This week Amanda went back to work. Just for an hour and just for morning tea. Around 20 staff came in from their holiday break to say ‘hi’ and see her again for the first time in over 5 months.
She sat at her desk in the hope it would spark some memories. The desk was familiar to her. What she does when she sits there? Not so much (yet!)
On Friday, her physio spent an hour showing her some exercises to improve her wrist and finger fine-motor control. In the past week she has built up time wearing a splint to calm -down some of her right hand’s involuntary muscle spasms and he noticed the benefits of wearing the splint for 6 hours a day already.
He also gave her some exercises to do while watching TV in the evening, standing behind her chair to improve her leg muscles and movement.
While she was in hospital, I took in a speaker and mobile phone so she could listen to music via Spotify. Nelson Hospital has free wifi, which I’d hoped she could take full advantage of. But with serious issues with reading and writing, trying to navigate a phone was, and is still a challenge. However, even during her first week there, way back in February, she was singing along to ABBA on the few occasions she wanted to listen to music.
This morning I read an article on how a stroke-recovering psychologist used music because it activates lots of brain regions at once – attention, memory, verbal, emotion and meaning.
Earlier in the week I used Spotify to remind myself of an old pop song from my childhood – ‘How Can I Be Sure’ by David Cassidy who had a number of hits in the early 70’s.
I read the article aloud to Amanda and mentioned how her speaker and phone set-up would allow her to listen to Spotify. I reminded her how she could listen to anything and, as an example I had found an old David Cassidy song a few days previously.
She started singing… “How Can I Be Sure”
We’ve been married nearly 34 years. We know each other well enough to anticipate each others thoughts. We’ve lost count of the times we have suggested the same meal for dinner or spooked each other by saying aloud what the other is thinking.
The stroke interrupted Amanda’s ‘telepathic’ capabilities. To me, this was the first example that it might be returning…
Anyway, I found David Cassidy’s greatest hits on Spotify. She sang along for four songs. Word and tune perfect to songs from 1972 to 1974. At the end of the fourth song she asked me… “who is this again?”