Playing to Recover                           

by Michael Roberts

"When I'm playful, I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales. I scratch my head with the lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder." Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi


Another approach to recovery and life in general is to play. I try to play everyday. Recently, I've begun to visit the home of some friends from my stroke support group for what my wife calls play dates. This terminology brings great amusement to my daughter Allegra who has been earning extra money by baby-sitting while going to school at Barnard. The important thing about play is that it's best not to take yourself too seriously. Our friends Ceil and Dale have a well-appointed home gym, which they've set up to help Dale recover from his stroke. It includes a treadmill, a recumbent stair climber, a recumbent stationary bicycle, several bungie cords and gadgets which Ceil, who is quite inventive, has devised for different rehabilitation exercises. 


One of these includes adapting an abdominal exerciser for tabletop ranging of the arms and shoulders. Dale's increased recovery of upper body range of motion from this. I get in more walking, so I'm there to egg him on and vice versa. It's just play. While we're working out we watch videos. I'd catch Hell if I spent too much of the day watching the tube at home but it's OK while visiting friends and getting some exercise. They've got a pretty good video collection. We've watched a couple of Indiana Jones movies lately and some films that I wouldn't ordinarily watch like Noble House and Shakespeare In Love. It's OK.  Doing something different is a good way to stretch the mind. I plan on bringing over my copy of the Black hawk serial soon. If that one has you scratching your head, don't worry too much. I haven't watched the whole thing myself yet. Dale's the first person I've mentioned it to who had any idea what I was talking about. How will the Black hawks deal with Stan's evil twin Boris?

Copyright May 2003

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