Monday, 10 November
Two weeks ago, I reached the point where I could hold a marshmallow between thumb and index finger and place it in my mouth but still could not grip a fork or spoon.
A Google search resulted in locating an occupational therapist (OT) who does home visits in my area. “Bev” brought her box of tricks on Friday, assessed my range of movements and quickly set about identifying what I can do to become more independent. My first two targets were to feed myself and push myself up off the mattress to sit on the side of the bed.
Bev cut a Neoprene strap and punched holes into it approximately 2cms apart. The fork/spoon handle is pushed through two of the holes and the strap goes over my hand. I tried it on Saturday without much success and my attempt yesterday morning resulted in so much frustration that I actually wanted to push the tray off my lap. Instead, I screamed, swore and wept. Emma (the nurse) and my husband passified me and waited until I’d calmed down and pulled myself together. Emma fed me and hubby pushed me around the neighbourhood to clear my mind. I didn’t try to feed myself again yesterday.
This morning I decided to sit at the table, and asked Emma to put a cushion behind me to support my back which prevents me leaning too far back (an over-compensation due to my weak shoulders). It worked! I ate banana by using my left thumb to push the slices onto a spoon, and used the same spoon to scoop oats from a bowl. It’s impossible to describe the sense of achievement from such a small action.
Rolling onto my side and pushing up into a sitting position is still a work in progress that Emma needs to help me with. I tend to get too close to the edge so Emma needs to stand in front of me and hold one of my shoulders so that I can wriggle my elbow into the right position on the mattress before starting to press the heel of my hand into the bed. It’s tiring but the more it’s practiced the easier it’ll become.
Bev also added more exercises to my routine and showed Emma how to strap my hands to stretch some of the tendons which are tight.
Next session with Bev is tomorrow…