Thursday, August 18

My Vibrating Machine

Settle down...This is a PG blog ;-)

My OT made me use this first. It's a machine that (u guessed it) vibrates that helps patients with spasticity. My left side is spastic - it's the reason that my left hand curls up and the leg gets so stiff. The word that the therapists use to describe spasticity is "tone". So the vibration machine is used to break up the tone in my body. 

Personally I feel that should be re-evaluated cuz isn't that one of the reasons i'm in the gym at the crack of dawn every Tuesday and Thursday morning? to tone up?  now u want me to break my tone up!...anyhoo, i digress.

Not the one at Shepherd Center but u get the drift

The platform u see there is the vibrating part and my OT had me place my hands on it for a few minutes. It felt weird cuz it was going at HI speed/second in my book. Did it break up the tone in my hand and make any difference? Yes. A soon as she stopped it. Wasn't anything to write home about tho. A week later, my PT suggested I stand on it. Now.  I eh go lie, I was a lil skeptical because I was unsure of how I'd function after being on it. If my quads get massaged or stretched too vigourously, my walking is all out of sorts so all the vibrating on the legs? Hmmmm I wasn't sure. Anyway, I stepped up and she turned it on. The shit had me scared. The vibrations were so powerful that try as I might to keep my legs relaxed, i couldn't. I mean for most of the time I was on it, my body was straight as a pin. I was very leery, but push come to shove, I had Soca Scooter so I guess I won't walk as much if things go to shit. 

Well. Lemme tell you! I got off that thing and took a step and allyuh! It was the most normal I'd felt in however many years that I'd been using walking aids. It was AMAZING! I couldn't believe it. My PT even remarked that my movements looked smooth and effortless as I walked around the room. Unfortunately that was my last PT session. I didn't know how long the effect would last but I was sure it wasn't going to be forever so...I bought one for here.  It's not as powerful but it certainly does help with the stiffness of my leg - usually i need help to bend it (especially if i have to sit in the front seat of a car) and that task is so much easier to do now.  I definitely notice a difference.  used to be that if i was lying on my back, it was pretty much impossible for me to bring my knee to my chest on my own.  while using the machine?  not a problem for the most part.

By the way, yesterday I got the call from Shepherd Center that they received my prescription for PT/OT and by the way "just need to make sure you know that there's a waiting list...and right now, it's taking about 2 months to get in". so here we go...playing the waiting game as usual for all things MS.

hol it dong...Stax

Thursday, August 11

Physical Therapy

I've had some physical therapists over the years. I went to 2 or 3 facilities and ended up stopping each one for one reason or other. Some years ago, I discovered "home health care". Up until then I had no idea that even existed - I guess it's not until u really need something and start poking around that u really realize what's "out there" - and for whatever reason, I decided to do in home PT.

A side note: I've had 2 in home therapists and dealing with the 2 of them (and a few other in home health workers) convinced me that the majority of them are crackheads/sprangers/knuckleheads/insert whatever word u prefer to use here.

I stopped using the first guy right when I started declining 2 years ago and the 2nd? Well after 4 sessions I never saw him again - go figure! He was a waste of time anyway so I never tried to track him down either.  I met the Bioness rep to get my bionic foot at the Shepherd Center. Shepherd Center is a very well known, highly recommended brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation center here in Atlanta and while we were organising, she asked me if I had a therapist. When I told her no, she suggested that I try to get in right upstairs at their MS Institute - in her opinion, the best in the state, maybe even the nation. I took her advice and asked Dr. Gilbert to get the ball rolling. When the Shepherd Center rep called me to confirm everything she warned me that the wait for PT was a 6-8 weeks.  Wowzer! Oh well I best get on the waiting list...i'll get pick at some point. Wouldn't u know it a week later I got another call to schedule appointments - fella said that patients requiring Occpational Therapy and PT get priority. Sweet! OT wasn't even on my mind, Gilbert just wrote the script that way. 

Each time I chose a PT, I'd do so after reaching out to the MS Society to find out who they'd recommend cuz maybe the person focused on or was interested in MS patients (cept the in home people - u jes have to take what u get with them); turns out that each of the therapists i chose had a friend or family member with the disease so they were familiar with it. Well the Shepherd Center has an MS Institute - MS is the therapists' only focus. There are so many machines and gadgets in there and I was exposed to so much - I'm really happy that I took the Bioness chick's advice.  I'm on a break right now (unlike before, not my doing) but a new prescription was just faxed in.  Only problem with that is that who knows if I'll be lucky again and be bumped up to the top of the waiting list - I'm not given first preference just because I was there before - oh usual, all I can do is wait and see...

I gone so...allyuh have a good weekend. 

P.S. More to come on my PT experience. 

Thursday, August 4

My Bionic Foot

I'd seen the ads for this product before but never dug into the benefits of it. As my walking took a turn for the worse, I started looking into it and eventually i had the opportunity to get a free evaluation, so why not go check it out.  During the evaluation, I could actually feel the difference the thing made. Essentially it's a cuff (with two electrodes) that goes around my left calf and it stimulates the nerve that makes my foot "work properly" - meaning in the heel to toe action. Without it, most days, my left foot just drags as I try to move the leg to take a step. The device is made by Bioness and they actually produce 1 for the upper thigh (stimulates a nerve in the leg - don't know which one as I wasn't evaluated for this), one for the hand (I didn't see results as drastically with this one) and the one for the foot.  (Anyone want to take a stab at why the ass this font changed???)

It's a 3 part device. There's a sensor in my shoe - at this moment it's in my sneaker (it can only work with shoes that have a strap around the ankle (ladies, a sling back shoe) or a whole shoe) - the cuff is secured around my left calf and I have a small remote to control it. When I'm ready to move I place it it "walking" mode and when my weight is off the sensor, it senses that I'm ready to take a step, I feel a tingling sensation and my foot "kicks" into action. It doesn't allow me to walk further (cuz my legs still get fatigued) but it sure makes the act of walking less laborious for me so i definitely walk vs using the scooter when i can.  There's also a "training" mode where it stimulates the nerve without the sensor so my foot moves up and down on its own but the idea while doing this is that I actually move my foot with it (so in a sense I'm retraining my brain and foot to work together to get the foot moving properly). 

My "problem" right now is that I really have to find other shoes with which it'll work. A few months back, I had to go somewhere that required a dress and I wanted to walk vs using Soca Scooter. I had to make a decision - a dress (I'm short so I only wear short dresses) and sneakers or jeans with sneakers...what to do what to do?!?! In the end I wore the dress because that's what the occasion called for but it was still kinda weird. So I have to buy some new shoes. 

Why my bionic foot u ask? The day I got it, Learls and OB were here and that night as I was walking into my bedroom, she looked at the way I was walking and said, "u doh have on yuh foot?"  It became "my foot" and when 1 of my aunts called and said, "I hear u have a bionic foot!" Well.  How do you refer to it as a "Bioness device" after that? :-)