A plan is slowly developing to have visitors at the tough time of the day. Mildred from St Andrew’s Church has organized visitors for you most mornings. Mornings seem to be the tough time of the day and Marsha said she would come early morning to visit on the days she is not working.
This will help you start the day by keeping your morale up.
In Jill Taylor-Bolte’s book, My Stroke of Insight, she describes her stroke leaving her with an overwhelming feeling of being fluid with her surroundings. She didn’t see boundaries between her and the rest of the world. These feelings were a result of a left-sided injury. You have a right side injury and yet, I wonder if you have a smaller version of these feelings.
I was giving your back a scratch when you said to me, “Move a little over next to the tough in the living room and on top of the clock.” I wasn’t sure what you meant by this so I just moved the area I was scratching up your back “Ahhh, that’s the spot” you said.
Move a little over next to the tough in the living room and on top of the clock. What does that mean – was it a code for a better location? Were you having trouble finding the words to describe what you wanted? That seems hard to believe, since you haven’t really been lost for words since you got your voice back.
No, I think that your understanding of space, the third dimension (and time, the fourth dimension) are distorted. Your perceptions of where things are and where some of you body parts are – are different. I expect this perception can be relearned. This probably has to be relearned before any coordinated movements like walking can be mastered.
Since our bodies must interact with the environment all the time, having a good understanding of our boundaries is important. Gosh, we take a simple task like movement – for granted – We don’t appreciate what a finely tuned and coordinated task it is.
Your time continuum and my time continuum are vastly different. In our conscious hours, you find time is long and I find that time is short. For me, there never seems to be enough time. When we are unconscious (sleeping), the hours tick by very fast for you and for me they tick by far to slowly.
When I’m with you, time seems to pass far to quickly. Sitting in a hospital room with someone would normally be very difficult for me. I am not a person who can sit still for long. I have to do things … for time to pass – I have to be busy. Part of the reason this journal exists, is because I needed to be busy. Busy doing something, anything that might help you in the weeks and months to come. That is how I cope.
And yet, when I’m with you, time seems to fly by. I don’t know where the day goes. I find myself in disbelief that it’s time for me to leave you at the end of the day and time to go pick up children. Perhaps, somewhere in my awareness, I know that being with you IS doing something – I’m not just sitting beside your bed – holding down the furniture. My presence is helping you.
Thank God, I have sleep to escape to. Lately, I have found sleep wonderful. For, six or seven hours a night, I can actually turn off my worries and escape into the world of dreams. In my waking moments my worries find me again … so I must wear them for the day.
Today you had a pain. It was in your left shoulder. Without having to think, you indicated you had pain by immediately putting your right hand to your left shoulder. This sounds small – but it’s not.
A few weeks ago, you would have said “Ouch” but you wouldn’t be able to say where the pain was from exactly. A few weeks ago, if I said put your right hand on your left shoulder, you would have reached for something to the left of your body. You wouldn’t make contact with a body part. You probably would have touched the pillow or blankets, because you didn’t know where exactly your left shoulder was. Today, you located the pain directly and you did what we all do, you instinctively went to the hurting body part.
It’s a small step – but I think it represents big progress. You are connecting with your left.
Dr. Feltmate came in to see you. You told her of your goal to run again, Not just run but run a marathon. Actually, not just run a marathon but to win a marathon! She smiled briefly and reminded you that although that was an interesting long-term goal to have, she felt you should concentrate on other goals. Goals like sitting up in the bed. Then goals like walking. These are more tangible goals for you to reach for at this time.
Janine visited you today. Janine runs and is a speech therapist. She worked at the rehab center as a student. She offered you a little inside peel into the world of rehab. I think her pep talk has helped build your enthusiasm for the next chapter of your recovery.
Erin, Donald’s daughter is back in Canada. She came to visit. Erin is a retired nurse, who belongs to the ranks of nurturing nurses. In her spare time she practices reflexology. She gives your feet a wonderful massage. I’m not sure if reflexology is a science or an art, but it really doesn’t matter. It can’t hurt and if it helps you directly or indirectly – It’s all good.
While Erin is working her magic on your feet, I walk over to Tim Horton’s and get you a coffee. An Extra-large 4X4. Yep, that’s right 4 cream and 4 sugar. You like a little coffee with your cream and sugar. There are lots of calories in this drink. We will have to watch that you don’t over do the 4X4’s they are full of empty calories.
You had Murray, a fellow runner in his seventies. You always admired Murray and his commitment to running that spans decades. Murray still runs in the Cabot trail Relay along with his daughter, Christine. I suspect, when you see Murray, you see yourself in the future running along side Tara and Quinn.
Kevin, fellow runner and our chicken guy, came to see you. While Murray and Kevin were with us, Ainsley, your occupational therapist, got you in your chair and you had another driving lesson. Afterwards, Murray and Kevin and I took you outside of a wheel about in the sunshine. It’s a beautiful day.
While wheeling about, the three of you compared enema, urinary catheter and prostate exam stories. Snickers and giggles follow when you give them a blow by blow account of your enema experience. You share with them an enema fantasy that involves a ceiling fan. The story gets more graphic every time you tell it. Kevin is most interested in your perception of being on the receiving end of these procedures. He asks ‘probing’ questions. In his spare time, Kevin does first aid courses for everyone from the general pubic to first responders. His interest in your experiences, I think is purely professional.
I leave you with Kevin to have more of a visit. I walk over to the blood donor clinic and then home to meet the pellet stove repair guy. Stove is fixed at no charge! I am happy. Just getting a few things done in my routine life make it a good day.
Later in the day, Marianne visits and you try to share your enema story with her too. Her facial expressions reveal that she is not as interested as Kevin was but she continues to listen politely.
John K. came to visit. He has been following your story from the beginning. He visited you in Halifax before you woke up. You two have a good talk about things. John want to understand you perception of things better.
Luiz came to visit, followed by Uncle John and Aunt Shirley, who found you in the bathroom on that scary day. You thanked them for saving your life. David visited too. It’s been a busy visitor day.
You mood is changing over the past three days. It may be from the antidepressant. I doubt this is the case, because it usually takes longer then 5 days for it to work. I think it is actually from the continuous tickle of visitors who have given you their positive energy.
After I get the children back from piano lessons and ready for bed, Luiz comes over to sit with them while I head off to the airport to pick up Martha. Erik is still feeling sick. His ears hurt, sounds are muffled and there is a low-grade fever. Luiz is worried. I think, he will get him to a doctor tomorrow.
Martha is a good friend of Chris’ since childhood. Chris was one of a few young fellas in their neighborhood who would ‘stalk’ Martha and her sister, Sarah. Both Martha and Sarah held a special spot in Chris’ heart during the adolescent years and the friendships continued into adulthood. Chris would be included in their family outings to the cottage and weddings etc. Chris gave an awesome speech at Martha’s wedding. Martha and her family came out to Nova Scotia the summer Chris turned forty to help us celebrate. In the past two years, Martha has been a part of the Cabot Trail Relay – Tidal Boars team. Last year she helped a lot in supporting the runners of the team and loved doing it.
Martha lives in Ottawa with her family and works passionately at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) as a nurse.
Martha had just got off the plane when I got to the airport. In her hand was a special surprise. Pizza from a pizzeria place in Ottawa that you love called ‘Colonnade Pizza’. It’s the meat lovers pizza. We go directly to the hospital to hand deliver the pizza, now a little cold. You are in a bad mood, You feel that you had been waiting for hours, even though I told you the time line of Martha’s travel plans. Martha’s presence helped you soften your stance. You relaxed and enjoyed the pizza and her company.
Martha has said she would spend the night with you and watch over you. Martha has the amazing ability to pull all-nighters and carry on like nothing happened. Perhaps it’s her nursing background that has given her this skill. I’m glad that she offered to do this.
I have worried about your perception of how your time passes in the night. You feel that you don’t sleep. The nurses said you do but you feel that you are up all night. This weekend, I want to see where the truth lies. Martha will help.
I kiss you goodnight and leave you to sleep … with another woman.