I feared falling in because I wasn’t sure what would happen. Then I found out.
This paddle class I moved up, literally, to a high seat in the Tornado. This is the next step towards having enough balance for a racing boat, but I’m definitely not there yet.
This all got me to thinking how my patient’s must feel while doing occupational therapy after a stroke, spinal cord injury, or brain injury.
I did stay up the majority of the time, but when I didn’t it was difficult.
The first time I fell over was because I turned to look behind me, causing me to lose balance. The second time was because I was trying to race fast and drove my paddle in too far, pulling me with it.
Both times one of my classmates, in his Epic, towed me to shore. My boat is not designed for self rescue in the water. You have to swim to shore or get in the rescue boat (which we didn’t have the majority of this session). Shore was pretty darn far away. He paddled hard and I kicked hard, trying to make myself as aerodynamic as possible behind him. I held on to his stern with one hand and my bow and paddle with my other hand.
The second time I tried really really hard to stay up and ended up getting the biggest charlie horse of my life. Even with a high pain tolerance I laid incapacitated on my back. I did, thankfully, have the state of mind to flip my boat back over before it sank but I was in too much pain to keep my paddle from floating away (a classmate snagged it).
I wondered as I paddled back if this is how my patient’s feel on a daily basis. Feeling unsteady/unbalanced while I’m asking them to walk to the sink with only a walker to hold onto.
Every time I get stable the coach tells me to get in the next unstable position. Every day when my patient’s achieve something I tell them to do it again and take it to the next level. If they can put weight on their arm after a stroke I then ask them to stabilize a plate while they eat. Eventually I want them to hold a fork while they cut their stake with their other hand. In the same theoretical way (without the major impact of illness/injury and with less repercussions of course!) I’m building up to more advanced boats. And of course I have other life goals (with more impact and repercussions) as I’m trying to constant improve myself in all areas in my life.
Do you have any goals you’re building your way up to?