Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday November 20 – A Standing Dream

This morning Quinn asked me to come into his room. Another clothing crisis, I thought. Lately, all his pants have been either too small or too big. But that wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to show me his worry board. His blank worry board. “I don’t think I have to worry about Daddy dying anymore.”
He had wiped the worry board clean. He had done this a few weeks ago but didn’t announce it to me, I had just noticed it. When I commented on it in an upbeat positive way, he secretly put the same worries back on the board. Worries about you and your death, worries about you walking with a cane.

I think that once he realized that you were worried about things too, he felt he didn’t have to worry about these things anymore. Once you acknowledged your fears and sadness to him he was able to let go of his. What a gift you gave to him.

“If I don’t put that on the worry board, what should I put on it?” He asks me. “Well,” I pause to think,”Nothing, Quinny. You shouldn’t have to worry about things you can’t do anything about. There are a lot of grownups, like me, that haven’t learned that lesson. I don’t want you to think that there is any good in worrying about things you can’t change yourself. That is a waste of your talents. Just worry about things that you can do something about.”

You did well with your pep talk. The results are almost immediate. First Quinn’s clean worry board and then Tara was up early today, feed Annie and put her out to pee. She fed the cats and got her own and half of Quinn’s breakfast. Tara feels better too and wants to be more grownup and more of a big sister this morning.

They were happy when they saw that you still had your sense of humour and that you could flip a devil stick about with your right hand without even looking. But the most important skill has now returned. They know that their Daddy is back.

I know their Daddy is back.

You have had an organized visiting schedule with friends from the church. Mildred has orchestrated this daily visit to help make your mornings go easier. I think it is helping. You are much more positive about the next chapter in your recovery. ‘Rehab or Bust’.

You have also had other visitors. The cyber kind. The other day, I had noticed that the number of unique visits to the blog was less then 1,000 hits away from 29,000. The thought absently drifted through my head that something important would happen when we reach the 29,000 mark. I had thought it might be a move to rehab but maybe it will be a call from Mr. Carew.

This morning the toilet seat is wet – I blamed Quinn – But it’s not Quinn - it’s your cat. Himmy feels compelled to drink out of the toilet even through there are four water dishes in the house. Which he takes great pride guarding from Annie when she is in the area. Annie says he is a bully. He really is becoming a cat of privilege. It’s hard to believe that this time last year you were trying to win this ‘wild’ cat over.

After work, Annie and I walk home with the last rays of sunshine. I don’t like the short days. When we got home, I checked the phone and there was a message from Frank Pace. He is calling from LA on behalf of Rod Carew! He said he is sending an email and he wanted our cell phone number. I can’t wait to tell you.

As soon as I got to your room, you told me that you were a failure. The physio team tried to get you to stand, but you couldn’t or wouldn’t. At the QE2 the physio team had tried this maneuver a few times, but there was not help from you. I didn’t think you were awake enough then – you don’t even remember these tries. This was the first time for you while really awake. You failed and you feel bad.

You had another letter from Janice. This was a very timely letter. She writes about a dream she had about you. A standing dream. There were struggles in the dream but you stood. She is proud of you, proud of everything you have been through, proud of your daily efforts, physical and mental, and proud of what you will go through for the love of your family.

We are all proud of you.

I remind you what Dr. Wallin had said about your progress being like that of a baby. A baby would never be able to stand on the first attempt. Failure is a teaching moment to cherish. Without a lot of mental effort from you, your brain will store that failure information and learn from it. You may have to try five or twenty or twenty-nine times before you get it. But you have to keep trying. This may have also been more of a test to assess how you are doing and if you are ready to move onto the next level.

I tell you about the close encounter with two degrees of separation from Rod Carew. That seems to pick you up a little but you still wonder aloud if you are worthy of his attention, if you can’t stand. To lighten the mood I beg that you not to share your enema stories with Rod Carew.

You smiled and said “I just want to be his friend. But if I can’t have friends then I want to be enemas.”

While Tara eats her dinner between her Ukulele and Muscial Drama, we talk about our next family excursion. “Sea kayaking. I want to go sea kayaking.” She says. That was a plan for the day after your stroke to celebrate out anniversary. You weren’t really excited about it but I was hopeful to talk you into it at some point this year or next year. Now, that seems an unlikely dream.

Tara was upset that I’m not spending enough time with her. “We never do anything together anymore.” While I remind her that it is not true, I realize that since you have been back in Truro, all my ‘spare time’ I have spent at the hospital. I haven’t done anything special with the children since the Halifax days … It’s been three weeks. She wants me to go to the tree lighting celebration. This is something I would usually do with the children but I don’t want to go - I want to be with you. I am torn .. I also want to do things with the children.

You are down on yourself today. You wonder why I am sticking it out with you. You seen to think it’s a mystery. I tell you what I love about you, not to mention the fact that you are still needed to be a parent to our children – I could never do that job by myself. I tell you how proud I am of your pep talk with the children and the immediate impact it made. A few well-chosen words can do amazing things to attitude.

“Besides” I said “I always get what I want … eventually – I just have to be patient and persistent and so do you.” (I’m thinking about your standing efforts.)

Earlier today, I had a good talk with Julia about brain injuries. Julia, who suffered from an aneurysm a few years ago, observed that a brain injury might take some things away but you may also get new things or feelings. In her case it was an extra dose of empathy. She thinks you are more empathetic too.

You really wanted me to stay overnight at the hospital. I was a wreck last weekend when I stayed the night. I don’t know if I could do it again. If this was a sprint – I could do it - but this is a marathon – I have to pace myself. I need a good sleep or else I’m no good to anyone. You understand and ask if I can just stay for an hour. We agree on a phone call before I come in to see if you are awake still. If you are, I’ll come in I promised.

Fran was going to come over and stay with the children but we switched plans. Fran suggested that since she was heading back to Newfoundland tomorrow morning, she would visit you tonight and see if you were still awake. I agreed. After a short visit with you – you were asleep- she came to the house. She warns me about spreading myself too thin.

Mmm, I wonder how she could give that kind of advice since she is has been spreading her time pretty thin between Mum, Dad, Juanita and me and the children. You also made this observation this week. “All Fran ever does - is give – when is she going to take some time for herself?” You wonder.

I guess this is more proof of your heightened sense of empathy.

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