As with every year, the days between the end of school and Christmas Eve fly by. In other years, the kitchen is turned to a bakery and the kitchen table becomes a little work shop. Tara and Quinn and I would make Christmas presents for all who would care to have them. Painted boxes and pictures frames, sea treasure mosaics and wind chimes. Iced cookies, dried apples and hot cocoa surprises, to name a few. You would spend hours, freezing your hands, working in the shed on the lathe creating whimsical Christmas trees and jolly snowmen.
This year, the time flew by again but the desire for a creative outlet was gone. Instead, I seemed to spend most of my time running between the house and the hospital. I guess this used up my creativity for the year, writing the journal. I’m glad I did because if you didn’t remember Halloween, then maybe you won’t remember Christmas either.
Actually, I doubt it. I think you are in the game now. You still struggle occasionally with time, but I think you are very aware of the days as they pass by. Your days are filled with positive upbeat messages from everyone who sees you. You and your story have got a lot of people thinking and feeling. They give that energy to you. Together, we are keeping you so busy counting your blessing that you have very little time to take inventory of your losses.
When you were home last weekend, I had a dream. You were walking. A stiff and jerky gait but you were walking on your own! I could feel your body sway as you moved. It felt good. Although friends have told me of their dreams about you walking, I hadn’t experienced it myself. It felt really good to wake up and know that this maybe your future. I almost told you of the dream, but I didn’t. I worried that if I told of it, the knowledge would limit you in your recovery. You don’t want to walk with a limp or with a jerky glide. You want to run. You want to run fast.
At what point does one’s hope have to meet with acceptance of the reality? Surely that will still be a long way off. Many more miles to go before that part of the marathon.
Sandra, the pianist at the church came in to visit. She has been following your marathon and has been cheering you on. Being a musical person, she reached to what she knew will help you. Music. Mozart music. She had read that Mozart’s music has been proven to improve brain activity and performance. Mozart is one of her favorite composers.
Another music connection. If the Birmingham University's (school of psychology)
research is right about the effect of a stroke victim’s favorite music having a positive effect on vision, then if you make Mozart music your favorite music – not only will you be able to see better to the left but with Mozart on board, anything is possible.
You noted, as we talked about the power of music, that it’s funny how one can benefit more by sharing their knowledge with others because it also triggers more interest for yourself. It’s all part of the interconnectiveness between us.
As she explained a little about Mozart to you, you were compelled to listen. “You should be a teacher.” You said. Sandra does teach children piano. Perhaps learning to play the piano could be good therapy for you.
You tell Sandra about your frustration of being limited to one floor of the house. You want to be able to go down stairs to your room “But I have a tough warden.” You say. You have a break out plan. The hospital passes may have to be arranged so that I must pick up more of your medications part way through the holidays. You are planning to take advantage of this and attempt to go downstairs. You hope you will be able to convince the other people in the house to let you try. I point out to you the only problem with your plan is that I’m onto you now and I won’t leave you alone.
On Tuesday, you had the ‘magic toilet’ test to look at your uro-dynamics! Sounds fairly sophisticated. You experienced a little stage fright but after a few positioning adjustments you pulled it off. An ultrasound bladder scanner was used after to make sure you completed the task – you did. You felt that you passed the test.
Your new friend, Joe, the maintenance guy for the hospital, pops in to say Hi. He is excited to see your recovery. He is in recruitment mode. He has a pet project that he wants you to help with. His wife, Dana who suffers from MS, flipped her scooter and broke her arm. The sidewalks of Truro are not friendly to the mobility-impaired. He wants to identify the problem areas and motivate the town to fix them up.
His excitement if catching and you want to help. You don’t see your role as a fellow mobility impaired citizen helping identify problem areas. Instead, you see your self going out into the streets of Truro and helping fix the bad spots.
It’s too early for you to want to identify with the ‘mobility impaired’. We still have too much hope to accept that yet.
You have a different sadness about you today. I ask you about it. You told me had some sad news. As you held my hand, you told me that Joan, a fellow patient, had died yesterday. You had known Joan and her family from the church. She was at the QE2 with you and was transferred back to Truro around the same time as you were. She had had health problems that affected her for many years, but her strong sense of determination would not let her down. It carried her through.
When you got more mobile with your wheel chair, you would visit with Joan and she shared her determination to overcome the health problems with you. Her funeral is on Dec 29th. The day you come back to the hospital. You want to go to the funeral. You want to go to show her that her determination lives on in the many people she touched. I understand, because even in my brief visits with her, she touched me with her strong sense of purpose.
A few phone calls and it was arranged. You can go to the funeral on the way back to the hospital on the 29th. You are happy about this. You start to talk about death. You say that when you die, you want to die running. “Another massive stroke or heart attack” are your preferences. I don’t want to talk about death, particularly, your death. For months, I have been focusing on living. Talking about death, steals my focus. At the time I didn’t understand why you wanted to talk about death, but now I think I understand. Like Joan, you are a fighter, She fought and lost. You don’t want to have to fight to recover for so long and so hard to come back, only to lose in the end.