Imagine for a moment that you can never leave the person you are with unattended for the duration of your outing. No popping into an opposite sex bathroom, no just running into a store to get something, no go getting the car to bring it around, no anything where you leave someone out of your sight for even the briefest moment.
Any successful outing has to be “symptom” customized. In Patti’s case plans must incorporate visual impairment, non-ambulatory, incontinence, dysaphagia, and cerebral issues such as emotional lability, memory loss, and mental confusion. Physical symptoms are reasonably manageable, cerebral symptoms are wild cards.
Picking the right places, activities, and customizing reduces potential frustration level which in turn reduces the chances of emotional flare ups.
One of our favorite yearly outings is the Pennsylvania Farm Show. It’s perfect for the above formula especially with 25 “indoor” acres to wander around (the equivalent of 19 American Football fields). Everything is extremely “hands on” so proximity is optimum for visual impairment. You not only see farm livestock you can interact with the critters. The same with produce and agriculture except that Christmas trees and pumpkins aren’t as fun as cows or alpacas.
We are not farmers so there is always a sense of wonder in visiting their world. And for whatever reason farm animals find people in wheelchairs apparently equally interesting. Patti particularly enjoys visiting with the goats as they futilely try to eat her wheelchair each year.
Oh! About the “yuk” picture. Patti has a ‘cognitive issue’ of way too loudly and rudely “yukking” things she personally does not like. Recently it has been poinsettias. We found ourselves in an indoor “field” of poinsettias which were being insulted with a barrage of loud and louder “yuks”. As I was trying to shhh Patti, I noticed the sign behind her and couldn’t resist the picture. “Mr. Yuk” is a pesticide safety program of Penn State University.
This pictured sculpture of the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin is made from 800 lbs of Land o’ Lakes butter. After the Farm Show the butter sculpture was converted to biodiesel by Fry-o-Diesel a Philadelphia company which has developed technology to convert waste greases from restaurants into high quality biodiesel.
Hey, the more alternative fuel sources the better! Why not add those good old greasy diner aromas to the fumes of rush hour? <grin>