Friday, September 20, 2013

Stroke Recovery: therapy moments

Marker welcomes us back to our town during a bridge walk.
Husband Walter and I were out yesterday morning with the sunrise, driving a few miles to the Biloxi Bay Bridge that connects Ocean Springs to Biloxi, our neighbor across the bay.

The bridge is one of my favorite destinations for “walking therapy.” I always carry my little Canon point-and-shoot camera on bridge walks. Attempting to hold my camera steady is a good exercise in balancing. 

But I grow more like my Hubby as the years pass. Our interest in shooting pictures, well, really our interest in any outdoor activity, increases as the temperature decreases.

 Hubby experiments with a new-to-him pocket-sized camera.

This Thursday morning was pleasantly cool. In the early morning light I pulled out my camera to document that my therapeutic walking encompassed two cities and two counties.

I had set a goal for myself to walk the length of the bridge and back by the end of September. When I set that goal, most of 2013 was still in the future. Weather, toe problems, travel and family priorities—our family circumstances as well as those of walking buddies, kept postponing any consistent walking.

Now there are just 10 days left until September 30. On this latest excursion the farthest I walked was a little more than .7 mile, 1.4 miles roundtrip. That is less than half the distance of the round trip from our side of the bridge to the Biloxi end and back.

Whether I accomplish my goal by September 30, 2013, or not, I am just happy to be back walking.

I am also happy to be back in physical therapy for a “tune up” on my walking. Ashley, my physical therapist and director of the Ocean Springs Hospital Neuro Rehab Clinic, finds so many ways to help make my parts work better together and to jump start those that are not working much at all.

One difference in my recent therapy has been inclusion of the adjacent pediatric gym and its connecting hallways in my walking circuit. I have been in there twice now, once when the gym was empty of youngsters and once when little ones were in therapy. I could hear them but only saw blurs. The maneuvers Ashley had me doing required my total attention.

Evidently the pediatric therapists are including the adult gym in the kids’ walking, too. As I was making my way across the gym to exit after my therapy session yesterday, there was a slim little chocolate brown youngster maybe four years old, probably younger. 

My eyes went first to his feet. He wore happy-looking neon, watermelon-red flippers, the kind kids wear swimming.

“Brilliant therapy strategy,” was my first thought. With those flippers on, he had to lift his knees and feet up high with each step to walk. 

The second impression hit me hard. His beautiful eyes, framed by long black lashes, were serious. This struggle is his life. He was dealing. The stoicism of that little one turned me into a blubbering, runny-nosed mess in the few yards it took me to exit to the waiting room.

Thoughts about my reaction and about the future of that little boy and other pediatric rehab patients have now taken up permanent residence in my brain.


  1. God bless that little guy trying so hard. it would have done the same thing to me. i think you did a fantastic job to walk that far, and now that the weather is better who knows what you can do...

  2. Oh what bliss to walk again. Looking forward to gettting my mojo back. You are an inspiration. Dianne

    PS signed up for my outpatient therapy beginning 10/14/13

  3. Kudos to walking again and keep it up. I know you can do it!
    I would have been a blubbering mess myself.
    Good for that sweet little guy and the others there. I'm so glad that there are places like that to help all, young or older.

  4. Oh my!!! What an image, I imagine it would be in my head forever. I hope he does well with the therapy and will get better. And congratulations for the walking!!! You are really covering the ground!!!! I am still in a wheelchair I do not know for how long, and think of you and how much you have overcome!!!

  5. Walk is my favorite thing. Still it needs a motivator for me. With the loss of my beloved GSD Baron I'll have to wait to spring now before a puppy arrives here on Oak Hill...

  6. We always think we are being dealt a bum card. . . that is, until we see someone worse off than ourselves.

    You are doing well, never mind about reaching the goal at a given time, just keep on making for the other side of the bridge and eventually you’ll get there.

  7. That child and others like him - how can our hearts not break? It doesn't matter if you reach your goal by end of Sept - just keep walking. I'll think of you on my morning walks, LC.

  8. That bridge really has an great and safe place for you to walk. Now that it is cooler, I bet you make your goal.
    That child would have done me in also. Seeing adults struggling hurts, seeing a child doing that destroys.