Your nose over your toes!

Do you know how to stand up?

I’m serious. Tell me how you stand up from a sitting position.

I had to be taught how to  stand up from a chair after suffering a stroke. I don’t know it is was a TIA, a “real” stroke (thankfully a small one) or just stroke – like symptoms, but I had one.

I had developed Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) while on vacation and hospitalized after I returned home, then transferred to Emory University Hospital where my cardiologist worked. The people at the small community hospital where I had been hospitalized had mentioned that a pacemaker may be part of my treatment plan, but my defective heart is so unusual that I wanted my regular cardiologist to examine me before a final decision was made. He agreed, and in fact felt like things were to the point that a pacer was inevitable. So the pacemaker was installed and I was in the recovery room the next day.

“Do you want to get up?” the nurse asked. Might as well say yes, because you are going to get up… mobility helps the healing process. I still had wires and tubes attached to me, so with the help of two nurses I got up, managed to turn around, and sat in a chair next to my bed. The community TV was on The Montel Williams Show. So I blame Montel for what happened next.

I was sitting in my chair with my foot twisted under me at a sort of funny angle. It didn’t hurt but I did, so I saw no reason to rock the boat by trying to move it, and eventually my foot fell asleep.

A nurse walked by my bed, stopped, and said “Smile at me!” It isn’t that often that a young lady asks to be smiled at, so I did.

“You need to be back in bed,” she said, and before I knew it she flung me back into the bed, hit the call button, and asked for neurological assistance STAT. In moments there was a guy looking in my eyes with his penlight and I was on my way to the MRI scanner.

In an hour or less my right side had just… switched off, for lack of a better term. For three days I was in the ICU with no movement of feeling in the right side of my body. And then suddenly, it just switched itself back on.

But that doesn’t mean that I was able to hop out of bed and dance the Rumba. I had no control, and my body didn’t seem to want to do what I told it. I got enough Physical Therapy in Atlanta to be able to do basic things, and then continued the therapy locally after I was discharged.

But there is a proper way to stand up from a chair. You do it every day and never even think about it. I’m recovered so much that I don’t even really think about it anymore. Try it the next time you stand up, and see if you don’t follow these steps:

1) Slide to the edge of the chair.

2) Place your feet shoulder width apart.

3) Place your nose in a direct line over your toes.

4) Push upward, using your thigh muscles.

Now, do that 99 more times and then we’ll move on to something else!

Physical Therapy hurts! You’re moving muscles that don’t want to move or haven’t been moved in a while, and they are complainin’! When you finish, you’re not sure if you’ve been to a rehab session or if you’re a hockey player who keeps getting slammed into the glass. But some pain now for a larger payoff later… today, you wouldn’t even know I had a stroke unless I told you. So if you know a Physical Therapist, shake his hand or give her a hug. Your patients don’t like to see you walk in the door, but we are so glad you did!


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