Update: 30 Days Post Hospital Discharge

This past Friday was March 10th. That makes 30 days since I was discharged from the hospital. So it’s time to assess what’s changed since then.

THE POSITIVE

Some things have improved since I was discharged. Some, actually, faster than I thought they would. Here’s the list:

1. Stamina. My stamina has improved greatly. I can now stand, with my walker, for 10 minutes at a time or longer. I can now walk around, also with my walker, at least 10 minutes at a time.

2. Gait. My gait is also much smoother now. I still look a bit like a drunken clown when I walk, but only a bit. I am still walking to a waltz beat, though – walker…right leg…left leg.

3. Speed. I seem to be speeding up. I mean, a slow turtle can still pass me by, yelling, “Eat my dust!” (It’s true – happened the other day, in fact), but I am faster than the snail next to me.

4. Balance. My balance has improved so much that I no longer constantly feel like I’m going to fall. Only occasionally. In truth, I haven’t actually fallen since my first week back home. In my last fall, I was lucky enough to spin around a little bit and fall onto the bed instead of onto the floor.  (As a joke, I claim that the Russian judge gave me a 9.7. Heh.)

5. Speech. I am able to do a whole lot more speaking before I become fatigued now. This is a massive improvement over what I was able to do when I first left the hospital.

6. Dexterity. Last week I was able to chop an onion! Now, I didn’t chop all of it by myself. What I did was peel it by hand and chop off about one-third of it. Then I cut it into smaller chunks and let the food processor do the rest of the work. It made me start thinking of cooking again. I used to cook everything from scratch before my stroke.

THE NOT-SO-GREAT

1. Right Knee. My right knee is not improving. In fact, it seems to be much worse. The muscles around my knee are wasting away even though I am spending longer and longer both standing and walking. This has me really worried, because my knee has to be strong for me to continue any improvement. My PTs are helping me with this by exercising my knee and giving me exercises to do at home between sessions.

2. Right Arm. My right arm comes and goes. Sometimes I’m able to raise it higher than at other times. Sometimes I’m able to hold it up longer than at other times. My PTs have started very limited electric stimulation of my tricep, but I don’t have a stimulator at home. So I’m trying to find more exercises that I can do at home to strengthen my tricep. Just FYI, my bicep is strong enough. That’s what is causing my arm to contract. I don’t need any strengthening of my bicep right now. My tricep muscle is what assists in straightening my arm. So I need more work on that.

3. Right hand. My right hand remains very weak. Often it hurts, even when I am wearing my brace at night. Also, it’s still swollen because I’m not able to make and then open a fist. My PTs have given me some exercises to do with my right hand. This is going to take some extra work to wake my hand up.

4. Speech. I still get very tired very fast in my tongue. This affects my speech. Also, my facial droop gets worse toward the end of the day when I’m fatigued or if I didn’t sleep well the night before.. So I still struggle with words like “exercise,” “fifty,” and others.

5. Strength. I use a jar-opener thingy to help me open the lids on glass jars. Usually I use my piece of refrigerator drawer mat around the jar to keep it from just spinning around while I’m trying to open it. But if the jar lid is tight, I have a lot of trouble. Earlier this week I was completely unable to open a jar of pickle spears. This is a tragedy, as I love pickle spears! Kosher dill pickle spears, of course. It seems I still don’t have the strength to open pickle jars yet. Sad.

So I have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve made some pretty big improvements in these 30 days. But I am still struggling in some areas, and a few areas seem worse. Overall, though, I’m pretty pleased with the progress I’ve made over these first 30 days out of the hospital.

How has your recovery progressed?

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