Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crutches and Canes

I went with to my daughter's physiotherapy appointment today. She is 9 weeks past her awful accident and out of her cast now. Her broken ankle and her ribs are feeling better. She still needs to be on crutches and she is starting to put a little weight on her foot.

Emily's physiotherapist was talking about how she wants to get my daughter moving as soon as possible to prevent secondary problems from an unnatural gait; things like back and hip problems and to get her off the crutches because they can be hard on her arms and shoulders. She said once Emily is weight bearing on her foot there will be a whole lot more work they can start to do.

What can you do after about 2 and a half years of a lopsided gait?

Things are getting better for me too. I find that I can take off walking at a good pace as long as I have my cane in hand, and I can celebrate that I have only needed to use my walker twice in the past two months. I do live with my left leg cramping, tired ankle and a bit of a limp. My right hip hurts as soon as I walk more than a few feet. I will be getting a new physiotherapist at Easy Street soon and I think I have found a few new issues to work out.

There is a free dance class at the In Motion @ The Library this week...
I don't think I am ready to Zumba Dance quite yet, but I trust anything is possible in the future. For the moment maybe I can learn to walk a little less lopsided.

Look out Fred Astaire... I have a cane and know how to use it. Maybe I will get a top hat for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On Bubbles and Forcefields

I saw a link to this video on the American Stroke Association's latest online Magazine edition; Stroke Connection December 2010.

What a wonderful view this lady has! She is a survivor and she is not taking it for granted!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Video- My name is Lisa

The stress on the family is tremendous when a member is affected by cognitive impairment.
This is a very moving video.

Here is a link to the Canadian Alzheimer's Organization. This is a very good site with lots of useful info on Brain Awareness and Healthy Brain advice that is a little more generic and reaches beyond Alzheimer issues.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finger Physiotherapy?

I have made some progress with my sore finger at last.

Last week I saw the plastic surgeon on Monday and two days later I was at the hospital for his clinic time and he removed the tumor! It was quick. He froze it and then he cut it off below the skin and put in two stitches and warned me not to remove the bandages and not to get it wet.

Two days ago I went for the follow-up appointment and we unwrapped it. The tumor was already growing back and out between the stitches. It wasn't totally unexpected but I was upset that this isn't over already. The plastic surgeon cauterized it with a silver nitrate stick and I am supposed to do that myself every second day for the next two weeks and come back then and see how it is doing. In the meantime I am being sent for physiotherapy for my finger.

I had my first "finger" physio appointment today. The therapist looked at the finger and looked at how much movement I had in the joints. The tumor is right at the joint of my middle finger on my right hand and with the pain of touching it I have not been moving it much and I am being very careful not to bump it. My top joint is pretty much frozen and the middle joint is certainly not moving properly.

She tried to get me to use my left hand to exert gentle pressure on the right hand and finger but it quickly became obvious that wasn't the best idea. My left hand does moves now but it is pretty weak, however when I put any pressure on it gets spastic. Not a great plan to have my own hand gripping down for all it is worth on the sore finger and not be able to release it. She also commented on how having my "good" hand out of commission is being very good for my left hand's improvement. Yep. I really do see some improvement in my left hand and arm but this is not a method I would recommend!

I have finger physio exercises to do ever 2 hours and I have two more appointments booked for next week. In the meantime I look like I have quite the attitude because I am walking around with my bandaged middle finger sticking up in the air.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Decision Making Yet Again

This business of making decisions is hard!

It is difficult to even accept that I have a problem with something so basic to living a productive life. This makes it hard to work on the topic. I always feel pretty normal right until something goes wrong and then it smacks me right between the eyes that I am not functioning like I used to.

We solve problems and make decisions everyday and do it all day long. We make decisions about home and about recreation and about shopping at stores. What shall we have for dinner? How to pick the correct groceries. How to hire roofers to do work on your house. There are medical decisions, job decisions, and even decisions about your love life!

I think one little paragraph I read might just make a big difference to me. According to the Brain Injury Resource site:
Avoid making decisions when you are tired, hungry, or under stress or pressure of any sort. On such occasions, your ability to make sound decisions might be compromised by such overlaying factors. It is better to take more time to arrive at a decision than to live with the consequences of an ill-advised one. Set a realistic time line for your response and stick to it; or if necessary, renegotiate it. Bottom line, do not allow yourself to be rushed into a decision that you are not prepared to make. Then as usual, before you make your decision, collect and refine essential information concerning the decision or options before you act.
I think this is all about how I am going to have to learn to adjust my life. Things are not the same and I should not expect life to be the same. Spontaneous is really hard to do now. Planning is necessary.

The first decision should be to be prepared before you start making other choices.
When or where is it is an optimal situation to make the decision?
I need to plan to be rested.
I need to plan to give myself enough time and not be rushed.
I need to plan ahead.
I need to minimize how much I am doing and how much I am deciding at one time.
I need to take baby steps and don't try to solve all problems in one single swoop.

At Occupational Therapy we tried working with the chart on this page that I found and felt was clear to me. We worked on practicing a scenario using this page. It was not bad for a first try but not great either. Yes, here we go again, practice practice practice!

I found this page a bit clearer, I think because it is kind of pictorial and that seems to be my best learning technique now. I seem to work with my visual memory best, especially pictures and shapes. Now I have to make this chart into my own version and memorize it!

Here are some of the links I found that were helpful.

Brain Injury Resource Center Decision Making Skills

The Open University Making Decisions

Study Guides and Stategies Problem Solving and Decision Making (This is very useful. I am making this my new on-line workbook for many other issues as well as decision making)

How to make Decisions: Coherence, Emotions, and Practical Inference (Kind of a philosophy approach.)

Basic Guidelines to Problem Solving and Decision Making

Mind Tools Introduction to Decision Making Techniques

Bonus Link
This is not really on topic but I found it rather enlightening and I am considering buying Dr Wang's book. Look at this video. The guy is a very good speaker.

Welcome to your Brain by Sam Wang.
The Video is a TEDxSF speech on the topic of "Neuroscience and Willpower".

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Egg Salad Sandwiches

The Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba is always trying to find ways to meet the needs of it's members and yesterday we had a meeting of a new sub-group called "Moving Forward". We are stroke survivors who are now trying to find ways to keep learning, growing and contributing.

This meeting was about talking and planning for the future but we also had a concrete focus of learning a basic cooking skill-- Egg Salad Sandwiches

For some of our group it is a new skill to be making the sandwich and for some of us we are looking for new and easier ways to cook now. All of us are interested in finding healthy ways of eating and preparing food.

Pictures will be added to this post later.

Egg Salad Sandwich
to serve 1 person

First you need to get all of your ingredients and supplies together and be sure you have everything you need.

foods you need
1 egg
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
salt to taste
pepper to taste
dried garlic to taste
dried chives to taste
4 pieces of whole wheat bread

equipment you need
pot with water
garbage container for egg shells
fork to mash eggs
toaster is optional
knife to spread butter

To Boil the Eggs
place the eggs in cold water and
put it on the stove.
turn on the stove
at 10 minutes, turn off the stove and let it cool.

To Assemble the Sandwich
peel the eggs

put in the bowl

add the mayonnaise

add dehydrated chopped garlic

add dehydrated chopped chives

add salt

add pepper

mash your ingredients with the fork

toast your bread if you want a toasted egg salad sandwich.

spread a thin layer of butter on your toast or bread

spread your egg mixture between your 2 pieces of bread.

cut the sandwich in half if you want


We served it with pickles. Be careful how many pickles you eat if you are on a sodium reduced diet.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Decisions, Decisions!

I have been working really hard on learning about decision making and problem solving. Basically I went overboard with the internet research and got overwhelmed again.

I saw my therapist again today and I tried to summarize what I learned and explain the steps in problem solving. I tried to explain a few helpful tools and techniques for making decisions. It did not go well! I had trouble remembering very much that was specific or actually remembering anything that would be helpful.

For next time I am supposed to stick with the KISS technique and "keep it simple". The goal is to come up a list of simple and memorable steps to follow when faced with making decisions. She explained that right now my decision making is not automatic like it once was. If I make a plan and I am consistent in following it, decision making will become easier and less stressful, it should become more automatic and decision making will become faster.

I will share a few of the informative links I found on this topic once I can decide which are worth sharing!

In the meantime this cheered me up.

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