Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday March 22 – Find Our Family Rhythm

I have been thinking about my ‘Me time’ as you call it. Right now Walking to work with Annie is my Me Time. This morning I opened an email from a friend. Sue’s email was about dogs, a subject close to both our hearts. It suggested that dog’s purpose is make you stop and think and appreciate the moment. “When someone is having a bad day” It said, “Be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.”

We need this reminder because sometimes we forget to appreciate the moment. I sighed as I read it. She’s right, and I am very guilty of forgetting lately. Recently, when I’m having a bad moment, Annie will nuzzle my elbow for attention. I was thinking that she wanted the attention but maybe she knows that I need the attention and is trying to tell me something. From now on … I will stop and think and try to appreciate the moment.

While walking home with Annie today, my mind was dancing about with ideas. I was thinking about sound. Hearing is a sense that comes from both sides and the brain processes the information so that one can tell the direction of a sound without thinking about why you know the direction. This must be because the brain integrates the auditory information somewhere. Your hearing seems fine so I wonder if there is some way that hearing can be used to compensate for your left neglect and visual field cut.

On a CBC radio show, I remember hearing about a woman who had a chemical accident that cause blindness. Since then, she has developed a special ‘seeing’ device that allowed her to ‘see’ with her ears. Her glasses have a camera, which changes a visual image into sounds that she trained her brain to ‘see’. This seems miraculous to me. I wonder if there is an application for your deficits.

As I climb the hill towards home, I start to design, in my mind, a hoist to go in our bathroom so that you can into and out of the bath tub safely. As my mind circles about the obstacles in our bathroom to building such a devise, I stumble on a memory from last year. The air is warm and the ground is soft and the light of the day all transported me to a time when we were hiking in the woods on a trial in Earltown with you almost a year ago. Oh, How things can change in a year.

Just as I was starting to feel a wave of grief come on, a car pulls up beside me. It was Karen who looks after the children on Fridays. She offers me wise words of hope and support. She said exactly what I needed to hear right now. “When Chris comes home, you will find the rhythm for your family again, meanwhile it’s one day at a time and have faith.”

It feels so good to hear that message from someone else. My own voice of hope gets hoarse after a while and I can’t hear it so well. It helps when other voices join in and increase the volume of the message.

She closes her words of wisdom with a quote from ‘Kung Fu Panda’. “Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift … that’s why they call it a present.”
Only another parent of young children can appreciate the wisdom and significance of quoting from a children’s cartoon.

It was a good day for you. You had that chance to smoke … but you didn’t.
“One day at a time.” You say echoing Harold’s wise words about not smoking from the weekend.

This is the last week for the PT student who is visiting from Sweden. You think the world of her. She is going to be a great PT. She seems to intuitively know how to move with the patient to get the best response. As I have watched the PT and her students work with you I can appreciate a intuitive nature that develops where the PT is so connected with your body mechanics that they know what you are doing right or wrong long before the patient does. It is a skill that I suspect takes a long time to develop.

Each patient would be like a new dance partner. The PT has to learn the subtle body mechanics of each patient and adapt their movements wit the patient. I got a small taste of this past weekend. It is mentally exhausting to constantly be aware of another human’s body. I found myself hushing the children when I had you walking or doing stair. I don’t dare multitask while walking with you.

We talk for quite a while on the phone tonight. You sound good and strong and you sound hopeful about the future … whatever it will look like. You said “I treasure the now … I want to live in the now and not hide my feelings.”

This is a good example of the ‘new you’. There are parts of the old you that I haven’t found since your stroke. The parts that make up the new you have always been there but they are magnified. It will take a little time to get used to the more open, honest, philosophic and sincere version of you. But that’s OK … we have the rest of our lives and I going to love to do it.

We are so much closer then we ever have been. It is mostly because you are talking and sharing and being open about all your feelings and thoughts. It’s a double-edged sword. The sharing can be a little over whelming sometimes but on the other hand, I feel very connected to you because of the sharing. I think that this new level of communication will be the basis of our new family rhythm.

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