This is a post I started back in January that I apparently forgot to actually post. Here you go.
People at rehab would frequently say things like, “you’re doing so well!” It used to frustrate me that they could see changes and improvements that I couldn’t. It’s easy to see changes in other people; the difficult part is finding your own changes when all you want to do is stand up and take care of yourself. But you can’t. Because ataxia has invaded your cerebellum. It’ll be alright though.
I was disappointed when I began my first official week at rehab. I was still in a wheelchair. How would I go to the washroom? How would I get lunch? Too many questions and worries were constantly in my head in the time leading up to my first day. Adam had made arrangements to return to work the first week of January, and his mother had offered to take a leave of absence in order to take me to rehab each day. The nearly 30 mile drive to pick me up in the mornings, many times in Houston rush hour traffic, then 20 some-odd miles to TIRR, followed by a day of waiting in the lunch room while I completed my therapies, followed by another 50+ miles dropping me off at home and returning home herself, again in rush hour traffic, 3 times a week…well, it was the most selfless thing that anyone had ever done for me. Yes, Adam was a huge factor, but he didn’t have anything to do with how comfortable I became around his mother. I honestly think that I would still be in a wheelchair if it weren’t for her.
It’s too difficult, impossible to summarize the many things that so many people have selflessly done for me throughout my first year of recovery. I’m one of the lucky ones who get to say that. Unreservedly, I’m one of the lucky ones.
Adam gave away the better part of a year of his life to my recovery, somehow smiling through the ugliest parts. Andrea can be counted on every time I need to ask her a question about my own life. Derrick is always there to talk to when I need to make a tough call; and, as he always has been, he was there to help me through one of the toughest decisions of my life (I haven’t gotten to that part yet, so keep guessing.). Crystal; ever willing to help with absolutely anything. Selflessly spending hours baking, cooking, planning. Heather; always around, even when I’m horrible. I don’t know how to say thank you enough. Ashley and JD, for giving me safe places to speak freely. Isaiah, for suffering through my memory ticks and staying anyway. Adam #2, for always having time to talk to me, to help me feel normal. I can’t even scratch the surface of all of the things that people have done for me, or shed a glimmer of light on the amount of people who have been there for some part of this. I’m definitely one of the lucky ones.
Tomorrow will be my first day talking to the Stroke Survivors group at Memorial Hermann. I’m so nervous. Everything will be fine though. Always is.