Friday, April 20, 2012

Coffee Therapy

I'm always looking for clues.

I'm always trying to figure out to get my body to move the way it used to move. The way it should move.

For instance, every day my long-suffering husband, Neal, brings my coffee to me in bed. I sit up, turn, and arrange myself so I can sit cross-legged facing the mirror that we (Neal) hung to help me do my exercises. Then I sip my coffee from my coffee canister. To the uninitiated, it looks like, well, I'm just drinking coffee very slowly, mostly with my affected (right) arm.

In fact, I'm hard at work. These days I'm concentrating on my neck muscles. As I use my right hand to bring coffee canister to my lips, I examine my right shoulder and my neck in the mirror. Every time I bring the coffee up with my right, my right neck muscles bulge. On the left, the neck muscles don't move. Aha: my neck muscles shouldn't be "helping." Each inch my right arm travels, I try to adjust my arm just enough that so that my arm and shoulder muscles are doing most of the work, instead of the neck muscles. Then I try to really feel the right shoulder muscles, my back muscles, my arm muscles--the ones that should be doing the bulk of the work.

Then sip more. Then do it again. And again. And again...

(Read Rebecca's excellent blog, Home After a Stroke, for more information about synergistic  movements, which I'm trying to lessen in this phase of my recovery. I'm not sure if I've really got it right about with what's going on with my neck/shoulder/arm muscles, but this is my guess.)