Friday, August 14, 2009

Heather's Report on John's Progress - Keep Praying!

Hola family and friends,

There Is a lot of good news from Kernan. As I mentioned before dad is undergoing 3 hours of therapy most days. This breaks down into an hour each of 3 kinds of therapy-physical therapy (pt), occupational therapy (ot) and speech therapy (st). In ot therapy they are mostly focusing on his upper body. Most of the time the leg comes back before the arm. He does feel greater amounts of pressure on his left arm, but cannot feel gentle touches. He also has trouble understanding where his arm is in space, as this is a much more subtle sensation.

In st they are concentrating most on his swallowing at the moment. He had a swallowing study done today where they x-rayed his throat to see what exactly is happening. What they found is that one of the throat muscles, that was damaged during the stroke, is hanging in the way. Not only is it causing a sensation of him having something stuck in his throat, which is why he is clearing his throat often, but it is also blocking the way for him to swallow down the esophagus. Instead, it creates a cavern for it to then flow into his lungs and possibly cause aspiration pneumonia again. They will be starting with electrode stimulation, either tomorrow or Monday, to get those throat muscles working again. For now he still has the feeding tube into his stomach.

During pt they are mostly concentrating on his lower body. As in standing again or learning how to reposition his body. However, this repositioning of the body flows into all of the forms of therapy. His center of gravity is off. Where most of us know how to balance ourselves, dad will have to relearn this. To him it feels as if he is holding himself up properly when he is actually leaning to the right. This is because he has forgotten the left side of his body. So his center of gravity, as he feels it, is centrally located on his right side. As he remembers his true center, and is taught to fight his now natural urge to lean, he will start to reawaken his left side.

Besides the feeding tube, the only other tube he is sometimes hooked up to is oxygen. This is mostly in the evening after a long hard day. It is difficult for Dad to keep his blood properly oxygenated with his left lung being diminished. When he is energetic and able to be more aware of his breathing, his oxygen levels have been fine.

Don't forget:
No eating and drinking in front of Dad, as he is unable to do so himself.

Please be his advocate when you are visiting. If he needs a nurse, you may need to help him get their attention. The call button he has at his disposal seems to work best.

See you round the hospital.

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