By Allan Gardiner, PhotoMed Technologies, Founder
Stroke affects each person differently and is the leading cause of long-term disability. Every year about 600,000 suffer their first stroke. About 10,000 Americans survive in a totally paralyzed "locked-in" state.
Josephine considers herself to be lucky. She remains glad that she didn't die on the way to the hospital, or during the next three days, or the next 14 years. She enjoys a loving family with her husband, Winston, and their three daughters. She never gave up hope that one day she might be able to move her fingers just a bit. Josephine is among a few thousand people who survive in spite of total paralysis, called locked-in syndrome.
Video 1 - Josephine demonstrates her new wrist motion to Dr. Conard during her second visit. (0:14)
I will never forget the moment when I met Josephine. I remember the smile in her left eye - the only part of her body that she could voluntarily move. I was surprised and elated to see her right index finger and thumb extended rather than curled into a fist. Could we help her move her fingers?
We discussed PhotoMed Technologies study and the importance of having exactly zero expectation that she could increase the almost imperceptible movement of her hand. We decided that her first session would only be a demonstration to set the bar even lower...
Within minutes of applying PhotoMed Technologies therapy to her right fingers and elbow, Josephine demonstrated her first hand movements in 14 years. Surprise by everyone would be an understatement. Josephine later told me that she "felt" all along that her fingers would move again.
Josephine requested, during her second visit 4 days later, that I take and share videos of her progress. She hopes that her experience will encourage others consider possibilities previously thought beyond hope.
Video 2 - Josephine's right fingers move a little while held by her husband, Winston (1:26)
Video 3 - Josephine tells a joke. (1:57)
Video 4 - Josephine says her name for the first time. (1:01)
Josephine can breathe easier today, literally, as her diaphragm function improved to support her ability to speak a few words through her frozen teeth. She is glad for her improved ability to swallow and a reduced need for suctioning of saliva from her mouth and throat. She is glad to be noticed by moving her hand instead of waiting for her family or caregivers to look at her eye.
Josephine's complex problems exemplify the need for the research methods such as developed and tested in PhotoMed Technologies patient-centered studies.
Next, Josephine needs help from physical therapists who know how to fan a spark into a bonfire.
It has been an inspiration and honor to meet Josephine and to share a few moments in her life.
Updated: August 7, 2017
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