Last night Himmy loved sleeping by your left side. You had nick named him Himmy-Lou. He curls up to your left shoulder and purrs. It’s as if he is saying ‘look over here and pay attention to me’. He is a therapy cat. Maybe you saved him so he could help save you.
Your frustration at being useless is anger directed at yourself. You did nothing to deserve this stroke. You keep wondering why this happened to you. You were so healthy. You ate well, exercised regularly and lived carefully. Your only vices were coffee and coke. You took good care of yourself.
There are times that you say that you must have deserved this stroke. You feel there was something you did, caused you to have a stroke. Perhaps this is true, perhaps not. Possibly, you are looking at the situation from the wrong angle.
No, you didn’t deserve the stroke, but you did deserve to survive the stroke. Right now that may feel like torture but to get past this point, you have to believe that there is a bigger plan. You just have to believe.
Personally, I think that this experience is a test. A test of your strength. A test of your belief in yourself. You can make this recovery but you must believe in yourself.
Christmas morning, is like most Christmas mornings with children who believe in the magic of Christmas. Tara was up first and shortly after, Quinn got up. Santa had the wisdom to leave their stockings and present in our bedroom. This was all carefully planned between you and Santa. Having worked with Santa for the last few years, you had a little pull with the man and requested that the presents be left in your care until Christmas morning.
It didn’t take long for Tara and Quinn to discover the change in Christmas tradition. Tara spotted the stockings first with Quinn in hot pursuit. “An ipod! And It’s green! How did Santa know? I didn’t write that in my letter!” Tara said. Quinn discovered a travel case with a blue Nintendo DS inside and a few games. His excitement had no words, just a squeal of glee. Santa had left a Nintendo game for especially for you. ‘Brain Age’ with a note explaining that this game has helped Santa keep mentally young all these years and he thought that you could use it for your recovery.
The rest of the morning, Bill and I prepared the turkey and got it in the oven. The other day, someone told me of her Christmas tradition of having the big meal Christmas Eve. Then the rest of the holiday can be spent taking it easy with minimal cooking to do. I think that sounds like a plan for next year because it’s really hard to slow the children down on Christmas morning.
With my brother, Bill, staying with us, you have gotten to sleep in your bed and go down into your room and watch your TV. This is our Christmas present to you. It gives you a taste of your old life back. But the taste is bittersweet. It feels familiar and comfortable and yet without help to achieve it, it reminds you how dependent you are on others.
You feel very indebted to Bill for his help to move you from level to level. Living in a four level split home has its challenges for the wheel chair bound. For the holiday season, we can give you access to all the levels but once Bill is gone, you will be confined to the one floor. The family room.
Christmas presents in our family between adults is very low key. My favorite Christmas presents consist of a kind thought or gesture, a donation to a charity or just the time being together. This Christmas was no different. You gave me a dressing gown, but the card that you wore wrote in your shaky handwriting, is what I hold dear.
You received a couple of special presents. The senior Sunday School group did some fundraising and bought you a speaker dock for your ipod. You were very happy with this choice. Laura, a fellow runner and rug hooker, made you a special wall hanging.
There are times when your field of vision seems better. More importantly, this is an observation that you made. In general, I think you are learning to accommodate for the visual void. At present any improvements seem to be a hit and miss thing.
You seem to have more attachment to the sensory perceptions of your left side. Most often when you say there is pain, it’s because your hip or elbow is in a position that is not naturally comfortable. If I correct the body position to a more neutral position, the pain or pressure seems to be reduced.
You and Quinn had a good talk about the Nintendo DS machine. I had reservations about it and the addictive nature of it. You discussed with Quinn how you and Santa had discussed the gift and decided that Quinn has very mature and responsible. You felt he could handle the responsibility. I told Quinn that I was gong to write a letter of complaint to Santa’s workshop about the present because “That’s not even something I’d give you myself.” Quinn is a little worried that I might annoy Santa.
We had lots of phone calls on Christmas day. The children waited very patiently to open the presents.
Tara gave me a few presents which she made herself as well as three little rocks with the words: ‘Smile’, ‘Kisses’ and ‘Happy’ on them. She hid them around the house in places that she knew that I’d find them. By the end of the night, I found all three of them. At bedtime, we made up a secret signal between us that meant those three things. This signal we have given each other several times since that night. I love this present. It’s a present that can last us a lifetime.
After dinner, we lay on our bed and listen to your ipod in it’s new ipod dock. We play songs and talk. Talk and listen to music. Sharing feelings with each other. In some weird way, it seemed like a first date. I feel like I’m getting to know you all over again. The new version of you. The Chris 2010 version.
I’m so happy to have you home for Christmas. Four months is so long. We both cry tears of joy and hold each other.