Today a cloud followed me to work. I couldn’t shake off the PT’s words: “wheelchair”, “leg brace”, “walking short distances with assistance.” I am not ready for any reality and acceptance yet. I know that denial has been my downfall before but I really don’t think that I have to accept any of these things yet.
When I got to work, it was obvious that my cloud was dark. Attempts at cheering me up lead to me running to the bathroom to collect myself. I am not having a strong day. I don’t like this feeling. Thank God it was a busy day. My amazing co-workers knew just what to do to help. They kept me busy. It helped. It gave me time for my mind to settle and find a path of understanding.
At lunch, Cecelia asked how you were doing. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I spilled out the bad thoughts and feelings. She knew about your gambling days. She was there for you then. She gave me what I needed. An ear and a shoulder. I needed to cry. I hadn’t cried for quite some time. I left go of my fears. My fears that if you are stripped of your ability to run, where will you turn. You needed running. Running was your antidote to gambling.
I needed you to be a runner. Even for you to lose hope of the possibility of running again is too much for you now. You are too fragile.
I am worried that the family meeting next week, they may share their crystal ball findings with you. I wonder if that was part of the reason for the PT’s questions. “Are you in pain?” and “How would you rate your current health on a 1 to 5 scale.” Perhaps the information gleamed from this will help them decide how to help you find your reality.
As work was finishing up, Joye reached out and gave me a hug. She instinctively knew I needed one. She said “It’s OK to be sad. You have a lot of things to be sad about.” I didn’t think so. After seeing some of the people at the rehab, I felt I should have no place for self-pity. I have no time for self-pity. After all, you lived. I should be happy with that miracle. She repeated “You still have permission to be sad. Everyone is entitled to a sad day.”
It was at that moment that I realized that Joye had just given me a gift. Permission to be sad. Permission for self-pity. I didn’t realize that I needed that, but I did. I realized that the journal was doing this for me. Every day when I write, by putting my thoughts, fears and feelings into words, I am giving myself permission to have self-pity. I didn’t write last night because I had been up so early and had a headache. I missed my self-pity fix.
As I left work, Julia asked about you. I told her what I was told by the PT. “I am not ready for this information. I don’t know why she told me this.” As the words came out of my mouth, I realized why. The conversation with the PT happened for a reason.
For months now, I had been focused on your trip to rehab. At the time, I pictured it as our finish line. But it’s not. Intellectually, I knew this wasn’t. Recovery from strokes takes years not months.
Rehab is a water stop for me. A place where I can stop for a minute and collect myself and measure what is left inside me and plan for the last part. I need to plan for after rehab. Rehab is going to try to get you as far as you can go in a short amount of time. They have a lot of patients. They have to try to do the most good for the most people.
Rehab will be your starting line but rehab certainly isn’t my finish line.
The NSRC is the place where I must change my direction. I must find out what is available to help you after rehab. New therapies, controversial therapies, cutting edge therapies. Science is a wonderful thing. There are always new things on the horizon. My gaze must shift from the finish line to the horizon. The NSRC is a good place to find the horizon. It is a teaching hospital. It will have the resources that I need to look at to find the horizon.
We are two different marathons. Mine is at a water station at the half marathon point and yours is starting.
You told me about your conversation with Steve. You told him about being a closet smoker. He was understanding and accepting. “He would take a bullet for me without even thinking about it. I can’t put it into words how much respect I have for him.”
“My brother is a better person then I am.” He was great to you. ““I love my brother.”
You wonder aloud why he cares about you. Quinn chips in the obvious innocent thought. “It’s because he is your brother and you had a stroke.” “I don’t think that automatically deserves me to be loved.” You answer. Quinn persists. “You were always brothers.”
To a seven year-old the truth is very clear. Somewhere between seven and fourty-five the truth get cloudy.