October 26, 2007

Thursday and Friday in Caregiverville

Don has taken to aquatic therapy like a duck to water. It's an old simile but I can't think of another one that fits any better. Thursday the physical therapist had him in the pool for a half hour laying on his back peddling bicycle style, spreading and closing his legs, kicking like a swimmer and drawing his legs up to his chest and kicking them back out. It's quite amazing to see his stroke neglect leg actually moving so much. For the second half of the hour she had Don standing on his feet doing sideways walking, squats with his back to the side of the pool and some other exercises that works on improving balance. It's quite difficult to talk with Don in the pool where he isn't able to wear his hearing aids and between this session and the last the PT had made drawings and enclosed them in plastic. These visual aids really made a difference. I thought that was a pretty cool thing for her to do.

The physical rehabilitation place we're going to for Don's land and aquatic therapies is sixteen miles out in the boondocks from where we live. On the way home from the place yesterday I missed a turn on a rural road and got lost---sort of. It's hard to get truly lost in a county where all the roads run true north/south and east/west with the north/south roads all numbered in sequence. The east/west roads are mostly named after the lakes they run past. They don't call Michigan the water wonderland for nothing. Lost or not, we ran south as the numbered roads dropped down to where we thought we should cut east for a while. We took one of the few roads that wasn't named after a lake.

That put us on Red Pine Road, a road we'd never been on, and it didn't take us long to figure out why that one road out of a half dozen we'd past wasn't named after a lake. The towering pines along both sides went on for miles and they were so tall they nearly blocked out the sun over head. Red pines are self-pruning and have long lengths of their lower trunks that have no branches and the conifers looked as if they'd been precisely planted six feet apart in rows parallel to and perpendicular back from the straight-as-a-pin road. We figured they could have been part of a post-depression era New Deal/WPA project. Michigan has many WPA "ghosts" lingering about. (The Work Project Administration, under Roosevelt, was designed to overcome the widespread unemployment that nearly destroyed our country back then.) It was neat driving through a piece of history---however the trees got there---as the lowering sun cast a ladder-like pattern across the pavement.

Today I started out down at the YMCA walking on the treadmill. If someone had told me a year ago that I could stand up for a half hour straight---let along walk a half hour on a treadmill---I would have told them they were crazy. Have I said lately how much I love my new knee? Nine weeks out from the surgery and it's the only joint in my lower body that doesn't yell at me, "Jean, you're getting old!" I'm even starting to look like I belong in the gym. Gone are the polo shirts that get too sweaty under the collar. Gone are the wrap-over-the-head earphones. Yup, I'm sporting discreet little ear plugs to watch Ellen or Oprah on the treadmill's build-in TV. I'm also carrying a water bottle and wearing tee-shirts and sweats. The latter attire will be next to go as soon as I figure out where people go to buy those cutesy little workout clothes with the racing stripes up the sides that make you look like you're going faster than you really are.

My afternoon was spent as the Chevrolet dealership getting the oil changed and everything up to snuff for the coming winter months. The heater wasn't working right, the tires needed rotating, all the fluids needed to be checked and topped off, and the computer was telling us that the battery was dead when it's just a spring chicken and was perfectly fine. With all our Blazer issues resolved we finally left the place two-hundred dollars poorer and I had a headache from watching Don bounce off the walls in the waiting area. He had such a good time trying to interact with all the people there and my aphasia decoder ring got a royal workout. Sometimes I'd like to park Don and his wheelchair facing a corner and tell him to "stay!" until I can have two consecutive thoughts of my own.

Jean Riva ©


Anonymous said...

If there came days where you had more then 2 consecutive thoughts in a row, you'd be bored. After 7 years of not having the leisure time, you'd be bored too quick if suddenly you had time to have 2 random thoughts in a row.
That Red Pine Hill road sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

hi Jean:

soon I will see you in commercial for fitness & weightwatcher, I often wonder how do you keep up with so much going in your house. I am true admirer of FDR, recently visted hydepark and his springwood home and library. USA as lucky to have president like him for 4 terms. I like what he did for whole nation to bring it out of depression. did you know at age 39 he was hit with polio and he became president afte that.


the aphasia decoder.... said...


Thanks, Pam. LOL

Asha, It may sound like I do a lot but you don't hear about all the stuff I don't do like cooking.

Yes, I did know that FDR had polio and was wheelchair bound. I'm not sure he could get elected today with his disability and that is a sad thing to say about modern society. Reporters back then respected his requests not to photograph him in his chair so many people where not aware of it.

Bonnie said...

Well you can get some of those cute little work out outfits at Old navy. I'm sure there are other places. But Old Navy has pretty reasonable prices.

Maybe you can get Don a matching one..lol

The PT sounds like a great one ..making water proof drawings.

That poor decoder ring, I see it like one of the "mood" rings.. changing various colors..