28 May 2016

Recovery

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I returned home confined to a wheel chair. I hated that thing and on numerous days, I wished I had the strength to chuck it through one of the big picture windows that surrounded my living room. I fantasized about it rolling down the hill, into the ravine, buried deep in the woods, never to be seen again.

 

I hated being dependent on people. I was very thankful that my mother had come to live with us, devoting all of her time and attention to tending to my needs and caring for my family. But, I longed for my independence and to be a part of the daily routines of my four active children.

 

I hated the fact that I was always fatigued. I hated the boredom that resulted as I was confined to either my bed or that damn chair.

 

I hated how long it took to do basic things . . .

I watched TV . . . a lot of TV! To this day, I cringe every time I flip channels and see an episode of “Saved by The Bell,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or “The Office.”

 

This was perhaps the darkest period of my recovery. Days seemed endless and nights were terrifying.

 

I was so weak. I would sleep for hours every day and at night the younger two would crawl in my bed and fall asleep with me. I cherished those times and upon reflection, realize how much we desperately needed to hold on to one another.

 

Home healthcare started coming twice a week. I was given strengthening exercises to improve my flexibility . . . preparing for the day when I would graduate from “the chair.”

 

Water therapy was added to my regimen. Since I still didn’t have weight-bearing capabilities, I was dependent on the lift to get me me in and out of the water. The twice-a week trek to the rehab center became a major highlight of my existence.

 

My healing seemed to be progressing nicely and eventually, I was granted weight-bearing permission. I remember the day that I took my first steps. Home healthcare paid a visit that morning and my therapist encouraged me to stand. I was so wobbly. I had been working so very, very hard on being strong enough for this day. I was excited and yet filled with trepidation.

 

Once I found my footing, I was encouraged to take a few steps. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait for the kids to come home that day from school and I rested up until they arrived. I called all four of them to my wheelchair and told them that I had a surprise. I stood up and with the help of my two older boys, I walked about six feet down the length of my dining room. With mouths open and tears welling up in their eyes, they were in a state of total shock and were soon cheering me on. We were all ecstatic!!! I was so thankful and felt like I had accomplished so much. This is a memory that will forever be emblazoned in my heart.

 

After approximately a month, I graduated from a wheel chair to a walker. My friends made numerous “old people” and “tennis ball” jokes . . . I didn’t care. I was vertical and gradually becoming more mobile.

 

My first formal outing was attending my son, Jason’s 8th grade graduation. I was so proud of him and so thankful that I could be physically present. We took so many things for granted before. The steps towards progress were getting bigger all the time and there was so much to be grateful for.

 

After another month, I graduated to a cane . . . I found this clumsy and awkward and so I chucked this after about a week, determined to walk without assistance. I had a limp but I had an unwavering mindset that I was going to walk with a normal gait and wear my beloved pumps once again.

 

I continued physical therapy for the remainder of the year constantly working at building my strength, regaining a sense of balance and going up and down stairs.

 

I fought so hard to be strong again because I believed that once I was physically okay, life would return to normal . . . Oh how I was mistaken!

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