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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Balance Beams: Balancing Life and Beaming from Your Heart. A How-to!


21 Sivan, 5774

As promised, here's some nifty news about how I helped a patient in the same eye clinic where I'm learning to use my eyes for stronger, more accurate vision than I've had since 2005 life-saving surgery.

When I'm at home I practice paper-based focusing exercises given to me by the supervising optometrist or her colleagues. They augment my workouts in the clinic, where I must spot specific icons on spinning objects, follow moving beads or remember images flashed on a monitor at increasing speeds, among other initially dizzying difficulties.

But my team did not understand how, with the vision deficits I'd suffered, I can function in many different ways for normal daily life. So I showed them how I prevent falls, tripping, and bumps into people or objects.

This week I demonstrated the physical therapy and occupational therapy exercises I've done on a daily basis for over 8 years. They prevent my industrial-strength vertigo and double vision from making me fall down or face other dangers during daily activities.

The result of my mini-performance? The staff had a bit of trouble breathing as I performed feats that the average person with my sort of vision problems can't even attempt. Practice makes perfect. It sure isn't how I started out years ago. Bumps and bruises were part of my start-up efforts until my brain and muscles learned how to coordinate my balancing efforts.

The supervising optometrist then introduced a down-in-the-dumps patient to me. That patient had incurred brain damage to her visual cortex, too. She'd despaired of being able to learn how to balance her body in various real-life situations. She'd just fallen off a balance beam only inches from the floor. Again. And again.

I assured them both that long before I could perfect the exercises I'd just completed, I used to fall, break bones while going about my business, and feel emotionally injured by my limitations. I'd hung on to walls, furniture, or the arms of my therapists and acquaintances as I struggled to even stand or jog. Dancing? It used to be a wistful dream. Now I can keep the beat (with proper accommodation I perform undetected by casual observers. It's a bit too complicated to explain in a blogpost).

The patient looked into my eyes as I blessed her for a continuing recovery. I told her that I speak from the heart and every cell of my being when I assure anyone that miracles are possible.

Each action I take is a miracle all its own.

Nobody on my initial medical team 
could have reasonably expected
this level of coordination.

The patient smiled, attempted to use the balancing bar, and then successfully held her pose while balancing herself by holding onto the therapist with - ready?

Nope, not with her hands.

Not even with one hand. 

Can you guess how she hung on 
to her therapist for confidence?

She used 1 baby finger!

She had so much fun 
doing her balancing act 
that we had to ask her 
to step off the bar after a bit.

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