Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thursday December 24 – I Survived and I’m Home for Christmas

When I get to your room, The OT and social worker are talking to you about the do’s and don’ts for the time you spend at home. They caution you on making trips to your man cave. The social worker asks you “Is getting down stairs a want or a need?” You try to explain but the logic is lost on them. I understand. I describe, hypothetically, how we might get you down stairs. I explain that we will have strong brothers and nephews that can make this happen safely. They don’t want to officially hear it but I think they do understand how that would make you happy.

You got to stand again with the help of the physio and OT teams. No machines, just you with a little support. I missed seeing it this time. But you are proud of your accomplishment. You want to try standing at home. The OT cautions you on this idea. You should only do it when you are able to be supported in the right way. You need more practice at the hospital before you are allowed to attempt this at home.

You describe the physio team’s attempt to ‘snap the whip’ when you stand. Sounding like drill sergeants you claim they say “Straighter, no straighter, keep your back and T spine straight”.

Although I’d like to see you stand at home, I’m glad to have the cautious approach. You have come too far to get injured showing off. Your shoulder is fragile. We don’t want any setbacks to get you into the NSRC.

Your story is in the newspaper. You are pleased about the story, especially the part about Rod Carew. You are also impressed about the blog and it’s popularity. You think I should write a book. I am writing this for you, once you have read it and still feel that way, I would consider making it into a book. There are many gaps that I have not expanded on in the journal and I feel that your story will read as incomplete to the general public without that information. I suggest that if you read the journal and help me fill in the gaps, then I will consider a book. You want me to continue writing. I promise you that I will continue to write if you continue to make a good ending to your story.

The photo that Jason had taken was really great. It was an absolute coincidence that Quinn happened to wear the shirt that the staff of the Truro Vet Hospital made for him to wear at the ‘Walk for Hope’ event that happened the Friday after your stroke. An equal happenstance was you wearing your t-shirt that says: ‘I Survived the Nasty Nuttby.’ This is a shirt that you were given by a fellow runner, Norris. You and Chris G and Norris went for a run – hike in the woods of the Nuttby area. You were gone for a long time. Part way through the day, I got a cellphone call from you saying that you were ‘sort of lost’ and if you weren’t back by dark, I should get help. According to you, there were many circles done before you found your way home. But the three of you did get home safely. Norris gave you this shirt as a reminder about your day in the woods.

In the newspaper photo, all that the viewer can see of your shirt is ‘I Survived’. A fitting summary of your experience this past fall.

You keep focusing on the journal. You tell me that I’m the mother of the journal. Without you there would be no journal, if I’m the mother, then you must be the father.

Once you got home, the bus driver, Rod, helped get you into the kitchen. As soon as Bill and Neeson got home, they got you down the two flights of stairs to your man cave. Seeing this space is a two-edge sword. On one side, there is the positive. You can reconnect who you are and who you want to be again. On the negative side is that the reconnection will also remind you of what you may not be able to do in the future.

Once downstairs, you have a lot of difficulty with the three remotes it takes to operate your TV/sound system. This is something that I always struggled with since I used them infrequently. But you are the expert. I am secretly pleased you forgot how to channel surf. My pet peeve. I can’t believe I did this, but I taught you how to channel surf again. I guess I must really care about you.

You also forgot how to check the phone for messages. This is something you always did. A few reminder lessons and you are able to do this too. Later that night, we played a game of countdown with the children. This, you also had to relearn. You may have forgotten things, but you already understand the concepts so you are able to quickly relearn these tasks.

If you can relearn, you can achieve all sorts of things.

We talk about your path and your destination. Your path will include rehab and a lot of self-discovery. Your destination is unknown. The only thing we know right now is this is not your destination. This time is part of your path.

Your feelings of being useless resurfaces a lot when you are home. You are not useless. Your presence rejuvenates us all. You worry that you are a drain on our energy. You don’t drain us, you fills us up with love.


  1. i think i have checked your blog at least twice a week since school let out. i have refrained from emailing out of concern i might be intrusive. i was afraid to ask kaila for fear there might have been something wrong. and still i kept checking ... hoping all was well with the cashen family.
    my silent but well meant christmas prayers included a new family this year ... the cashens (and i'm afraid i am not exactly known as the prayerful sort)
    as for the journal/blog ... psst ... gwen? listen to your husband and your heart. both are sending you a message as you are sending hundreds of others a message ... write. you are helping chris, yourself ... and lots of other folks.
    thank you ... and merry christmas

  2. I too check almost daily. I was worried something was wrong but asked a friend that knows you and said she had heard nothing bad.
    I am so happy to read that so far things are good. now to continue reading!!!
    Merry chris-mas.