After the first week I began my first vertigo therapy treatment at the LMH Hospital in the Kreider Rehab unit under the care of fabulous Stacia Bone. A year earlier my mother had suffered from loose crystals in her ear canal. So I was familiar with the issue at hand and yes, it sounds weird that if the crystals in your ear fall off then you got problems. But google it, it is true!
Now my 61st birthday was coming at the end of the month and my son Hagen and his girl friend Nikola were planning to get me a 'ukulele. So we had been researching the size and style that would be just right for me. In fact we found THE one on Amazon. Paul decided he wanted to check out Mass Street Music and so while I was in treatment he was off. When I came out of treatment there he was in the waiting room with a gig bag in his lap with a new concert mahogany Kala 'uke inside it. Mass Street Music had matched Amazon's price and even had the very same 'ukulele we wanted.
But, I was just trying not to throw up! The treatment involves rolling and most people vomit during it. I was so proud that I had not but strictly was not allowed to move my head at all for the next 24 hours while my newly replaced crystals re bonded to the hairs in my ear canal.
So after going back home I was just so out of it. Paul left. I looked at the new 'uke. I have never played an instrument. So I sat down at the computer and since I could not even look down I held up the key pad to the iMAC. I typed in You Tube and pulled up 'ukulele strums. Then I scooted back since I couldn't see clearly and picked up the 'uke and started to strum following along with the video. This was the first connection I felt between my mind and my body since the accident.
Since the concussion had changed my eye sight I couldn't paint. Paul took Gracie out for her business until I was more steady. I could not drive yet. So being stuck inside at home I began to play the 'ukulele learning off of You Tube tutorials. After a month or two I found out about getting a scholarship at the Americana Music Academy in Lawrence. That hooked me up with my 'uke teacher Linda Tilton. She has the ability to challenge me without overwhelming me. I am sure her easy approach is what is keeping me stoked about playing. I was even in the Christmas music program for the Academy playing and singing on a stage!
One important issue arose when Paul bought the ukulele that day. Even though he checked with our son Hagen to see if it was okay as he stood there in the music store, it stole Nikola's thunder. You see this was a little bond she and I had developed after her parents had given her a ukulele. I kept asking if she wanted to sell it... she thought she should just get me my own! So I always think of Nikola when I play and I hope she feels that all her good intentions are received daily. It was very crucial in my healing that I was handed my 'ukulele at the time that I was. Lucky me all around for the families effort in a great gift.
I now have a second 'ukulele. Got my eye on a third even..... and I know that playing them is healing my brain in a way that gives me more cognitive function in everything I do. The most noticeable improvement is in my memory. And at my age that is very cool!
Americana Music Academy, Lawrence, KS
Mass Street Music, Lawrence, KS