Submitted by Cathy Cuff-Coffman

This is Part 2 of Cathy’s multi-part blog series, documenting journey with a Baclofen pump implantation. Read Part 1 here.

The Rehab Routine – With a Twist

Today, Thursday, March 7, was my second full day on the “spinal cord floor.” Since I was here four years ago, the routines started returning to me.

One of my meds should be taken on an empty stomach, and the nighttime nurses like to dose it at 4:00 AM. Four years ago, I had such poor sleep quality (major back surgery, wearing a C-Spine collar, and all the ancillary trauma from breaking C3-7), that I begged them to let me sleep.

I’ll “play nice” this time and take the 4:00 AM meds. That’s also when the rehab schedule for the day is delivered, so I get to orient myself to what lies ahead and then fall back asleep.

At Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital patients are afforded four, 45-minute sessions daily. I’m not starting at Square One, but I have to work on breaking bad compensation habits and rebuild strength.

Today the PT team started me on the Bioness stim walking system. I had some success with it, so the plan is to continue. We also practiced stairs, walking, and various stretches to combat my tone.

But the “star” of every day is the daily “uploading” of the liquid baclofen vis a vis the intrathecal baclofen therapy device implanted in my spinal cord and under my skin. It’s made by Medtronics.

The neurologist, Dr. Michael Kryger, holds a cell phone-sized device over the receptacle. The device communicates with the receptacle, and a tablet displays all the information the doctor needs to determine how much liquid baclofen to release to my spinal cord.

This afternoon he released six micrograms per hour. He decreased my oral baclofen dose, and the plan is to spend the next 10 days titrating up on the liquid baclofen while weaning off the oral meds, all the while continuing Physical and occupational therapy.

Stay tuned.