I took an early lunch break today so I could call the resident on your case. She has been very supportive over the last 3 weeks. I am hopeful that I can enlist her help to get a psychological consult for you. I really want you to talk to a psychologist so that you can start to help yourself. “There is a long waiting list.” She says. “But since he’s on an antidepressant, maybe we can get a psychiatrist to see him.” I am relieved that we have a plan. At this point, I don’t know if the drug is needed or it’s the right drug or that it’s even working. What’s more, the side effects may be more of a hindrance to you then any benefit that they offer.
It is my understanding that the neglect is a big problem. Severe neglect tends to suggest a poorer prognosis. I don’t know where you are on the scale of severe. I don’t even know if the visual field loss is due to true blindness or neglect. Is there a difference and does it matter?
The last day or so I have been feeling anger. Lots of anger. It is not a good feeling. I wear anger very poorly. It has a tendency to eat away at me. When I get angry, I usually try to scare it away with physical excursion.
After work, I walked home with Annie. We took the long way and motored up the hill in record time. My heart rate went up but the anger was still there, gnawing away at my mind. Exercise wasn’t going to be enough. I needed more. By the time we got home, I decided that I would clean up the garage. Reorganize it and put up some shelves to get better storage. This is a project that I have wanted to do for a long time.
Since there is nothing that I can control that is important to me right now. I need to vent my energy into something that I can control. My home environment. I can control and do it with a little ingenuity and creativity. All these things tend to be important aspects to a good anger release. Maybe this will help me over this anger.
Finish putting away the Christmas decorations and tidy up the shelves in the garage will be my therapy for anger.
To put up the new shelves, I have to tear down some old shelves. I unloaded the things stored there and realized that this was a mistake. Your chain saw that you used to crave tree sculptures, your snow shoes, your spare bicycle parts, the metal detector, various wood working tools were among the items on the shelves. All these things reminded me of what you lost.
The anger clung to me like it is has static charge. Every time I try to get rid of it, it zips me and clings to another body part. I can’t escape it.
I guess this new level of anger is in response to my feelings about your losses. I have to move to the next step. How do I do that? I can’t unlock that way of thinking from my brain. Instead of thinking about the reminders of your losses, I should be using my energy to think about the gratitude I have for the abilities that you have left. I need to put my energies into seeking gratitude not revenge and remorse.
I have felt especially down today. I am getting sick of the ‘poor me’ attitude that cycles in my head. I have to shake it off if I’m going to be any good to you. Thankfully, the antidote to the ‘poor me’ and the ‘poor us’ blues came in the mail today. A book entitled ‘Stronger after Stroke – Your Road Map to Recovery”. I found it online while looking for the one handed book that your OT recommended. It’s quite impossible to tell if a book is going to be helpful or not in this venue.
I choose the book because of the title. The word ‘Roadmap’ appealed to me. So I press the ‘put in shopping cart’ button and now it’s here. It looks good. It has very tangible ideas and plans for the long road of recovery, including a home ‘gym’ designed for your physio. This is what I needed. Something I can sink me teeth into. I have to feel like I doing something. I have to do something tangible to help you through this marathon. This book is giving me ideas ... lots of ideas.
The children and I talk about your vision test result. They are clearly distressed about it. I thought it would be better to tell them now and get used to the idea so that when we see you on the weekend, the wound will have a little time to heal.
We talk about your growing list of losses. I tell them that you are sad to see these things go away. “What about glasses or contacts?” Tara asks. I said that sight and legs and even your arm may comeback in time, but it won’t be soon.
“We have to try to help Daddy see himself the way we see him. As a Daddy and as a husband. Not a runner or driver or the many other things he did for us before his stroke. He needs to know what he means to us as a person.” Both Tara and Quinn seem confident they can think of five wonderful things they love about you. There are so many things that they love about you. The trick will be keeping the list to five things.
We talk about Valentine’s day and our family tradition with the twist. “Wow, that’s hard.” Tara says. “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others!” Quinn says “Bad guys don’t like themselves … you know like bullies!” We decide who gets which colours. Tara is green again, Quinn wants to be pink this year, That leaves blue and yellow for you and I.
Quinn announces “I know what to write about myself!” “What’s that?” I ask. “I love that I’m a good person.” He replies in a very matter-a-fact way. “I know what I’m going to write” Tara says slyly, “But it’s a secret for now!”
The two us may be confused about how we see ourselves, but, so far, we have managed to give our children the gift of self-love. Maybe it’s a much easier thing to do when you are young and don’t have so much life baggage.
Today is the first day I haven’t talked to you. I called when I got home, there was no answer, then later your line was busy, then no answer again. Then busy then finally at 10pm I couldn’t call any more because the patient lines are shut down for the night.
It’s going to be a restless sleepless night without hearing your voice.