Looking back at the last week or so, I was thinking the best description is routine. But in reality, I guess we are still working on what “routine” looks like for us now. Often, 7 pm feels like it’s 10 pm after a day of therapy and perhaps just one extra task thrown in. The weather doesn’t really help Bernie get the variety of outside activities back in play, so we are definitely looking for spring to get here early as Punxsutawney Phil predicted. Bernie’s therapies are all going well. PT and OT regularly leave him with tired and sometimes sore legs and arms. They work him hard (although when it’s happening the intensity level seems reasonable). The therapists do a good job of making small tasks more difficult, for example, fine-motor tasks such as pinching and reaching with pegs are enhanced with simultaneous balance challenges. Also, within the hour they mix up the workload by utilizing the larger equipment to help with strength and endurance. They do put together a good combination of tasks. Speech is also going well and is focused on word retrieval, attention, and reasoning exercises. On Tuesday and Thursday, Bernie went through some reevaluations which are done on two week intervals. He has made progress in many areas; as goals are met, they adjust up to a new set of tasks and goals. In speech, the goal has to be met three times to advance, so he is continuing those activities as needed. Short distance walking speed and walking endurance (on the treadmill - both speed and duration) were the two biggest areas of improvement so far.
This past week, Bernie had some doctor follow-up appointments (neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, and primary care) that were delayed from the prior week due to weather. All visits went well. The doctors are very pleased (and some expressed amazement) with his progress. Bernie was fortunate to have the Loyola doctors that are so great at what they do and are so personable as well. His primary care doctor even said that in 19 years of practice, he has never seen a recovery as impressive as Bernie’s has been so far. A few more doctor visits are on the schedule for this week. After all the time Bernie spent in the hospital, he was fortunate to stay “well”; after three doctor visits this week he did catch a little bug that knocked him out of action on Friday and Saturday. He missed a full day of therapy and Bernie’s nephew Dan’s swearing-in ceremony (he is a judge now for those of you who didn’t know). Fortunately, Bernie is feeling better now.
We had our own OT session today with Bernie’s first trip to the grocery store (with a long list to buy, so it took almost an hour). He used the cart for stability which worked out great; he didn’t need to use the electric cart because his balance and endurance is good enough already. Then at home, he took the job of emptying all the bags and helping to put the groceries away. The entire task did make him a little tired and that’s why all the strength and endurance work in rehab is important. We are back to the regular rehab schedule for this week with a Valentine’s Day dinner planned for Wednesday (no need to fight the crowds on Thursday). Happy Valentine’s Day to all!