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Wii bowling is driving me crazy!



After a long hospital stay and major life-changing event the patient needs something to stimulate him and motivate him, right? My husband ended up with left side paralysis in the arm and leg after his stroke. Much of it has come back thanks to the wonderful therapy that he received in two separate rehab facilities. For three weeks he was in Yale New Haven hospital. Towards the end of his stay they determined that he was an excellent candidate for accelerated physical rehabilitation because he was progressing so quickly. I am so thankful that we have good insurance. You know how everyone complains about paying the premiums for insurance but in the back of the mind we think "it's for that emergency situation". Well, this was that situation.


He went to the first rehab facility at Gaylord hospital in Wallingford Connecticut. Their program is not for the weak at heart. The patients are up and moving almost immediately after they check in. They also have a great recreational program. This is where we were first introduced to Wii bowling. The rec director, Chris, is an enthusiastic and patient person. Every day he would make the rounds to all the floors announcing the rec program of the day. Movie night was typically on Friday. Card games, trivia games, make your own candle, plant bulbs for spring and Wii. If a patient wants to go and can't get to the rec hall himself then Chris will get you there and back.


My son, his girlfriend and I were there the day Chris announced that they will have Wii bowling this afternoon. Cool! That sounds like a lot of fun. We showed up at the rec hall with my husband in tow. A handful of other patients had arrived all in their respective wheel chairs. Chris proceeded to start up the game and give us all instructions on using the controllers and game rules. Mind you, some of these patients have some serious disabilities. These are patients that have come to the facility in hopes of getting some kind of normal life back again but may never rid themselves of the chair again. These are people who are dedicated to recovering and don't let a little thing like Wii bowling get them down. Let's just say that these people killed me in Wii bowling. I was up there doing my moves just like I was at the bowling lanes but this one kid to the right of me sat in his chair and had such a wicked curve. I wonder if at one time he was a pro bowler? It was really so much fun and my husband loved it.


This is the reason why I decided one week before my husband left his final rehab facility and finally came home that I would buy Wii. I bought the full package with two controllers, the nunchuck, Wii Sports and Sports Resort. I also broke down and bought Wii Fit with the fit board. Great therapy for my husband I thought and I could use it too. We hooked it all up and of course had to start with Wii bowling. By now my husband is just walking with a cane. No more wheelchair, no more walker! And, he's mesmerized by Wii bowling. I think it has taken over his brain. He will play it with or without me. He will sit on the couch and just keep throwing the ball over and over and over again. Or, he'll stand one foot away from the tv screen and swing that controller. I have to remind him to step back before you crash into the screen. When the prompt comes up "Play Again?" he immediately pushes the Yes button. I can't take the controller away from him without a fight. Did you know that Wii bowling has only one tune that plays over and over and over again? I'm dreaming about it at night. I find myself humming the tune on my way to work.


I believe that because of the stroke my husband's brain is "re-wiring" itself to get back to normal. A consequence of this is that he has some very obsessive/compulsive behaviour that occurs. Sometimes it's very difficult for me to deal with this and other times I find the humor in the situation. Because of the game we can still bowl, play tennis and ping-pong and do some exercising together. But, because of his stroke we aren't doing any hiking, biking and real bowling. Not now anyway. I really look forward to the future when we can go to a bowling alley and get away from this game and the tv. But for now I keep trying to beat him. Maybe someday I will.




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Hi Juls: I am Julie (theJule1,) caregiver to my spouse, Larry, who had an ischemic stroke February 2010. It affected his left side but he was able to walk with a cane shortly after, and speech, memory and cognitive skills came back soon after. His left arm and hand are still immobile and, hopefully, some of that will come back. Who knows? My husband was on a bowling team before his stroke. The kids got us the Wii and the Wii Sports. He is not as enthused as your husband, but I think it is good for him. Since it is a rainy weekend, I think we may try it again. I was thinking of getting the Wii Fitness also. Let me know what you think of it. I think it's good they had so many neat things in your husband's rehab. They had the every popular Bingo and crafts and social hour but my husband was not interested in the activities. Good luck to your husband in his recovery. It sounds like he is motivated to getting better and that is a big plus.



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Hi Julie (this could get confusing). I love Wii Fit and our in-home physical therapist has put my husband on the fit board to do balancing games. He's surprisingly good at it. I think you should get it even if it's for yourself. I love the yoga workout. I really hope your husband's hand gets better and the best of luck to you.


The other Julie :)




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Julie: Welcome. I am Debbie, caregiver to Bruce stroke March 2009. We live in North Haven. My Bruce was treated at HSR, did In-patient at Masonicare and then to Gaylord as Out-patient. We now do Gaylord pool four days a week. Nice to talk to a fellow Nutmeg-stater, but where were you with the winter blues posts? LOL


I too can not praise Gaylord's program enough. Bruce's stroke was very dense and we still struggle. He is WC bound, by choice mind you. But we are currently working on his becoming independent here in the house so I can reduce caregiver hours, as I am back to work part time as a Nurse in a local SNF-Rehab.


We too use the Wii at work and I am hoping Bruce may soon want to give it a shot. We will test it at my work first before we purchase it.


As far as the zoning into one thing, this I now know is normal healing. My recent thread about the TV got some very insightful responses from our survivors. Keep posting and offering help. And isn't it nice to have Spring? Best Debbie

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Well, my thoughts are it can't hurt if he loves doing the bowling thing. I owned a bowling pro shot selling balls, bags, shoes and everything needed to bowl. I had to sell it when my stroke came along. I missed it the first two years while still paying off my suppliers for equipment I had ordered while in the hospital for 5 months.


I'm finished with it now but I watch on TV, the Pros, when it comes on different weeks. I've bowled 300 games, 800 series and I can't do that on one leg now so I gave it up in any form. I still go to the center and watch the old timers bowl on some Tuesdays. So many of them had passed since my time there in 2004.


Let him bowl until he get tired, I feel it's helping him recover faster.

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