two times (82x and 83x, total), with my walker, with absolutely no problems or obstacles. Because today’s temperature is quickly going from warm to way too hot, I removed my hat, once I got about two-thirds away around the second lap, out of the places where the sun would shine directly in my face. Unfortunately, that didn’t do me much good, so I was still too hot and sweaty by the time I got home. When I walked into our garage, I was instantly much cooler, because there’s no direct sun in the garage. And, of course, the air conditioning inside of our house was even cooler.

Update, Friday, 3:15 PM: The sweat has been pouring into my eyes for the past few hours. Without my walker or any other means of support, I started to remove and repair the one switch on my rider mower that I had suspected had gone bad. It was held in place by only one bolt, but, even though I own all sizes of US and metric size sockets, that one bolt turned out to be an old fashioned one that had a tiny, shallow head that wasn’t any standard US or metric size.

So it took me over 90 long minutes to remove that one bolt, using several different sockets, and finally, a vice-grips pliers, to loosen it about 1/32 of one turn at a time.

When I finally removed that switch, it was, as I had suspected, frozen up. It took another hour or so of working on it to finally loosens its parts enough that they started to work again, as confirmed by my handheld electric test meter.

Then my wife took me to a nearby hardware store, where I found the exact same bolt as the one that had taken me so long to remove, but the new one has a nice, deep, standard-sized head.

It cost me a total of 43 cents, including 3 cents of tax.

Once I got home and got that switch working again, it only took a few minutes, using the new screw, to reinstall it in the rider mower.

Unfortunately, as I had suspected, the fixed switch didn’t make any difference at all in starting the rider mower. It still won’t start.

So, tomorrow or the next day, I’ll start figuring out what’s next on the list of possible safety switches that are allowing the rider mower’s engine to “turn over,” but preventing it from “sparking,” starting, and running.

Or maybe the problem is caused by something else that I haven’t even thought of. I sure hope it doesn’t turn out to be some hidden swich or relay.

Except for two times that I sat in my walker’s seat, to do things that took a really long time, like removing that one old fashioned bolt, I did everything else today without using my walker at all. The whole time that I worked in the garage today, trying to fix my rider mower, has turned out to be a long, drawn out process that, so far, has been much more difficult and draining, both mentally and physically, than completing our annual Federal income tax forms was, a couple of weeks ago.

So, to make sure that I ended my work by doing something successfully today, I carefully changed the rider mower’s oil and oil filter, gapped and installed a new spark plug in it, and then cleaned up the oil change’s resulting, predictably necessary mess.

Now it’s time to relax.

And, the next time I do such hard work, I’ll wear some type of sweat band.

Update, Saturday, April 20, 10:44 AM: Last night, Linda G., one of my friends, sent me a text message that I think was one of the funniest things that anyone has said to me so far. She wrote:

“OK, now you’re just showing off. LOL!”

I’m still laughing about it this morning.

Surprisingly, I only took one nap yesterday, after supper. Despite everything that happened yesterday, I woke up this morning without any pain or soreness. No acetaminophen for the past several days.

A very warm morning, but a cold front and rains on the way. I got to the door that leads outside, to start walking around the block, when I suddenly realized that I was forgetting something — my walker! I had accidently left it back in my office again! I guess I’m getting used to walking around inside everywhere without it. Then I walked around the block two more times (84x and 85x, total) at my new, slightly faster speed of 108 steps per minute. Curves, corners, sticks, cracks, eneven areas, sand up to about an inch thick, pebbles, acorns — you name it, I rolled over it without ever slowing down, except to talk to one neighbor. I had mentioned him once before, a man whose brother — who had a stroke a few years ago, at age 50 — still can’t stand up.

As they told me in rehab, different strokes for different folks.

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13 Responses to Stroke Update 19 – Rehab Done

  1. Linda says:

    Love getting good news, congrats!! 🙂

  2. ComputerBob says:

    Linda,
    As you’ve seen, I’ve gotten a ton of good news lately! Where am I going to store it all? 😉 I sure love to hear from you and Jim!

  3. Candy says:

    That’s awesome news! You’ll probably be in the New England Journal of Medicine for quickest stroke recovery time with the gold medal for hardest working in physical therapy. So very proud of you. I’m also proud of xxxxxx, who’s been beside you every step of the journey. Love you both.,,

  4. ComputerBob says:

    Aw, thanks, Candy, for your very, very kind words of encouragement! We both love you, too!

  5. Bill Pocklington says:

    I put in 5 tomato plants and they were wilted and froze a few days ago. I have 6 peach trees to bury tomorrow. I have a guy with a tractor scheduled sometime tomorrow to dig up my yard for trees and new tomato plants. I have never paid for tiller service and I may bury a lot of plants and seeds this year. After I stuck the last 5 plants in I could not get up off the ground. So I cut open bags of soil and spread them over about half my 12′ by 10′ garden. I asked my dog to go get a cane. Apparently he doesn’t do that trick. I’ll have to remember to bring a long stick with me next time I start crawling around the yard.
    We made ribs with rub yesterday. I told my son in law that ribs make a day special for me. Robin and I love you.
    I am very impressed with your drive and good results.
    To what do you attribute the lack of pain? Have you been doing something different?

  6. ComputerBob says:

    Bill,
    I attribute the current lack of pain to two things — healing and getting stronger. But, also, to taking one double-strength, fish oil, Omega 3 capsule each day, which seems to be lubricating my muscles and joints. I love you and Robin, too! Thanks so much for your undying love and support over the past 4+ decades, and especially during this time, when it would be easier to just ignore my emails and and act like I had died. 😉

  7. Bill Pocklington says:

    I just bought some fish oil capsules and Robin and I will try again with this to reduce joint and circulatory inflamation. At least I can hope I won’t be squeaky with all that lubrication going on. We are so happy to hear good news.

  8. ComputerBob says:

    My former occupational therapist confirmed that my fish oil capsules definitely helped loosen my joints and muscles. Before I used them for a month or so, I would audibly and painfully “pop” every time I stretched or did any kind of exercise, as though my muscles were sticking together. She could hear it from several feet away. Omega 3s made a huge difference for me! I really hope that they help you, too! 😉

  9. ComputerBob says:

    I just thought of one more, simple, cheap thing. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, spaced out during the day. It’s supposed to be really good for muscles, joints, the brain, and many other things. 😉

  10. ComputerBob says:

    Also, even though you haven’t had a stroke, like me, you may find it helpful to read the advice that a nurse gave me yesterday, about discouragement and reaching a certain level of progress, in Stroke Update 20!

  11. Cousin Micki says:

    Dearest Cousin, Bob and I are celebrating your GREAT achievement and graduation from professional rehab therapy!!! You are amazing and your faith and courage are inspirational!
    What a journey this has been for both of you – we are so very grateful for you, and thank God for your recovery!!!

  12. ComputerBob says:

    Cousin Micki,
    As you know, I ALWAYS look forward to hearing from you! Both of your support means SO, SO much to me!!! I’m so glad that you were able and willing to write to me! I will be contacting you soon, about that family related medical issue that you and I discussed in our last phone call. Everything is really starting to come together! 😉

  13. ComputerBob says:

    Update: Please don’t just take my word — or anyone else’s — alone, about fish oil and Omega 3. Do your own research, and make your own decision, whether you think that — based on the current research — fish oil Omega 3 is right for you, in your current condition and situation. As I stated above, fish oil appears to me to have really helped my muscles, but it may not be right for you, depending on how it might affect your health, or how it might interact with any other supplements or medications that you might be taking. So please don’t take my personal experience as medical advice — ask your doctor.

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