Life has been busy in the past few weeks since my husband and I joined the YMCA. They've got him on a three day a week program of weigh training for his left arm---his right one is totally flaccid with not an ounce of movement. And he's doing a series of standing and sitting from his wheelchair, using a weigh machine to pull himself up. While standing, every third time he tries to stand on his neglect leg (right) for a few seconds. Supposedly this will to help wake up the nerve endings. Already, I can see an improvement in his transfers in and out of his wheelchair. This winter after his aorta aneurysm surgery it was taking as many as fifteen tries for him to stand up enough to transfer and today he did it several times on the first try. Strong transfers can make the difference between staying at home or going to a nursing home so this is a worthy goal, believe me.
Don is walking some at the YMCA, too, and also working on leg exercises---some of which are trying to wake up the muscles that can help him kick his right leg out and up. When Don was in physical therapy last fall, they isolated the muscle groups that aren't working for him so those are the ones we're hoping to fire up now. All the "normal" people coming and going from the Y are encouraging and positive to Don as they pass by. It's a heart-warming and upbeat place to go.
When Don finishes up his routine, I leave him at the Y's coffee shop and then I go do the bike or treadmill for fifteen or twenty minutes. The original plan was for me to do the swim classes on Tuesday and Thursday, which are early in the morning before Don gets out of bed. (I loved those classes when I took them last summer.) But so far, our weekly schedules have been so crazy-busy that it just hasn't worked out that way. That will change soon. At least I hope so because I just signed us both up for a sit-and-fit group class, also at the YMCA. It will probably be a little low key for me but I have to be there with Don because of his language disorders, so I decided I might as well take it too. It's an opportunity for him to interact with other people with physical limitations which I figure will be better for him than the exercise.
On the speech front: A month or so ago I mentioned that Don---for the first time since his stroke 5/21/2000---spontaneously tried to spell a word he couldn't say. This past week he couldn't say 'celery' and I ask him to write it and he was actually able to do it without any help at all, misspelled but still recognizable. His language is still mostly nouns-only with a very few two and three words phrases thrown in and virtually no written abilities, not even the alphabet. The professor who oversees the speech group we're still going once a week recommended working on writing, since Don's brain seems to be ready for it. So we're back to doing homework at the kitchen table again.
There you have it, the reason why my real life is taking time away from my virtual life. ©