This week, I have a lot of photos to share from birdwatching this summer, so I’m doing an extra post to make it a little shorter. As part of occupational and physical therapies, we’ve worked in my personal interests, as you are more likely to stick with something if you enjoy it. So photography, writing, birdwatching, art projects and hiking have all become a part of my daily and weekly routines. Over the summer, I’ve tried to get in a small amount of birdwatching between appointments. I have yet to hike very far, but you can see a lot from a car too. Some photos are better than others. I’ve been having some problems with my camera, and I also struggled to hold the camera at first with the weakness in my wrists. As it gets easier to hold the camera, I’ve been able to take better photos as long as the camera isn’t acting up. I also put in a couple of photos of other critters, like a chipmunk that likes to visit our backyard and our black lab, who LOVES to birdwatch with me.
Another month has flown by and I haven’t given an update. Between doctors appointments and therapies, I’ve been pretty busy. I’m hoping to do updates more often, but will still be doing therapies for awhile.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Within the past week, I got the all clear to stop using the cane, so I’ve been walking without it pretty well. I still have to be careful not to lose my balance, especially with holes or uneven surfaces as a fall could be pretty serious for me, but my walking gets better all the time.
I am moving to an independent physical therapy program. My main focus for right now is getting stronger. My left side is still weak, especially compared to the right, and I struggle with being able to lift my left leg very far. Climbing over things, such as logs, or stepping over a bench is still very tricky for me right now. Even stepping over our dog Wesley can be tricky, although with him it doesn’t help that he moves right as I step! We joke that he’s really trying to make sure I’m getting a good therapy session, and make it even more challenging.
My left wrist seems to have reached a limit for now at least. I can get it to turn about 40-45 degrees. I can see my palm, but can’t turn the wrist over all the way to put things in my hand, such as medicine and coins. This is still a long way from where my wrist was in the beginning, where I couldn’t turn it at all, but it is not as far as we would like. It may be stuck in this place for now at least though. I will be wrapping up occupational therapy sessions soon, and moving to independent at home sessions. Hopefully with time, it will be able to turn a little more. If not, we will be talking with my surgeon about it and looking at other options. It could be that with the damage done, this is as far as the wrist will be permanently, but it is also possible that the muscles just need more time to be stretched out. There was just a lot of damage. One of the therapists mentioned that years ago, they would have just amputated my type of brake. They were able to save my arm, but it may take a long time for the wrist to heal, if it ever turns fully again. I can use my elbow to compensate and turn my arm more, and I’ve already started to do this naturally.
During the accident, my liver, colon, small intestine and stomach were all damaged. Recent testing has shown that I also have an esophageal tear. We meet with a surgeon soon to see about checking on the liver and to see what the plan is with the esophageal tear.
I’m slowly getting into a new “normal”, whatever that is. I still have weakness on my left side, and may have that for a long time. I’m learning to compensate and also working hard to build it back. I hope to return to teaching this fall. A lot will depend on any upcoming surgeries and when they might take place. I’m moving around more and more at home. I can mostly dress myself like normal now, other than my left side, especially my foot. For that, I have a special device called a sock aid that I use daily for socks, and a shoe horn to help put my tennis shoe on that foot.
I also use grab bars when climbing stairs or getting in and out of the shower. I have started getting into a car a little more normally, but sometimes I still need to sit down sideways and swing my legs in. I drove for the first time last week! It wasn’t easy, and my left wrist was sore afterwards for a couple of days, but it will get better in time. I just need to keep practicing. My right side is really learning to make up for the weaknesses on the left!
I’ve been able to do some laundry, although I can only move small amounts at one time so lifting a basket like I used to isn’t as doable yet. I’ve also been able to do some gardening, with the help of one of our nieces and two of our nephews.
We put in more native plants, added stepping stones to one garden and got a new bird bath and a couple of owl garden statues. We also did container gardening this year, and planted a few pumpkins. I’m really hoping to have at least some green beans, tomatoes, and pumpkins, but we’ll see.
We visited the Concrete Statuary near Kalkaska to get the bird bath and owls. It is such a neat place! They have great quality work, and so many awesome statues!
We also added a little solar fountain to the bird bath as an extra to attract more birds, and butterfly rain gauges so we gauge how much rain we are getting. It has been a dry summer so far! The last couple of days, we’ve finally gotten some much needed rain.
I will try to update more often. As my hands get stronger and I can type more at one time, I don’t need to depend on the voice to text as much, and can type a lot faster than I can speak. I’m also getting into a routine so that I can work physical and occupational therapy activities into my daily hobbies, and since writing is something I enjoy, I’m hoping to do more on this blog.
Today in occupational therapy, we practice with the Shower bench. We played several games, including Connect 4, Chinese Checkers, and Solitaire. We also played a couple of ball games where I had to put balls through a hoop and into baskets. I then stood up and we played the same game, adding a target for me to touch.
Today I was able to walk 128 feet , 90 feet, and then 105 feet. We practiced getting in and out of a car, and practiced a bed roll as well.
Today was Family training day. Ben was able to come in, and we played games in OT together. He got training on how to get me in and out of bed, and use a shower bench. They also taught him how to get me in and out of a car safely with my hip restrictions.