Among the joyful blessings of my stroke – yes blessings – are the individuals who have contributed to my therapy. Leading the way are gifted therapists. But there is an additional cast of characters that has made a difference, too.
The techs who work fulltime and part time with Ocean Springs Hospital Neuro Rehab range from young adults to others who have already retired from one or more previous occupations. The techs are the individuals who escort me in and out of the gym, check me in, take my blood pressure and record pain levels and any dizziness.
Along with my therapist they hold my gait belt and help bolster my confidence when I am wobbling around attempting a new movement far out of my comfort zone.
They offer a spirit-lifting “Good Morning, Mrs. Skupien,” trade tidbits about weekend plans and sprinkle humor and encouragement throughout each session. They add to an atmosphere that encourages hard work and persistence even when discouragement lurks ready to pounce.
Interns from university advanced degree therapy programs are also among the contributors to my recovery. Matt and Abby represented my introduction to the next generation of physical therapists. They spent a term mentored by my therapist Ashley. Although their internships were not during the same time, they both worked with me during a period when I was moving toward a new plateau in my recovery.
Abby, left, and me
Ashley led them into assessing my deficits and then had them develop exercises to reactivate and strengthen weakened nerves and muscles and to combat negative movement patterns caused by the stroke. It was exciting to be a part of the firsthand experience that an internship provided these gifted young people.
I am in the 14th month of stroke-recovery rehab. I am thankful that I can continue therapy. Improvement comes in tiny increments, but it is coming!