Aug 16, 2013 10:34pm
This is another Landmark week. Starting last Saturday, I have spent the last week at home alone while Julia was away painting.
A few months ago, she was invited to be part of a group of artists going on a week-long camping trip to paint in a remote region of the Sierras. Although she was absolutely thrilled to be asked, her first instinct was not to go, because of me. However, after talking about it, we realized that this could be a significant target for the both of us to aim for. I would try for some much needed autonomy and she would prepare for some equally needed time away from work (not to mention a rest from Gimp Patrol). So that is what we’ve been working toward for the past few months.
In order for my part in this to work, I needed to prove that I could get myself out of trouble. For someone in my situation, a lot of that is making sure to have a fully charged cel phone on hand at all times and a roster of friends who will call for daily check ups. I also needed to demonstrate that I could get up off the ground unassisted if I ever fell over. That is still difficult due to the weakness of various muscles in my leg but, thanks to some specific training from my physical therapist, it is now doable.
For Julia’s mission, a lot was about assembling the right gear: compact painting supplies and easels, a comfy pack and sleeping bag, a tent and boots and so on. She also needed a certain amount of mental preparation for being away from the comforts of civilization. Hair-dryers, flushing toilets and showers.
I am aware that leaving me alone was a big hurdle for her to get over; to trust that I would be OK if left to my own devices. After all, It was poor Julia who found me naked on the floor when I was stricken with the stroke (and just imagine the horror of having the no-pants image of me seared into your head.. Brrr) but I am very grateful that she was prepared to take that leap of faith. A leap that I must take too, for she will be out of cellular range and un-contactable for the entire week of her trip into that remote area.
I am happy to report that my part in the experiment has gone very well so far. Of course my week “alone” has not been ALL solitude. I still have my therapy classes to do and my pal Gordon has been a great friend in driving me to and from those, and checking in on me with the occasional lunch. My good buddy Bosco has also kept an eye on me too and we’ve gone out to dinner, movies and so forth. I had several home visits from the acupuncturist who is treating me so I never felt that I was far from help if I needed it this week.
In my genuine alone time this week I’ve had a chance to think and write. I am now coming to terms with how long the rehabilitation of my hand will take, and it may be another year away, or even more. I am absolutely not going to give up on the goal of getting back my dexterity, but at the same time, I do not want to wait another year or more to create (or for that matter, TO WORK) so writing may be my salvation. At the very least, I can properly write out the half-formed projects in my head so they are ready to be made into comics, graphic novels (or whatever) when my hand is finally equal to the task, and who knows, I may even hammer one into a book or screenplay.
Speaking of those, I got to watch a ton of Netflix guilty pleasures this week; the kind of stuff Julia does not really enjoy (which means a lot of crime drama and a few horror movies). So all in all the ALONE TIME experiment has been a success.
DAY SEVEN UPDATE: I just got a few quick texts from Julia, who has come back into cellular range after a week. Apart from an alarming text about “bears in the camp site” she seems to have had a marvelous time, and is due back later tonight. Her cell was close to no batteries when they hiked out and got on the road for the return drive to the Bay Area. I expect to hear about her adventures in detail when she gets in late tonight.
I better go and tidy the flat!