Monday, January 25, 2010

Dang--3 weeks goes by fast

when you're running at full speed.

We checked Pete into TIRR on January 5, and he comes home, TOMORROW! We are very happy in our house tonight. Anna was having a hard time getting to sleep, but she's down now.

I have to say, and I'm sure Pete will agree, there is a world of difference between being admitted to a stroke rehab facility when you're not completely well from a medical perspective and when you are. They had to start him very slowly last time, he was still having periodic a-fibs, low blood pressures, tummy troubles (and of course that very annoying case of gallbladder disease) and significant cognitive difficulties. He would do 3 hours a day, in Occupational, Speech and Physical therapy. This time, he has those 3 hours, plus 2 or 3 "groups". One of those groups are cognitive, but the other 2 are exercise related classes. So, he could be spending as much as 4 hours a day doing physical or occupational therapy.

You have to know if you could spend that long every day working out, you'd have some progress to report. Well, Pete has done quite a bit of progressing. Of real import is that the tightness in his achille's tendon has been resolved and he's now standing flat on his feet. If the standing exercises hadn't worked, they would be scheduling him to have it lengthened surgically, which would have again delayed his recovery. He is much steadier on his feet and has gained a good deal of strength in his left leg. Because he's in the exercise classes, which are a whole bunch of stretching, his PT has really concentrated on the main event, walking.

Today, I went for discharge training, which I thought was pretty pointless, as we've already been to this rodeo, but it turned out to be a good refresher for me too. They have fitted him with a semi-rigid brace for his ankle and lower leg which makes a big difference in his stability. Anyway, this was a full hour of watching the therapists help Pete walk. Actually, he's doing all the work, all they (and I) were doing is helping him shift his weight from left to right. Ended up he walked enough to equal a short trip to the store. Most of it is very "normal" looking, every now and again he still has short steps, and he's sooo easily distracted. They started him off on a cane, but he was using it for too much weight bearing. They switched him to a thin metal pole. I told the therapist it looked like a ski pole. That exactly what it was. Very light, very thin, and not there at all to bear weight, and that's what he'll be working with next. At the end of the session, they had him walk up and down a full flight of stairs. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Obviously, he had help with the mechanics of the thing, but the strength was all his.

I'll go get him tomorrow at 10:00 or so and bring him home.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Last November, Pete had a baclofen pump put in--and man is it a cute little bump on his tummy. It has been working quite well and doing its job. The muscle spacticity which has made Pete's life miserable for almost a year now is under control.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but the problem really makes for all sorts of life problems. You know when you're falling asleep and your leg jerks and you wake up suddenly and wonder what that was? Pete would do that all night long, no way he could get a decent night of sleep. Since the pump was put in, he has done much better. Downside of the medication is that it is a central nervous system depressant (duh) and it does make Pete feel tired a good bit. He had some post surgery issues, which have resolved, and he's been released by the neurosurgeon for further therapy as of new years eve.

This afternoon, Pete and I got a call from the admissions people at TIRR, and a bed has opened up for him. We'll go tomorrow to check him in at lunchtime. The prospect of Pete getting 5 or 6 days of therapy is very exciting, although I am going to miss him terribly and feel very sad. We told Anna about it tonight and she said "no", no drama, just "no". I explained Daddy was going to the big gym to get better. No she doesn't get it really, but she said something like "can I have a samich for dinner", the 3 year old version of "since I don't have a choice, I don't want to talk about it anymore". I will not tell you what Steve had to say, because I think any bets on the subject would be sucker.

I'll try to keep everyone posted.