Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday November 15 - Stages of Recovery

I slept from 7:30pm to 4 AM. I feel so much better. My mind is awake and I can’t sleep any more. I didn’t have any bad dream. The night in the hospital I was plagued with them between the waking moments. Dreams about MRSA, intracranial pressure increases and No hope. What dreams I had - I don’t remember, but my heart and head feel good. My back even feels good too.

I get up and catch up on the journal that I’ve neglected to last few days. It feels good to get caught up. I feel more complete when I write in the journal. It nags at me when I fall behind, but when I get caught up, I feel like I have a little control of things. Even if it’s only processing the day’s events and making a little sense of them. Getting the thoughts onto paper – help recharge me for the next day.

I am also starting to realize that I can not do it all. My body won’t let me. My reserves are gone and I am existing on what ever energy I store the night before. If I’m going to keep up with life … keep up with the marathon – I need my rest.

I hope you understand.

Gosh my back feels good today. In the past, I always relied on your great back rubs to give me relief. I think I must have relaxed enough last night that my vertebrae slipped back where they belong. I will have to remember that trick for the future.

The children are still at Juanita’s house so I head off to the hospital early. I never said good night to the children last night – I just dropped them of at Juanita’s for dinner. They may have overheard a brief discussion Juanita and I had about dinner and a possible sleepover. But I didn’t say good night. I think this may be the first time ever that I never said good night to them – I feel very badly. When I get to the hospital, I call Juanita. She tells me the children seem fine and have not skipped a beat. No sense of abandonment.

Erik seems better – he had a good sleep and the antibiotics are working.

I guess sleeping over with cousins trumps a couple of good nights from a Mum.

You greet me with a good morning and “I had a Bowel Movement already!” You also ate bran buds for breakfast. That should make life, in that department, good.

This morning you feel like making phone calls. You call Chris K and Pete in Ottawa. You talked about many things with both of them but the common point, with both phone calls, was your disgust with the eye examination results. You also shared the enema story and your frustrations with time and how it is treating you. Bbut they were demoted to ‘page two’ stories.

When I overheard you talking with friends on the phone, I hear you practicing saying the phrases that you have been hearing. It as if you are trying them on for size. Words like: hemorrhagic stroke, two-year recovery, partially blind, rehab and lots of hard work. I wonder that if you practice saying the words – it will help you believe in the future and what it can bring.

I read the rest of the first week of the journal to you. I think it’s best that you take it in stages. As I re-read it, I am amazed at the energy (and bad grammar and spelling) that I had then to write – of course, at that time I had very little else to do. I wasn’t allowed to touch you or talk to you. Too much stimulation in that first week put your intracranial pressure up too high and endangered your recovery. Now, every second I’m with you, we talk, hold hands and I read to you and harass you to get in your chair and exercise. There is no time for writing – just reporting.

The phone rings and you answer it before I can. “Roscoe’s Meat and Wicker” you announce into the phone. It’s Janice and Ed from PEI. She had missed your call because she was outside … running. You feel that is an acceptable excuse.

Fran and the children come to visit. Tara tells you about her run with Marianne. You are proud of her. She seems very excited about the prospect of running every day – Oh no another streak-maker in the family. You suggest we measure the distance around the block and she and Quinn can run laps. That sounds like a good idea.

We all played a new game together. A question and answer game. A question is asked and the players makeup their own answers. The answers are then read out aloud and the players have to match the answer with the player. It’s good fun. Most of your answers were easy to spot. “Eye doctor” was your answer to, ‘things cause trouble’, ‘things you just can’t believe’ and ‘things that are politically incorrect’.

You can’t let go of the hurt that you felt when you heard that you have visual field losses.
I take the children to lunch and Fran, Erik and you have a good talk. Fran is pretty amazing. She is always popping up and providing support when you least expect it. And she does this for us all - Mum, Dad, Me, Juanita. She is the most empathetic person I know.

When I return to the hospital, we talk. We talk about my Dad and how he perceives his situation. I ask you “Would you want to know that you are dying?” “Yes – of course, in many ways – it’s a gift to know – the moments that you live from that point onward are more real and mean more. Just like the moments that I have now.”

You have those moments because you choose not to die. Now you appreciate life much more.

You wonder if I am happy with how things turned out. I feel a little hurt with this question – but I understand that you have to ask it. From this point forward, our lives will be very different from we thought they would be. Our roles will be different. You are concerned that I will resent the role that I must play. You worry that your dependence on me will push me away.

We didn’t choose our roles – they were handed to us. We were type-cast for the roles we have – you are the determined survivor and I am the planning doer. If our roles were reversed – I know the outcome would have been very different.

You wonder how the children will adjust to the role shifts within the family structure. The children defer to me now for decisions …not you. I think the children will adjust. When you came home – things will slide back to normal … Daddy rules.

You worry that I will stray away from you. “I’ve stayed by your side through all this so far and I don’t intend on doing anything different. The parts of you that I have always loved from our very first meeting are still with you. – Your humour. It’s worth it for me to stick around.

At bedtime, Tara wants to snuggle with me and ‘have a little talk” she says cryptically. She wants to talk about growing up. I tell her it’s OK not to want to want grow up too quickly – it’s a process that takes time and doesn’t happen over night. “Enjoy being a child.” I said “Because in the grand scheme of things, you are only a child for a very small part of your life.

The same is true for you. Being a child is a stage of life. Dependence is a stage of recovery. Embrace it and grow from it.

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