It’s been 81 days since Jodanna had a stroke. It seems like years since those first gut-wrenching days in the ICU waiting and praying that she would survive and wake up. Thankfully, we are where we are today. Jo’s recovery will probably take a couple years. That’s what “they” say. It is a long-term commitment and she is determined. Chris has taken the first quarter of school off, to be home and assist Jo.
Now, in physical therapy, the therapists want Jodanna to walk into therapy. No wheel chair. The Physical Therapy Department is on the second floor.
Below, you can see Jodanna’s improvements. She walks across the parking lot and back. Clearly her gait and strength are improving. You will notice that she has difficulty clearing the curb with her right foot.
“Foot drop” is common after a stroke. It is a weakness or paralysis that limits a person’s ability to raise the front part of her foot. The foot or ankle drops down when the leg is lifted to take a step. A person with foot drop may trip and fall if their foot and ankle are not supported by a brace at all times. Jodanna currently wears a custom brace to address this risk.
Foot drop can result when nerves are damaged during a stroke. The muscles are rarely damaged, but become weak because of lack of use following a stroke. Partial or complete recovery is possible. Physical therapy is central in strengthening muscles and joints. In the video, while it is clearly difficult for her, the therapist is pushing Jo to achieve stepping up on the curb.
What about that stubborn right arm? A local physical therapist that works with stroke patients recently suggested a fairly new type of therapy called “mirror therapy.” Mirror therapy is a form of motor imagery in which a mirror is used to convey visual stimuli to the brain through observation of one’s unaffected body part as it carries out a set of movements.
So, envision holding a mirror in your lap at your right shoulder, perpendicular to your body, such that when you move your left hand, that movement is reflected in the mirror as if your right hand was moving. The stroke survivor observes her right arm moving and the brain logs that information in the form of new brain/right arm connections. The underlying principle is that movement of the affected limb can be stimulated via visual cues originating from the opposite side of the body. Hence, it is thought that this form of therapy can prove useful in patients, including stroke patients, who have lost movement of an arm or leg. Studies have shown “mirror therapy” to have promising results. This is something Jo can do on the couch at home.
Chris and Jo enjoyed the Constitution Day Parade today. That winning smile and her throaty chuckle are coming back.
A lovely friend of the Bishop family assembled this video of the fundraiser held on July 31st.
Thank you to all that attended, contributed, cared and volunteered. If you missed the fundraiser, you can still contribute to the Bishop family at jodannabishop.com. All donations go directly to the family and are greatly appreciated.