Mar 13, 2013 1:43am
Back in the hospital, the physical therapists repeatedly referred to my stroke as “an insult to the brain”. Oh those medicos and their jargon… They also encouraged me to think in the moment, focus on my therapy, and not let my mind dwell on the grim details of my stroke. Yet now that I am no longer in a controlled environment, I admit that it is sometimes hard to shut out thoughts of the repercussions, because I have to deal with them all the time; disability claims, social security claims, and so on.
On the plus side, out here in the real world there is also the joy of real life, of simple things like a weekend with people I care about, looking around a city that I am fond of, and after two months cooped up in hospital that is liberating. Yet strangely, scary. Fitting back in to real life will be sometimes be uncomfortable, mostly because of the awkwardness I now feel due to my physical disability, but I trust that I’ll get used to that with time.
I have been home from the hospital now for 3 weeks. Well sort of home… although I have had this apartment for 15 years, I don’t really think of this as home now. Since I moved in with Julia at the start of last year, this apartment has become my workspace. Although it is rent controlled and quite cheap (by Bay Area standards, anyway) it seemed extravagant to hold onto it but I was glad that I did, because the place I share with Julia has a staircase which I was unable to climb when first I left the hospital. So, High atop Nob Hill, this place became my base camp for the past few weeks. It has an elevator but stairs as well, and I practiced climbing them a few times a day, along with plodding up and down the corridors, trying to build up my leg strength.
Finally, This last weekend, Julia, my brother Dom and I, took a trip down to our home and I was able to finally get up and down the stairs, albeit with much huffing and puffing and one timid step at a time. It is just a small thing really, but after my recent (and ongoing) frailty, it felt great to be able to make the ascent. We celebrated with a drive around this beautiful city. Now that goal has been attained I have to get into the outpatient program at California Medical Center for my physical therapy to continue. Unfortunately it is hard to get in there.
Getting up our stairs was mainly a question of working out and pushing myself, but the new goal will be a case of dealing with some bureaucracy. I’ve had to deal with a lot of that since leaving hospital… For example disability and social security; I won’t be able to work for many months, so I will need some income in the meantime. After one week of constant calling without connecting to a real human, I had to go into disability in person. It was a grueling day of wheelchairs, maneuvering in and out of taxis (it’s hard, trust me) talking to frustrating people, and in the end filing an appeal. So yet another case of fingers crossed and wait and see..
On the other hand, any time I manage to successfully negotiate my way out of the building and into and out of a cab without falling over is a win! So while the current period has with it some awkwardness and bumps here and there, there are some small victories as well, and I’m on the road to getting better. It’s just a transition on the way to a more normal life.
Hey, just because there’s been an insult to my brain, I don’t have to let it get me down.