“You can’t argue a balk”
I don’t know who said it originally, but a balk is baseball terminology (you may need to look it up). Anyway it allows me to link baseball into this whole technology concept. I love technology. I see it as an indicator of life moving forward. I am linking a lot of things into a technology bundle and I realize there are many aspects to this area but in general I see how folks are using technology with medicine. I am all for this.
At the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil there was a teen who used a brain-controlled robotic bionic exoskeleton suit to enable him as a paraplegic to get up from his wheelchair and make the first kick of the tournament. How great is that? The exoskeleton was the brainchild of a collaboration between several universities across the globe. The technological miracle of a brain-controlled exoskeleton uses an interface technology developed by a Brazilian neuroscientist. He said in a recent interview “we want to galvanize people’s imaginations.”
When I first had the stroke a friend helped Matt set up an e-mail system to notify several people. When I came home from the hospital, I couldn’t read because of my ataxia. I had it in my eyes! I was familiar with a PC, so Matt switched me to a MAC because he could set up the operating system to read out loud to me. This way people could still send me e-mails! I had a nurse and I would dictate to her and she would type and send a response. When I started typing (with one hand) another friend and Matt set up the wordpress site for me. So I am a huge fan of people with limitations using technology. I think technology is a huge part of belonging. All of this connects me to a stroke community and others. Now is there a way to promote the idea that we are a part of something bigger? With all that in mind, I’m adding a new category to my site called ‘guest posts’. This is a place where I can put posts that other people write about strokes, caregiving and/or devices used in the stroke renewal process.
A couple of years ago, I did a post on baseball and how they have a spring training. I know baseball is a U.S. thing. Spring Training happens before the season starts. It’s where players practice the basics and review the game. The week before most players arrive, the pitchers and catchers report to solidify their skills and work on the relationship! That’s something I think baseball and strokes share: time to practice, review the basics and focus on the importance of relationships. (This does not mean that people have to be friends to understand the role of another.) I would put the whole concept as part of the game. What a great thing!
I have a friend who had a stroke before I had mine and when I first met him, he was in a wheelchair. He now uses a bionic leg to walk. This is fabulous. Last month we went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as a part of a group. We saw 6 plays in 3 days. There was only one play which I didn’t like. The group was scheduled to have dinner together one night and we had a few guests join us. As fate would have it, the gentleman that sat next to me at dinner was the Assistant Director of that play! So I asked him about the play and the message. He gave me a great answer about looking forward. We get so caught up in the past that we miss all the wonderful things that are in front of us. I told him that we use the word renewal rather than recovery to describe the post-stroke effort. That’s exactly what the play was about. I view technology as a tool of this renewal process. I did a guest blog post for someone and my summary was about finding new ways to do things. Technology can help with this. This is what I mean by “you can’t argue a balk” (or a stroke for that matter) but technology allows us to find new ways to do things. It’s part of our lives!
National Stroke Association has a website for Stroke Smart Magazine and they had a piece on the advantages of virtual reality rehabilitation. They mention that recent studies indicate incorporating the technology used in popular gaming systems like Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation, and Microsoft Kinect into a therapy regimen can help improve mobility and function. I use my Nintendo DS extensively! I use the games and stylus to work on my ataxia and memory.
There are articles about therapy delivered via a robot to people! How great is this? People who live in remote areas or don’t have access to a person who can provide therapy can get the assistance they need. Recently our public radio station ran a segment on a downtown San Francisco restaurant which is the latest to experiment with virtual alternatives to wait staff. After a person places their order at a kiosk with white tablet devices, they pick up their food a few minutes later behind a glass door or “cubby”. The only humans in sight are the concierges who can answer questions that a person may have about the software and there are a dozen or so staff in the kitchen. While this may sound futuristic, it is something to think about. We have always said in our house “someday a robot will do that!”