Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We made spaghetti!

Ok! It's getting hot in here! Things are really heating up. I'm on my third and final Level I fieldwork! For obvious reasons I can't tell you where I am or give you much detail. But I can tell you some things, though very little.

Last week I did a cooking task with two people who suffered a stroke/CVA. It was my first 'real' task. It was awesome! They made spaghetti and garlic bread. We watched them from start to finish and they did everything. Turning on the stove was interesting as one person knew how to turn it on and the other didn't. I think Pt2 had a stove with electric buttons because she kept pushing all the pictures instead of turning the knobs. I thought it was cute. Pt1 had to cut and butter French bread, which was interesting because Pt1 doesn't cook.

Pt2 swore up and down that she wouldn't be able to open the spaghetti jar. She tried to open it with her stronger side but I kept encouraging her to try it with her hemiparetic side. We looked for some Dycem (a non-slip material to help you grip items, it's like the Superman rubber material) and didn't have any so we just used a regular rubber liner. And Voila! She opened the jar with ease and she was soooo happy! She then exclaimed how now she can make spaghetti more frequently!

I really enjoyed the task and it forced me to multi-task--I had to watch and make sure the clients don't hurt themselves, we were cooking with fire after all; I also had to ensure that they successfully completed all the steps; and I had to observe their motor control, bilateral coordination, strength & endurance and make sure they were using their hemiparetic side as often as possible.

I've noticed that stroke patients often use their stronger side over their hemiparetic side. In doing so, they force non-use of their hemiparetic side. This can lead to overuse problems of the stronger side and muscle atrophy and degeneration of the hemiparetic side.

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