New Olympic Sport

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My mother, Theresa, who is 89 years old had to do a couple of weeks in rehab after battling a nasty kidney stone earlier this spring.  As part of her daily routine, she needed to work with an occupational therapist to make sure she would be able to return to her beautiful home on Siesta Key, Florida.

Mom has always suffered silently and gracefully with severe arthritis in most of her joints. The most debilitating are her shoulders and knees.  Mom has lived alone for over 20 years and has had to be creative when doing the most mundane (to us) tasks.

Take for instance getting up from a chair. Although she has a remote control chair lift, she refuses to use it so she can keep her legs strong and keep independent for as long as possible. So she has incorporated the rock and count dismount. It’s certainly not a quick move by any means. There are 7 to 10 rocks back and forth at the edge of the chair while doing an impression of Lawrence Welk starting his orchestra “and a one and a two” and up she comes.

This technique did not work well in rehab as her only chair was a wheelchair which sucked her little body in when she sat down.

The young occupational therapist supervisor who initially evaluated her was quite impressed with her ability to dress herself given her issues with her shoulders. Mom cannot lift her arms above her chest so putting on a bra and a shirt became an Olympic sport.

When asked by the supervisor, “how do you get your bra and shirt on in the morning?”.  Mom simply said, “I flip them.”

Confused, the young gal asked mom to show her “the flip” technique. Laying her front latch bra on her lap, she bent over and quickly grabbed the bra and literally flipped it over her head and neck landing it on her back only to grab an arm hole on one side slipping in her arm and then the other. After clasping the front of the bra closed, she smiled and said “when you live along you need to get creative.”

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