I go through therapists like I go through underwear it feels. I counted eight PTs & OTs I’ve seen now, not counting that huge team in Hawaii. I don’t feel it’s a bad thing to be choosy, but rather important to be one’s own advocate about your care. This I’ve stated in many of my posts.
My current PT has given me advice that it’s time for me to search out a certified hand therapist (CHT). She has worked out great focusing on my walking, balance, and getting some strength back in my legs now that I am planning to ski again every weekend coming up in January & February. We’ve tried to focus parts of each session on my hand & arm, which while productive mainly with my (proximal) arm, she has unfortunately not been able to work on the hand as much as I need mainly due to her lack of training. The hand is a very specialized set of (OT) skills to learn and it has taken a long time for me to fully grasp that fact (no pun intended). Going on three years soon, I’m well into the ‘Chronic stage’ already. I’m very much losing not only the needed minimal muscle strength in my finger extensor muscles, but scared I’m also starting to lose the critical nerve firing & connections to my fingers. I can get them to twitch and still raise ever so slightly, but even that’s beginning to wane. So, at this point, I really need to go after it, under guidance of a CHT, which is something I really should have done two or more years ago.
Still getting Botox is another thing I still need to pair up with intense repetitive therapy with my hand. Paralyze the contractors and then work like crazy with a CHT to try to strengthen the extensors to hopefully regain balance of strength in my arm & hand to regain movement. Botox will start to lose its efficacy over time as well since my body will eventually become resistant to it.
Under recommendation of my doctor, I’ve landed on another private clinic with the owner having twenty years of experience with history treating stroke survivors, so we shall see. During my first visit, he’s going to find out that I’m a bit of a demanding PITA wanting the best care he can muster. I know too that I’m going to get off my ass to do my part too. Over this journey, I’m quite educated in the rehab field, talking like a PT myself now. I’m also still the stubborn, motivated, and competitive with myself person I’ve been all my life, so hopefully it will keep me going through this next chapter. If I don’t get a good sense out of the first visit, I’m immediately moving on to another recommended CHT over at Swedish hospital.
I’ll try to update on progress.