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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

reflections

The light streams through the window
clouds, night and snowfall is gone,
The gleaming white reflects
clear!

This was my thought this morning when I woke and reflected on the long road I have been on, some prompted by UNLOADED's post yesterday.
When I first was released to the Van Munching inpatient rehabilitation center after a bit of time in ICU and the regular floors after the initial surgery, I had a hard time doing much of anything. I remembered bits and pieces of the regular hospital stay, but passage of time was confused at best. I could stand, with help and a walker, but had no sense of balance, not internally or externally and was very weak. In a very real way, this was my first lesson in giving up.
I had been physically very strong before the operation and may have been the strongest I had ever been in my life (albeit, overweight also). Growing up I had been very active, bicycling and swimming as the primary exercises for many hours a week. This made my legs and upper torso very strong (leg presses 1200 pounds). I also had practiced Tea Kwon Do/Tung So Do for many years and also had taught it.
As I got older I exercised at home every morning in a routine of stationary cycling and arm and hand exercises and then a few 'Katas' which mostly involved my legs. My outdoor activities would include vigorous walking (for some reason I had no stamina for running), Gardening and stone and brick work (yeah, I know, but they were hobbies and part of landscaping). I think I was pretty proud of my fitness level (except for the weight) and in one day it was all taken away from me.
Even if you did not count the problem I had with the eyesight, I was simply to weak to stand on my own.
I actually did not fight any of this and was told that I was a pleasure to work with (and confirmed by a friend who was a supervisor). It was my first lesson and I embraced it cause I was glad to be alive. I did what i was told to the best of my ability and let them help me in anyway they could.
All of the therapists were great, but 2 particularly stood out, Wendy was one. She worked on my ability first to stand and then to walk and it was hard. At the beginning, as I searched for the ability to stand on my own, I found not one center, but 3 and it confused me. She continued pushing.
Now as a quick aside, my balance was always something I needed to work on because at a very early age,I had damage done to the inner ear and nerve of my left ear, so that area of balance control was missing. I did well, working through that early in my life, but now my vision was not helping me either. Two clear images were being produced in my brain and that made 2 centers, but what was the third? It turns out that the third had to do with time. I had some sort of weird internal clock that would allow me to tell myself when to wake up and I would do it. No alarms. This was missing or off. Slowly this came back and slowly, through the excercises I was being put through, the other 2 'centers' came together, even though I was still seeing 2 images with my eyes. My balance was still off and that did not become mostly corrected till i came home and a home therapist worked with me.
At this point, I do the morning excercises, as I had done in the past, with no problem and even complete the kicking 'Katas' most of the time. It has only been since August since the surgery and December since the one set back.
I will not say that my ability to judge 'location' is really together yet and I still need help at times (especially when I try to put something on the table and miss), but I am extremely thankful for all the help and assistance I have had.
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