One weekend, Angel, Galvin and Brodie came with Heather to visit me during lunch. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to keep from eating in public and felt a bit more at ease about the prospect. Heather’s weekly visits had become one of few constants in my life at the time; I could always count on Adam to be around, had my daily schedule, saw Adam’s parents and my family frequently, and knew that Heather would be around on the weekend.
That weekend, Heather and Angel picked up a statue of a frog dressed as Batman from the hospital gift shop. Batman (my favorite DC character) + frog (Heather hates frogs with a passion) = incredibly thoughtful gift. I wanted to show how much I loved it, but my vocal tonality was still pretty monotonous and I still didn’t like to talk much, so I smiled a lot (it felt like a lot, but my face was probably just tired), said thank you, and began on my lunch. I listened to Brodie (Angel’s son/cutest kid alive) and Galvin’s (Angel’s boyfriend and a friend of mine) banter while the others went for their food.
Meg, one of my best friends, came by and sat by my bed the evening of her birthday. It was also a shower night, so she waited by my bed while the tech rolled me in the shower bed to the washroom. Afterward, she was still patiently waiting next to my bed while the tech helped me into bed. I still didn’t feel comfortable with my speech at the time and didn’t say much. Meg didn’t seem to mind, though. She stayed for a while, then waited to see if anyone would come to shoo her away at the end of visiting hours and stayed a bit longer. That visit was the best (and probably only) birthday present anyone has ever given me for their birthday.
Kat, my best friend from college, found a way to visit. She doesn’t drive, so it was difficult for her to make the thirty mile trip, but she found a route along the Metro. I can only imagine how long that took. She visited during the week, over lunch, so I didn’t have a lot of time to see her, but it was good to have someone who had been in my life for the last nine years talk about normal things. I needed that.
Jenn came by a couple of times. She left her fuzzy pink scarf with me – it was freezing in the facility – and kept me updated about everyone. She had been part of my ‘search team’ the night of the stroke and was present for some of the events in the first hospital where I spent time in ICU during my weird apocalypse dream. I apparently said quite a few highly inappropriate things, so I’m glad that the very-difficult-to-offend-Jenn was present instead of someone very easily offended.

Me and Frosty at Whiskey River, September 2013

Frosty, a co-worker who had become like a brother to me, would keep me updated about the goings ons around office. My accounts had been divided up and some major changes were underway. I wanted to goof off every time I saw him, but my new body wouldn’t allow it. I looked forward to his visits and updates.

Seeing these people who had been constants in my life made me both painfully aware of my new deficits and more comfortable with my new body at the same time.

It was only the beginning of a long, hard road, and these were only a few of the many people who I would look to in the future, but they helped me through the most difficult early days. For that, I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am.

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