My awesome cousin Sarah wrote me yesterday to say hello, and she asked how I was handling being “stuck,” meaning isolated and not able to get out like normal. The answer: it’s weird, it’s frustrating sometimes, but really it hasn’t been that bad.
The weird and frustrating parts have just occurred to me in the past few days. For the first couple of weeks I was home, I was so excited to be able to go ANYWHERE, like the grocery store or physical therapist, that I just focused in on getting myself from Lazy Boy to car to wheelchair to store to car to Lazy Boy in one piece. Anything that happened while I was out – getting to wheel around, etc – was a bonus. I felt so constrained within my body – very limited movement and significant pain with careless movement – that I was thankful for a safe place to keep still.
Just the past few days, that constraint has started to lift. The lateral movement in my right leg is increasing day by day, as is the muscular strength I can use in my PT exercises. I have little enough pain that – especially when I’m not moving – I feel pretty normal. So when I finished filling out insurance forms today, I thought, “I’ll just walk these down to the mailbox.” Yeah, not really. I can’t get down the driveway without Michael helping to stabilize my walker – it’s not paved and would be kind of steep even if it was – and I certainly can’t do the front stairs. So I literally can’t get out of here. I mean I could get out if the house was on fire, but as far as just taking a walk down the road or getting in my car to go to the gym or store, not a chance. Completely dependent. I find myself missing the silly DJ’s I listen to on the way to work, just because driving is my alone time, my time to focus before starting the day and unwind before arriving back at home. But it will come back, too.
So for now, I listen to live streams of NPR Morning Edition while doing my PT before breakfast, and then I keep well occupied during the day. Today I even used the stove to make lunch. OK, I steamed some yellow beans – not too hard, but it did involve more than chop & plop, which has been my MO for meals thus far. I’m finally feeling good enough not to be completely paranoid that my dogs & cats will jump on me, so they get to hang out in the Recovery Suite with me, even when Michael’s not around. They mostly think I’m boring, but it’s nice to have a little company.
Which brings me to the magic of the web. For the last three weeks, Facebook, email, and my Train-This Google Group have kept me going. And for the first 5 days or so, before I could sit up enough to use a computer, my trusty iPhone kept me occupied during druggy, sleepless nighttime hours. I haven’t counted all of the messages I received – probably from a good number of you reading this right now – but it was a lot. It really made me feel loved and made it easier to get through. Letters are wonderful, flowers are beautiful, and I will never, ever turn down gourmet chocolate. But there is something about hearing from people in real time that really grabs me. I never thought I’d be such a fan of techy communication – but I am. It fascinates me, and it’s kept me connected with my team competing in Lake Placid, the Tour de France, a zillion blogs, the national news, and the everyday thoughts of my friends and family. Amazing.
Thanks for all the good words. You make me :).