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Just do it!



My wrist was sore for a little bit last week. I tried to wear the new splint to sleep but I kept waking up. Between my sore wrist and search for anti-pronation shoes, I started to thinking man I really need to exercises. Will the new shoes and brace do me any good if I am not doing the exercises I got from PT 6 months ago? So I began searching for my exercises. I looked everywhere then finally found them with my other hospital files.


Unfortunately, I only found 1 page which had exercises I could not do at home because they required stepping up onto a chair. But what I did find was my arm and wrist exercises. I had so many copies of them. I looked at the date on the oldest one: 2007. I read my OT's instructions: do 10x daily for each exercises. and then I started to think what if I would have done these exercises 10x daily for the last 6 years? I immediately started to feel regret. How could I complain about the bump in my wrist when I did nothing to fix it?...


Stroke recovery is one of those things I have always looked at as other people's fault. My doctors let me down when they waited a month after my stroke before sending me to therapy. My parents let me down when they did not tell me to wear my wrist support 24/7 before it had the chance to contract. I was a 12 year old kid and didnt have a clue what I was supposed to be doing. It was not until I found this group 5 years post stroke that I really got an understanding of what happened to me and what I needed to be doing.


..I know why I quit the exercises. I thought exercising would move my hand so when my left side would go right back to the way it was after insurance visits ran out, I just didn't see the point. I also got tired of doing everything on my own: finding the therapies, finding the devices, finding the doctors, going to therapy. It is like I was doing everything I possibly could all by myself and seeing no results....


...So that day I found my old 2007 exercises the light bulb went off. Over the years I have realized with stroke if you are not getting better, you are getting worse. Even though I didn't see myself getting better through the exercises, it was not until the other day that I realized I got worse without them. I though to myself I need to start exercising again. That will be my goal for this year to get my wrist straight. I really didn't feel like it but I told myself Just do it! I knew if I didnt do it that very minute, I wasn't going to do it period. So I did it. All of my exercises. Although I couldnt find my leg home exercises paper, I remembered about 7 out of the 9 I remembered PT giving me.


The crazy part? It felt good. Exercising (stretching) used to be tiring and painful. But for some reason as I reached my left arm to the ceiling, did slow stretches with my wrist, and held my leg straight for 5 seconds, I felt a release. I think it was that realization that exercise does not equal miraculous instantaneous movement! (which I used to think. Thus the disappointment and giving up). So everyday this week I have been doing my exercises. As soon as I think about it I just do it! I still cant sleep through the night with the comfy splint but after exercise I wear it for 2 hours then I wear my wrist support. Sometimes I put it back on for another 2 hours before bed then wear my other splint too bed. It doesn't even hurt. I have not had any botox injections but right now my wrist is laying straight in my splint and I have it strapped as tight as it can go :-)


Between the soreness of my wrist last week and trying to do everything with one hand like cooking and even just juggling cash and the receipt as the cashier hands it to me while Im thinking where can I put this so I can get my car keys out before I get to the car? has got me realizing I want to use both hands more than ever before. I am tired of having to put my book down just to turn the page (when Im not reading on the nook). Tired of only being able to do one thing at a time. I need my left hand and as much as Fred has told me for years to use it LOL it is just not possible when my fingers are clenched in a fist and wrist is bent. SO my goal for the next 6 months are to exercise every day, get my fingers and wrist stretched back out, and slowly start using my left hand more. I refuse to go into my 24th birthday sad and depressed about the things I can't do and haven't accomplished in the past year. I am not 15 years old stuck in my room at my computer anymore. The caged bird still has 2 wings and now that I am out of the cage I got to get my left wing better so it can help me fly!


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My thoughts are if you don't know or you didn't know what to do about the bump on your wrist when you were that young well there was nothing you could have done. It's better to know now what you need to do in helping you get better physically and being able to get it done. So getting out the paper pictures and doing the exercises now means so much for your state of mind.


I feel my five months in the hospital taught me a lot about getting better with training when I got home and that's just what I did with my wife's help until she went back to work. I felt so good and healed I went to work at Walmart for three years until I decided to let it go.


You know I sent you pictures of my wrist supports I even wore when I drove the car. I was just determined to be better and get better with more time and exercises. I thought by now (9 years later) I would be walking already but that is not the case.


You are pretty much following the same path I traveled in your recovery which gave you a chance to drive again, graduate from college walking across the floor without a cane.


You got a lot to be proud of young lady and I just know your parents are proud of you too! So you can stick your chest out, hold your head very high, and start using your left hand and whole side much more as you know how to do.


You are NOT CAGED ANYMORE!! You are free and recovering every day and doing more and more on your own. Now in my case I'm very old and had the stroke when I was 63 now about to be 72 in another month, I'm not complaining either but got a long way to go in walking on my own!


The old saying is "use it or loose it" and I say thanks for "plastic bags" I can hold in my left hand over my fingers and carry what I need to my car. I got a little black bag with a shoulder strap I put over my head and on my shoulder to carry things I need at the doctor visit or where ever! I let nothing stop me now I have come too far to quit or turn back now!


Oh, when a cashier hands me my money, change and the receipt I lay it down on the counter pick up the dollars put them in my shirt pocket then pick up the silver put it in my pant pocket then get the receipt and put it in my bag with the items I bought. I don't get in a rush because I'm on my scooter and need my right hand to operate it.


If I recover more good if not I'm still good and happy I can do what I do all by myself!



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Hi Katrina: If you don't use it, you lose it, as Fred says. You must do your exercises every day to make progress. You're a champ and have the drive, but you have to give stroke deficits time. Good luck and keep moving. Henry

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