Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer at the Lake


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.
 Last year I literally had trouble walking over the floor because of a little slant. This year I only notice it when I am overtired. The 5 steps to get in the cottage are a bit rickety and steep but this year, as long as I am holding the rail I do okay. Midnight trips to the outhouse involved waking up my husband to get me down the back stairs and over a few feet of rocky terrain, This year we understand my problems so much better. We have changed the step and added a whole lot of solar lighting and I can cope on my own much to my families "night time relief".



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
And yes, I will still find time to lounge in my adirondack chair on the dock while reading a magazine, and we will sit on our screen porch and enjoy a relaxing candle lit dinner while watching the sun set.


12 comments:

oc1dean said...

I'm jealous

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

barbpolan said...

Wow, that sounds and looks like a blast! How fortunate you are. I'm with Dean and jealous.

Grace Carpenter said...

I'm really impressed by your determination. "Vacations" are still almost too much for me. Packing is OT, PT, cognitive and speech therapy combined. Exhausting!

Rebecca Dutton said...

After reading about all the things you've planned I'm so tired I have to go lie down. I'm amazed by your courage, tenacity, and positive problem solving (especially with the outhouse at night!).

Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney, artist said...

Way to grow! Linda, you're my sheroe! I'm tickled pink with your progress & you are a lovely writer! ENJOY, ENJOY. ENJOY that lake & the progress! MOON

Linda said...

It really is a wonderful place to go, but it is a LOT of work.

Grace and Rebecca-- Thank you for your kind words! I sure do the packing and prep very differently than I used to, and truth be told, Bob and my daughters do a lot more than me to get us ready. OT was a big help with these kinds of "packing" issues too.

I will have to report back on what I actually get done over the weekend.

Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

Sounds wonderful and busy. Great job on all your accomplishments...you've earned your relaxing time many times over...not sure you'll get much with all those plans, but hope you squeeze in some quite still moments. Enjoy!!

Marcelle Greene said...

Thanks for a vicarious vacation. We're now planning our second Canadian cottage vacation next summer and you've given me fresh desire to go. I have not had the courage, yet, to revisit our Mammoth condo, where I spent the last weekend before my stroke. I can't face the five-hour drive, the stairs and not being able to bike, walk distances or canoe. My hubby's going up after Labor Day, but I'm staying home. Maybe next summer.

glynisj said...

My balance has gotten so bad that I probably couldn't handle much of that type of living no matter how enticing you make it and you do make it that. Be sure to take a lot of pictures to show this fall.

oc1dean said...

Chop wood as therapy? Hope you have steel-toed boots and Kevlar leggings. Thats almost as bad as my chainsaw therapy.
Dean

LukasMD said...

Very interesting blog. I like to read about people that can fight their disabilities after stroke or other neurological diseases.Linda, If you would like to write your story on my site http://strokeandneurology.com be my guest. Regards

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