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Toni Talks about PT Today

My Disappointing Stroke Patient

Published August 26, 2014 4:17 PM by Toni Patt

Everyone who knows me knows how neuro-focused I am. It's easy to imagine me getting excited when a relatively fresh ICH patient was admitted to our facility. I felt like someone gave me a present. He'd had some complications postoperatively so he came to us prior to rehab.

As soon as I read the chart, I was already thinking of what I wanted to do. Not only was he awake, he was following commands. I teach this stuff on a regular basis. Now I could actually do what I tell others to do as well as test two of my pet theories. The patient would benefit because if anything, he'd get more therapy. This is definitely a win-win situation.

I've worked with him for three days. And to paraphrase a movie, Houston we have a problem. This guy is lazy. He doesn't want to work. He doesn't try. If it is the least bit challenging, he won't do it. My tech and I have gotten him up each day. We no more than leave the room and his wife is coming down the hall saying he's tired. He needs to go back to bed. Of course he's tired. I just wore him out.

The wife is another problem. I've never seen a family member so disinterested in therapy. She spends most of the sessions shopping on her phone. The nurses have told me she quit her job so she can stay in the room with her husband. Twice she has asked if her husband can have medical marijuana. He asks for cocaine.

I already had the nice come-to-Jesus talk. I explained what it takes to recover after a stroke. I explained how important it was for him to work with therapy and build up his endurance. I explained the criteria for inpatient rehab, which is where someone 40-something years old should go. I also explained the alternatives. I might as well have been speaking to a brick wall. No, at least the wall would have absorbed the words.

I almost want to cry. Here is someone with so much potential. This is why I do what I do. I could get him walking. Instead he wants to lie around in bed and get high. I'm going to keep trying. Maybe the light will eventually go on and he'll realize it's up to him. My tech has already told me I'm fighting a losing battle and to let it go. There is nothing I can do for someone who won't take responsibility for getting better.

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