Back in Botswana in 1998 when Richard had Hepatitis A, he needed to take a couple months of rest to recover. To keep him down in bed, I brought home skeins of yarn. He started knitting and did not stop until he had produced 2 sweaters, several pairs of socks and a hat or two. Intense knitting was just the thing to assure compliance to bed rest recovery.
With that in mind Richard was thinking ahead to have a knitting project at hand for his post-operative recovery this time. Socks worked last time, so why not again? Before his surgery he had started about 3 inches into the cuff for one sock in a pair of nice wool socks for me. When he returned home from the hospital, he picked up the sock and blankly stared at it. After a day or two he was able to remember enough to get another inch or two on the ribbed cuff before he came to the heel. Turning the corner of the heel requires knitting row by row while reading the pattern. He just could not make his brain circuits operate to coordinate the reading and the knitting.
I offered him my simpler project underway - knitting a scarf on a circular needle. In two weeks I’d only completed about 8 inches toward the 48-inch scarf and was frankly feeling overwhelmed by the single knit stitch effort. I really am not a knitter. Well, today (Sunday) he finished the scarf! A mere 7 days after taking it up. The sock heel is still beyond him, but bit by bit he will get there.
On another manual craft, he is starting to perform some simple sewing projects on the machine. Hemming vintage plain white feedsacks was his first production. Slowly he was able to perform all the little stages of sewing – threading the machine and needle, loading the bobbin and folding the edges of the feedsack. I have great hopes that manual performance is the gateway to verbalization. So far he can do and show but is limited on verbally explaining his performance. The next goal? It is time for the therapist tomorrow to help us sort out the plan.