Today the head physical therapist gave me a compliment. He said I was handling things so well, that most people would have given up and stopped trying when faced with the multitude of symptoms and problems I’ve had since my accident. That’s nice, and when people say things like how they are proud of how I’ve been, my positive energy and things like that I really do appreciate it. It makes me feel good to think people are viewing me that way, when I’m viewing myself going through it in a way that’s often not admirable, with lots of crying, mad ugly crying yo, lots of self-pity and down moments and days and weeks. But that’s mostly hidden, and others generally see me determined to get better, to find answers and not give up. So it’s nice. But it’s kind of weird, because anyone would do the same thing, I think.
I mean, what’s the alternative? Lay down on my floor and hope to wake up next year? Dress in black and listen to Joy Division on repeat (I did that from 1995 until 1997 and it didn’t really help me out too much then, either.) I am Mother and On Must I March, dizzily from doctor to doctor, to more and more doctors and even to my rehabs and my therapies and even when I just want to be normal and when I feel like there isn’t too much in my life that is enjoyable right now, when it all feels like a surreal parade of medical events and crap.
Anyone who has to, does what they have to do. I mean, who really gives up? What would giving up mean? Going to a bar at opening afternoon hour and not leaving until you pass out and get carried home? That sounds pretty good right now except A) I can’t drink and B) I don’t have a babysitter.
Plus, as everyone’s no-nonsense grandmother would remind them in moments like this, It could be way worse, like I’m alive, I have limbs and sight and hearing and hale and hearty children and home over my head and many more square meals than I even need. Lest we ever forget that. It’s powerful and it’s a cliche cause it’s true.
It’s kind of another one of those weird psychological distancing things people do to others who go through tough times or events. “I could never do/be/say/handle/cope/manage + NOUN the way you are!” Sounds like a nice thought, right? Yet there’s something odd and menacing lurking on the lowdown side of that nicety, something that’s making the afflicted out to be special, in a complimentary way, yes, but again, it’s that illusion of OTHERNESS. The person going through something is special, because the regular old person couldn’t handle it, because it wouldn’t happen to them.
These things only happen to Other People. Interestingly enough, March is Brain Injury Awareness Month ands one of the slogans of the campaign is: Brain Injuries Don’t Just Happen to Other People.
Because the truth is, anyone will handle what gets tossed their way, and tossed it goes, like a pile of steaming poop. You do what you have to do, because what’s the alternative?
Cat Power sang it pretty well. “We all do what we can/ So we can do just One More Thing.”
Yup can’t stop-won’t-stop deliberately dramatic capitalizations. SO SORRY NOT SORRY. I had one of those bad days yesterday, when my daughter bonked heads with me which made me dizzy. I feel like my life is kind of a Dantean riddle, a special level of hell where the utmost commend is don’t bump your head, or you won’t get better, but at the same time here, please take care of these two children for twelve hours a day every day by yourself and don’t let a 17-month old boy ever tap a toy into your temple or knock into you in any way, because, oh, that’s impossible. NEVERMIND. Oh, and here’s a boulder, please push it up this hill for eternity:
And then the reality of my first day at vision therapy the day before sunk in: The doctor recommended I don’t go for walks because they make me dizzy. Yesterday was the first day of spring, and finally warm. I had been living on the future promise of At least I can walk soon, even if I can’t run or go to the gym, at least I can walk every day. 100 year olds walk every day.
When it’s warm, I walk with my kids everywhere. We walk to school, to the park, to the playground, to town, for recreation, for fun, we walk the dog, I walk Henry for naps, I walk for fresh air and a nice activity. Can’t walk? That put me over the edge. That was more than I could bear, truly too much. I walked anyway yesterday. I don’t think I can follow this directive. I guess I will limit walking and we can drive to the park and other outdoor places but I cried all day, thinking four months after my accident I was told by a doctor not to go for walks. I cried so much my eyelids swelled up and I had to take my contacts out of my eyes. I cried so much and so freakishly Henry kept trundling over to give me exaggerated kisses and yell MAMAMAMA!
I’m hoping to get some more medical opinions on how bad walking is, I mean I get dizzy at the supermarket but the doctor didn’t send me home with a note to get take out every night (why not?!) I never imagined at the age of 33, I’d be defying Doctor’s Orders to go for a leisurely stroll around town. Maybe at 93, but not at 33. Vision therapy is predicted to take MONTHS, so months without walking? I can’t. Please no. I don’t even get the full prescription for therapy until next week. I have to go back for another hour of testing. She did say I’m not such a severe case and my problems respond well to therapy. So that’s keeping me going now. HOPE HOPE HOPE HOPE HOPE
Oh, and today Henry poked me straight into the eyeball. Now my eye is blurry and I’m off to the eye doctor to see if I need some kind of sexy pirate patch. Pics to follow but rest assured I will handle it, as only a regular old human being could handle it. By alternately being brave and being a ninny, by crying and laughing, by despairing and hoping in equal measure.