I tried to row the boat. The left oar flailed.
|First uncoordinated attempt: note different oar positions.|
I needed to help my affected side through a few strokes so it could get the feel of the circular motion. I gave the right oar to Ian and placed my right hand over my left, guiding myself through the motions -- dipping and pulling, pushing and leaning.
When that felt comfortable, I traded oars with Ian. Now I observed my right side doing the same motions. I felt how the oar pushed on my thumb as I reached forward, and pulled on my index joint as I leaned backward. When I had that sensation locked in my mind, I took both oars.
My healthy side made longer, stronger strokes, my husband pointed out. I eased up on the strong side, allowing my affected side to set the pace, consciously synchronizing my movements.
|Row, row, rowing the boat!|
Next thing I knew, I was rowing the boat gently down the lake – for about 10 strokes, then my affected hand tired and wouldn’t hold the oar anymore.
I repeated the exercise a couple times over the next few days. By day three I had muscle memory and was able to start off with coordinated strokes. It felt so good to exercise my body this way!
Dear Santa: a rowing machine might be a great therapy tool for me to build strength and re-coordinate muscles.