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Restoring Quality of Life

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski Nov 21 2017

Michael Kosh enjoys getting outside and doing lawn work, pruning trees and bundling the limbs at the home of his daughter and son-in-law where he lives with his wife, Rhonda, in Stephensen, Va.

He plays with his grandchildren—4-year-old twin boys and a 2-year-old granddaughter—a year after experiencing 10 strokes in one night attributed to septic shock following surgery.

He spent more than a month in a Florida hospital followed by nearly a month at a rehabilitation hospital. He would need a wheelchair because of foot drop and experienced excruciating pain in his shoulder.

Retired from the Navy, Michael, 69, had been working fulltime as a deputy sheriff in Florida when the strokes sidelined him.

“I was in good health,” he said.

Following his strokes, Rhonda began researching technologies to relieve his shoulder pain and restore the use of his hand and foot. She came upon Bioness Inc. which outfitted Michael with three of its technological advances including:

• The L300® Foot Drop System which is a functional electrical stimulation system that is worn in a similar manner to a knee brace. Gentle stimulation is delivered to the peroneal nerve—just outside the knee—in a precise sequence that activates the muscles that lift the foot as needed to take a step.

• The H200® system that delivers low-level electrical stimulation to activate the nerves that control the muscle in the hand and forearm, helping patients regain their independence.

• The StimRouter® system which is an externally-worn, bandage-sized pulse generator that broadcasts gentle electrical pulses to a small, threadlike ‘lead’ implanted just below the skin directly to the nerve causing pain. These pulses essentially block the pain signals before they reach Michael’s brain. And he is in complete control of the timing and level of stimulation using a handheld, wireless remote.

“I had the StimRouter implant put in as an outpatient,” said Michael. “Before I couldn’t lift my arm up it hurt so bad. It works wonders. I’m able to raise my hand over my head with no pain—it is a miracle.”

Rhonda said that it’s helped with his rehab, too, because he’s able to do more range of motion exercises.

The technology restored Michael’s independence, making Rhonda feel comfortable enough to return to work as a high school counselor.

“I didn’t think I would ever be able to go back to work,” said Rhonda.

The married couple of 29 years met in the Navy, have eight children between them—including five who served in the military—and are looking forward to welcoming their 20th grandchild.

“We decided as part of his recovery that he really needed to be interactive and not home with downtime by himself, so the grandkids are keeping him very busy,” said Rhonda.

Now Michael looks forward to working out at the gym twice a week.

“Things have really improved for me,” said Michael. “My quality of life is pretty good.”

For more information on technology and stroke visit www.stroke.org/technology

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