Journal entry by Steven Lewis

This may be my last inpatient journal entry, as I am set to be sprung from Shirley Ryan on Saturday.  But fear not: I intend to continue journaling during my outpatient treatment as well.  I believe I've mentioned that, after I'm discharged, I'll be going to live with my brother's family for few months (at least through the end of the year) in Buffalo Grove, IL, while I continue my outpatient rehabilitation. Conveniently, Shirley Ryan has a day rehab facility only one town over fro BG.

I continue making strides in rehab.  Some noteworthy metrics: (1) Yesterday I retook the grip-strength test, and my left hand went from ~20 lbs a week or so ago to 30 lbs now. So I'm pleased with that.  (For comparison, my right had grip strength is in the 90-100 lbs range.) (2) On a standard hand/arm assessment called ARAT, which is scored out of 57 points, I have consistently improved. On 10/3, I scored a 12, with a timing of 673 sec. On 10/15, I scored a 29 in 402 sec.  And today, 10/24, I scored a 42 in 113 sec.  (3) On two walking assessments, I also showed improvement.  On the 6-minute cane-walking  test today, I walked 341 m with very little assist from the PT (she had to provide support only on two steps where I lost some balance), compared to 307 m when I did that test last week, in which I needed more PT assistance.  On the 10-m timed cane-walking test, my average walking speed yesterday was 0.28 m/s, up only slightly from the week before, which was 0.27 m/s. The typical walking-gait range out in the community is 0.8-1.3 m/s. So I'll have to continue using a wheelchair out in the community until my speed picks up.  But I'll be able to walk with a 4-prong cane at home, with assistance, right away. (4) My score on the balance test today was 34 out of 56, identical to last week's score.  But apparently 34 is a tough score to beat, because to do so, the PT has to feel that it's safe to be a few steps away from me, rather than right there to assist me if necessary.  I'll need to get that up to the mid 40s before they'll consider that I'm at fairly low risk of falling, if unassisted in my walking.  So something to aim for in outpatient.

Another thing I learned today (or rather, again had confirmed) is that I have very good health insurance.  I was told that my insurance covers 40 days per calendar year of outpatient OT and PT each.  Since the calendar year is rapidly coming to an end, I'll be able to go to outpatient rehab 4 days a week for 6 hours per day (unless that's more than my body can handle … we'll see).  That means rehab will become like a full-time job! Candidly, that doesn't sound fun, but it'll definitely be good for me.

OK, that's it for now.  As ever, than you for your continuing interest, love an support!  It helps me a lot!
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