Below is another part of My AVM Story: the recounting of the discovery, removal, rehabilitation, and survival of an arteriovenus malformation. To read from the beginning of the story, click here.
Therapy at Mary Free Bed
I arrived at Mary Free Bed on a Friday, so my first therapy sessions were held on Saturday and Sunday. While the staff tries to keep therapy going as normal every day of the week, the staff is always different on the weekends and they cannot always offer as many sessions due to lighter staff levels. I am thankful I arrived when I did because I did not have the endurance to last a full day of therapy.
Those first two days, and even most of my first week, I would take mini naps in between sessions and during my lunch break. It was physically and mentally exhausting to not only do activities for an hour but also to communicate and think for an hour. It seems funny even now to think about, but when you are heavily medicated with anti-seizure drugs, have been laying flat on your back for 4 weeks, and have some brain damage to boot it is so difficult to get back in the swing of things.
Ok, maybe it’s not that hard to imagine. I just feel insecure in my ability to describe what I was thinking and feeling.
Normal life takes a lot of energy.
One of my favorite memories of my mini breaks was sitting with Dan by the front entrance to MFB soaking up the winter sun that was shining in through the windows. I would just sit in the sun with my eyes closed relaxing and enjoying the warmth.
I was scheduled for four types of therapy: physical, occupational, speech, and recreational. Basically, I was signed up for everything. I had a long way to go!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with these therapies, let me give a brief explanation of each.
- Physical therapy – This is to work on large muscle movements: walking, running, climbing stairs, walking backwards/side-to-side, stepping over obstacles, etc.
- Occupational therapy – This therapy focuses on the upper body and fine motor movement. This was my most challenging area, long term. It is still a struggle today in some ways. The goal of these sessions was to get my left arm/hand/fingers moving and functioning as normally as possible.
- Speech Therapy – This therapy was not only for verbal speaking but anything related to the brain/head/face working properly. While I could speak, my brain was functioning quite slowly and I had significant slouching in the muscles on the left side of my face. The goal of this therapy was to strengthen the facial muscles and help the brain get back into tip-top shape.
- Recreational Therapy – This was kind of like playing. The therapist focused on getting me back into activities that I enjoyed. We played the wii (I beat Dan most of the time believe it or not!), put-put golf, and board games. We were even working on a visit from my best pooch, George, before I was discharged. These sessions were lots of fun, if you can imagine.
Next: My AVM Story – Part 34