Journal entry by Julia Lundman

Tonight is the last night we will spend in acute rehab. Tomorrow Jamie will be discharged and move to our second apartment/office at Washington Street, which was Jamie’s original apartment for over 15 years before we moved in together. We’ve kept it all this time since it is affordably rent controlled, in an awesome location downtown, and serves perfectly as Jamie’s daytime office when he is not working at Pixar.

The reason for the move to Washington Street rather than our apartment on Arballo Drive has to do with stairs. The Washington Street place has an elevator with only three stairs outside the building and our place on Arballo Drive has two steps outside and then a rather daunting staircase inside. So Washington Street it is for now.

For the next week, Rob and a home-care physical therapist will be with Jamie during the day to work on strengthening his leg muscles and to practice walking up and down the hallways. When Rob flies back to Australia, Dom Baker, will arrive to pick up the baton. After Dom’s month long stay, we hope Jamie can move back to Arballo Drive and also start going to the outpatient clinic instead of in-home physical therapy.

While all of this is great and exciting progress, it also comes with some trepidation. Ok not some, but a lot – mounds, heaps, stacks, tons. Acute rehab has amounted to around the clock care and a huge support team of RN’s, Nurse’s assistants, Doctors, Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists. The work performed in supporting us both physically and emotionally has not only been necessary during this critical time, but also incredibly comforting. At the same time, the entire point of acute rehab for a stroke patient is to move through the most debilitating early stage of paralysis and cognitive impairment into retraining the body and mind toward increasing independence, an independence that feels like standing at base camp looking up at the peak of Mount Everest – challenging, frightening, daunting.

It is in these moments that I come back around and feel so thankful for the presence of Jamie’s brother Rob. Rob brought not only his intensely focused presence, but also his Buddhist
meditation practice, his many books on Buddhist thought, and constant reminders to be “mindful”. He has been such an amazing brother to Jamie and a good friend to me also. His hard work in keeping Jamie focused has directly caused many breakthroughs and helped both of us move through difficult moments. As a creative person too, he has been great company – perfectly tuned to the kind of stuff Jamie and I regularly discuss and laugh about.

With each transition brings a new Baker, it seems – each with their own special talent, to help him through this difficult time. Maybe Mount Everest is instead more about a swelling of love and loyalty for Jamie than it is about scaling a cold mountain with little oxygen. This demonstration of love for Jamie has been written in my neural code forever, and I know, despite the stroke, it has never left Jamie’s even for a moment.  



18 thoughts on “Transitions”

  1. You made me cry ‘AGAIN’ I gotta stop reading this stuff.
    You will be able to watch the fog roll in across the bay while you meditate. Thinking of you both today. X Joy
    — Deane Taylor, February 25, 2013

  2. G’day Julia, Jamie and Rob,
    For all the perfectly understandable trepidation and sense of challenge it is a good day to be on the eve of the next big move – literally crossing a threshold, as well as metaphorically.

    To you, Rob, we say again “well done”. I know you went with some diffidence and trepidation of your own; but how needlessly. Jamie and Julia have both borne testimony to how splendidly effective your presence has been, in great continuity with the standard set by Jo.

    To Jamie and Julia we say “God speed” as you set up shop on the top of your hill. As Dad of this whole show, I can’t tell you how proud I am of the whole lot of you.
    Love and cheers,
    Beaut news on the move to The Hill! We watch each step of the journey with great interest admiration and love, James! Go well!!
    Wendy x
    — Rob & Wendy Baker, February 20, 2013

  3. Hey Julia, Jamie & Rob,
    Rob are you the brother who plays the didgeridoo? If so, we’ve met briefly, so want to say ‘hey M8!’

    And Julia, I agree Everest is too cold a metaphor, maybe the Appalachian Trail is more like it – ups & downs and tiring with breakthroughs that overlook the beautiful things to come?
    Thanks as ever for sharing what you’re doing, what’s coming up and most importantly how you and Jamie are feeling about it all, I think of you and say a prayer to add just a little oomph! to Jamie’s recovery every day. Love,
    — Scott Tolmie, February 20, 2013

  4. So glad to hear that you guys are moving home! Wishing you lots of love and good thoughts as you make this big transition. Thinking of you guys always.xoSam
    — Samantha Wilson, February 20, 2013

  5. It’s so good to hear you are going to be home. Nothing like your own bed and being around the familiar. Jamie steps are much larger than baby steps. Here’s to your continuing progress :) Hugs to you and Julia.
    — Charlene Kelley, February 20, 2013

  6. it’s heartening to hear that you are scaling your ‘Mt Everest’ of recovery with your own personal mountain of Bakers (btw- there’s a Mt Baker in WA my home state.)
    please keep us up to date on when visiting will be allowable, helpful, desirable, etc.
    and- can you post the mailing address of the Washington St apt where you’ll now be staying?
    all the best,charlie
    — charlie canfield, February 20, 2013

  7. Yes indeed! Progress, up and onward! Go Jamie, GO!
    Julia, you’re doing such a great job at keeping us informed and taking us all through this heartfelt, albeit difficult journey. It’s no wonder that with you and his family members by his side, Jamie has these recovery successes. Add that to his own strong will and he’ll come out of this smelling like a rose. Well, maybe more like Old Spice or a rose with a five o’clock shadow. ;)

    With love, Tom

    — Tom Rubalcava, February 20, 2013

  8. Hi Jamie,
    I hope you received the hacksaw I baked into the loaf of bread. It’s the same one my dad used to escape from prison in Tijuana. If so, I know you’ll make a clean getaway any day now. Still, take it slow from here bud! We love you and if you need anything else, let us know!
    Kevin, Lauren, Anna, Severine, Theresa Richardsons
    — Kevin Richardson, February 20, 2013

  9. So this is it. Big breath. Home. Scary, see it as that and then move onwards. Learning to navigate the outside world from your new inside world. Daunting – yes, but only while you hang on to that thought. Do-able – most definitely yes, especially as you develop new thoughts about what is possible, and you listen to the pace your body wants to go. You have done amazingly, my friend. Amazingly. Truly. With the Everest of love that Julia wrote about , surrounding you, supporting you, you can do anything. Love you lots James and Julia, and thinking of you as you transition to life outside acute rehab. Lots of loving thoughts xoxooo

    — Janine Dawson, February 20, 2013

  10. katatsuburi soro-soro nobore fuji no yama
    “Little snail
    inch by inch, climb Mount Fuji!”
    Kobayashi Issa, Japanese Haiku Master (1763 – 1827)
    :0) xoxooo
    — Janine Dawson, February 21, 2013

  11. Jamie we send out our energy to you, Julia and the fantastic Baker boys everyday. We love hearing every report from you and Julia and are now visualising you both at Washington St thinking it would be great to still be there around the corner. Chris and Simie would be driving you nuts but in a good way. Ulee pot stickers and real food juices await.
    Keep your legs moving, spine supple and a trip to the hairdressers is almost like going on holidays!
    — Lisa Hauge, February 22, 2013

  12. Speaking of hairdressers, I make house calls, in case you want to de-shag yourself ( that doesn’t sound right). Just let me know and I’ll be there. That goes for any of you three that may need grooming.
    243 / 305
    Jennifer XXXOOO
    — Jennifer Clark, February 22, 2013

  13. Jamie, so glad to hear you are going home!! Julia, thank you so much for keeping all of us informed of Jamie’s progress for the past two months. It has been so generous of you. Julia–your devotion and love are such an inspiration, as is Jamie’s courage, will, humor and passion for life. You two are amazing.I’m so glad your brothers have been by your side, Jamie–your brothers, Julia–wow, no better remedy than people who love you madly cheering you on every day…I send my warmest thoughts to you both.Love, Marie
    — marie shell, February 23, 2013

  14. Hi James,
    Its been a while since I checked in to your site and it seems like you (with lots of support Julia – who I hope to meet soon, Rob & Joe) have made some great progress.
    The Baker brother baton change helping you to get back on your feet I guess one of the great things about having a big supportive family.
    I can see from your progress comments that you are still applying lots of determination, courage and humour to rehab …. keep it up mate and good luck with the move back home !!!
    I am still hoping that you will be well enough for me to catch up with you when I come through San Francisco in late March or early April, but I will leave that up to you.
    Saludos Stephen
    — Stephen Nano, February 23, 2013

  15. Hey Jamie & Julia
    Great news on all the progress ! I got a bit behind with checking in so now I’m all mixed up about whether to respond to Julia’s genuinely inspiring and heartfelt updates.. get Funky…reference the magic combination of Battlestar Galactica & Phillip Glass…or explore buddhism but you have to write about what you know right…?

    I’ve always been a true believer in the healing power of AC/DC and now we have the bloody proof ! Dad got me into them many years ago and we’ll still occasionally hopelessly murder a few songs on guitar together when we can. AC/DC age like a fine Scotch (which does make sense if you think about it)

    Its great to know you’re doing so well mate
    and its a pleasing mental picture, you and your brother (who sounds inspiring)
    rocking out, massaging as a team worthy I’m sure of the equally photogenic Young brothers ! maybe you’ve now converted a few other patients to such poetry as ‘…she had a body like venus with arms..’ In fact I imagine Bon Scott could have fashioned a very dirty song about ‘having a stroke’ for a generation of young lads to giggle at ? ;-)
    Congrats on both the Jailbreak and the..ahem Highway to Health (no don’t run there’s plenty more…)
    All the best for the next stage at home you guys Cheers ;-)
    — Simon Dunsdon, February 23, 2013

  16. Hey Jamie, it’s Mike Stacchi. I hear from Tony that you are making progress. My thoughts and prayers are with you every day.
    — Mike Stacchi, February 23, 2013

  17. Jamie!
    Back at the og crib! Good going on your progress. Good to know you’re in great hands with Julia and your brother Rob.
    I wish you strength for your continued recovery, verily i wish you “The Eye of The Tiger”!! yeah that’s right, watch it, hear it, live it.

    now if that seems too much at first here it is survivor style

    never seen this before, but they seem to be roaming around the tenderloin sportin their big 80’s do’s. a good start i say! knowing that you’ve had many moments already that could be edited together into a kick ass montage, i thought you might get a kick out of watching one from Rocky 4

    Get great buddy!
    — bosco ng, February 24, 2013

  18. Dear Jamie… So very sorry to hear about your ordeal. Just know that you and Julia are in our hearts and prayers.
    With love always,Crozza and Tim
    — susan crossley, February 25, 2013


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