Stroke Connection - July/August 2011 - (Page 9)
Remember, although you may only have the use of one hand, it has five fingers. Use them all.
The computer as a recovery tool
My computer and the Internet allow me to stay connected with family and friends as well as do research on stroke. The computer also allows me to continue writing, which is part of my therapy, and to find adaptive equipment so I can continue doing the things I need for daily living and pursuing my hobbies. For example, hunting and fishing were my twin passions in life before the stroke, and I was determined to keep doing them. But it took research and work to discover how. I typed with one finger on my right hand, and it often required many corrections and took a lot more time to finish things. But so what – that is why there are backspace and delete keys!
Gary vacationing in Hawaii in 2006
One-handed in a two-handed world
Remember, although you may only have the use of one hand, it has five fingers. Use them all. I wanted to become part of the daily household routine, to be able to help with chores to take some of the load off Barb, my wife and caregiver, who did so much for me. I started running the vacuum; we bought a new one that I could maneuver more easily. Although it takes me longer, I do laundry, fill the dishwasher and put clean dishes away. I stop and rest often, finding I don’t have the stamina I had prior to the stroke. Yes, it probably isn’t done as well as Barb would do it, but at least she doesn’t have to do everything. Doing these things feels like a victory on the road to independence. We made many changes to our house to make it safer and easier for me. For instance, we removed throw rugs and installed grab bars in the bathrooms and shower. We replaced the toilets with higher ones that are easier to get on and off. At first, when I suggested something I wanted to do, the response was often “you can’t do that.” To which I responded, “Don’t tell me that; help me figure out how I can.” My motto became “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Exercise: A big part in my recovery
Every day weather permitted I walked, adding a little distance each time. Two of my dogs joined me, and they looked forward to our daily walk as much as I did. We gradually worked up to a mile each day. The days I couldn’t walk because of weather, I rode my stationary bike. I would put on a DVD and pedal away. A recumbent stationary bike was easier for me to get on and off alone. An adjustable strap keeps my impaired leg on the pedal. I also purchased an adult trike to ride in my neighborhood.
I have learned to plan and multitask to save effort. If I was going to a storage shed to get something, was there anything that needed to be returned? I could take it back, get what I needed and save myself a trip. I now make lists on my computer for each trip we take. It causes me to think things through, step by step, so I don’t forget something. I found that planning is an important part of a project or adventure for me. It is good mental exercise, and I am contributing to the success of the endeavor.
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