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Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Small World Seems To Be Shrinking

I have been home for six days. I am amazingly lucky to be home. Unlike many others in similar circumstances I have escaped life in a nursing home. More than most people I realize just how fortunate I am. I tell myself this each and every day--it is my mantra "I am lucky to be home". This is a fact I cannot ever dismiss because if it were not for my familial support I would be rotting away in an institution. Yet at the same time I struggle with my dependence on others. I struggle knowing that I am stuck in my living room for months on end. I struggle to keep my mind active. I struggle to eat a high protein diet as ordered by the surgeon. And worst of all I struggle to be grateful for the fact I am home. Talk about being ungrateful! Here is the strange dichotomy between one's intellectual knowledge and personal feelings. I know I have no right to complain about the current state of my affairs. But my brain and heart seem to disagree.

I miss my wheelchair. I miss my desk. I miss ordinary household chores. I miss working up an appetite kayaking in the Hudson River. I miss teaching. I miss going for a drive. I miss my very boring and ordinary life. I know this sounds pathetic. I also worry if I am thinking and feeling along these lines what will I be thinking in November. I suppose I am learning the adaptation process I am going through now is more difficult than I imagined. For goodness sake the weather appears to affect my moods. On gloomy days outside my mood reflects the climate. Wow, how life has changed. Weather never influenced me like this before. I cannot help but wonder how my experience will impact my future thoughts and experiences. For one thing I am sure, each and every time I get in and out of my wheelchair I will be nothing but grateful.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Its a Small World

I survived the weekend. I must be doing better because nonstop football games, college and pro, grew increasingly boring. I read more, watched TV less and seem more engaged. No doubt my overall health is getting better by the day. I feel stronger and friends say I look much better. I have not yet jumped back into work but I am getting close. Other signs of progress are that the wound care specialists are excellent. They are familiar with the wounf vacuum and I am relieved they know what they are doing.

The above is very real, finite and measurable progress. This progress is tempered by my new reality--my world is very small. I live in my living room, cannot get out of bed and look out the same windows daily. I have gone from an active lifestyle to one that leaves me virtually inert. I do not mean to whine--I am all too aware I am lucky. I could have ended up in a nursing home or still be stuck in the hospital. I also know I am lucky to live in my home as my living room boasts quite the view. Yet weeks ago my idea of observing wildlife includes paddling on the Hudson River. Now I look out my window at squirrels and chipmunks. This is a big let down. I have no doubt my spirits will rise as I adjust to my new life and temporarily limited environment. For now, I am still in a transitional phase. I am better but now 100% I am happy to be home but sad at the same time. These observations bring back long ago memories of when I was first paralyzed. To be blunt, the adjustment from walking to using a wheelchair was a real mind fuck. The transition however was filled with periodic excitement. For instance, I recall my first wheelchair. What a poerful sense of liberation! To go fro a hospital clunker to what was at the time a real wheelchair left me smiling for days. Thus I am content knowing in a few weeks or months I will have a similar experience when I sit up and leave my home for the first time. So this is what I am trying to keep at the forefront of my mind. I am not always successful but as each day passes the hospitalization drifts into the past and I am another day closer to a return to what passes for normal to me. Amazing that on such a deary day I can be so positive.