Submitted by Cathy Cuff-Coffman

This is the last installment of Cathy’s multi-part blog series, documenting her journey with a Baclofen pump implantation. You can read Parts 1-9 here.

The Last Reps – Lessons Learned

I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change

I wanna get better, better, better, better

I wanna get better

“I Wanna Get Better” —The Bleachers, written by Jack Antonoff

The “acute phase” of my Medtronic’s intrathecal baclofen pump ride is ending; today, I had my last physical and occupational therapy sessions.

My PT session with Kate and Brian consisted of outcome assessments–tests to see if I’ve improved in any areas with my walking and/or gait.

I have. My right leg and foot were locked in a circumduction gait when I arrived. (<–YouTube link.)

This was because I was dealing with incredibly high spasticity (tone) and pain. The liquid baclofen eased the tone, which, in turn, lessened the pain.

Since my paralysis worse on my right side (my left side is mildly affected), my right arm and hand are also compromised.

The liquid baclofen, which enters my spinal cord at the thoracic level, is most effective for my leg and benefits my right arm. However, my right hand still suffers from stiffness and weakness.

So, I am much better than when I came. I am happier because my pain level has lessened. My gait is better and I no longer circumnavigate my right leg

However, I’m leaving Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital tomorrow without illusions. The therapists and neurologist have charted my next course. A return to Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing, PA is on the horizon. I’m very keen on this outpatient rehab, as I’ve spent the better part of four years there working on my recovery.

I’ll also return to Hershey for medication refills to the receptacle and some Botox injections for my hand.

The rest is up to me. I’ll prioritize my workouts, pay attention to my form and gait, and celebrate Easter with a body and spirit of renewal.

Thank you for joining me on this part of the journey.