25 January 2011

Family fun in the sun

A couple of photos today is all I have time for. Too busy enjoying this exquisite post-deluge sunshine. Allen and I have just come in from a long, luxurious swimming session.

Allen wears a yellow flotation device around his chest. This provides enough buoyancy for him to feel confident going up and down the pool in either a dog paddle or crude back stroke. He's never in the water alone, but without the belt he has a hard time staying upright even at the shallow end. (In our pool, even here at the shallow end, where Allen's standing, the water is chest-deep. We built this pool for swimming, not wading. So the 'deep' end is exactly that: more than two metres deep.)

Allen's balance is poor at the best of times, even on dry land. So when standing chest-deep in water he can't manage even to stand upright unless he has the support of his flotation belt. But with it on, he's quite fearless and gets a lot of good exercise at every session. He used to be a good swimmer once, but swimming is another one of many abilities he has totally lost since his post-operative confinement. Funny what skills have deserted him. For example, he can no longer 'read' an analog clockface. He can recognise that it's time for the news, or nearly mealtime. But he just can't translate the clockface into words – doesn't recognise that the small hand on 10 and the big hand on 5 means 25 minutes past 10. And this is not because he can't find the words; he just doesn't 'read' clock-language any more. Solution: we bought him a digital watch. Problem solved.

And here's another photo I took just a few days ago, when we had a very pleasurable day here with Allen's niece Helen and her husband Bill. Helen and Bill were holidaying down on the Gold Coast and drove up to spend the day with us. Helen is one of two daughters of Allen's late sister, his only sibling, who was much older than him. They had good fun going through some of Allen's old scrapbooks. At one stage we heard a hoot coming from Allen's office, when Helen came across a photo of her grandfather's old ute.

"We used to all go to the beach in that car when I was a kid", she said.

In those days no one worried about carrying a bunch of small kids in the back of a ute.

It was a lovely, relaxed day. Bill and I cooked shish kebabs and marinated chicken on the BBQ. And just as we were about to serve blueberry pie, a couple of friends dropped in and joined the party.

Allen, battling his own afflictions, and Helen, valiantly fighting MS for many years, obviously share the same gutsy and fun-loving genes.


Gabrielle Bryden said...

It's amazing how many problems can be solved with a little lateral thinking or something even simpler - like the use of digital rather than analogue. People with autism often have great difficulty reading clock faces.

Stafford Ray said...

It seems Allen married some fun-loving genes too! (hugs to you both).

Chartreuse said...

Thanks to you both, my dear faithful readers. Such a good feeling to be 'connected' digitally.

About me

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.