The Heart of the HomeFebruary 23, 2015
Therapy is at the heart of my home, both physically and culturally. Essentially, my cottage is an occupational therapy project. The back door is my wheelchair entrance and at the back of the cottage is the kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom works extremely well without a single adaptation. It’s not particularly large, but my wheelchair is nimble and there is sufficient room to easily manoeuver between the elements. Occasionally I knock the radiator and chip the paint, but never mind. The kitchen is small, which in some ways makes it easy. I can take a dish out of the dresser, on one side, and place it on the work top, on the other side, without moving. In fact the whole kitchen requires little more than spinning round on the spot. I have never really finished my kitchen and hope to make many improvements to ensure everything is at hand, although, with space at a minimum, there will always be the issue of having to bend down for below counter aspects. This is never good when sitting in a wheelchair, especially when it comes to the fridge, or worse still the oven, but nothing is ever ideal and at times you have to make do.
My front room is my therapy room and a reception room for visitors. Compact is the word to describe this room and a description that can be applied to the whole cottage. I use this to my advantage as it means I can move myself around without having to resort to a wheelchair or over exert myself. I’m sitting on a broad stool (like a miniature bench) which is an intermediary level between the benches and the floor. Note the wheelchair left in the kitchen.
My body’s getting bigger than I thought considering what little volume it had when I began ABR Therapy.
Only the able bodied use the front door and even then it’s a squeeze to get in past my exercise bench. Most people who know me well use the back door, so when my therapist isn’t working, the mattress tends to live where I need it for my active kneeling exercises.
I notice my left shoulder sits lower than my right. Must keep working to address the twist in my body and the weakness in my left shoulder.
The room is also my dining room and I do have one chair for the dining table should I have anyone to dinner. I don’t expect my visitors to sit cross legged on the benches as I do. The chair normally lives in the corner (out of sight) where I can sit on it to reach my audio equipment and use my desk, not that I’m one much for sitting at a desk.
Strength is coming on well.
As a severely disabled person, therapy has evolved as a necessary part of my daily routine. Without it, the active life I lead may well have ground to a halt long ago and there can be no doubt that the quality of my life would be a small fraction of what I now enjoy. I am not a ‘therapy geek’ and I pursue other work and hobbies, but my therapy work is fundamental to my life and all the time I continue to make improvements, in the structure and function of my body, it must remain my number one priority. I would no longer describe myself as weak and debilitated, but even so, the stronger I am the more I can contribute to society. As my body grows in strength and quality, so does my life, my work and my future ambitions.
My front room pictured here is at the heart of my home and dedicated to a therapeutic way of life. There are two other rooms in my cottage, one of which is also very much therapy orientated, and I will talk about them another time. I in no way expect others to live like I do, but considering the manner in which many in our time, struggle with their physical health, perhaps our homes should be designed, from an occupational point of view, to incorporate therapy, both physically and culturally, in all our lives.