I’m not sure I took the right approach at dealing with my recovery and all that came with that. My head was so messed up for so long that I felt like trying to set goals for my physical recovery would have been pointless. There was so much to wrap my head around that I was literally going crazy. I knew that without constant monitoring and guidance I would fail. My head, my thoughts, wouldn’t allow me to focus on my body. I truly felt it would be in not only my best interest, but also in the interest of those around me to fix the thoughts in my head before I continued forth with pushing my physical limitations. I think that if I’m not there mentally, I can’t get my body to meet me any place other than the brink of insanity. I’ve improved a lot mentally; I’m learning to become more patient (it’s happening at a very slow pace, is all), I’m learning how to handle my rage and I’m learning to control my need to talk constantly – I often over-talk those around me. I don’t do it intentionally. I can’t really control my mouth anymore and I thought it was just the way I am but I learned that most people with Injury to the right side of their brain tend to talk excessively, have short attention spans and memory problems, so I currently blame the stroke for that ha! I’m still sad but sad is better than black depression. I get stressed but I’m learning how talk about it with my husband more than stuffing it in a corner of my mind where it grows like a cancer. Our communication is slowly improving as a result. It’s so very strange; I think my husband is the only man whose wife will admit that most of their issues are because of her (most, not all).
Now that things are getting better in my head, I’m on medicare with QMB, the baby is now a toddler and our oldest is in school full days, we started planning for me to begin therapy so that I can correct my gait and pick up pace after some professional strength training. We have been doing more exercises to help me prepare for a committed return to therapy, too. But wouldn’t you know with all the politics in Washington messing around with the quality of people’s personal lives and freedom, we are unsure of how long we have to do things at a “safe” yet “solid” pace.
Even though I wasn’t ready, we decided to get me on this machine that MMIL gave me that is like a cheap version of the Gazzelle. I was very excited to get on it. I am so desperate to find out where I am with my disability. I want to reach a point where I am no longer disabled by my deficit. I realize that I will never be the same person I was less than three years ago but I don’t want to be the person I am today in three years. Is that an unrealistic goal to set for myself? I know I need patience and I know if I push too hard I will only get frustrated but I don’t think I will ever let go of the thickest, darkest portion of this depression until I really start trying to better myself. I am so scared to fail. I am so easily discouraged but I think if put in a real effort this time I maybe can come out of this alive, ha!
We started out with my stretching routine before Kasper assisted me onto the machine (right leg up). I couldn’t even bend my knee enough to lift my left foot out from under the pedal; I was so tense with fear! Kasper had to position my foot for me. He also had to manually place my left hand around the handle of the left pole. I started the swing with my right leg, just letting my left leg go with the motion at first. Kasper then suggested I try using my left leg to contribute to the swing. I tried with success but after a few strides I looked down and became instantly confused. I couldn’t remember how to use my legs. This was an unforeseen obstacle! You would think that after 27 years of doing something so naturally as walking with two good legs that a mere 2.5 year pause wouldn’t put a ding in your ability to surrender to the same function once you had proper assistance. Well, ho-hum! was I wrong! I was able to maintain balance with the lean of each so-called “step” but my issue was in the bend of the knee. When do I bend my knees? The more I tried to use my right leg and knee as an example, the more difficult it became! The direction, right to left, front to back, up and down, it was all just puddling up in my brain and I realized right then that I can no longer differentiate right from left when it comes to the processes of the mind and body. Kasper hopped onto the machine because I had him so confused that even when he tried mock-walking along beside me his knees just wobbled without direction. It was like that awkward moment when you command your throat to swallow and nothing happens and you instantly think you’re choking or suffocating yourself. He finally understood what it is like to be every moment of every day!
Of course, that is highly exaggerated but the idea is the same. I am always having to direct myself with each movement of my left body. Sometimes the harder I try the more my left body feels like it is choking. It is very frustrating but I was reminded once I stepped away from the machine why I chose to focus on my mind before my body. I am so easily dismayed by lack of instant progress that discovering any new limitations or in-abilities (such as becoming confused by directions) that could hinder progress would quickly send me to the bed where I would hide beneath the covers and stew in my anger and disappointment. With my mind in a better state, I feel that I am better equipped to handle these new challenges and ready to accept them as a form of positive criticism – something to help guide me towards self-betterment rather than driving me away.