New here need opinions please!
AnonymousNovember 12, 2006 at 9:02 am
My father has been recovering from GBS for almost a year now. He has recently began walking again and he seems to be healing in every way except his hands and forearms. He is bored out of his mind. He watches tv constantly, he has just enough movement to push the buttons on the remote. He can’t hold a pencil to do puzzles, can’t hold up a book or magazine, doesn’t have to fine motor skills to turn the pages anyway. Do you have any suggestions of things he could do? What did you do during your recovery? Anything you can come up with is appreciated…..thank you!
AnonymousNovember 12, 2006 at 1:07 pm
Hi Brandi Sue and welcome,
Does your father use a computer? Using a voice activated headset that might allow him to use the web and send emails. Others here have experience with this issue and will know of other assistive devices. Take care and send your father my best.
AnonymousNovember 12, 2006 at 1:13 pm
Hi Brandi Sue,
Does your dad get physical and occupational therapy?He does need this, it is very important for him not to slide backwards regarding muscle atrophy. The occupational therapy is great for his hands. If he does get it, ask the therapists what he can do at home to improve the mobility in his hands.But just remember it’s his nerves that are damaged not his muscles.If the nerves don’t work properly they can’t send signals to the muscles to work.
Other then that, GBS heals slowly and can’t be rushed. We say around here
that GBS stands for “Get Better Slowly”
My very best to your Dad. 🙂
AnonymousNovember 12, 2006 at 2:15 pm
hi brandisue, give your dad some playdoh to squeeze, or a nerf ball, or a sponge. i use different types of spongees, start off with a really lite sponge-easy to squeeze then increase to a thicker/dense sponge-harder to squeeze. there are exercises that he can do while watching tv, for example, using the thumb and index finger-pinch the edge, repeat as often as he can, not too many at once-there is a chance for many more exercises if he limits the number of reps through the day. continue to repeat using the other fingers. put the sponge in the palm squeeze like it is full of water, again don’t over due the reps. another one is put the sponge in between the fingers and squeeze, moving the sponge from one finger to the next middle section and repeat until all fingers are done. i like using sponges because you can controll the thickness and make it fit your hand grip easily-just cut it if its too big. with each of my hospitalizations i make sure i have my sponges in my bag and have them in my hands at all times i’m laying in bed paralyzed-helps keep the fingers from curling, and i can start squeezing as soon as i get my nerves responding again.
hope your dad can join us soon, i’m in the hunt for an oversize mouse so i can play on the puter longer, and i do agree with jerimy on the voice activated headset-they are wonderful-i use one when needed, when my 2 fingers won’t work well for me. give your dad my best. take care.:)
AnonymousNovember 12, 2006 at 3:13 pm
Brandisue & Dad, welcome to our forum. Lots of people here to give you new ideas you your Dad’s abilities progress. There are pens and pencils available that are as thick as a broom stick now. That might help. Also utencils for in the garden and kitchen and bathroom with larger grips for hands that are trying to heal. Just playing volleyball with a balloon can get those arms and hands moving. Having a one pound free weight might be something that will get him moving. Even a water bottle with a few ounces of water in it until the strenght comes back will help with the boredom too! I was given all kind of grips with rubber bands on them and the thera bands and thera putty to use. It did help me alot. I did not do alot all at once but I did keep things moving many times during the day. I had my upper body to work and the lower body routine too. I worked on the core muscles for strenght in my back and hips. I found that when I found a muscle that was not moving I would work with it and let the nerves tell it what to do. It was a slow process but eventually I have full range of motion and only a few tiny muscles that are just not up to par now. Those sponges and putty will really help get strenght in those fingers to press on that remote too!
Once he gets interested in a routine and different activities then you can keep adding things. Occupational Therapy and Physicial Therapy is a MUST!
He has to make up his mind that he wants to exercise and become active again. Does he have friends that can visit and play chess or checkers or cards? Dominos are coming back with different twists to the games. Get the tiny pieces they are harder to pick up for a challenge!
Give him a bowl of pennies and have him count them and put them into piles of 50 and then you can put them into the paper rolls. A week later bring him another dollars worth to be counted. Reuse the paper rolls!
I still do this one today! Makes my purse lighter and I can feel the tiny muscles that need that kind of movement.
Also put objects in a plastic shoe box or dish pan with a few boxes of rice and let him hunt for the objects. That helps with coordination, senitivity of the finger tips and does a bunch more for the hands. Nuts, bolts, screws, nail, buttons of different sizes, paper clips and a marble or two. Tiny game pieces. Some opf plastic or wood and some metal objects. Tiny springs out of a pen or even a rubber band or barette from a little girl. Dice, tiny pom pom from a craft project or a cotton ball. When I first started this I had to close my eyes and tell the PT person what the object was. Heck I was lucky enough to find any of the objects with my numb fingers. I even cried at first because I thought the rice felt like crushed glass and the elbow macaroni was sharp like metal screws! Imagine that!
There is no substitute for PT or OT but in a pinch you can take away some of the boredom by letting him clean out the junk drawer for you!
AnonymousNovember 12, 2006 at 4:51 pm
Thanks for all the ideas, he is still in a rehab facility, so he does get therapy on a regular basis. His doctor has recently ok’d weekend visits home, so hopefully that will break the monotony of being in the facility. He was always the high-strung, adhd type, so the last 11 months have been very trying. He’s not a computer savvy kinda guy, I’ve actually thought about getting him a cheap laptop, but I’m afraid he’d end up more frustrated. The dominoes are probably more his cup of tea, I’m gonna have to try that one. The big pencil idea is also something I might try with a really BIG crossword puzzle. Again thanks for the ideas and well wishes!
AnonymousNovember 13, 2006 at 11:52 am
A couple more things….
If he likes card games, you can pick up some of those jumbo sizes playing cards for him. They are 8″x11″ and might be easier for him to handle. [url]http://www.kardwell.com/giant-playing-cards.htm[/url]
Also, if he likes to read… they make a cheap thing for children that would be usefull to him. I dont know the official name but you can find it any almost any department store. It is sticky thing that kids will throw agains the wall or they will use it to grab stuff from a few inches away as it is sticky and things stick to it. Many of the larger print books come with thicker pages and are easier to turn without them sticking together. So with the sticky item I mentioned along with a large print book he should be able to turn the pages ok. Go to your local book store and talk to them about this and they will show you where you can find the books, they normally will keep all these large-print books together in one area.
AnonymousNovember 13, 2006 at 8:04 pm
I just wanted to add that I taught my Grandma to use a computer when she was 78 and completely technophobic. She has since traded the one I built for a new top of the line Dell. She is 85 now and a complete computer and internet nut. So anything is possible.
AnonymousNovember 13, 2006 at 10:06 pm
Besides the wonderful PT and OT suggestions, my main problem was the motivation factor. After sitting on my behind watching tv and doing the therapy, I lost motivation. I finally got books on tapes, read the Bible, did Sudoko puzzles, did 500 piece puzzles and anything that motivated my mind. Having friends visit was wonderful as well. Getting out on short trips helped tremendously as well- if that’s possible for him.
I just know when I hit bottom psychologically, the battle to “recovery” was harder! He needs to keep his purpose.
God bless and good luck!!
AnonymousNovember 13, 2006 at 10:37 pm
[COLOR=magenta]I know for me I had an ipod with all my favorite songs, so listening to music. You maybe able to get him a book on tape so he can listen to it or have someone read the book. Take him on car rides if its comfortable and if he has the energy. Having friends over is also nice as long as they don’t over tire him. These are some of the things I did. Hope it helps. 🙂 [/COLOR]
AnonymousNovember 14, 2006 at 12:00 am
Brandisue……also just taking a second to see where the Geography Game we play on this forum and also the true or false game….there is a word game and even Nascar forum to keep us busy and chatting, but keeps us thinking too and does not tire you out! You can check it once a day or once a week!
Once he is home you might ask him if there is anything he wants to do or have done for him.
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