Contributed by Rachel LeBlanc.
Our Dad, Grandpa Jim, suffered a stroke at age 85 and lost most of the use and control of his left side, especially his left arm and leg. We soon faced the fact that he was no longer able to walk or stand, and began learning how to move him from his bed to a wheelchair or the commode, and back. The toll this took on our backs and shoulders was immediately apparent. Right at that time, we heard about the Rifton TRAM and wanted to give it a try. It arrived within a few days and we began using it for transfers from his bed to the commode or his armchair in the living room. Thanks to the TRAM, these formerly challenging post-stroke tasks now became simple. In addition to its ease of use, we appreciated its smooth operation and control.
In the days after his stroke, Dad was sometimes so weak and limp that we would have been in a serious pinch had we not had the TRAM. We were very thankful to be able to use it to lift him from our living room armchair and move him onto his bed, even when he was almost unresponsive and unable to hold any of his own weight. The thigh straps made this easy; it was amazing.
Exercise after a Stroke helps the Healing Process
After a few weeks, Dad had regained some strength. One day we tried raising him to a standing position using the TRAM. He was thrilled to stand for the first time after weeks in a bed or chair and couldn’t believe he was really standing again. Then he started to take steps! And here we all had thought he would never walk again. As time progressed, with post-stroke therapy, he gained more strength and kept practicing walking while supported by the TRAM. He didn’t give up until he could once again walk with a cane—and with minimal support from a caregiver holding his left arm. Several weeks later his doctor stood with mouth gaping as he watched Dad walking cane in hand, straight and tall, down the hall. The doctor had last seen him sagging and helpless in his armchair. Dad still chuckles when he remembers the look on his doctor’s face. Now he is almost completely independent again and back to his old self, except for a hand on his elbow and a bit of steadying here and there. We still use the TRAM daily for longer walking sessions for exercise and it helps maintain his muscle tone and health. I cannot describe what a blessing the TRAM has been for his post-stroke recovery and how thankful we are for it!
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