November 14, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Back

Don's new carbon fiber brace came on Monday and it was short of amazing how well he could walk in it while getting the final fitting tweaked. His toe didn't drag and get caught on the floor and his heel was hitting the floor first which I haven't seen since before his stroke. He was able to stay standing for longer periods. I was so pumped until…

The next day at home I tried to get Don's foot and his new AFO into his brand new shoe that was fitted at the same time as the brace. I struggled and fumed and tried the shoe horn and a few choice words but I couldn't get them on. Then Don pointed to the other shoe lying on the floor and laughed. I'd been trying to put his right foot into his left shoe. Oops. Finally, we were good to go but it still wasn't easy to get the footed brace into the correct shoe. It will get easier, I'm sure, as I practice but I'm not looking forward to adding this to our daily routine although the trade-off will be worth the effort. Unfortunately, he only had the brace on a short time before he wanted it back off. There's a break-in schedule where you add an hour each day and already we're off schedule.

His new wheelchair also got its finally tweaks on the same day his carbon fiber brace came in. It's got a solid plastic and lumbar cushion for his back which is frustrating the dickens out of me. It has to come off or on each time you fold or unfold the chair when you're out and about town. That means the back pack also has to come off as well. Monday the orthopedics guy showed me what I was doing wrong---not clicking the seat part fully down---so things are looking up. I still don't have the process down pat but I'll learn, hopefully before winter sets in. I can't imagine standing out in a storm doing an imitation of an idiot. As inept as I am about sliding those slots in place it's a wonder I ever figured out sex.

Tuesday I went into the aquatic pool with two physical therapies and Don. It was his last session and the aquatic specialist was teaching both me and the other PT how to work with someone with Don's issues. I plan to start taking him into the YMCA pool between the holidays thus the "Winter of Don" will begin. We're making up our own PT program and will go three times a week. The aquatic specialist gave me all the plastic coated diagrams she's been using with Don in the pool so I'll know exactly what to do. Hopefully, when he has his last land therapy, either Friday or next Monday, the PT will give me some written material as well. I'm excited about aquatic therapy for stroke survivors. Don's definitely made some gains that I don't think would have been possible with just physical therapy on land. If nothing more, just being able to move so much better in the water gave Don a renewed interest in taking part therapy.

I'm a little down right now, though. This morning I got a call about the results of his CAT scan. The aorta aneurysm they've been tracking has grown to 6 cm in diameter and they usually operate at five. It was 4.3 cm a year ago. Two steps forward and one back. Let's hope it's only one back. I'm a little freaked about the possibility of him having another stroke with the procedure. We go to the surgeon's office tomorrow. I'm hoping she can do the stent instead of abdominal surgery. I'm worried and want it over as soon as possible.

But on the good side, we were able to get the new docking arm put on the new wheelchair so I can use the chair lift in the Blazer again! Old lady caregivers shouldn't have to risk getting hernias. We don't have time.

Jean Riva ©


Anonymous said...


I am sending you all my goodwishes and prayers for Don's aorta aneurism. winter of Don sounds challenging lots of good wishes to best caregiver in world with attitude to get inspired from


Anonymous said...

As the shoe gets broken in, it will become easier to get the brace and shoe on. When the shoe is new, it is tough to do and adds about 15 minutes to the getting ready schedule.
You'll also learn to twist the shoe while pulling it over the foot in the brace at the same time.
Happy struggles,

The Bee Folks - Lori Titus said...

Hehehe. Sounds like the same problems I have with the baby stroller we were using for our daughter. It does get easier over time, though.