Today is Thursday.  Two key highlights rise in my memory tonight.

One involves completing a kitchen task. This particular patient is Jewish and mentioned (more than once) Hebrew International hotdogs and what a shame it was I had never had them.  So...I picked up a pack and some Bush beans for the simple task that would include stove use, multi-tasking, use of sharp objects, activity tolerance, and a lot of fine motor coordination as well as demonstrating readiness to be home independently. Considering that this patient was unable to cut putty (as mock meat) less than 3 weeks ago due to a stroke, I was so proud of how he safely and independently completed the task, even down to cutting the 2 hot dogs with so much more ease and precision. Generously, he made sure to offer a bite to me at the tasks closing. Hebrew International, you have my vote;)

The other highlight involves an older woman. She had fallen and underwent a total hip replacement and is also blind. I was told she would not get out of bed. I wondered if it was anxiety... as she used to graze her knuckle along the wall as her “eyes” during earlier ambulation (at prior level).  She seemed to play possum with me a bit today (my first time working with her). Then I asked her... “What do you most want to work on today?”  Without a doubt, she said, “Walking.”  And so, off we went to an excluded hallway with few interruptions and traffic. And here she walked for approximately 5 minutes for 3 trials while using the unfamiliar-to-her walker.  Her strides were less than 3 inches in length... and I only tried to encourage her beyond this mere distance once and then I just celebrated the progress of her being out of bed and walking!  Before we knew it, she had walked 20 feet in distance 3 times!  What a feat, what a beautiful sight that this precious woman can only feel.  Later I learned, this is the farthest she has walked yet! (And yes, this is all towards the goals of returning to full independence, improved balance, and improved overall activity tolerance.)

It was inspiration to more often try to tap into the daily inspiration of my patients own desires rather than merely my own agenda for therapy goals.  May we be more quick and easy to remember this idea...

Monika Lukasiewicz, OTR/L