Due to the impending COVID-19 pandemic, my husband was discharged from the hospital after his stroke with no plans for rehab. I have since read it is very common for people who have pontine strokes to make really remarkable recoveries. My husband went from not being able to roll over to walking with the dog and I in two weeks so he seems to be following that pattern.
However we did notice he was having some issues with his balance, weakness in his left side, and fine motor control of his left hand. We could not do then usual routine of going into town for physiotherapy due to the pandemic lockdown. I went on line to try to find some exercises that would help. I found a product called FitMi and Music Glove from Flint Rehab. It was not cheap! After exchange and shipping and import duties and taxes we ended up shelling out about $1000. Our doctor had not heard of it before but when we told him about it he enthusiastically endorsed the concept and wrote us a prescription so we can claim it as a medical expense next year. The box arrived two days ago.
Hubby dearest likes the music glove better than the FitMi. It specifically concentrates on the weakness in his left hand. He does a kind of air guitar as notes go by on a fret and if he hits it right he gets a cheery blip and some nice words. At first we thought the glove was defective because he could not make it go. I tried it and it was easy. That was a sobering outcome. We both knew his hand was bad but we didn’t realize it was THAT bad. He tried the dexterity test included with the Music Glove and we confirmed he has shocking lack of dexterity. He could only score just under 50% and one finger was a mere 22%. He has been faithfully working his fingers three times a day and he is improving rapidly even with only those few sessions. I don’t like to think about what would have happened if we didn’t have this gadget because we didn’t know there was a problem to work on. The brain has the most plasticity and ability to recover during the first three months after the stroke. While it is possible to get recovery and improvement after that, it is harder and sometimes less complete. Since the physiotherapists are unavailable until the lockdown ends…well I’m just so glad we have this Music Glove. Otherwise we might have missed the window.
He likes the FitMi less. It is more of a workout. As with the Music Glove the FitMi soon showed significant weakness in certain exercises requiring he use the left leg. Some of the leg exercises he could do easily and breeze through. However one in particular he couldn’t manage at all until he had practiced it several times. The FitMi has four areas of exercising including arm, leg, core and hand. The core one is particularly important because core relates to balance and he can’t turn suddenly or step backwards without feeling like he might fall. t’s also a work out all by itself. I made a video showing how it works while he does one of the core exercises. If he can stay motivated and keep up these exercises, this nifty well designed, easy to use gadget should make a significant difference in his recovery. The $1000 Canadian still smarts but if you figure in the cost of driving to town and regular physiotherapists it is probably going to be cheaper over the longer run.
(I got no discount or special benefit from Flint Rehab for writing this.)