Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday November 6 – Intrinsic Motivation

Lately, the mornings have been real battle to get the children to school on time. Determined to change this disturbing pattern, I got them both in bed at a record time of 8:15 last night. This morning I woke up at 6:15, wondering if my plan had worked. I look out the window – wet and blowy. The radio mentioned snow. Snow – oh gosh I think. I still don’t have my snow tires on yet – Thank God you are not in Halifax yet. I add snow tires to the mental list of things to do.

Tara gets up before Quinn as usual. She is not my problem morning child. Quinn groans and rolls over with a ‘Do not disturb’ grunt. Tara meets me in the bathroom. We wash up and do hair. She goes to her room to get dressed and looks out the window again – there’s snow – a lot of snow falling thick and furious. “OH wow!” She cries out “It’s snow” She starts to sing an ad lib snow song “Snow, snow, snow, It’s snowing, snowing, snowing!” At the sound of this – Quinn bolts right up and out of bed. “Snow!’ says Quinn “This is a great morning!”

We make to school with plenty of time to spare. That even counts in a mad search for snowsuits and boots. I’d like to think my determined mothering skills had something to do with it but I think I have to give credit to the snow. Now if only I can make it snow like that every day between the hours of 6-7 AM. We could abandon the alarm clock.

You are going to make the best recovery you can make – whatever the out come – it will be the best it can be and it will feel all right.

When I picked up Tara’s outfit for the Truro Youth Singer performance next Tuesday for the Olympic flame ceremony. I met a fellow runner, Trish. She mentioned how she had taken up running recently and had participated in the Rum Runner relay. She enjoyed it very much. Her leg was a little over 11 km. Before the race the furthest she had run was 10 km. She pushed herself a bit – but she did it.

Now she is working on doing a half marathon in February. She mentioned that the group of people that she runs with really supports her and helps her stay committed to the goal.

As I walked to the car I was thinking about the running group she is part of. Her running group is her morale team. Running may be identified as an individual’s sport, but for you and Trish and I expect many others, running is a team sport too.

Currently, you have your team: the hospital staff and community team who is there to build your morale. But your level of commitment to running every day went beyond most people’s commitment. A running group extends an individual’s commitment to be accountable to others but when you made the commitment to run every day regardless of who else is running or how you feel or what’s the weather is like or whether you even had enough time to do it; you were ultimately only accountable to yourself. No one else would put those demands on you. Only you. Nothing else motivates you except your desire to do it and keep the strek going. Your strength is completely intrinsic.

Every day, you will have to find the “Snow!” in you life to keep your motivation going. Because every day of your recovery is a another day in this streak of getting better.

After school I ask Quinn how was ‘Friday Fun’ at school. Quinn is disappointed that the snow didn’t stay. Ok, snow is not the best motivator for some things. You will have to find your reason to make each day the best it can be.

You ask me to put in the journal that you love me and you need me. This is the result of an episode earlier in the day. I think you might have been dozing and overheard a conversation, perhaps in the hallway or on the TV, about severe diarrhea and dehydration. “Dehydration can kill you.” You tell me. You are convinced that you were suffering from severe dehydration and you wanted some one to call me because you were scared.

No logic, at the time, could calm you. You were scared and you wanted me. “Write in the journal, I love you and I need you.” You plead. So people will listen if I’m scared.
Reality and imaginary lines are still blurred as well as time. We have to be patient.

A note to visitor’s of Chris: If he wants you to call me – that’s OK – you can reach me at work 893-2341. If I’m not there – they will be able to track me down. The Nurses will also have my phone numbers.

Yesterday’s meeting was very comforting but also a little difficult. No one in the room, except you and I, wanted to deny the possibility that you will have a physical legacy from the stroke. I suppose they have all seen stroke victims and don’t want to foster false hope.

What’s wrong with giving hope. Hope can’t be deposited in the bank or eaten as food but hope is fertile ground for many other good and positive thoughts that may actually lead to a difference. Who cares if a health care professional gives you hope and you end up proving them wrong. Hope is a good thing … hope is what got us to this point.

In an effort to find some hope for you to hold on to, I found some emails that were sent to us in the very early days since your stroke. They were from Linda. She wrote about her husband, Marc. He had a stroke April 2008. They are both runners and he is 46 years old and the father of two girls, 10 and 12 years. He was not as lucky as you, he lost speech as well as mobility on the right side. Linda goes on to say:

“Marc spent 4 months at the rehab centre here in Fredericton doing intensive therapy all day, every day. He made steady improvement, going from not walking to gradually getting rid of his wheelchair, to getting rid of his cane this past spring. He does not have use of his right arm and speech is his most frustrating obstacle, since he totally lost his speech. He is much better and can get out some sentences and continues to improve. His right hand will probably never be functional but we never give up. He is very determined and has an excellent attitude, which has gotten him where he is now. Last year, November 2008, 7 months after the stroke, he walked the 5k at the Moncton Legs for Literacy race. This year he is going to return and RUN the 5K at the same event. He can't run as he did before. It's more of a Terry Fox gait, but he is happy to be back out there.”

The race to rehab may be a little less urgent because yesterday, Jane said that the Rehab hospital has reduced it’s capacity to accommodate the H1N1 virus. It would be a real shame if the flu epidemic affected your recovery this way.

In your more positive moments you envision the last leg of the Cabot Trail relay being rather special event where the whole team would run it together along with you. This thought helps to balance the other vision you have - not being able to run again.

In the evening, Tara Quinn and I come to your room with pizza and a movie. It feels good to re establish a family tradition. Your room is cozy and we snuggle together. It feels like comfortable family time.

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