Saturday, January 27, 2007

Caregiving: Pennsylvania Farm Show

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>


  1. OMG! WHAT FUN!!!!!!  I think I could make it an all day (and probably exhausting) adventure.  Great picture of Mr. and Mrs. Yuk! <grin>   I can't imagine how long ti took to create the scupture.  Is the vent above the butter for the display or did the display just happen to be placed there?  Or did you notice? <grin>  Thanks for sharing, Patrick!!

  2.  Before I worked in the hospital I worked in a home for severely handicapped children.  They were aged from babies to early 20's.  Taking them to the circus or on an outing was just as you described.  I think the farm show would have been wonderful.  Love the butter sculture.  Love the way the yuk was just their waiting to be a prop for a great picture.


  3. ....................YEA1 FIELD TRIPS! My guys are not quite so demanding of every minute but it is still a challenge to go anywhere.    I have always enjoyed the farm parts of any kind of fair and the animals always lure me to pet and play with them.  i love PATTI'S outfits, this is part of the planning ,too!

  4. Lolol perfect picture you snapped.  I like Patti's pink hat, very girly :)

    Wow at the butter sculpture, I may try doing a bit with my margerine.  It's great that new fuel sources are being looked into. Rache

  5. I loved the YUK photo... it's like she has her own cue card! bea

  6. I love that butter sculpture.Patti looks happy. bam

  7. I can imagine it. I work for my mother, she is nurse with foster children that no one else can handle. The child she has and is in the process of adopting, has cerebral symptoms and I know the wild card thing very well. She also has Rete's, and has no verbal communication, but, smiles and yelling, or humming. So, it can be a challenge to take her places. But we have learned over the last 3 years, how to read her and her actions, and emotions for the day. I have so much compassion for others that are out there, like you caring for others, and trying to make there life as enjoyable, and normal as you can. Many blessings will be yours in heaven some day.
    God bless my friend,
    Liz in Va.

  8. Just stopping in to say hello friend. Tammy

  9. sounds like a great outing!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. When you add the mental side to MS it is amazing you still are able to give Patti the gift of outings.  They now say ALS can come with the frontal lobe dementia and they have a test I do every week.  Name 13 animals in 1 minute or 8 words that begin with a D.  I have passed so far.  That butter man is a YUCK for sure ;)

    I loved the scooter sleigh ride BTW :)


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