Today, Corey and I both had PT. I’ve begun therapy as well for my left shoulder. It’s become unstable due to overuse. I call it ‘caregivers shoulder’…it’s a technical term.
Corey came with me this morning. It was a real test for her because she could not stay with me. She sat in her chair about 60’ from me. It was a busy gym with many patients and therapists milling about. She could see me but not talk to me. I was probably more nervous than she was as I kept glancing over to make sure Corinne wasn’t keeping her company.
What I noticed was her looking down at her hands. I looked closer and realized she was rolling her thumbs back and forth and practicing her finger exercises. After a few minutes I noticed she softened her arms to rest them on the arm rest of her chair so she could practice her ‘piano scales’ (alternating each finger as if she was pressing piano keys). After an hour, I joined Corey as I iced my shoulder. I asked her what she was doing with all the hand movements.
C-I saw you exercising so I thought I would exercise while I was waiting for you.
Good thing I was sitting down because I would have collapsed from shock. Who was this woman and how did she get rid of Corinne?
We left my PT gym to travel up to Bryn Mawr for Corey’s PT/OT. As we drove, we discussed her usual frustrations with her limited mobility and constant appointments ‘to get better’. But then she changed the subject.
I’m happy to say Corey remembered her experience at Avenue Kitchen. She doesn’t remember the details nor Chef Greg’s name, but she does remember “that man said good things about my skills and he understands my path”.
Corey’s memory of the experience gave us the opportunity to talk through her daily frustrations and make her thoughts of the future more tangible. We spent the better part of the ride and her day discussing how she can harness her vision to help her get through her daily exercise.
M-when Natalie asks you to stand and balance, think of standing with Chef Greg as you made fresh mozzarella.
M-when Anne asks you to lift weights on the dowel, imagine reaching up to take a pot or spatula off the rack above you as the line chef did.
M-Corey, what you want to achieve in the future begins with everything you do today. Every time you pull yourself to a standing position, take steps, balance, reach, bend or lift, every time you read a recipe, write a grocery list, clip coupons or use your addition and subtraction flash cards you’re working on your independence.
C-I am going to have to practice my knife skills too. That man said I am no different than anyone else as long as I practice. He believes in my path.
M-when you were practicing her finger exercises, you were getting your hand stronger to pick up your knife and cut vegetables…you can do this Corey!
(after a long pause)
C-does anyone know how long it will take?
M-ugghh, where is my magic 8 ball when I need it?!?!
Today’s conversations were repetitive but encouraging. Corey was very present and initiated the diversity of our talks. Today I wasn’t a caregiver, I was the parent of an adult woman that was working to understand life’s choices. Today was validation of our mantra; never give up and never give in…matter of time. (…don’t tell Corey but I want to know how long it will take too…I also want to know who hid that darn 8 ball!) xoxo