Thursday, 13 October 2011

Use it or lose it

Is another lesson - for all of us. Back when S was able to write, I'd get her to do a few lines on postcards for her friends and family when we were away. The last to be written showed much more regular handwriting than the first. I would point this out to S and we'd agree that she should try and do some writing regularly so that she didn't lose the ability. But whenever I tried to get her to practise, she'd either avoid it or give up fairly quickly. Now she doesn't know how to hold a pen.

Latterly I've got her to sign her name on Christmas cards. Because only about one out of three signatures were successful, I'd get her to write on labels and we'd cut the good ones out and stick them on. Again, the success rate rose as she practised. But I don't think she was able to do this last year and it wouldn't even be worth trying now - too upsetting even if she agreed.

It's the same with walking. When the weather is decent, I've managed to get her out for walks and sometimes, even recently, done five to seven miles a week. The more we do, the better, more normal, her walking usually is.

When we recently saw the Professor, we mentioned that her daughter, who probably doesn't do walks with her much further than from the car park to the shopping centre, felt that her walking was not normal. She seemed all hunched up. The Professor said that this was a result of the condition having progressed. I'm sure he's right but I also know that if only I could persuade her to walk regularly, this deterioration in her walking ability could, at the very least, be slowed down.

Today, our first partially sunny day for ages, I tried to get S out for a walk. She agreed initially, but then changed her mind, and my efforts to change her mind again were unsuccessful. She said I could go on my own, which wasn't the point and, anyway, I don't leave her alone now unless I absolutely have to, and then I would only go out for a few minutes.

Several hours later, she is still sitting in her dressing gown having lost yet another opportunity to make some impact on her condition. But she seems quite happy, whispering away and smiling to herself.

Remember - use it or lose it. Most of us have no excuse.

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