I am spending a fair bit of time at the lake right now. Cottage life is a real gauge for me of how much I am improving. You tend to not see changes when you are dealing with your day to day life, but at the cottage I am comparing my activities to what they were last summer. I told a lady at my Stroke Recovery Support Meeting that I was going to the lake and her response was something of a harsh .. "nice for you just getting to relax at the lake.". It couldn't be farther from the truth. I don't want to spend my days just relaxing, I want to cook fun meals, I want to chop wood for the fireplace. I want to go swimming, hiking and boating and I want to be helping with the work of repairing and maintaining the cottage. I work very hard to towards those goals and I participate as much as I am able.
My cottage is a little primitive to say the least, but it is the place in the world that makes me the happiest. It is the only cottage on a 5 acre island, and is run on solar energy with a propane stove and BBQ and no fridge. We have had the place for 28 years now and mainly we putter with it making tiny changes each summer. Now we are at the point where we are starting to redo the repairs we made when we first bought the place. The walls are creaking, the paint outside is peeling, the floor is slanting a little, and dock boards need replacing.
My other huge issue has been getting in and out of the boat at the docks. We have just resurfaced the mainland dock and there is a dock pole in the just the right spot to hang onto. The dock still needs a bit of leveling but having an even, secure surface is just wonderful! Both docks are solid docks, not floating, and once I get up on it I stop and take a minute to stop feeling dizzy from the upward move. Getting in and out of the dock is not the simple matter of hopping over the side that it once was and now I need a hand getting out, but this year it doesn't involve 2 peoples help. Last year we needed one person in the boat with me acting as a counter weight and supporting my hip and someone on the dock pulling me upward. It usually wound up with me crying and wanting to vomit.
Next weekend I am going to try swimming in the lake again. Last year I got in the water only one time with great difficulty and once I was in the water I found myself unable to tolerate the movements of tiny little waves against my body.
A couple days ago my husband installed a swimming pool ladder onto the end of our dock. When he put it in we found it actually touched a flat rock at the bottom so when I climb down I will only be in at thigh deep on about a 2 foot wide rock platform. All the rest of the way along the dock is deep enough to dive off of. I think the ladder will make all the difference in my being able to get in and out of the water. When I was doing pool therapy last year my physiotherapist and the aquatic therapist felt it was a safety issue for me so we put a lot of energy into figuring out how to use a ladder and get in and out of the pool safely using a ladder and not just ramps or steps.
Here is my to do list for next weekend:
- cut up some more kindling with my clippers
- go swimming using my new ladder
- help lay laminate flooring on my screen porch
- do my at home physio exercises
- practice Guitar. (I have hardly practiced all summer)
- play a card game (think cognitive therapy-- still very hard for me and not a lot of fun)
- work a bit on a little craft for Christmas
- If time and weather allows- help husband paint small bedroom OR power wash our huge dock
|Linda-- Fall 2010|