James’ News & Progress – 3 April 2009

A couple of weeks back, thinking it would buy me some time, I promised my grandmother, Cle, that if she was victorious during one of her mid-week bridge games, I would allow myself to be lured back to the table. I should have known better as last Sunday she turned up at the house with a pack of cards and a big grin on her face exclaiming that she had cleaned up that week at the Hunters Hill Bridge Club winning two out of three appearances and was ready for a long-awaited rematch. The afternoon progressed, heavily assisted for me by a new wooden cardholder designed and made by Dad (with my occupational therapist in mind of course!) which allowed me to manoeuvre the cards in and out of the board with growing success. Although the play was very slow as I tried to manipulate the cards, for the bridge aficionados, we did manage a successful six no trumps bid in the second hand, which was a nice way to enter the world of cards again.

During the working week, amidst the GFC and the G20 Summit, the hardest-hitting issue on my ‘very heavy agenda’, was deliberating over the pros and cons of various air mattresses which were on trial at Moorong. (The Rehabilitation Centre) Unfortunately, enthusiastic amateurs prepared to share in the clinical bed trials have been sadly lacking. Mental note… must work on new recruits for the next trials.

In the gym this week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to trial the Gaitor Treadmill, a bright yellow machine where you are placed in a sling, supporting yourself with your arms and hung by a bar from overhead. It is designed to encourage walking and given that it is anti-gravitational, this contraption helps you to try and swing your hips. Once much of your weight is taken by the overhead straps and a body pouch, it also encourages you to be able to shift your weight through the legs and hips to my heavy feet. The quirky twist comes when the assisting physiotherapists produce a cotton pillowslip to cover each of my high-speed Asics. This helps the physios to slide my unresponsive legs and feet forward as I learn to shift my weight from side to side. Obviously, this is a highly strenuous workout for the physiotherapists and an exhausting exercise for the cowboy strapped in the machine.

So I guess I will just hang on until next week.