Stories of Occupational Therapy
The following are stories of real life survivors of brain injury. Clicking on the titles will take you to their actual story.
The Occupational therapist suggested using a computer to write down questions, appointments to help her to remember.
Betty received both speech and occupational therapy. She particularly liked her OT. Occupational therapy, that was, that was one of my favorites because I loved working with clay, making bowls. I did cross stitch, a lot of other projects I did when I was in occupational therapy that helped eyeâ€‘hand coordination.
Chris states that she was in the hospital 3 days short of a year. She was in 3 different hospitals and had physical,occupational for her hand and speech therapy during her stays.
“At Sacred Heart she was at the combative stage. She was aware of what was going on, she just couldn’t speak. Couldn’t take care of herself, she was very combative. But they weren’t, she was not progressing fast enough for them, her speech, her occupational, her physical therapy. It, she was just not progressing fast enough for them to keep her there. At Clearview, she worked with a neuropsychologist, a speech pathologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist and a vocational therapist. “Every weekend when we went there. It was like she worked hard with them all week and we drilled her on the weekend.”
Chris was at Clearview for seven to eight months. That she wasn’t just dumped into a nursing home made the difference. Her walking, talking, understanding, her reasoning, her physical appearance everything.
You had speech therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy?: “Physical speech and occupational therapy was done on a regular basis at HealthSouth in Melbourne, yes.” His therapy continued once he got to Center for Comprehensive Services, Subacute Brain Injury Rehab “ which is in North Tampa, Lutz, Florida: “My speech therapist did ascending and descending APT testing which is ascending and descending months, ascending and descending numbers, so, you know, she might say that the ascending months as in going forward, descending as in going backwards. So if it’s descending they’ll say December and you’re supposed to say, November, if it is ascending, you say January.”
Early Rehabilitation from Severe Brain InjuryA few days later Bryan brought me to an alcohol program, why I still to this day I have no clue. There was no alcohol involved in my injury and although some find it hard to believe there are laws pertaining to workers compensation, the Long shore Harbor Workers Compensation Act is pretty darned clear. If alcohol would have been involved, contributory negligence would have been assumed, things would have been different. That was not the case though, nobody ever said it was involved; this lady just needed a contract to self serve her personal interest. So, we started this journey with a very sobering head
injury and ended up around a bunch of people that had their own interest’s not mine. Six weeks went by, not much in the way of using a gym, getting PT, OT, and Speech therapy happened.DJ discusses his frustrations and disappointment in his Occupational Therapist.
Doug does have a good memory of the speech and occupational therapy he received. Doug states;”It’s just like repetition, I’m going over different puzzles, different word games, different, different – I’m trying to think whatever else was – word games, mind games, yeah, word searches. Just trying to work the brain into learning how to do things, on your on Repetitions. Just – I guess just trying to – like the word searches, trying to find the words, just trying to put everything together. Put all the right – to find the words in the sentences, to put the sentences together, to put everything back, put things together, to find the stuff in the right sentences.”In occupational therapy they primarily worked on his arm. The problems with his left side all stem from the brain injury: It’s related to the brain injury because it affected the whole left side of the body. So you basically got to re-teach the whole left side of the body.
And got me working in, especially with occupational therapy, living where I could, where eventually I could live on my own by doing stuff on my own.
Occupational therapy helped his brain re-learn how to use the left side of his body.
He isn’t quite back yet, but he is getting close. While at Norwood Rehabilitation, he got physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy. He explains: “They have everybody on physical therapy that’s at the Norwood, and I think it has something to do with, because we’re all, everyone that has a brain injury I believe is hospitalized for a period of time to where they’re not mobile, so the physical therapy is to get you back into shape. He remembers most of that physical therapy. In addition to his leg, he has some problems with the right side of his body.There’s a, the right side of my body has, is, it’s not nerve dead or anything, or completely numb, but the nerves don’t, aren’t the same. They, it’s like one side it feels the same and the other side doesn’t feel as the same. I actually haven’t told anybody really about it and I just do my normal exercises and just do things and it’s been coming back as much as it will.
She got speech, physical and occupational therapy while she was there. She explains: “Mainly I know addition, subtraction, just a lot of flash cards, a lot of reading and comprehending and going back, a lot of writing. They wanted me to write with, I’m right-handed and they wanted me to right with both hands. I didn’t understand why they were forcing me to write a lot of stuff with my left hand because I, I guess I was coming in and out of it. I, I was fighting a lot of it, just making them, why do you have to do this? They did some physical therapy.”
Helena starts to talk about her therapies; “First of all this happened, because, because it happened before Christmas,I spent Christmas in the hospital, and the rehab part, you had to, I had to interact with other people; we ate our meals in a commons room, and that’s when I started some physical therapy and some evaluations for occupational therapy, to see what my cognitive deficits might be.” With respect to her other therapies, she said: “In occupational therapy I had to put blocks together and look at different colors of things and, and see if I could organize things and shapes, and I just wanted to throw up. I finally had to say to them I can’t do this anymore, and I didn’t understand why. It’s just that it made me feel so nauseated.”
Ian’s rehabilitation began in the hospital. He describes some of the things he remembers about rehab: “It had its ups and downs in there. There were some things in there that, I was like, “Oh, I can do this,” and then you went and tried to do and no, you can’t. Swinging a hammer, turning a screwdriver, putting a nut on a bolt, writing your name or a letter.It was I, I could remember how I did things in my mind, but trying to get my hand to do the application, I just, I just couldn’t get the two to correspond.”
Did they give you occupational therapy?: “Yes they did.” What did that consist of?: “That consisted of getting my left hand to work and picking up things, it was like pennies, like coins, picking up things.” How long did you get that kind of therapy?: “Almost a month.”
Talk to me about your outpatient rehab.: “Well, outpatient rehab consisted of again more speech therapy, more occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Physical therapy kept me more to walking better. I got to teach the physical therapist some new techniques as well.”
At some point, before we go off the driver’s license issue, what was it that they did in this program that helped you be able to drive again?: “They had an occupational therapist. I was like a student driver and I had a special therapist drive with me and I pointed out road signs, what they meant and I would give her in advance of what was going to happen and what I was planning on doing. She would give me the destination where we’re going to and then I would have to tell her how I was going to get there.” Did you start out right in behind the wheel or was there like a simulator.: “No, right behind the wheel.” Were you having any problems at the beginning with those things that you did have to relearn?: “No sir.” Do you think you could’ve just gotten behind the wheel and driven without the training?: “Yes.” Did you think you did anything better as a result of having had the training?: “Not really.”
The tutor he cites to dismiss his accomplishment of graduating with his class, was a likely a critical extension of the cognitive and occupational therapy he received in rehab.
Would that have been partially occupational therapy too? Or did they not separate that out? : “I am a certified occupational therapy assistant, so I know that that could be part of occupational therapy, but my memory of my personal occupational therapy, I don’t think we did anything that had to do with computers.”
“I remember being in occupational therapy. My dad actually went on the Internet and checked out something for me. The whole side, my whole left side was paralyzed and my dad found that it was a form of Bell’s Palsy. So I had to recondition all that.”
What’s your day like here? What have you done today before I got here?: “I get up in the morning and I eat breakfast and I usually go to therapy about 9:30 in the morning. The occupational therapy.” What are you doing in occupational therapy? They working with your left hand?: “Yeah.” What do they do with your hand?: “Make me lift some weight bars. Just the one side (the right side). They make sure that this one’s (left side) is working okay, they check the muscle on it while I am doing it.”
Nancy’s mom explains when the Occupational therapy started; “when the OT started taking over and wanting to do the ADL processes of everything, like, brushing teeth, washing. Then of course I backed away and just let them do their lesson so that I could hear what they were saying so I could use the same for instances, you know, how to brush your teeth. Shoootshhhtttshttt. And you were supposed to sing this song X amount of times through and then you were done brushing your teeth. Or making her incorporate her left hand doing things because she would let her left hand sit there. While she’s wringing out a rag, she’d try to do it all with her right.’