Almost two weeks ago my father transferred to a rehab closer to home, which our family was super relieved about. In a way, though, I was a little scared. When a patient is transferred from one facility to another it can be a huge set back for them. It means new evaluations, tests, nurses, aids, therapists, doctors, and the list goes on. Luckily, I feel as if my dad has stayed the same and realizes he is closer to home. He now has friends and family visiting everyday which is a huge plus for everyone.
I scheduled a day with the team to watch my dad in therapy. He gets an hour of speech, physical, and occupational therapy 5 days a week. We are four months in since the incident and the team keeps saying this is the “beginning beginning” of his recovery. After being in a coma for a month, it still took my dad a very long time to stay awake and be alert throughout a whole day.
To break it down..
Speech Therapy: Mainly the therapist is working on his chewing + swallowing. He currently is on a pureed diet (100% blended food). The therapist is starting to introduce some scrambled eggs + french toast. This makes me so excited. In my opinion, one of the reasons he is so weak is because he hasn’t been able to eat real food in 4 months. I am eager for him to start building up some strength from eating again. For right now he needs assistance with using utensils. BUT he is starting to take a cup of juice, bring it to his mouth, and drink it himself (which is sooo exciting!) As far as speaking goes, he will occasionally said “yeah” or “okay” out loud. Otherwise, if you put a phone to his ear, you’ll get some more out of him. All the therapists are working on getting him to speak by constantly asking him questions and talking to him.
Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy is working on getting him back to the basics. They work on showing him how to brush his hair, brush his teeth, get dressed, etc. They really try to get him to follow commands, which he struggles with due to his Aphasia. My dad know’s what we are telling him to do, but his brain won’t connect to his body to allow him to do so. In the past week we are starting to see him make more of an effort with focusing on what we are telling him to do.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy + occupational therapy over lap a lot. In both sessions they get him out of his wheelchair to sitting on a mat. My dad needs 100% assistance to do all of that. They are working on building up his tolerance for sitting. Right now he is able to sit with their help for about 15 minutes. No one knows what he will gain back physically, it’s something that is going to take a lot of time and work. The good thing is, he is tolerating it. He is always willing to participate and will smile at the end of his sessions.