Stroke equipment by a stroke warrior

What is a “plateau” of your stroke recovery?

“At six months out from a stroke, you don’t expect to see any further recovery.”

“Oftentimes there is rapid recovery during the first three months, but then progress slows down. This eventually leads to a dreaded ‘plateau’ in recovery after about six months.”

“Plateau” is an expression frequently used in relation to decisions to discharge patients from physiotherapy following stroke.

Okay.

I never saw evidence of a “plateau” in my brain or in my body during my stroke recovery. I kept working hard. Eight years later, I can dance the tango, ride a horse, travel to Thailand, drive to and from San Antonio, Texas, hike, sword fight, and practice yoga.

A long, time ago, in the  Spring of 2011 (2 1/2 years post-stroke), I emailed a video of my affected arm to Dr. Edward Taub’s stroke research center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Taub sought to investigate the potential for “constraint-based therapy” to help in the recovery of movement in affected limbs.

Finally, Taub’s assistant emailed back, “If Alon had a mobile thumb THEN, he would be seen by Dr. Taub.”

What?

It is as though Dr. Taub will only treat people who are already almost better. I can’t get my head around this! What if lawyers only accepted clients who were not guilty?  What if doctors only accepted patients who were almost cured?

I have figured it out. The insurance company has a time limit for stroke therapy in the United States. The doctors and therapists seem to embrace the philosophy of a “plateau” at six months post-stroke.

Catch 22.

My “affected” thumb is getting better all the time thanks to my AlonGlove. The right side of my body has its problems; late at night I become clumsy and in the morning my toes curl up.

BUT –

I am now in control of my muscles. I can feel the electricity pulsing through my muscles.  It’s taken hours, days, and weeks of hard work, but I am succeeding.

 

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