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Last change: November 6, 1996.


Basically, I think rest is the best medicine. I've heard that some psychiatrists think otherwise. Show me one psychiatrist who has actually cured a patient and I'll consider the arguments for that remarkable theory. Until then, rest, rest, rest.

The problem with rest is the use-it-or-loose phenomenon. Clearly, when you sleep 15 hours a day and are paralyzed for a few additional hours, going to the bathroom and feeding yourself are already tremendous achievements.

I've been in that state for something between 6 months and a year. Getting back speech and reading ability was my first priority. After that, my revalidation - if that's the appropriate word - during the first year mainly consisted of sitting up straight for longer and longer intervals.

Neurological training

Now the part that might be interesting for other PWC's. First the cognitive abilities. After 15 months I started programming. If one thing's demanding of your cognitive abilities then it's programming. The good new however is that modern programming environments are so easy that you can get a lot of work done by just visually rearranging objects. It's like redecorating your room by clicking a mouse button. Remember, writing code is only 10% of making a program. I already was somewhat familiar with programming concepts, but I've never been a programmer before. I must admit that picking up programming has been a very rewarding experience. For the first few months I could only work for 10 to 15 minutes a day before my memory switched off. That is, on good days. Now, after almost a year and on a good day, I can work for two to three hours. If only I hadn't those relapses for weeks on an end...

Physical training

Physically I had to wait a very long time before I could do something. A year ago I tried biking short distances at a very slow speed, at the point of falling over due to lack of speed. It backfired. What happened that I would sometimes get very tired just halfway around the block. By the time I was home again, I was totally drained. Only by going around that block. I relapsed for many months.
After the biking disaster I bought little dumb-bells. The great thing is that you can exercise your arms while laying at your bed. If done moderately, it isn't at all tiring! It's not spectaculair, but for me it's been a start.

A few months ago I bought inline skates. That seemed a fun thing to do and the good part to me was that I imagined practicing just in front of the house. So unexpected fatigue attacks wouldn't be a problem anymore. Skating is not for any PWC, ie if you can't keep your balance while just standing on your feet, skates will present a huge challenge. But personally, I'm very content with it. The skates fit very tightly around my ankles, so keeping my balance turned out to be much easier than I had expected. I started with a few minutes fooling around in front of the house. After three months I'm able to skate for 20-30 minutes. My personal record is a distance of about 2 miles. Yeah!!!

Picture me flipping coins in the water to please the gods. For a healthy person this story may seem ridiculous. But I've come such a long way that I'm thrilled with it.

Harry Bosma is looking forward to comments or suggestions at hbosma@xs4all.nl. He does not give dream interpretations.

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