Tonight is the staff Christmas Party for everyone at the animal hospital. It is a fun filled affair and that takes my mind off my worries of the week. Joye and Valerie came over in the morning to clean the house and decorate for tonight. With a little effort, the job was done in about 90 min! Then the children and I pack up our weekend things and head out to see you.
Tongue biting has been the most recent problem. Hopefully, it has innocent beginnings but the result of a couple of bites is a hematoma on the left side of your tongue, which of course, makes it easier to bite your tongue again. This has put you off eating. The dietician has ordered in softer meals so that you don’t have to bite down hard on the food, but you are still a little gun shy. I hope this doesn’t affect your weight over the weekend. It’s lousy timing that you tongue injury would happen now, just when the PEG tube feeding has been stopped.
Once you are in your chair, we go downstairs to visit Pam, another patient. She was very ill a few weeks ago but she is making a comeback too. She is a very determined and independent woman. She said “Determination is all that you have” when fighting illness. You agree with her. I applaud you both and thank God for strong people in my life.
You tell Pam that you are on your way to rehab. As you lift up your left with your right to show her, you say “I am going to bring along this arm appendage thing.” Then you gesture to your left knee. “There’s also this foot thing attached to the knee. I’ll take too.”
This is progress, Until a few days ago, you felt that these limbs should have been cut off because they really part of you. The other interesting thing is that it seems you identify with your left knee now. It’s yours and the only weird thing to you is that the ‘foot thing’ is attached. Your possession of your leg is advancing from the top down. You now own your hip and possibly your knee, Now you just have to gain back the lower limb.
After lunch, which you ate in your chair, Quinn and I make a word search for you. Quinn wrote a special love note and wrote out the words to ’Chris’ Addiction to life Marathon’ on individual sheets of paper and posted them along the hallway. You wheeled yourself down the hall found the sheets. Most of them on the left side. You got them all. “That’s 100% on the test Daddy!” Quinn said pleased.
You played a little game of chase Quinn and Tara down the hall. It was like before your stroke except the wheel chair is an added prop. You are in a good mood today. You want to go for a walk or run with your GPS watch. You want to do more then ever today. You suggest I bring some weights for you to use to start bulking up your muscle. “I can do some curls while in the chair or in bed.”
You and Quinn continue your war game – there is no winner yet. As you play, you comment to Quinn how children make their parents want to be strong. “This helps me and my recovery.” The children certainly helped me be strong at some pivotal moments early in the marathon. Tara and her magic blanket and Quinn finding ‘channel 29’ were both instrumental in me finding the inspiration to continue.
You have been in the chair for almost two hours. A record for you! You are really starting the race now – you are out of the pot-a-potty and you are warming up and getting psyched for your marathon of recovery. I realize now that I had the marathon metaphor all wrong. The past 96 days represented the training necessary for your recovery marathon. The actual marathon, for you, starts when you get into rehab. The marathon for me started 96 days ago.
We worked a little on the Christmas letter, listen to music and play ‘Headbez’ a game sent to us from friends in BC. Jennifer from the church came to visit and the two of you had a good talk while the children and I played Headbez.
Fran must leave today for Newfoundland. She looks tired from all the energy she gave you, me, the children and our dying father. You are worried about her, so am I. I hope she can collect herself for the difficult days ahead for our father.
The staff party was lots of fun. This only could happen with great organization. Thanks to Joye, Valerie and Ashley, who directed the last details of the party from her bed after breaking her leg last week while playing hockey. I was relaxed and the party seemed to go by too fast.
You call half way through the party. You mentioned that you haven’t cried once today.
I think that this week has represented another break through. You attitude has morphed over the last three months from not even knowing you have any problems, to knowing you “can’t do anything“ to “I don’t want to” and finally “I want to do it.” This is a good foundation for rehab.
NOTE to readers: Recently someone said they would like to past on a message to Chris but not post it on the blog. I understand this - many personal stories are ... well personal and not everyone wants to share their words with everyone. Some surviving souls do share publicly and some don't. So if you would like to share your thoughts with Chris but are unable in person please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.