Obstacles to Function

The patient came for his first speech pathology appointment following a stroke. His articulate but repetitious “All righty then” revealed oral-verbal apraxia (inability to speak) resulting in extreme frustration for himself and his family. It was important to get the patient some functional communication as quickly as possible. He was able to understand some spoken and some written language. Knowing the difficulty of overcoming the apraxia, the clinician developed a system using pictures and single words for the patient to make his needs known in the short-term while addressing treatment for the apraxia in the long-term.

As I struggle with fitness, I keep in mind the techniques I used as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Conquering the easier deficits allowed a sense of progress and increasing independence and function. Re: fitness, I want to be fit enough for life. For me, that does not mean running a marathon. But what can’t I do now that I would like to do? I started a list:

  • Hike independently with minimal assistance (walking stick) and without the need to hang onto my husband.
  • Sight-see all day.
  • Get on and off a bicycle (and ride in between).
  • Get up from the floor without going through the Downward-Facing Dog.
  • Climb out of the pool.
  • Use a stepladder.
  • Put on my pants without falling over.

So what are the obstacles? As I see it: strength, balance, and endurance.

This week I vow to initiate daily leg strengthening and balance exercises, just a few minutes each day. These are frequently done during Yoga and RIPPED at which time I think, “I should do these at home” but never do because I forget. I once heard of a woman who brushes her teeth standing on one foot to improve balance. That may be a good habit to develop. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What activities are you unable to do that you would like to do? What are you going to do about it?

Author: Mary Cornelius

I am an aging woman who writes three blogs.