Wednesday, January 26, 2011

hype and then some

Football fans are mostly used to the hype that precedes the “next big game.” Some games are bigger than others. Those games toward the end of the regular season schedule, when a team’s playoff hopes hinge on the outcome, are particularly fraught with meaning and carry an extra dose of angst for the team’s fans. This season, especially for Green Bay Packer fans, has had more than its share of anxiety inducing games.

Six weeks ago the Packers were teetering on the brink of elimination from the post season. All they had to do was win their final two games against the Giants and then the Bears to qualify for the playoffs. Those two games started the Great American Hype Machine humming along at full throttle.. When the Packers managed to win those two final regular season games the Hype Machine began cruising along into overdrive and hasn’t slowed down since.

After their playoff wins over the Eagles and Falcons the Packers inspired levels of hype never before encountered as they prepared for the ultimate history making playoff game against archrival division opponent, Da Bears.
The level of emotion leading up to that game was unlike anything ever experienced in Packerland. Armaggedon and Judgement Day pale in comparison. The hypemeisters reached new levels. It seemed impossible for the game to live up to the hype that preceded it. But it did.

Toward the end of the game with the Packers clinging to a tenuous seven point lead, the entire football universe was on its feet, taking short uneven breaths, hyperventilating in anticipation of the Bears possible game tying score. With Sam Shields’ interception to stop the Bears scoring threat and preserving the Packers win, there was a sense that maybe the hype wasn’t even adequate for this particular game. That loud sucking sound everyone heard was the collective intake of breath from all the Packers fans around the world finally able to breath again.

So now the next week and a half is again turned over to the practitioners of hyperbole. But after the past six weeks, Packer nation may have finally become inured to the effects of the Great American Hype Machine. Earning the right to play in the championship game seems to have become more important than the game itself. No matter how much the game is hyped, it couldn’t possibly live up to such expectations. Could it?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

therapy continued

I got it. It’s here. My Wii has arrived. And I even managed to get it all hooked up and running all by myself. So for the past couple days I’ve been conscientiously applying myself to learning all the fun capabilities of the system. In the name of therapy of course.

Really though the Wii is a wonderful tool. With PD being able to move without hesitation and with balance and coordination is the daily goal. Stretching and walking the treadmill or riding the stationary bike are necessary activities to achieve and maintain those goals. But those can be very boring activities after awhile, making motivation a problem. Having some fun activities to participate in goes a long way toward maintaining the exercise regimen I need to stay functional. So if I have some fun while doing my exercising that’s just a bonus.

Enough talking. I need to exercise now. I might even have some fun while doing it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

therapy toys

I had an interesting occupational therapy session today. Occupational therapy is concerned with practicing everyday skills. It’s surprising how difficult it can become to use a pen to sign your name or to walk and carry something at the same time or even type on a computer keyboard when Parkinsons Disease is in play. So occupational therapy addresses those everyday skills with exercises that help to retrieve and hone those skills. Those exercises can take some interesting turns and use some interesting tools in practicing those skills. And, of course, the more fun the exercises are the more likely the patient is to do them.

So today, Bill the therapist plugged in the most fun tool he had, the Wii game system. He had me boxing, playing tennis, bowling, and playing golf all in the name of therapy. I surprised myself with my ability to perform credibly in all those games. And it was great fun. I hated to see the session end. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I got home I logged on to Amazon and ordered my very own Wii.

I justify the purchase two ways. First, the therapeutic value is obvious and I am more likely to continue practicing on my own with such motivation. Secondly, my birthday is coming up in a couple weeks and I deserve a really cool present. Now I am like a little kid on Christmas eve waiting for my new toy to arrive. I can’t wait to continue my therapy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

say what?

"core with higher RG value", "increased intermediate differential", "more defined breakpoint", "Cytoplasmic XL pearl reactive coverstock", "increased surface topography", "enhanced friction values", "stronger midlane traction", "extreme entry angle".
These are terms I was made aware of recently when talking to my son. No, he is not a rocket scientist, no am I. We weren't discussing nuclear physics either since neither of us knows the first thing about any kind of physics let alone the nuclear variety.
What we were talking about was his newest toy. He recently bought himself a new bowling ball. All those terms were in the description of the ball provided by the manufacturer. And here I thought a bowling ball was just a heavy chunk of round plastic.
Who knew?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

therapy update

Having been involved in physical, occupational, and speech therapy for two weeks now, I have realized some real improvement in my overall physical and even mental condition. At first I was skeptical that I would see any substantial change over the course of treatment, but now after only two weeks and several sessions with each therapist, I am convinced of their efficacy. Physically the change is easy to quantify. Mentally is a more ephemeral measurement, but the fact that I feel more confident in my ability to function is a definite improvement.

Parkinsons Disease is an insidious invader of your physical wellbeing, sneaking up on you slowly until, before you know it, you are incapacitated in ways that you never imagined. The physical aspects are the first indications that something is amiss. The mental aspects come later when you begin to ask “why.” Once you are aware of the need for physical treatment it is a fairly straightforward regimen of medication and exercise that helps to control the progression of the disease. Much more difficult to treat is the mental aspect of knowing you have to deal with having a chronic disease.

With the physical therapies providing a way to improve coping skills, the mental aspect becomes more positive as well. At least that has been my recent experience with the course of treatment I am getting. As I become more physically capable, my mental outlook is improving. The physical therapy has improved my balance and walking and relieved some of the muscle rigidity that plagues PD patients. With that improved balance and walking ability comes a more confident attitude. That mental enhancement is more valuable than I thought possible. I find that I can’t wait for the next therapy session and the improvements that are bound to follow.