Sunday, April 26, 2015

I miss my old self (too)

One of the laments that I hear a lot from survivors is "I miss my old self." But please, survivors, keep in mind – we all miss our old self.

I feel 
I am as 
as I feel!

We often tend to look at the past fondly simply because we were young. But we're all getting older, slower, achier – and, as if tipping our hand of our aging interior – our looks take a hit.

So let's say a stroke survivor had their stroke 10 years ago – when they were 40. Now they're 50, and they "Miss their old self." It is true that stroke ages you immediately. The stroke ages you at least five years. That is, your brain is five years older, your body is five years older, etc. – all within the first 24 hours of stroke. So when survivor say "I miss my old self," I can dig it.
Doing well!

I haven't had a stroke, but I can tell you, 60 ain't 50, and 50 ain't 40. That is, you wouldn't be how you remembered irrespective of the stroke. So when you compare, compare to the projection of yourself given the added age.

So, like the rest of us, as you work against the deficits of the stroke you are also working against father time (or mother nature).
Crap I didn't 
even know 
I had aches.

I do know some stroke survivors who are in some of the best shape of their life after their stroke because this was really the first time in their life that they look after themselves.

So what can you do against age related decline? I'll let the great neuroscientist Michael  Merzenich tell you here:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

$39 total. Because recovery should not cost an arm and a leg.

Developed by Pete Levine
Click for more info!

You're supposed to do repetitive practice. But how are you supposed to repeat a movement when you can't move?

The ArmTran can help. It turns small amounts of strength into large movements!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Use your hand. Now.

Even if you can't open your “bad” hand, you should use it. 

You can release your hand by using the “good” hand to bend the “bad” wrist. This maneuver typically opens the fingers. Once the fingers are open you can use the hand to stabilize, grasp, and even exercise. Grasping objects is, generally speaking, good for the hemiparetic hand. Squeezing objects, as well, is good for the hemiparetic hand.

One way you can quickly get the hand back in the game is using gripping aids. One company that makes a gripping aid that is very easy to use is Active Hands. (Full disclosure, Active Hands a sponsor of this blog).

Using a gripping aid has two immediate benefits after stroke:

  1. The “bad” hand can be used to augment your available grip to make gripping safer. The gripping aids would be just that; and aid. As much as you can, use the grasp you have to hold items. But the gripping aid can support your active grasp adding safety and functionality to the grasp.
  2. The hand, now “in the game” with the gripping aid, will now use the rest of the arm (shoulder, elbow, forearm rotation). In this way, the rest of the arm is used, which is good for recovery of the rest of the arm. The primary reason for the existence of the arm is to get the hand to where it needs to be, so a (a-HEM!) active hand leads to an active arm. And an active arm is one that is likely to recover.

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