Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rehab - Now the Real Work Starts

I wanted to do in patient rehab from the start becasue I knew it would get me the kick start needed.  I wanted to stay at Harborview to do it as they have one of the best Rehab programs around.  I have never been afraid of doing the hard work to accomplish something that you really want so doing in patient rehab just made total sense.  My Mom is a former Rehab nurse so I knew how it worked from hearing about her job over the years when I was growing up.  People are in rehab for a variety of health issues - stroke, heart attack, head injury, spinal cord injury, etc...

Day 6 following my injury I started my in patient rehab - I had Physical Therapy twice per day, Occupational Therapy twice and then Recreational Therapy once every couple of days - 5 days per week and Sundays were a day off.  Each theraphy has a different focus.

Physical Therapy would work on me - getting me walking, climbing stairs (since my house has quite few), strengthening my muscles, they are just like loose rubber bands after the injury.  They would create an exercise regime to address my issues that I would do in the hospital and later at home.  Occupational Therapy is focused on helping learn how to do day to day things in your life - showering, dressing, cooking (told them I was spoiled cause the hubby does this), they would help me navigate what had been easy with new tools and new ways of getting things done.  Recreational Therapy focuses on helping you navigate in the community - how do you go out and run errands, navigate side walks, streets, etc.. with a walker or cane.

Game on - I got two Physical Therapists day one, an Intern, "R"and a seasoned Therapist "J" who was evaluating "R".  They were both great and took great pains to evaluate me and establish goals for my therapy.  My right foot had been bothering me since the accident.  We were not sure if it was a sprain that I got when I fell or as result of the SCI.  It seemed like a sprain, but since my toes on the foot were not working correctly It was hard to determine and likely part of the overall injury to my spine.  They thought I may need a brace to give the foot some stability and spent time evaluating that need. Ultimately it was determined I would not need one.

We would focus first on walking with a walker and then stairs all while incorporating exercises to build strength, balance and flexibility.  Walking was different now than before.  I had to tell my body what to do where as before it was automatic.  With a SCI the path ways that work from the brain to your body are damaged and to rebuild them you must tell them what to do by focusing on asking for simple things like tighten your quads and glutes, lift your legs to climb stairs, bend your knees, etc...

These videos were taken day two in Rehab and show me walking with the walker and then assisted without the walker.  Just know that was nearly three weeks ago, so I have made great progress since then, but I felt it was important to see where I started.

Note, the special "Black Orthopedic Looking Shoes" I am wearing.  Special thanks to the Hubby for finding those style makers for me.  He spent hours at the mall trying to find them and then ended up at "Payless Shoes" for those special shoes.  Since my feet were very swollen and tender I was afraid my regular tennis shoes would not work.  Not to worry, hubby to the rescue.  Well, needless to say, those darn shoes, with no arch support and brick like insoles, hurt more than going bare foot in socks, which is what I did day one.  Those did not last another day and I left them at the hospital, they would not be part of my "shoe collection."

Lesson Number 5 - Never let the hubby or boyfriend buy you shoes!  Leave that to sisters, mothers or girlfriends and thanks to mine I ended up with some acceptable comfortable options.  Good effort hubby.

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