Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How Do You Define Recovery?

How do you define recovery?

Here is the definition by the merrium-webster web site:

When I was in the hospital just after having had the C.V.A. (stroke),I was told by the medical professionals that although it was not known if I could/would recover at all, the best chance of gaining recovery is in the first three months post stroke involving intense physical therapy due to   something called neuro-plasticity, creating new pathways within the brain.  After a month in acute, hospital, rehabilitation (rehab), followed by two months in a rehab, nursing home, then able to walk some with assistance (orthosis equipment and a quad cane), and both, dress myself (mostly, I still cannot put on my socks) and use the toilet unassisted(provided the toilet was adequately accessible and equipped for my disabilities), I apparently, was considered "recovered" enough to be sent home; however,   still having paralysis, poor balance, easily fatigued,  and needing to require assistance with many daily basic needs and activities, I most certainly had not truly recovered (at least, not how I imagined and hoped).  Here I am, nearly two years post-stroke and post-therapies (which I continued on an out-patient basis once returning home until I  reached a plateau in my progress in May, 2014) and still disabled and dependent on my husband and son for so many things (I am so grateful for having the best, most caring, loving and devoted husband in the world!  But what happens when he is no longer physically  unable to assist me?)

Anyway, the point that I am trying to make here is...I had believed that if I followed the rules and program of therapies as I had been guided, than one day, I would regain a more full recovery   (no more paralysis, a return to the independent way of living life as I had before, etc.); however, I have since come to the conclusion that the purpose of the  therapies, for me, were not for attaining a full recovery, but rather a training in discovering to do things in new ways, or rather, learning how to be differently-abled.  Learning to do things one-handed and learning to strengthen my torso and carry my weight differently to enable me to walk and sit without falling over from the dead-weight of my paralysis...which acts like an anchor pulling me down on the left side.
Bottom line...I'm  fairly certain that a full recovery is not to be achieved by me, especially given my age and the new  fact that the joints on my strong side, unaffected by the stroke, are now starting to wear out and pain me.
I also believe that the damage to my brain was more severe than many of the others of whom I've  read about on the stroke support forums.  Many there have talked about different sensations felt from their paralyzed limbs than that which I have experienced feeling as well as describing higher functioning therapies than those I have   been able to sense is that they retained some neurological  signals from the brain which enabled them to perform repetitive  tasks thereby allowing the creation of new pathways in their brains and thus recovering prior functions and abilities, where, I seem to have lost all the neurological  connections eliminating the chance to reroute my neurological  pathways.  I cannot lift my left arm, nor move, nor wriggle my fingers, nor can I move my foot, ankle or toes in any way.  The only reason that I am able to walk at all is because (1) orthotics   and a quad-cane and (2) I've  learned to swing my leg around and forward from my hip, I don't  have control of my knee at all, I don't  bend it and lift upward the way most people do when they walk.

1 comment:

  1. Your therapists went down the compensation route vs. the recovery route because it is easier, the insurance will pay for it and they have absolutely no idea how to get you recovered if you have a large area of dead brain. We should be demanding solutions from our therapists or at least an explanation of which route our therapists are taking and why. I define recovery as doing what I want to do regardless of how bad it looks. So from my perspective I'm fully recovered, although watching me walk and see my hanging dead arm no one would agree.