March 28, 2016

Astronauts & 1900's Women Get Surviving Stroke

Before I had a stroke I would have found my post "9 Things I Have to Do to Drive Independently" obsessively tedious.  I know of only two groups of able-bodied people who can understand what you have to do to thrive after a stroke.

Astronauts.  Astronauts understand the conscious attention stroke survivors have to pay to familiar tasks that able-bodied people do without thinking.  As I watched astronaut Scott Kelly demonstrate cooking and eating dinner on the International Space Station, I saw that he had a problem.  He repeatedly dropped food because his hand forgot you have to attach an object to a surface or it will float away.  To be fair, Scott was distracted by having to look towards the camera and explain what he was doing.  I am sure he performs better when he does not divide his attention.  I think he would understand why stroke survivors do not perform well when they try to multitask.  I also think the months of practice Scott did on Earth would help him understand how hard it is for stroke survivors to relearn to do even simple tasks.

Urban Housewives in 1900.  If women in 1900 could have read the nine things I do before I drive my car away from the curb, they would have said "welcome to my life."  They knew about spending lots of time getting ready to do a task.  For instance, before they could start doing laundry they had to do three chores.  1) They had to soak clothes the day before because cleaning agents were not very effective.  2) They had to hand carry 20 to 40 gallons of water from the sink to a large copper vat where the clothes were washed.  3)  They had to wait for the coal fire under the copper vat to heat up the water.  Only then could they start agitating the clothes by hand with a four foot long pole called a dolly stick. 

Here is a re-enactment of doing laundry in 1900 from the PBS TV series, The 1900 House.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd7LzQ-IZ3g&list=PLQ6PTIIwf7PtHO1pLaM4x3uQl_3cgskZr&index=11

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