Help: I want more information about stroke rehab

Posted by maryar @maryar, Jan 14, 2018

I had a bleeding stroke four months ago. I can find lots of information about stroke, but very little about what to expect if/when feeling returns. How will I know? And when can I expect the feeling in my right side, which I have extremely little of, to come back? Does it come back slowly? or do I just wake up one morning, and suddenly it has all returned? I am exercising on a rowing machine five or six days a week for thirty minutes a day, as well as various stretches. I have spasticity in my foot that I also can't get rid of.

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My first question is why a rowing machine? I have no remembrance of either of my strokes, I was in the hospital - for other things - when I had both of my strokes. I was told a doctor was with me when I had my first stroke in November of 2014, the second one was a month later. I had feeling in my right side I just could not move it, my left side was not much better. When I was sent to rehab I could hardly stand let alone walk. With lots of determination, and no rowing machines, today I can walk on non-carpeted floors without my walker, (eighteen month old babies walk better than I do) live by myself, I do not drive, I continue to knit, answer questions to the best of my ability, and I am happy - most of the time. I have physical therapy, to work on the areas of my body that still need help.

As far as feeling, what are you talking about? The mobility you once had on your right side? Knowing if you touched something HOT or ice cold? If you do not know what is hot or cold, run, don't walk, to the nearest hospital. Getting the mobility back could depend on what was damaged in the brain and how willing you are to do the correct PT and OT. I started knitting again my second week in rehab, because I knew that was one way to get my hand/fingers working again. Typing was not easy. I started using one finger, I still have to look at the keyboard to make sure I am going to hit the key I want, not the one next to it. Can you use a pencil/pen? Adult coloring books with good colored pencils can work wonders. Did you enjoy puzzles before? All puzzles can stimulate the brain and open up some of the areas that were damaged from the stroke. Different types of puzzles work different parts of the brain. Start at the beginning, don't just jump in and do adult puzzles, you have to work up to them.

I do not think I answered your question about waking up one morning having the feeling you once had. It is a long process, each morning you might notice a small change, do not disregard it because it's not what you want, you should thank your body for the small changes. Without the small changes we cannot have the big ones. mlmcg

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Lol, I bought the rowing machine because it was good for working my arm and leg at the same time! I wanted anything that would help my body! I found a cheaper one on Amazon and have been pleased with it. My therapy is pretty much over as they don't feel they can help me anymore. OT helped me for a while, but as for sensation of hot/cold, well, they just say it will take time or might never come back.

As time is going on I am getting somewhat better about waiting, I have so wanted to be "normal," but perhaps that will never happen. I am 52 feeling like I am 65. I don't want to wear diapers (pelvic therapy is the only pt I am still in) and walk while dragging one leg around. But, as you said, I need to be thankful for each little thing. I am out of a wheelchair! I can walk!

I am doing puzzles, started with 50 pieces, and now am up to 300. I also do word searches, and try "finding words," for instance I pick a letter, usually going in order of the alphabet, set a timer for five minutes, and write each word I can find in my brain until the timer beeps. I started at about 4 words per minute. Now I do about 8, so not a ton of improvement, but some!


It is so wonderful when OT and PT tell us that we are doing so well that they can no longer help us. If I do not have the doctor I have and the PT who renamed the help I needed I would not be getting any more help. I asked to be re-evaluated to make sure I was not going backwards but progressing.

As far as the diapers, besides cost, you may want to see someone in Urology ASAP. I am taking pills to help control my bladder and do not have to be on diapers. There again, it could depend on the area of the brain that was damaged.

Being out of the chair is a BIG plus. Have you tried a walker? There are devices that could help with the foot dragging.

Up from a 50 piece puzzle to a 300 one is GREAT. Next you will have to try a 500. Just remember to use your right hand to put the puzzle together, I had to remind myself to use my right hand not my left. I was never good at word puzzles, I like Sudoku. Using a timer is a very good way to improve your brain muscle. Going from 4 to 8 is a very good improvement, you just doubled your score. Now you get to try for 16.

Do NOT think you are not improving, just remember where you were while you were in the hospital. Twenty to thirty years ago very few people lived more than days or weeks after a stroke, today it is years. However, the doctors have not caught up with the fact people are living with strokes and they don't know what to do with us. Our insurance companies don't want to spend money on rehab for us, especially if we are over 50, to have us never work again.

I hope this helps you. Good luck. mlmcg


I forgot to add, if the only puzzles you have are the 50 and 300 piece ones try putting the 50 piece puzzle again one row at a time. I use to do them one row at a time when I wanted to put a puzzle together and all I had were puzzles I had put together so many times I almost knew where every piece went. I never tried doing them upside down. You have the top of the puzzle next to you and the bottom away from you, if you were to look at the puzzle from the other side of the table it would be the way it should be. You could always do it row by row upside down. Be careful your family/friends might start to worry about you, or buy you more puzzles. Good luck. mlmcg


Hi everyone,

I'd like to invite you to join us today, Wednesday, May 1 at 12pm CT for a video Q&A. Drs. William (David) Freeman and Rabih Tawk will be discussing all aspects of stroke, and will answer questions during the live broadcast.
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Drs. Freeman and Tawk will answer questions live. Post your questions before and during the broadcast.

Return to this page, to take part in the video Q&A live on May 1 at noon CT. It will also be archived on this page.

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