Jodanna had physical therapy and occupational therapy today. Her walking is better when she does it with the physical therapist than at home. She is getting stronger, as you can see by these knee bend strengthening exercises. She also does squats. The squats are not deep. They are designed to encourage Jo to use the legs bilaterally. These exercises help to recruit and strengthen the muscles, as well as to redevelop and reinforce the brain-muscle connection.
Jo’s walking is improving as she gets stronger. In the video below, she completes 140 feet. The therapists are working on increasing her gait.
So many people ask, “how is she doing?”
There are a couple of different answers.
In walking, she’s doing very well. Her trajectory is positive and consistent. The therapists put down ski poles and PVC pipes for Jo to step over. Her ability to pick her leg up over an half an inch remains poor. PT encourages her to walk around the house more and use the chair less. For example, they want her to walk to the shower, assisted by Chris, rather than use the wheelchair. Jo asked her physical therapist the money question, “when will I walk?” The PT qualified his response by telling her that he had no crystal ball, however, he indicated that he expected she would be able to walk in six weeks. That’s amazing news.
Regarding the use of her right arm and hand, progress is slow. The therapists are trying to “wake up” her right arm. They stretch and rotate her right arm and shoulder to make sure the muscles remain loose. This is painful for Jo. As was mentioned yesterday, the Bishops enjoyed celebrating their anniversary. Chris reported that Jodanna ordered a sandwich at New Moon. She ate a pretty big sandwich using her left “working” hand.
Jo’s speech improves daily. Her fluency, vocabulary, and ability to make herself understood are all better. Her speech therapy homework is tedious, but she’s keeping at it. “It’s fine” and “I don’t know,” are the phrases she uses when she tires.
Cognitively, Jo is pretty much there. It will take some time to fully recover from this aspect of the stroke, but thankfully, Jo’s cognitive function is basically intact.
Emotionally, Jo says she’s doing okay. She says that she is worried about her arm because it’s “not working.” On occasion, Jo looks sad and expresses that she’s mad. She actually says that she’s mad. And, of course she’s mad. There’s no way to reconcile the “why” of what happened to her.