Never give up…

Installment #3…

Except, the concept that I would never walk again…

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I never give up.  Let’s face it; I am nothing if I am not stubborn.  And I am VERY stubborn.

So, I finally got out of the hospital after what seemed like forever. My parents, God bless them; every time they turned around I was making changes in my life that directly affected them. They always supported me and my changes (even when they didn’t like it and it frustrated them).  So, after I had just begged them to let me rent the basement apartment and moved me down there from the second floor apartment, I now needed to live with them in their apartment.  My Dad, being the sport that he is, allowed my family to pack up his office and move it into the dining room, so that I could have his office as a bedroom.  My Mom had furniture moved around and a hospital bed brought in and made me a beautiful room, right next door to hers so she could be with me day and night.  I was so happy to be home that I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be, how much work it would take or even how much assistance I needed.

That first spring and summer were really tough.  I couldn’t use my legs at all, they were basically dead weight.  When I say dead weight, I am talking thousands of pounds apiece!! My arms were minimally useful and my lungs were continuously giving me a problem.  I was quite the mess!!!  And then rehab started.  Initially, I went to the Hospital for Special Care, in New Britain, CT., a wonderful place with wonderful people, and did most of my rehab there.  When I would end up back in the hospital, I would have rehab at home for a while afterward, but that didn’t last long and after a few weeks I would have to return to HSC for rehab.  I worked hard but nothing seemed to be happening. No matter how hard I perservered, I was just more and more tired as the days passed.  Eventually, I gave up on formal rehab. Getting there just took so much work and effort and by the time I was ready to exercise, I was just plain too exhausted to do anything worthwhile, so I quit.  Well, I should substantiate that because as stubborn as I am, I am not a quitter – I just took another avenue.

In the fall of 2010, I started pulling myself up to then sink and leaning on it.  I would barely get up and then plop right back into my wheelchair, but it was a start.  I did that for months.  Finally, I could stand up leaning on the sink long enough to wash a cup and a spoon.  I was so proud of myself.  Now I had to tell someone, so I went down to my parents’ apartment and told my Mom what I had been practicing.  I don’t think she really believed me, so I had to show her.  Honestly, she is a great cheering squad for me and before long everyone in the family knew of my progress.  The glory of everyone knowing is that it compels you to do something more, not just because of the freedom and independence it gave me but because of the hope it gave all of us.  So I kept pulling myself up until I was able to stand, leaning on the sink, long enough to wash a small load of dishes.  Once I had mastered standing that long, maybe 5 minutes or so, I started taking side steps holding on to the counter and keeping my chair pressed right close to my legs.  It worked and within a couple months I could hold the counter with two hands and side step along the counter for a couple of feet.

I did that for many months until that got boring and I needed a new task to accomplish, so I set out to walk – being able to hold on to something with only one hand.  This seemed like something that I would never be able to do, so it made me want it all the more.  I did encounter one big obstace though.  In the summer of 2011, I moved into independent living for a number of reasons; all good. But shortly thereafter, I lost my medical insurance and knew that I was going to have issues getting my medication.  So, in August, 2011, I decided to stop taking my medication since I could no longer afford it anyway.  Since that time, I believe my body has been in a ‘realization’ mode.  My legs are still heavy but I am able to maneuver them much better, my head is clear now and I am feeling like life has a whole lot more to offer me.  I am finally at a point now that I can maneuver a few steps around furniture and occasionally I get brave and try to take a step or two away from objects – remembering that too far away and I am stuck there and have to shimmy along the floor back to my wheelchair (and getting back into it is a whole new adventure!!!).

My battle has been long, and will continue to be long, but my lessons have been many! My faith has grown by leaps and bounds and I no longer take advantage of “another day” since I now know that they are all gifts.  If you have read all three of my blogs about my illness, you are up to date with how I got to where I am today.  I will keep you posted in future blogs about my progress, should any sneak up on me.  My next few blogs will be on resources for the disabled, especially those around the Bangor, Maine area.

I have only been blogging a short time but I’d like to thank you for reading, sharing my journey through my words and especially for your prayers and encouragement.

Until next week – Happy Wheelin”!!!