This is not the blog post I thought I would be writing. I envisioned at least three or four and maybe more adults learning about balance, and me teaching them. Instead of that I am in a one-on-one with my neighbor and new friend Louise. My only other student, Jean, has had appointments each of the Fridays that she agreed to be here, and today she has another; next week she will have another. Both ladies left me in the lurch for two weeks now. We all have unexpected events and appointments, so of course I understand, but it does leave a big space in my Balance class, or even no class at all.
Today Louise came, complaining she probably should not be there at all because she has so much pain. I told her I have chronic pain myself, so I understand, but I do the activities any way, and they help me. She agrees that they do help and she needs my help, but then she is off again on another story about her physical problems. That is the way it is all through the class. She gives me a running commentary on which muscle is hurting and how she feels. Ordinarily, this might seem annoying, but with Louise somehow I don’t mind. I know everything that is going on with her at any given moment, and I can adjust the activity accordingly. Not only that, but I enjoy Louise’s more humorous anecdotes, like the difficulty of getting into bed; and the worse thing is how difficult it is to get into a car, and why don’t they make them like they used to with a running board (remember those).
With a very personal class such as this, I can accommodate her needs and her restrictions. Remember that she is 86 years young. We do all our movements sitting down in straight back chairs; therefore we cannot do some of the leg strengthening activities. However, I know from what she tells me that she does leg exercises that she learned in physical therapy every night and morning. She knows she must do these, or she will lose her mobility. I hope I can help increase that mobility and her balance. She knows she needs both.
Today we did “Toes and Eyes” sitting down. Instead of standing and moving from toes to heels and back again, we did that while sitting. It accomplishes the same thing. I could see her concentrating. We also did Wake Up, The Owl, Gravity Glider, Tune In, Cross-Crawl, and Forward Leg-Raise (that one required us to stand up). By that time, we had used up a half hour and I thought we had done enough for one day. In spite of her on-going chatter, she kept quiet during most of the movements, and I could see she was concentrating on what I demonstrated. Sometimes she commented on how it made her feel, or would laugh when it felt awkward. At the end, I asked her how she felt, and she said she felt good, she could breath easily, and she was relaxed.
I believe it is meant that I spend a little “alone time” with Louise. She needs the personal interaction and the opportunity to tell me how she feels; and it gets her out of her apartment for a brief time, even when she doesn’t think she can do that. She is a very sweet and cheerful person; and even when she complains, I don’t mind because I understand that she has pain and difficulty walking. There have been times when I have felt that way too. I told her that I was happy she was my friend, and that brought a big smile to her face. She left saying she would see me next week. I told her to keep up the activities during the week.
With Move With Balance activities, even a little bit can help a person feel more alive and in better balance. We do the activities that are possible and adjust them when necessary. No matter that she is old, cannot keep up a fast pace, and is limited in her attention span and strength. That is enough.
The good ol’ days with a running board.