Tag Archives: rehabilitation

Living an active life with multiple sclerosis

by Sharon Malinowski, occupational therapist, and Jenny Maurer, speech and language pathologist

Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

If you’re watching this season of Dancing with the Stars, you’ll be seeing Jack Osbourne dancing the rumba or Paso doble. Jack went public with his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) last year, which left many fans wondering how he will be able to participate in such a physically demanding show while coping with his condition. In actuality, it has been proven that concentrated rehabilitation and physical activity can promote increased and sustained function in MS patients. 

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system and is an unpredictable condition that can be relatively benign or entirely disabling. Symptom experiences are the result of communication between the brain and other parts of the body becoming disrupted due to multiple areas of inflammation and scarring (sclerosis) in the central nervous system.

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When Pigs Fly

The expression “when pigs fly” is used in situations that feel impossible. When Stan was admitted to the inpatient rehab unit at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, he felt the probability of getting back to normal life was just that – impossible.

when pigs flyAfter suffering a stroke, Stan was discouraged by the fact that his rehab process would take him several weeks to get back some of his normal functions. Through the discouragement, Stan kept his great sense of humor and a lot of motivation to get better, even though he wished the rehab was an overnight fix. He started to joke with the therapy staff that he would not get out of the unit to go home until “pigs fly.”

With that thought in mind, the whole therapy and nursing team went with his joke and drew a picture of a pig flying on his board where the usual discharge date is designated.  It was a great way to get over the discouragement and his motivation shot through the roof. At 60, Stan was still an avid hockey player and was committed to get back home play once again. Since he’s an athlete, the staff was able to motivate and push him like a driven, rehabbing athlete.

Finally, the day came that Stan was being discharged. Cathy, his wife, came to the gym with a box full of flying toy pigs for the therapy team to surprise him with. When he was ready to go, he was wheeled to the gym that he had spent so much time rehabbing in, only this time instead of physical therapy equipment, the staff that had worked with him for the past month were all holding the flying pigs.

“It was hilarious. I knew that it meant I was going home,” Stan said. “I’d like to thank all of the staff again and let them know they’re wonderful people.”

It was a very emotional moment for Stan, as well as everybody he had interacted with. All of his caregivers – physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists, nurses and aides – signed his flying pig before he left, as a reminder that he could do the impossible.


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Rehabilitating a Compound Fracture | Kevin Ware’s Injury

by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist; Dr. Bicos recently served as one of the official team docs for the NCAA Division I 2nd and 3rd rounds at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

(Kenny Klein / University of Louisville via Reuters)

Ware was up on crutches Monday morning. (Kenny Klein / University of Louisville via Reuters)

It was early in Sunday’s Louisville/Duke game that Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware suffered a compound fracture of his right leg. The video of the injury was grim and Ware’s rehab for this injury is going to be tough.

The first step is getting the bone to heal. Without looking specifically at the x-rays to know how many pieces the bone was in, this can take up to 3 months without complications. The more pieces the bone is in (official term called comminution), the higher the risk that it may partially heal or not heal at all.

Another thing Ware will have to overcome is to make sure the site does not get infected. It was an open fracture, and the prognosis for infection depends again on the amount of comminution in the bone, the status of the tissues (i.e. skin) after the injury, and the time to getting the bone fixed in the operating room.

The fracture is fixed by putting a metal rod down the center of the bone (i.e. tibia).This is a very strong fixation and he will be on crutches for the first couple of weeks to let the skin injury heal and make sure the swelling goes down.After that, he will progress to assisted walking and then normal ambulation by about 12 weeks after the surgery.The bone from a tibial shaft fracture can continue to heal for many more months after that, making his rehab significant.The other things to consider also include any injury to the surrounding muscles and tendons around the bone. Those injuries can lead to scar and make the rehab even more challenging.

His long-term prognosis is tough to predict, because it all depends on getting the bone to heal. But knowing the determination of high-end athletes, such as Kevin Ware, we are bound to see him back. We wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

This information is for educational purposes only. Dr. Bicos has no first-hand knowledge of Ware’s case.

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Ensuring the daddy-daughter dance will go on

Daddy-daughter danceIt’s what daddies do. They dance with their daughters at their weddings. But a heart attack and subsequent stroke put that tradition in jeopardy for Jim Marin and his daughter Lisa.

He was always a dancer. In fact, Jim and his wife Lydia used to win dancing competitions. They could really burn the floor with a good disco song.

But on Dec. 18, he began having chest pain, so at his doctor’s office, Jim received an EKG. “The doctor said I needed to go to Beaumont right away,” he recalls. “I drove myself there and was admitted. During the heart cath, I was given two stents, but in the course of the procedure, a piece of plaque broke away and I had a small stroke.”

The stroke affected his cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for balance, movement-related functions and posture. For a guy who likes to dance, this was not good news.

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Pediatric Pedalers

Called the “Pediatric Pedalers,” a group of up to 30 young riders showed off their new specially, adapted bikes from the Pediatric Rehabilitation program at Beaumont Children’s Hospital, at last month’s Miles4Miles family bike event.

They had fun on their new bikes while raising funds for treatment scholarships and expenses, including adaptive bikes for other Beaumont pediatric patients, as well as for services for kids in faraway Nepal.

Read more about the Pediatric Pedalers.

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