Graduating

Guess what? I graduated! My Occupational Therapist informed me I graduated from his assistive technology program! (An OT works with arm rehabilitation and teaching ways to be independent, even with physical problems, like washing dishes, folding laundry and dressing.) He will continue to work on my arm and hand to keep them flexible. He offered me a diploma, but I declined. Jordan also offered me a job. (Haha.) Every time he shared a adaptive concept, I had already thought of multiple ideas to be more productive before we discussed them. (Many assistive tools are sitting in my Amazon cart to order when I go home.) He did start some new lines of thinking for me though. 

Another part of the work was the cognitive aspect. (He found out quickly that all of his tests were no match for me.) It is a tender mercy that the stroke had no effect on my knowledge and memories! (My education from school and life wasn’t a waste.)

I’m not sure this can be included on a job resume, but I’m quite proud of this achievement! (Yay me!) 

Cherish the small achievements in your life, even if it is just getting out of bed or not killing your kids today! It’s advantageous to count even your smallest successes. Try writing down one achievement you accomplished each day. That small exercise will help you keep moving and avoid daily discouragement. (This is coming from the Queen of Slow!)

It Feels Wonderful!

I’m am constantly amazed at how the smallest movement can benefit your comfort level immensely! I have recently begun to lift my foot at the ankle, and it feels great.! It requires major concentration, but I can raise it up.  I was sitting in the car, and I lifted both feet. Then I thought, “Did I do that?” (But not in an Urkel voice.) So I did it over and over. I realized it wasn’t just a stretch reaction. (My right side moves when I stretch, sneeze, or cough in a reactionary way.) I was actually doing it!

It made my think of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. ‘Frozen’ stiff for a year, all he needed was oil. (Where can I get some? I use essential oils, but they don’t work that immediate.) With a sigh of relief, he said, “It feels wonderful!” He performed a spiffy little dance when he was able to move! (So will I!) 

The other day, I thought, what else can I move if I concentrated really hard? I sat out in the courtyard and tried all the parts of my right side, with much exertion, but nothing else was ‘unfrozen’ yet. (It will happen.)

I have a new trick though!

The physical therapist has jumped on it. The ankle is actually lifted by the outside muscle on your calf. (Peroneal) I’ve had electrodes there. I’ve done multiple ankle lifts. It hurts my head and jaw, due to major exertion. I need a Tylenol afterwards. I guess it’s all good. (You go ankle, make the other body parts jealous!)

Cardio

 I desired to increase my cardio workout, so I requested more exercise after my normal therapy session. (I am a gluten for punishment! See video.) They assist me as I get onto this bicycle-like machine they call a Biodex. It’s more like pushing and pulling with a bike motion.

My goal is 50 RPMs (I tried to convert to MPHs, but there’s all these other factors, such as resistance.) Sometimes I fall below 50 RPMs, but I go in surges. It’s difficult to do that constantly. I’ve done 70! By the end (10-15 minutes,) I am very sweaty. So I must be exerting myself. (Looking for energy donations!)

Pushing

Lately, I have been working on stability when standing. (See both videos.) I stand in the middle of the room, and they push and pull me to see if I can recover. I always say, “Oh, you’re pushing me around again!” I am convinced that moving my single arm is definitely going to help me. (A hopeless attempt!) The greatest help comes from my toes. (Really! They assist a lot with balancing.) When I hold my hand in the air (raise the roof,) I feel as if I’m being mugged! (I wouldn’t know, I’m just guessing!) 

When they pull me with a band, I often overwhelm them. My left arm has become very strong! Sometimes I pull her. It’s assuring that the therapist is there holding my right arm. I have a safety net if things get out of control! We laugh the entire time, I guess it is pretty funny looking!

​In my normal fashion, I begin thinking deeper about pushing. As the mother of a former and a present teenager, I know pushing (or in other words nagging or forcing) you most definitely will get push-back and obstinance. Things will never go your way. Just like pushing on a screw won’t get it into the hole. But if you slowly, surely twist it in. (Tada!) It’s in the way you intended. Teenage relations require a little more finess than simply twisting, and it totally depends on the kid, too. Whatever you’re dealing with, it almost never works to just push something with all your might. Frustrated pushing rarely yields favorable results. You must stay calm, take a breath, and slowly and with concentration try again. Use ingenuity instead of force. I think that’s true with a lot of things. (Just sayin’!)


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Balance – 7/5/17

Balance is one of the things I have been working on lately. It’s a tricky thing, balance is. (I never thought about it before.) You gotta move your toes, and leg (I can move,) my good arm, too. 

In the gym, (or ‘on land,’ as they say) I have been standing for extended periods and moving golf tees from on block to another. That is actually hard to do! The therapist says I’m a perfectionist. I do the tees symmetrical, and I won’t sit down until both blocks are straight in the widow sill!

As I’m in the pool, we balance, but the water is not completely still. The movement is made by me and the therapist. I use my left foot often to keep me as steady as possible. But I never feel in total control no matter how hard I try. (That must be what drunk feels like?)

Working on my balance made me think of balance in general. Do we feel our lives are balanced? That means do we have a good balance between work and family? If you don’t have a family, do you have a good balance between work and play? (It applies in so many ways, depending how you look at it!) Strive to acheive that in your live. Don’t allow working constantly all day (and night) get in the way of your personal life. You will most assuredly see a positive difference. (I am speaking from experience!) No matter what you’re into, or give your day many of your hours, look at it seriously, and decide if you should spread your time around. 

Have you seen the meme saying “Only 10 more summers until your child is gone, use your time well!” (More or less depending on age.) Arghhh! I never thought about it that way! (The pressure is on.) Don’t think, “Oh, we’ll do it later.” Because later might never come. Seize the moment. (Take it from me,) we would’ve done more with the family if we would’ve known our life would drastically change. (You just never know!)

Sorry about my rant. I just feel strongly, we all need to work very hard to balance our time and bodies. (Balance is a funny thing!)

Swim – 6/28/17

I engage in water therapy three times a week. The floor of the pool is a treadmill, and I employ a lot of walking. I workout with other exercises also. (This pic above is my forced smile. Don’t miss the video below.) Because of the weightlessness of the water, I am able to move much more freely. It is letting me perform many motor functions I could not normally do. It is geared to help my body remember and hopefully “unthaw “and work like it is supposed to.

We have loads of fun. I’m always trying to do normal things, and I occasionally freak out my therapist Collin by doing unexpected random strokes like lunge back into a backstroke or try to float on my own. I enjoy hopping, since I can’t do that on land! We have too much fun, and he is impressed with my eighties music, movie, and superhero knowledge. We laugh most of the 45 minutes I’m in the pool. Now and then Amy has to stop the treadmill, I’m laughing too much to keep up.  One day, I was working on standing balance. My fingers tried to assist with this fast little paddling. Collin thought that was hilarious. I used to bowl the same way. (The ball will go in with a bit of body language, right?) 

Thanks to Amy for helping me get somewhat dry, then I go lay in the sun! I really enjoy ‘swimming,’ even if it’s in an exercise capacity. (Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!)

Housework – 6/21/17

You might say, “Yep, she’s lost it.” But I would love to do all the housework right now. When I go home, it takes all I have not to get on the floor and clean. (I seriously have asked Darin to put me in my former front flower patch, I just want to pull those weeds so bad!) As I recovering perfectionist, I am inherently drawn to want things straight and clean and orderly. I have even been tempted to jump out of bed here where I’m staying, but then common sense kicks in and my brain tells me, “Ahhh you better not, that could end badly.” 

Today in Occupational Therapy, he put me to work. I stood at the sink, and washed some dishes. Memories of work gone by flooded my mind. It felt so good to do something I’ve done (and disliked) for so many years! Then I folded towels and used my right paralyzed hand to hold them still. To be useful is really fulfilling, I’ve been a drain on society for too long. (I’m glad I can still be good for something!) Be thankful you can do your housework. (You never thought you’d hear that!)