Mike Day 45 Moving Forward: Recreational Therapy

July 11, 2011

Family, Health, Mike

All of these therapies Mike receives are great.  As far as they go.  To him, I am sure, they feel like work.  I also find them to be a bit tedious.  I’ve been looking into adjunct therapies…some speech therapy workbooks, different from the ones his therapist uses. Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy which I am certain I can’t afford and equally certain Highmark would issue a resounding denial of any request for.  Some software for aphasia.  And some brain games software to assist with processing and working memory.  The latter is really, really expensive.  I’m kind of holding my checkbook hostage right now so I don’t impulsively go full court press and buy it.  After all, there is a total saturation point where all work and no play makes Mike a very frustrated individual.  So what I’ve really been looking for a recreational therapy opportunities. 

Now here’s the problem.  My idea of recreation is a comfy armchair, a movie, my computer, a good book, my sewing machine.  Notice a theme?  INDOOR recreation of the non-exertional variety.  Mike’s idea of recreation involves hunting and fishing.  Etc.  Notice a theme there?  OUTDOOR recreational activities which require exertion and the potential demise of various critters.    Do you see the gap?  To date Mike has been “enjoying” my kind of recreational activities…only not so much.  His alternative to those activities is to nap.  Well.  Napping is nice.  Just not all the time.   

Thus I’ve been wracking my brain to get him involved in something other than re-education even as I know that anything he gets involved in ultimately provides rewiring and re-education.  I came up with quilting.  My Christmas sewing gift list is lengthy, the stash is deep and tall and time is wasting.  Mike used to be a meticulous measurer, I am not (so much so that I need automated cutters with dies to ensure I get the same dimensions more than once!) and so I reasoned he could learn to quilt and be my measurer.  To that end I got the software lined up, the fabric dug out and decided to start with Dinosaur quilts (three of them) as there is no piecing involved.  Strictly borders stitched onto a panel and a pair of cornerstones.  Easy.  Had it all ready to start yesterday.  When I was informed the iron died and trust me when I tell you.  In quilting, an iron is a requirement.  There’s a new one on order…but quilting must wait.

 To the rescue came Jarrod, our neighbor and Mike’s old river fishing buddy and his friend Glenn.  Chapman’s Quarry, at least part of it, is now privately owned.   The guys who own it use it as a fishing hole.  They stock trout, and somehow it’s loaded with blue gills and bass. They have a catch and release policy and use special hooks that don’t damage the fish’s mouths to ensure that they can successfully release them.  Their ultimate goal, I am told,  is to use the property to take disabled children and veterans to use the quarry for fishing therapy.  For Mike, who loved to fish, it was indeed therapeutic.  Initially I was nervous…would he remember what to do?  I mean, fishing is many things but I can’t believe it comes under the heading of automatic functions which it seems the professionals felt was about all Mike was capable of on his own.  I was surprised when the guys put a pole in his hand, told him to cast and where and out went his line.  He knew exactly what to do when he began to reel.  When the guys told him the fish were hiding deep in the quarry due to the water temperature and that he needed to stop reeling to let the line sink lower he was able to understand and follow their directions.  He was also able to set the hook (as it were with these hooks) and reel in a trout about 10-12 pounds and ultimately, the 8 pound rainbow he brought home for his dinner.  Mikey cleaned and filleted it last night…he’ll cook it up for him tonight.  For about two and a half hours Mike stood there on the hilly side of the quarry, balancing himself and fishing.  After two hours I could tell he was tiring, his balance became pretty wobbly.  He was holding his back…I believe the standing that long was more than he’s accustomed to.  But he was THRILLED to have fished. 

Last night I remarked on  what a good time he seemed to have fishing.  He denied having fished that day.  I showed him the fish…and the video I had taken of him fishing.  He still denied having fished even in the face of hard evidence.  Mikey came home and asked if he had fun fishing..and still he denied having fished.  We both gave up and told him fine, he didn’t fish.  Before he went to sleep I remarked I had such a good day with him!  He looked at me like I was in possession of two heads and asked “What do you mean?  I wasn’t even with you today!”  OK.  I’ll play this Mike.  “Well, where were you today and what did you do?” I asked.  He responded, “I was fishing!”  Well ok then. (And I made a silent note to seriously consider the investment in HBOT therapy…)

Meanwhile, though I wasn’t officially there, I did enjoy the scenery immensely.   There are several waterfalls feeding the quarry and though they weren’t visible from where I was, they were definitely audible.  A couple of Osprey flew overhead and swallows swooped in over the water to feast the insects.  Ducks glided silently at one end and the only real sound nearby was the breaking of the water when a nice sized fish came up for food at the surface.  It was the perfect place…and day…to take some wonderful pictures.  I was there.  But where do you think the cameras were?  At home.  That’s right folks.  All ilk of photographic equipment at my fingertips and I leave it at home.  SIGH.  Left only with the iPhone, I did get some good shots of Mike and was surprised to see that it’s not such a bad camera as cell phone cameras go. 

It also came to me as a flash.  Mike used to like to monkey around with 35mm film cameras.  Today’s digitals are so much easier, even I can take a decent photo when I remember to take them with me.  And we certainly DO have the equipment because I am an electronics geek.  Photography!  THAT would be good therapy for Mike.  We can go outdoors, I can park my butt on a bench with the ipad.  He can monkey around with the camera.  Hopefully it will appeal to his right brain and help his short term memory to begin to store the different methods of operating the camera.  I can incorporate some software skills for editing and uploading photos.  Hmmm.  Sounds like a new hobby for Mike.  And a good justification for me to upgrade my EPL2 to the new EP3 when it is released this fall….

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One Comment on “Mike Day 45 Moving Forward: Recreational Therapy”

  1. Beckie Says:

    I have been lax in commenting, but have been checking my email (RSS) and her to see if there is a new post. I hope all is going pretty well with Mike and you. Keeping you both in my prayers.


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