Thursday, December 23, 2010


I’ve finally switched Parkinson Disease doctors. For the past seven years I was going to the same doctor who diagnosed me with PD. His treatment for me was mostly effective if sometimes too experimental. But he is highly regarded in the research community that studies PD. I still respect him and his dedication to research about the disease, but I was ready to get another opinion for my own treatment. I was also looking for a more integrated approach to treatment that would coordinate the various therapies that a PD patient typically requires.

I found just what I need at Froedtert Hospital here in Milwaukee. There is a clinic within the hospital that has several neurologist on staff and the variety of therapists on staff to meet whatever needs arise with Parkinsons. After my first visit to the clinic I was immediately scheduled for a complete and thorough evaluation to determine what my therapeutic needs are and then assigned to the therapists who could best help me.

In the past few days I have had my medication adjusted with wonderful results and I have seen three different therapists who have started me on a program to get me back to functioning as normally as possible. I’ve had two sessions already with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist. They are all in the same place so they can communicate readily with each other and coordinate what each is doing for me. I feel very confident that their efforts are going to help me tremendously.

I am familiar with physical therapy having been that route for other problems in the past, so I knew pretty much what to expect from that. Occupational therapy was something I knew about despite never having actually seen a physical therapist. But speech therapy was a whole new experience for me. I didn’t know what to expect from that or what it would involve or even if I really needed it.

Parkinsons patients typically become increasingly softspoken and hesitant in their speech. Speaking in a monotone is common. I didn’t realize how bad my voice had become until the speech therapist did a couple tests that showed just how far gone my voice has become. She now has me started on the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program which is a proven method for helping Parkinsons people regain full use of their voices. I have to do several voice exercises multiple times each day and I have already seen some improvement after just two sessions with her. This is really quite interesting. I’m looking forward to more.
I feel excited about this new regimen of treatment. I have a good feeling about the new therapies. I’ll keep you up too date with my progress.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a couple new canes

I just finished these two canes in time for Christmas.
This oak cane is a gift for my brother-in-law who occasionally uses a cane when his bad back acts up. I.m sure he will appreciate it.

This rather decorative cane is made of walnut, maple, aspen, and padauk. This is my Christmas present to myself.

I think I have enough canes now to last for awhile. I have at least ten of them that I use on a regular basis and another dozen that I just like to look at. When I get tired of these I will make more. You can see the complete collection of my canes as well as my other woodwork by clicking on the gallery tab on the sidebar.

some new bowls

While putzing around in the shop I found some left over pieces of wood that I felt I just had to use some way. They were too good to toss, so I made them into a couple of segmented bowls. The term "segmented" refers to any piece that involves glueing up various segments to make a whole piece. In this case I used mahogany, maple, and padauk segments. The two bowls are pretty much the same, the only real difference is that one is 6.5" wide and the other is 7" wide. They are both 3.5" deep.

I may rework the lids and the finials. I'm not sure that I like them well enough to leave them alone. When I get the time....

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

wall sculpture

This is the latest work to come out of the shop. It was the result of request that Mary made for something new to hang in the bedroom to replace some photographs. I don't normally do anything that she asks for specifically since she just appropriates everything I do anyway. If she likes whatever new piece I conjure up, she simply lays claim to it and finds a suitable place to display it. Needless to say our home is one extended gallery of my work. This is one time when her request jolted me into action after a long period of artistic neglect. This got the creative juices flowing again. Now I have too many ideas percolating and wonder when I will be able to complete all of them. A happy dilemma to have.

I entitled this simply Landscape Triptych. It is 18" high at the enter and 45" long. It is made from a variety of woods including walnut, maple, padauk, aspen, poplar, and pine.

Here is a closer look at the center piece.

This is the right side panel.

This is a detail of the left side.

I already have another new cane nearly completed and the evolution of another wall sculpture has begun. I can't wait to see where it will take me, what the final result will be. Also I have some turning projects in mind that I will get started on in the next few days. So much to do, so little time.

Monday, December 06, 2010

from the workshop

It's been awhile since I've been able to spend any meaningful time in the workshop. But I haven't been totally negligent. It just seems that it takes a lot longer to finish things during the summer months because of all the outdoor distractions. Now that the weather has turned wintery I have more time to devote to all those projects that are dancing around in my head.

This cane was started back in June and wasn't finished until just before Thanksgiving. It languished on the workbench for weeks on end until I finally got around to completing it. The wait was worth it though. It was a big hit at our family Thanksgiving. It is made of maple, walnut, and padauk.

I have a couple more things in the works that I should be able to apply some concerted effort to now that the snow has fallen and I don't want to go outside. The workshop is calling me insistently and I have to get to work. I love it.