WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There is hope for stroke survivors who seem to have plateaued before making a fuller recovery. That hope is aided in the form of new technology now available in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Playing the piano again is something John Woloski wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to do following his February 2015 stroke. But this 57-year-old former music teacher and school principal from Plains Township can add that to his list of recent accomplishments. His wife Cheryl said, “I haven’t heard him play since the stroke. So, it was such an inspirational moment for me.”
After more than a year of rigorous therapy at Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital, Mr. Woloski had seemed to hit a plateau. “It’s a long, hard path,” he said. He had discontinued his therapy until a few months ago. “John Heinz contacted us and said you need to come back. We’ve found something that we think can help you,” said Mrs. Woloski.
Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital obtained the Amadeo. It’s a robotic and computer assisted therapy device that works on the fine muscles of the fingers and hands. It’s the only one of its kind in northeastern Pennsylvania. Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital Assistant Director Outpatient And Occupational Therapist Lori Ackerman said, “We’ve seen his (John’s) grasp and his pinch go up. His coordination has improved.”
Even though Mr. Woloski has only been using the Amadeo for about three months, what he’s managed to accomplish at the rehab facility he’s seeing results in his day to day activities. “I really see myself improving with my speed in my fingers and my arm and I also, knock on wood, I don’t drop things like I used to. I’m able to hold on. I feel stronger,” he said.
His mobility has also improved becoming less reliant on a walker. “We think it’s a great time to really start advancing his walking again and taking it to the next step,” said Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital Outpatient Therapy Physical Therapist Angela Reese.
Breaking through the stroke recovery plateau barrier with each step as Mr. Woloski said, “I have hope that someday I might get to be where I was at one time.”