Sunday, June 22, 2014

You Done Yet?

I'm always pretty confused about when recovery ends. I haven't had a stroke, so I only know what I've heard. For some people recovery ends when therapy ends. In fact it's pretty common that once therapy ends survivors actually decline to various degrees. But some people seem to trudge onward. I hear this a lot; "I've been at it for three years, and I'm still making progress. It's a long road – but it's worth it."

Some survivors believe that recovery ends when they're able to do so much with their life that you're too busy living to continue working on recovery.

But just like an athlete trying to get better, a little means a lot. This is the thing that clinicians often don't know. Clinicians think that the world is binary – that you're either functional or nonfunctional. That is you're either able to do the task (i.e. walking, dressing, etc.), or you're not. I've always thought it should be more nuanced than that; little bits of movement are important irrespective of the function. It probably comes from my involvement in research. In research you measure little bits of "better" movement.

What good is "better" movement? What does it get you?
Better movement means …

less spasticity
better blood flow (when muscles contract there is "venous return" of blood back towards the heart)
better cardiovascular health (the more you move, the stronger your heart gets) 
You get the idea. More movement generally means more health. And health is measurable. It's measurable in terms of... 
•a reduced heart rate
•less chance of falling
•the ability to fight infection better etc. etc.
So call it what you will. Recovery. 


oc1dean said...

I think I've gotten to the point that I'm expending so much time and energy living that recovery has no allotted time except for occasional tries here and there.

Tamara said...

Depends on your goal. I'm a perfectionist and I keep reaching for the best I can get out of my recovery. So I keep on going. Maybe someone else would be ok with using a walker and accept that. But it makes me miserable, I just want to be pretty again. And a walker is not pretty and sexy.

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