As we move through mid-June, we are rapidly closing in on the one-year mark since I came home from Hillcrest. Still seems hard to believe that its gone so quickly, but in other ways, it seems like so much more than a year. I had a great Father's Day and really enjoyed being able to celebrate it at home. (You can go back in the blog to see how we spent last Father's Day). I got wrist weights and a putting green, so my family continues to invest in my rehab.
So, I will use those gifts as a good segue into my therapy update. We have started strengthening exercises in occupational therapy. That includes using the wrist weights for shoulder lifts in multiple directions and for bicep curls. I can feel a difference, even though we are using very light weight. Its not like I was a bodybuilder before the stroke to begin with. I also drove to therapy and used only my left arm on the steering wheel for the stretch on I-35. That news was encouraging to my therapist and terrifying for my wife! I actually felt almost natural and safe and comfortable driving that way. There was very little traffic, so I also had that going for me. We continue once a week in occuptional therapy with more of an emphasis on working at home and exercising. I've been needing to do that for a long time anyway, so it is nice to have a gentle shove to help me along. The therapist has me putting and chipping to work on holding on to a golf club and getting that twisting and movement into my shoulder, wrist and forearm. Having the putting green at home will give me more of a chance to do that, and I will also be visiting the driving range soon. The swing doesn't look or feel natural yet, but I've made some pretty good contact and I am very pleased with that. For some reason, the follow through is the most difficult part of the swing. We also worked with a guitar last week. I can't play a chord again yet, but I was able to play (very slowly and with tremendous effort and frustration) something that at least sounded like notes.
We tried something new in physical therapy yesterday and I have some mixed reviews on that! One of the therapists inserted acupuncture needles into the muscles in my lower left leg in an effort to manually force the tightness in those muscles to release. The good news is that it seems to have worked for right now and I have better and freer movement in the calf, ankle and toes. We will keep working to make that last and I'm interested to see how long the results will hold. The bad news: if someone tells you that acupuncture doesn't hurt, they are LYING to you! My hatred of needles is no secret and now extends to acupuncture needles, too. I also learned that if a therapist says "Oh, you leaked a little on that one." what she really means is "We seem to have hit a vein and blood is streaming out of your leg right now." Thankfully, I didn't have to hear that too often. We continue physical therapy once every two or three weeks depending on holidays and matching up schedules. She was encouraged by my progress since our last visit and that was also encouraging to me.
Outside of therapy, life just keeps rolling on. The kids are both busy with camps, Brenda is working as hard as ever and taking great care of me, the house and the yard. She also keeps picking up the slack of things I am still not able to do. I am so thankful for her and her strength. We also continue to be thankful to each of you for your continued support! Be back soon with another update!