Inca’s Blog – Why dogs make best therapists!

Ok my turn to blog!

I think I’m the best therapist my mum ever had so my blog is to other doggies to tell you how to keep your humans going!

First thing you gotta do every morning is get them up.  Prodding the bum works, laying on them or shoving  your favourite teddy in their face.  You could also try fetching one of their smelly shoes or slippers then standing by the door!

Once your human is up you have to get them active,  fetch anything that might act as a hint that its time for walkies,  shoes,  lead,  ball etc.  You might have to wait until they wave there arms about in front of the TV (otherwise known as wii fit)  this is good for humans and keeps their arms and legs working so just lie back in amusement for a while on the sofa and have a chuckle!

When you do get out of the door make sure they haven’t forgot your frisbee,  ball or whatever you like to play with.  This is also good for their arms and fun for you too!

Exercise in the park

Other less energetic games can be good for you both too and can help your humans sitting skills and using their hands which are important for feeding us and giving us a stroke/tummy tickle.

This is a good one,  cos mum has to pick up the plastic bones and put them in the holes with treats underneath for me to get back out again.

Games like this encourage dexterity skills in you both and are fun to play!

I have a collection of interactive games now and they are great fun especially over the long winter months,  mum puts a different one in each room for me to go around and do like a little course.

On sunny days we make a little course in the garden too mixed with agility items and puzzles,  this is great fun!  It also requires your human to use alot of their skills and exercise to make up the courses for you then they can sit and rest in the sun while you have fun on your course!!  :O)

Don’t forget to remind them to feed you,  food is important for strength for you both!

Getting your dinner ready makes use of their hands and fingers,  if you get fresh things in your dinner like chicken and veg,  or dry mix can be sprinkled around the garden.  This is a good one for my mum as she sits on thing called a rollator and uses her legs to push herself backwards this gives her legs good exercise in garden as she isn’t very steady on her feet to walk far. She is also using her arms to throw my food mix to top end of garden (we got slope at back of our garden) and also fills my boxer ball which hangs from the rotary dryer.

At the end of the day its nice to snuggle up with mum and let her type your blog cos its good exercise for her hands while you have a nice long snooze!

Woof n Wags

My Mobility

Seems I spoke too soon about it getting milder!  It’s gone cold again,  glad I didn’t take the electric blanket off last time I changed the bedding.

I have been some research and found a unusual bag/tray thing for wheelchair users.  It might be good for my Lightwriter when I have it balanced on knees its difficult to type in sports chair. I have ordered one to have a look at at so I’ll do a review on it and recommend if I find it’s suitable for my needs.  It may not arrive until next week now with it been bank holidays today and monday.

I don’t like the big wheelchair trays or even half trays they tend to need arm rests to attach them to somehow and communication aid mounts screw and bolt onto the frame and tend to stick out slightly to one side.  On my Da Vinci chair this wont work cos of way the chair folds.

To fold my Da Vinci chair into a small car boot,  you just remove the wheels,

the back folds down on top of the seat canvas

and the leg/footplate part at front folds underneath it

I had this chair custom built for my brothers wedding, as I needed a manual chair that folded down smaller into car boots as my blue one takes up the whole back seat even with wheels removed as our boots weren’t tall/wide enough to accommodate it folded in half.  Plus people were car sharing to get to wedding reception which was quite some distance away from the church and staying over night everyone had luggage as well with them plus my wheelchair to fit in!

At my brothers wedding in April 2008

I had the chair done in Chrome with Tri-star wheels so I don’t keep trapping fingers  between spokes, when taking wheels on and off. The upholstery is Black suede and they also did the front bumpers (side of legs)  in matching suede for me – as they are usually like a black plastic just to protect frame as you drop chair down. (pull a chain underneath seat).

For wheeling in flatter more open areas like shopping centres I also use some Nu Drive Levers,  these help me with braking and slowing down on sloped kerbs as I was struggling with getting fingers to work quick enough when feeding rims through hands to slow down.

The Nu Drive levers easily fit onto a regular 24″  wheel

You fit the base first where you can see the three silver parts attaching to  inside rim of wheel.

Then fit the lever part on.  You can just remove the lever and leave the base in place if you just want to remove them temporarily eg to get under a table in a cafe etc.

For more details go to site:

http://www.nu-drive.com/nudrive/

I call this my ‘Travel chair’,  it was expensive but should last for years and has lifetime frame guarantee. It stays in my hall cupboard and I just use my old one for around the house as that doesn’t fold as small to fit neatly away anyway!

At home cos I don’t have  car or anyone to push me around (all hills around here)  I also have a mobility scooter to get me around the village for Inca’s walks and to the local shops for food.  I like to sit on regular chairs/sofa’s and not be in wheelchair all time so sometimes I just sit on walker seat and push myself backwards with feet to get from room to room.

I can use crutches for a short time,  but with vinyl flooring that I have for wheelchairs they tend to slip from under me easily.  I tend to use these away from home just to get from door into car (while someone is loading chair into boot for me) into family members houses, or in and out of pub toilets etc

I have to have someone walking at side of me as I’m not very stable walking outdoors on uneven surfaces and over door thresholds etc.  I have some folding ones that go in bag on back of my chair.

Use it or lose it!

My neuro said this to me in the early days,  but at the time they weren’t sure what was wrong with me and I didn’t understand my body and what was happening to it.  So despite them not giving me any idea of why I couldn’t do the same things anymore, I was been told I should still try and do the same things!   And these are qualified people?

I’m thankful for my research skills I learnt at University as these have been instrumental in my understanding of what appears to be going wrong, as they couldn’t help at the time until I had a confirmed diagnosis (yes,   I got no physio despite going from walking normally to barely been able to move and no speech therapy either as I was deaf and would therefore never talk normally anyway!)

So everything I have learnt about coping and adapting,  I have taught myself and picked up tips from others who have lived with their disabilities much longer.  These are the people I consider the ‘experts’ and have quite frankly lost my faith in the medical profession.  I don’t even bother visiting my GP.

I saw a program on telly where they had put some old blokes in isolated farmhouses to look after themselves to see if modern life was making people lose skills or age faster  I think. I can’t remember all details but some of results were that the men actually got some skills back,  one was able to walk without his stick and stopped using it,  another was standing up straighter rather than bent over and doing more with his hands.   What does this have to do with me?

Well I was wondering as I lived alone and had been more or less ‘left to my own devices’ to work out everything myself if that was why I had managed to stay independent?

On one of my few medical appointments when the OT (I did get one eventually!) from Neuro Rehab Team comes out to assess me  – now they have finally realised I do have something that has been progressing for the last 7 years –  she was impressed by my ‘initiative and compensation skills’  and that I had found a way around all the daily difficulties so I could carry on independantly.   At least,  I hope she was genuinely impressed and not just been patronising.

The argument I have with my GP surgery is when they come to take my blood for thyroid levels,  they ask you to phone and they will say if its ok or not. However they wont test T3 which was the one that was dangerously low when the Ataxia started and they wont tell me the numbers,  so how I’m expected to manage the condition effectively to prevent it happening again I don’t know.  The nurse tends to talk down to me like I was a child.

Why do people assume you have learning difficulties just cos you are struggling to speak/in a wheelchair or deaf? If like me you have all three to contend with you get it on a daily basis from most people!  It does tend to put you off the whole ‘socialising’ thing and it’s much easier to socialise online where you don’t seem to get judged as much.

Anyway time to get up,  Inca needs her walk,  getting dressed is a physio routine in itself! Time to get on my daily routine of exercising every part of the brain before the day is out.