Showing posts with label WalkAide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WalkAide. Show all posts

Monday, August 17, 2015

Aphasia: I am overwhelmed with aphasia; it's engulfing. I can't form the words.

Aphasia: Take a look.

I had a birthday, August 15, 1947. I’m 68. I have aphasia to the max.

Fifteen years, in 1999, I had a stroke; whopping, catastrophic, massive ischemic thrombosis. I couldn’t speak, walk and tooled away in wheel chair from the nurses station in five hospitals. I was a blank slate. The left side of brain was fried. A left middle cerebral artery has a clot and complete occlusion. Not good. My left gray matter is 80-99%, per the carotid duplex.

It’s some good news, 15 years later, my left carotid arteries are clear. Numbers and letters are bad for me; like a fog. Like slow motion. Backwards and forewards, right to left…I have no concept. Slowly, I’m reading again. Author Carl Hiaasen, he’s a Florida guy, totally irreverent; he makes me laughing. Laughing is good.

My right hand is dead in the water. After the stroke, I wrote gibberish on my left hand. I won an AP award from an editoral I wrote for ’99, six months before the stroke. The universe is chortling hysterically; God’s little irony. Specifically, I couldn’t remember my name, address and ZIP code. I was real mess.

Seven months later, I came home from the hospital in July, 2001. I had rampant Afib for, at least for twenty years. The doctors were puzzled and ordered generic pill, metoprolol, aka, Lopressor. Lopressor reduces the heart rate, I get that. I took the pill, but the Afib was back with a vengeance; pounding, hammering and, frankly, I thought I was going to die.

I believe it’s mercury fillings. The Afib is gone. The dentist extracted the mercury fillings (I have dentures), in 2005. No panic attacks, no heart-stopping Afib and I have my life back. After the stroke, I had one-word sentences; food, water, haircut. I'm slowly learning to speak. It's wonderful feeling. Mercury stays with you for a long, long, God-awful time. But, I HAVE time.

I digress; aphasia, loss of ability. I am overwhelmed with aphasia; it's engulfing. I can't form the words. 

Check it out.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Take Two Botox and Call Me in the Morning. My claw-arm and my right knee are dead in the water, although WalkAide helps. I had a catastrophic massive stroke 13 years ago. Go figure.

I need Botox. Now.

My claw-arm and my right knee are dead in the water, although WalkAide helps. The peroneal nerve lifts the foot electronically. It's a cattle prod, essentially. The left hand does everything from cooking froot loops and deep-friedTwinkies and to open the mail for snarky politicians, one-handed yet. The left appendage goes for wood in the garage. I'm an excellent woodburner-fire-builder, again one-hand. My right-hand sits there, confused.

The right hand and foot has feeling. My fingers work, minimally. My brain knows fore and aft, back and forth; my hand has flexion. Ditto for my leg.  Watch the video.  Botox relaxes the muscles. A mini-Baclofen; simplistic I know, but you get the drift.

I'm 65, I had a catastrophic massive stroke 13 years ago. Aphasic and mute, my blood pressure was 68/23, my right arm and leg were non-existent and basically I didn't know my name. Not good. On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1999 in Allegheny General Hospital at Pittsburgh, I lay in supraventricular tachycardia as fast as 220 beats per minute and a stroke to boot. I believe it's mercury fillings, but that's a another story.

The doctors shipped me off to Allegheny General via Frick Hospital (Excela).  At the time of transfer, I took, among others, low-dose Dopamine. Dopamine controls the brain's reward and pleasures center, I took an IV Levaquin to fight bacterial the body and, hey, where's the heparin for thinning the blood? Nary a warfarin. And the blood pressure medications? Where is it? Mighty strange. But I'm no doctor.

In retrospect, Frick's OK. A stroke is a stroke is a stroke. Nothing changes that; it's done. Doom. My son, Jeffrey, transferred to Pittsburgh. He meant well, but I couldn't speak at all in Frick. Nada, nyet, tout. Frightening.

Before the stroke I ran, a non-smoker, I was a drinker (Chivas Regal and Absolut) and I detested medication. After the accident, a myriad of drugs existed from aspirin, Lopressor, Calan, the insidous warfarin (I'm off that), simivastatin (I'm off that) and a host meds.  Simivastatin (Zocor-cholesterol) makes me crazy...funky joint pains in my calf muscles and a general feeling of weakness. Side effects. My cholesterol is 275. No processed's Franken-food. (I'm kidding about loops and Twinkies.)

Today, I take aspirin (81 mg.), metaprolol (Lopressor), 25 mg. in the morning and evening, vitamin D-3 1000 mg, krill oil 300 mg, and Chlorella. It's a micro-algae for mercury.

I'm tired of my left hand and leg. Crib notes at the ready, I'm calling the neurologist. I'm a little bit aphasic, well, a lot aphasic. Crib notes are handy for words, phrases and sentences. After the stroke I was a blank slate, a one-word answers. For example: food, bathroom, mail, TV, etc. Slowly but surely I graduated to sentences. Hence, I have crib notes, a "coach", me, extracting words. Kind of a script. In the evening, when I'm tired, a revert back to the blank slate. Lights on, but nobody's home. Without question, I'm aphasic.

"I'm Mickie Roller. I want Botox."  The crib notes are succinct and effective; a script.

Louis W. Catalano, MD is an neurologist in Greensburg, PA and the three physicians, a man and two women, comprised the Neurological Institute of Western Pennsylvania. I had an appointment for May 29, 2013 at 2:00 PM, my doctor is Marti Haykin, MD.  She's board-certified in Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

The manager informed me the package of information, the social security, where I live, and most important, the insurance. I have Keystone Blue and Medicare.  Medicare is murky, Medicare doesn't cover Botox. For example, hypothetically, I'm 30 years old. Keystone Blue covers Botox. Whoopie. End of story.

I'm 65. Medicare serves as an umbrella, a filter, as it were; bed pans, walkers, blood tests, specifically, Botox is not covered. Keystone Blue, in conjunction with Medicare, is not covered. Keystone Blue supersedes Medicare. I told you it's obscure. Ah, Medicare.

I called Botox. The Botox patient assistance program helps financially eligible patients receive the Botox treatment they need.  (1-800-44-BOTOX, Option 4, Mon.-Fri. 9 am to 8 pm ET) I looked on the internet; probably $1500 +/-.

Stay tuned for May 29 I'm ready. I'm excited.

Monday, August 27, 2012

WalkAide has Bluetooth technology; every step I take, via the computer, it knows.

The Benefits of WalkAide

The muscles atrophied on my right leg, specifically, my knee joint.  Sometimes it buckles. I had a hinged support brace for the knee. It works well, coupled with the cane or four-pronged walker, but, sometimes it hurts, especially the lower back. 

Fifteen years ago, I fitted for a leg brace during 2000; HealthSouth in Monroeville, PA is a top-notch facility. I'm 52, confined to a wheel chair. Gimme a break.  Make me vertical!   Oh, one more thing...I can't talk, either. God's little irony. 

The leg brace is a medieval torture chamber with bells and whistles and snaps and buckles, nevertheless, I persevered. I'm walking again. Three physical therapists supported me; the wheel chair just in case, the four-pronged walker for my left hand, just in case, and the leg brace for balance. Three steps.  It's progress. Woo hoo!

I moved to a nursing home, Harmon House in Mt. Pleasant, in March 2000. Every day, I went to physical therapy, still in a wheel chair. The leg brace is long-gone, thank God. The routine was walking on a knee brace and a four-pronged walker, probably, ten to 20 feet. Turn around, and walk back. Instant exhaustion. The wheel chair looks good to me. I was a runner before the stroke. God's little mirthful irony.

Long story short, eight years ago, I lived in the mountains in Bear Rocks. I love to walk. Flipping the pages of my Stroke Connection, WalkAide appeared. The peroneal foot lifts electronically. It's a cattle-prod, essentially. It's a simple machine, three buttons.

I called WalkAide, I pieced together sentencing fragments. WalkAide knows about aphasia and the stroke. Do tell. I have an appointment for Hanger Prosthetics in Greensburg in 2008. The physical therapist electrically stimulates the appropriate nerve (peroneal nerve) that signals the ankle joint to dorsiflex. Two electrodes are used.

Next, Excela Hospital in Mt. Pleasant for physical therapy, three times a week; step-gait muscles, strength exercise and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) for the muscles on my right leg. Now I'm ready.

As I said, the muscles atrophied on my right leg. Eight years is a long time. However, read WalkAide very carefully, especially the video. You'll be glad you did.

My left hand is functional, my right hand is unfunctional.

Use an rubbing alcohol pads for the affected area.  Clean well.  Really well.

Soak the electrodes with plenty of water. I use bottled water, eighteen ounces. Keep it handy in the bedroom.

With my left-hand, the WalkAide snaps in to place. Turn the knob, for example, to 5. (The physical therapists knows.) Press STIM button.

Two minutes, max.  No lower back pain and I'm ready to walk.


In the evening, turn it down, say a "three" on the STIM button. The electric shock is too much. The morning, afternoon and the evening, I'm on the go all of the time.

There's two electrodes; one o'clock and three o'clock on my knee. The three is fine, but the one has pimples ever so slightly. When I go to bed, I rub antibiotic cream to the affected area. It's gone before morning.

Keep a spare battery (AA) in your pocket or purse, just in case. The shelf-life is one month, give or take. With my left hand, I have difficulties in changing my battery.  Press down and discard. The audible "beep" will sound indicating the battery is low.

The electrodes should replaced every, probably, 2 weeks. I use my teeth. Hey, whatever works. The two leads (red and black) are connected to the electrodes. With my left hand, I use my teeth to connect wires on the lead with the locator (electrode)...very carefully. It works well. Turn off the WalkAide, of course.

Washing the cuff - Remove the liner, DO NOT remove the little red and black locators.  Line dry only and hand wash.

WalkAide has Bluetooth technology;  every step I take, via the computer, it knows. Any walking pattern or shift in model, it knows. Schedule an appointment for the clinician for the appropriate adjustments.

Cost:  Medicare doesn't cover WalkAide. (Write an email to the President of the United States...I'm not kidding!)  WalkAide is working with insurance companies to determine coverage. Over the three years, I forked over $4500, (a WalkAide unit, cuff, electrodes, clinical evaluation and follow-up visits). Electrodes cost, over the three years, $800+/=. It's definitely worth it. I have equity in my house. Thank God.

WalkAide provides a clinician EVERY TIME for appropriate adjustments, for asking questions and fine-tuning. I have Medicare and group insurance.

I FEEL better, no back problems, the right leg is fine and I have strength, energy and persistence. I live in the mountains, the uneven hills, grasses and banks are no problem for me. One caveat; I'm extremely careful all the time. Vigilance is key. I know my limitations.