Camp

I drop him off at 9 in the morning and pick him up at 3 in the afternoon. He spends the day playing baseball, boxing, walking, dancing the mambo. He’s given lunch and a snack, a complimentary insulated water bottle with his name on it. A physical therapy student is assigned to be at his side all day, to make sure he doesn’t fall and to cheer him on. She greets us when we arrive.

Not being a mother, I wonder if this is what its like to drop your kid off at camp. The distracted waving goodbye, the cars lined up in the circle at drop off and pick up time.

It’s Hal’s second year of movement camp, a weeklong program organized by Arcadia University’s physical therapy department. The camp is something he looks forward to even though it is challenging to be moving all day. He’s tired in the evening, more than he usually is, but it’s worth it. He’s learned how to move better and to pace himself. Last year he discovered the walking poles at camp and he’s been using them ever since.

At the end of the week there’s a party with cake, fruit salad, sandwiches and drinks. The participants stand up and thank the students and, in turn, the students thank the participants. There’s a  feeling of comradery and celebration, a sense of accomplishment. The party ends with a group dance (with only one minor fall), followed by a group photograph. Some weren’t sure if they could do it, keep up the pace all week. But they did. They not only made it, they triumphed.

 

Movement Camp

Movement Camp

 

3 thoughts on “Camp

  1. Hi Minter,
    I read several of your blogs & found that my husband, Mike & I have had several of the same feelings and experiences. I figured I should comment on this one since Mike was the one who had the minor fall! Funny, how it seemed the only people who weren’t worried was Mike & me. Guess that’s because he’s been falling quite a bit these days w/his Parkinson’s balance problem getting worse. We’re finding that falling is almost a way of life & just hope that it is never a serious fall. It was Mike’s 1st time at camp & 1st year at Stay Fit, thanks to our daughter, Kelly who is a PT student at Arcadia. Needless to say, there were lots of tears shed at the party realizing how depressing PD can be but how thankful we all are that there’s a program like Stay Fit and so many caring people that make life w/PD easier.
    I’m anxious to read your other blogs when I have time-thx so much for sharing!
    Eileen

  2. I relate to this story because my mom struggled with PD. She was much older than your husband (I am certain), her disease more advanced. I can not imagine her playing baseball, but she would have loved dancing mambo. Her favorite movement was dusting her small apartment, often without her walker. This caused her to fall sometimes, the risk unnecessary in the assisted place she then called home. But doing what she had always done, caring for her own home, was necessary to her. Her example and your camp story reminds me of good advice. PD or not, each of us needs to keep moving.

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