Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday November 1 – Juggling and Running Don’t Mix

If Grief results in Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
I think that in some ways, I am still in denial. There times when I feel, at the moment, that I am doing all right and actually think that I’m on top of things. Then, usually, something happens that brings down the illusion that I’ve created for myself and I get a glimpse of what’s really in store for us. It scares me.

I think that I function in denial because I’m scared of the truth.

I can’t entertain acceptance yet. I don’t know what to accept. There are so many possible recovery outcomes. I fear that if I accept any one of them too soon, I will impede your recovery to a new level.

So I’m stuck in denial and denial is exhausting.

This morning Tara and Quinn took part in the tradition that all siblings of similar ages do – the November 1 Annual Candy Exchange. Deals are made and recalculated and at the end – if all goes well – each sibling walks away snuggly thinking they got the better deal for their candy.

This event is followed, in our household, by the great candy organizing or as Tara says organ sizing. The family room floor was covered in candy. Carefully arranged in neat piles sorted by types and taste value. Annie anxiously watched from the sidelines … drooling – thinking of what deal she would do to get some of the loot.

While the children did this – I did boring things like change beds and laundry. I noticed that sometime in the past few days, Quinn had erased the picture of you from his worried board. This is the picture with you laying down with X’s on your eyes and Tara and Quinn standing by your gravestone. I don’t know when he erased it. We talked about it before and had settled on the deal that he could erase it when he felt he didn’t worry about it any more.

I remarked to him how I was happy to see that his worry board was clear. Either he was too wrapped up in the candy exchange or he chooses not to acknowledge me.

I called a friend, Ainsley, who works as a physiotherapist with the hospital. I wanted to try to get some information about your stay in Truro. I needed to know what your move meant for your recovery.

Ainsley was full of information and very reassuring. She mentioned several times to think of the move to Truro as a ‘glass half full’ move. A smaller care centre can still be well equipped and staffed to treat your type of problem. She said that, Kirsten, your physiotherapist here, gives 190% to her patients. She has good experience with stroke patients and know what you will need to get you into rehab. Kirsten will see you on Tuesday.

She said that Pictou does do brain injury rehab but would not likely be able to give it to the extent that the Halifax hospital would offer. It seems that, often, patients from Truro are sent to Pictou. This would be something we should discuss with Kirsten.

I have the feeling that this is a new phase of your recovery – we will embrace it and move on.

As we get to your room, we meet Dr. Graham leaving it. He is looking after you this weekend. A kind man with a soft approach. He tells me how he sees things now. You are not ready for rehab yet. Your stay here is to get you ready for the next level of recovery … rehab. I ask him about the MRI results. I don’t think he knows the results yet.

I ask him about a new drug that you were put on – gabapentin. I think you might have been started on it since the MRI … possibly in response to the MRI. This is a drug that helps with pain that comes from mixed up wiring in the brain. Thalamic pain. Your male nurse, Ryan, from last Tuesday, talked about his experience treating thalamic pain.

Dr Graham describes gabapentin as a first line drug for this condition. It is started at one dose level and increased and if poor response then other drugs are considered. It can be a long process to get control.

You asked the children about the Halloween hoard that they got. Tara tells about the bag left over from last year and, as I predicted, you said that it should be thrown out.

We talk about friends and Donald’s name comes up. You are worried about Donald – not getting visits. “Erin (Donald’s daughter) is coming back to Canada soon – Don’t worry - she’ll be there for him.”

While talking with the children, you are sure Tara has a pain in her left hand. You stretch out your right hand to comfort her left. I ask you “Are you sure it’s not your left hand?” “No, Tara’s hand is sore. There is a pain here.” You gesture to the palm of her hand. She assures you that she doesn’t have a pain.

Over the last few weeks you seem overly concerned about pains that other people might have. It seems that you are the only one who actually acknowledges the pain. I wonder if is how thalamic pain can manifest itself. It’s a real pain that the patient perceives but is unable to fully describe and locate. A pain that is chemically started in your thalmus may seem like it is someone else’s pain. It’s like an over active empathetic pain.

Laura, fellow runner and a member of the church visits. Laura tells the news of the church and some stories from the running events that she has been to. You talk about other runners and you tell Laura that your brother, Steve and his wife, Laura, will run in the Cabot trail next spring. You remembered this from last week!

Fellow runner and church - goer Laura said that she signed up also for the Tidal boars team in the Cabot trail Relay.

Just as we are leaving, Marty, from the church, comes to visit. You are happy to see Marty. As we leave, you catch-up on the going-ons at the church with Marty.

The children and I head to Juanita’s for dinner. We get there an hour early … we went off daylight savings time and I didn’t know it! Oh man – My head screams at me – an extra hour – I had an extra hour to do stuff – and I didn’t even realize it – and now the hour is lost. I end up having another melt down at Juanita’s – I’m feeling over whelmed again.

I just wanted to get some things done about the house – get some things finished and try to gain a little control on my life. Normally, I have a hard time not finishing something – yet that is the constant state of affairs for now. I have so many balls in the air. I could have gotten so much done in an hour. I could have got a little control. Now the time is lost. I feel balls dropping again. Running this marathon with you is not easy with juggling so many balls.

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