Today was a good day, for a lot of reasons. Robb started walking stairs in his physical therapy. They started him on a stair unit that had four-inch risers, and then moved him up to six-inch risers. Robb says that the taller risers were easier, because they were more like normal stairs (and also because there were fewer of them to climb.) Right now, he is stepping with one foot, and then placing the other foot on the same step as the first. The next stage will be to use on foot per step.
Robb needs to be very careful of his foot placement when he walks. His right foot does not have the strength and sensation of his left. He needs to kick his right foot out slightly, to avoid placing his right foot with his ankle turned inward. The ankle braces help with this, and I'm going to have to buy him some new more rigid shoes. Another first for me. I've never bought shoes for anyone, and certainly not someone who wasn't around to try the shoes on!
Robb also worked on the sit-to-stand transfer. Previously, Robb had been using the strength of his upper body and legs, and grabbing the walker and pulling himself up. The therapists don't want him to continue to stand up in this manner, because it isn't very safe, or a particularly natural way of standing up. So, he worked on a combination of pushing off from the sitting surface, bending or leaning forward, and letting the legs "take up the lift."
When was the last time you thought about the mechanics of standing up? Robb said that, like so many things he is doing in therapy, once he got the hang of it, this felt obvious and natural.
Robb is also working on his ability to change the balance from his heels to the balls of his feet and toes. Right after the accident, Robb had no sensation on the bottoms of his feet. he can now feel his heels and some of the sides of his feet. The rest can only partially feel pressure. This session wasn't so immediately successful. He's just starting.
And then, he threw up.
This was not related to the therapy sessions. Robb has been recovering from a urinary tract infection, and it was probably the antibiotics that caused him to throw up. The infectious disease doctor has confirmed that Robb's tests show no more sign of the infection, so he was taken off these medications today.
Due to the fact that he spent over a week, doing nothing more than laying in bed, Robb had already lost muscle mass in his legs. I remember this happening when I dislocated my knee, and had my leg immobilized in a brace. My left leg bulked up, while my right leg atrophied. The widest part of my right leg was my kneecap.
Robb's parents were at the hospital all day, and didn't get to see much of Robb. I suspect that he was pretty tired when he was in the room with them.
The best part of the day, for Robb, was the shower!!!
Can you imagine only taking sponge baths for two weeks? Can you imagine not washing your hair for all that time? Since Robb had his staples removed from his incision, he was able to get his back really wet for the first time since surgery. He wore the brace, and sat on a bench, had a therapist for company, and says that this was the best shower of his entire life!
Oh, and I went back to work today.