Friday, August 22, 2008

Rehab progess 1

I'll tell you my friends, trying to get through this is no fun.

Yesterday, I sat down and cried because I couldn't get into my own car. Many a time I have privately laughed at another who had such difficulty. Now it is my turn to be laughably pathetic.

Last night, we camped out in the desert, something that used to be so unremarkable. I had to relive myself, of course. I could not stand up. My legs simply refused, even though my need was in other ways urgent beyond the point of denial, or even control. I ended up making a big stinking mess of myself, though my body took care of it's needs. My clothes were soiled, and I made a mess of it all. This from an operation I have been taking care of routinely since I was an infant. I cried tears of anger and frustration. This kind of routine humiliation robs me of all personal privacy and dignity. Fortunately, my friends are understanding and patient, and they tactfully ignore the bad odors.

I cannot possibly put on my boots, although I practiced doing this with the occupational therapist. The problem is, my right-hand boot wants to skitter away while I'm trying to wriggle my toes into the boot. For now, the solution seems to be velcro fasteners on sandals, and remembering not to try to kick the dog. Oh, well. The price we pay for life.

My right hand has recovered some usage. I can type the right-hand letters okay. With a lot of backspacing, that is. Don't know when if ever I'll be back to normal strength.

Seems like so much I have lost, so many things I used to do without even thinking. Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I remember the man I saw in the rehab center with no legs. At least I still have something.

I am glad I still have something. Even though it is not much compared to what I used to take for granted.


Jim Cobabe said...

Note that significant recovery progress is taking place, in spite of the continual frustration with so many things that used to be routine.

Last time I was with the occupational therapist, I did this little game with pegs on a pegboard. The first time I tried this little game, I was sweating and straining with every fiber of my will to get those stupid pegs. This time, it was ridiculously easy.

Things are improving. Just not fast enough or soon enough for my liking.

I will keep trying.
I will keep trying.

MLU said...

Some recoveries from strokes are truly amazing--partly from therapy and partly from the brain's own healing.

You do learn a lot. I was completely paralyzed for some time after I got home from Vietnam, and I did learn a lot compassion for others who had weaknesses and I did learn a lot of gratitude for simply being able to move on my own.

I also thought a lot about how strange life is--what it is to have a body, what consciousness itself is. Our bodies are part of being conscious and when our bodies change so do our minds and perceptions.

As Patricia said, it is a great adventure. Sooner or later, we are overcome or succumb, so that must not be what matters.